22 May 2013
While performing arts groups around the world have taken the 2012-13 season to celebrate the music of Richard Wagner, it was on May 22 in 1813 that the man who defined “gesamtkunstwerk” was born. The New York Philharmonic tips its hat to Wagner’s works with A Ring Journey, an “orchestral synthesis” of the composer’s epic Ring Cycle arranged by our very own Alan Gilbert (after Erich Leinsdorf).
Meanwhile, you can sate your appetite for all things Niebelungen thanks to the Philharmonic’s Digital Archives, which houses a number of scores from all four parts of the Ring, many (like the excerpts shown above) marked by Leonard Bernstein.
21 May 2013
This time of year, our home base of Avery Fisher Hall is, by day, a bustle of activity for college graduation ceremonies as students from the likes of NYU and Fordham march across the stage, sheepskin in hand. It recently led us to unearth this score copy of Elgar’s Military March No. 1, the trio of which is better known as Pomp and Circumstance, from our Digital Archives. But, as one of our Facebook fans asked: Why is this the graduation song to beat all graduation songs?
“Pomp and Circumstance” was first heard in its popular use at Yale University’s 1905 graduation, where Elgar was receiving an honorary doctorate of music. As a result, Yale music professor Samuel Sanford (a friend of Elgar’s) incorporated a few works by the composer into the proceedings, including the trio from March No. 1 as a recessional. It’s still used in that capacity at Yale, and quickly became a popular processional for other colleges and high schools. The work was first heard at the Philharmonic two years after Elgar received his honorary degree from Yale, in 1907 at a concert conducted by Walter Damrosch.
17 May 2013
Jimmy and Lenny
Congratulations to James Levine as he prepares to return to the concert stage this weekend, following a two-year hiatus. While his performance this weekend will be with his “home” team of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Jimmy would occasionally step next door to conduct the Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall (you can see the full measure of his appearances with us by searching his name here). In this photo from the Digital Archives, he shares shop talk with Leonard Bernstein.
Welcome back, Jimmy!
14 May 2013
Happy Birthday, Jazz Style
Acting Principal Clarinet Mark Nuccio is celebrating his birthday far from home, by traveling on the EUROPE / SPRING 2013 tour. And it’s not all Bruckner and Tchaikovsky while he’s on the road, as he has already been practicing (in photo, by Chris Lee, above) for his solo in Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, conducted by Alan Gilbert, in the jazz-infused program May 31–June 1.
If you’re one of the lucky ones to have tickets for these almost sold-out concerts, check out this taste of the score for the piece that Leonard Bernstein marked (which lives in our Digital Archives) to prep for when you hear him jam!
10 May 2013
On what would have been Milton Babbitt’s 97th birthday, here’s a gift to all of us from the Digital Archives: the unpublished manuscript to the composer’s Relata II, as marked by Leonard Bernstein (its dedicatee) before he, as our Music Director, conducted it as part of the Philharmonic’s 125th anniversary season. The program preceding it was Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (with Isaac Stern as the soloist). You can page through the entire score here.
10 May 2013
You Always Look So Cool
Well, old sports, The Great Gatsby may have suggested that you can’t repeat the past, but here at the Philharmonic we can at least revisit the past through our Digital Archives.With that in mind, and with the much-awaited new film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel (as helmed by Baz Luhrmann) opening today, can you help us identify these two women from the 1920s, as found in our Archives?
(To accompany you as you do your detective work, here’s Leonard Bernstein with the Phil in a performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, a work also featured in Luhrmann’s Gatsby.)
23 April 2013
Da! Nyet! Crash!
Social climbers, Russian-speaking computers, and unexpected cymbal crashes. We couldn’t really predict what tidbits users worldwide might pull from the more than 1.3 million pages of photos, programs, scores, and documents in the New York Philharmonic’s Digital Archives when the project launched in 2011.(Newly released: more than a half-million pages of parts marked by Philharmonic musicians)
23 April 2013
Doubt Thou the Tsars
April 23 serves as an auspicious date, as it marks the birth-anniversary of both William Shakespeare and Sergei Prokofiev (the latter of whom performed as a piano soloist with the Philharmonic six times). Why choose between celebrating one or the other when you can fête both? As a birthday gift for all from the Digital Archives, we have the score for Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, marked by maestro Andre Kostelanetz.
Meanwhile, our inspiration from the Bard will play on next year when our Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow plays Korngold’s Much Ado About Nothing Suite as part of his farewell season. More immediately, we explore Prokofiev’s two violin concertos in June, the first performed by Lisa Batiashvili, the second spotlighting Leonidas Kavakos.
22 April 2013
“The violinist is that peculiarly human phenomenon distilled to a rare potency: half tiger, half poet.” — Yehudi Menuhin, who would have been 97 today and whose regular appearances with the New York Philharmonic spanned nearly 60 years.