19 June 2013
Deciphering the Dream
“Tonight, our story unfolds as a kind of über Fairy Tale, connecting two great ballets by Stravinsky,” explains Doug Fitch, director/designer of the Philharmonic’s production of A Dancer’s Dream. He writes in a note for the program: “The thread that weaves them all together takes the form of a young woman who slips into the world of her own imagination and is swept away by muses to become a ballerina.
“The Fairy’s Kiss is based on a haunting story by Hans Christian Andersen (The Ice Maiden) and was composed by Stravinsky as an homage to Tchaikovsky. Stravinsky saw the ‘kiss’ as a metaphor for the artistic gift — that mysterious, intangible phenomenon that can bestow immortality, but not without extracting its human price. We have merged these into a kind of daydream — a reverie induced by the seductive and transformative power of great music…. She then enters into the world of the Shrovetide Fair-setting of Petrushka and becomes the puppet ballerina character Columbine. Things in this daydream seem to have real consequences and it is hard to distinguish the artifice from the reality it is designed to imitate.
“After its premiere, Stravinsky said that dance is not applied arts — it is a union of arts; they strengthen and complement each other. It is in this spirit of developing a union between artistic media — some old, some new — that we have pursued this project…. We invite you to enter this world with us — to put together the pieces in your own mind and to weave your own stories as you watch and listen. You are very much a part of this collaboration.”
(Photo of A Dancer’s Dream rehearsal courtesy of Giants Are Small)
19 June 2013
It’s a GAS!
Given the smiles above, it’s clear that director/designer Doug Fitch proves that if you love what you do, you can’t call it work. Want more behind-the-scenes action from Giants Are Small as they prepare to put Philharmonic audiences under the spell of A Dancer’s Dream? Check out their Facebook for constant updates as they make their Dream our reality.
18 June 2013
They See Me Rollin’, They Haydn
“I love Haydn: When asked that terrible question, ‘Who is your favorite composer?’ that’s the name I give,” says Alan Gilbert. Alan leads the Philharmonic in the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 11, which also boasts Emanuel Ax’s final appearance as this season’s Artist-in-Residence. For more info, click here.
(Photo of Alan Gilbert by Chris Lee.)
17 June 2013
Bach to the Present
June 17 also marks the birthday of German soprano Dorothea Röschmann, who was last heard with the New York Philharmonic earlier this March as part of The Bach Variations. In this Philharmonic festival, Röschmann was soprano soloist in Bach’s landmark B-minor Mass, and even took on the traditional mezzo solo, “Laudamus te.” This performance was released for digital download earlier this month and can also be streamed on Spotify. On Dorothea’s birthday, this is the gift that keeps on giving.
17 June 2013
Eye on Igor
“My music is best understood by children and animals.”
A happy 131st birthday to Igor Stravinsky, composer, conductor, and Honorary Member of the Philharmonic. We’re squeezing a lot of Stravinsky into our final few weeks of the 2012–13 season, with performances of his suite from The Firebird concluding tomorrow and two of his ballets — The Fairy’s Kiss and Petrushka — forming the basis of our season finale, A Dancer’s Dream.
Unsurprisingly, the New York Philharmonic Digital Archives is a treasure trove of Stravinsky photos and other memorabilia. Some of our favorites (including shots with Leonard Bernstein and, separately, Elliott Carter, as well as a moment in which Igor takes time to stop and smell the roses) are above. You can browse through more here.
15 June 2013
Dawn of the Dad
Like our mothers, the Philharmonic boasts a number of notable fathers, many of whom will be celebrated this Sunday. Our former Concertmaster John Corigliano, Sr., was responsible for composer John Corigliano, (Jr.), whose music is frequently performed by this Orchestra. Music Director Alan Gilbert has three musical children (one of whom is pictured above meeting Queen Margrethe of Denmark) and is also the son of former Philharmonic violinist Michael Gilbert (pictured with his maestro son, above, on our recent EUROPE / SPRING 2013 tour in a photo by Chris Lee). Associate Principal Percussion Daniel Druckman is the progeny of composer Jacob Druckman, and both Assistant Conductor Joshua Weilerstein and frequent guest of the Philharmonic, cellist Alisa Weilerstein (who appears with us twice next season), owe half of their respective DNA to violinist Donald Weilerstein.
A Happy Father’s Day to all!
14 June 2013
Next week, as part of Gilbert’s Playlist, New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert leads the Orchestra in A Ring Journey, which he himself prepared based on Erich Leinsdorf’s selections of music from Wagner’s Ring Cycle. While Brünnhilde, Siegfried, Wotan, and Alberich will all be conjured entirely out of music in this singerless take of the Ring, Arthur Rackham’s famous illustrations for the über-opera can help synthesize sight and sound.
Some of Arthur Rackham’s illustrations for Wagner’s Ring Cycle, which incorporates elements of Norse mythology and the German national epic, the Nibelungenlied.
13 June 2013
An oldie-but-goodie from our friends at the Kaufman Music Center rings (ahem) particularly apt this week with the bassoon showcase that is Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. In a score from our Digital Archives, the famous melody for the often-maligned instrument is shown in its full glory, as marked by Andre Kostelanetz.
13 June 2013
“When this violin was made, it was much before any of these great composers were alive and [before] they wrote their music,” says violinist Leonidas Kavakos. “I find this is fascinating, because there was a kind of prophetic element into the making.”
Hear Kavakos (who performs Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Philharmonic tonight through next Tuesday) talk about his historic violin, the 1724 “Abergavenny” Stradivarius, in this video for Decca Classics (the label behind his newest recording of Beethoven sonatas).