You might think that Verdi’s Requiem would be a favorite for vocalists, but not so much for orchestral musicians. When I asked St. Louis Symphony musicians about works they were most looking forward to this season, I was surprised to see how many picked the Requiem. In this week’s video blog, cellist Bjorn Ranheim gives his perspective as to why this is a great week for vocalists, instrumentalists, and audiences too.
The tapping heard from the Powell Hall stage on Wednesday was from the baton of guest conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos. Fruhbeck is described admiringly by musicians as an “old school” conductor. One gesture that signifies “old school” is the rapping of his baton on the music stand to halt the orchestra or to gain its attention. As cellist Bjorn Ranheim told me, this is almost the caricature of a conductor. Like Bugs Bunny imitating Toscanini.
Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos
Fruhbeck also wields the longest baton in the business, which is intimidating all on its own.
Whatever his approach, call it “old school” or not, with Fruhbeck, they’re all listening.
I once told David Robertson that he was the only music director I’d ever worked for, and my wish was that this situation would remain that way. Now that he’s re-upped his contract with the St. Louis Symphony through the 2017-18 season, that is closer to a possibility.
David Robertson. Photo credit: Keith Saunders.
Benedetto Lupo’s Saturday evening encore was Scriabin’s Prelude, op. 11, no. 21.
Turning a page may seem very basic, but consider turning a page of music while you are playing Ginastera. And you are not just turning it for yourself, but for your stand partner. As true of all great artists, Shawn Weil makes the difficult look easy. His stand partner this week, Jooyeon Kong, vouches for him in the video blog.
I’m honored that we made the cut for Barbara MacRobie’s listing of arts blogs in Missouri. She writes: “External Affairs and Publications Manager Eddie Silva stocks the ‘ongoing account of life with the St. Louis Symphony’ with interviews including videos, insights, and sidelights like how Google Glass may create the program notes of the future and why the Symphony made music with a rubber pig.”
Thanks, Barbara. Read the full listing here: click. “Snapshots of Missouri Arts Blogosphere.”
It is not unusual for a conductor to sing during rehearsal. David Robertson often sings or hums, for example. But guest conductor Juanjo Mena really goes for it, hitting the high notes, expressing the full emotions of the music. I don’t think I’ve heard a conductor with his vocal range.
The St. Louis Symphony has not been together since Sunday afternoon, but members of the orchestra have been performing all over town the last few days and nights. Monday a brass quintet made up of Karin Bliznik, Mike Walk, Anna Spina, Tim Myers and Gerry Pagano gave a master class and concert at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Tuesday night Symphony violinist Lorraine Glass-Harris was joined by pianist Daniel Schene to play before a full house on a chilly, snowy night at Webster University.
Meanwhile members of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra were in the mix as well on Tuesday night. They gave their second Next Generation chamber concert of the season at the Tavern of Fine Arts. Pictured above are members of the trombone section waiting out an intermission before opening the second half of the show with Wagner. I like this photo because of the “birth of the cool” pose.
On Wednesday night violinist Shawn Weil and cellist Bjorn Ranheim of the Symphony play with their combo the 442s at the World Chess Hall of Fame.
“We’re everywhere” my colleague Adam Crane said as the social-media posts were arriving on our mobile phones at the Tavern Tuesday night. We are. The Symphony leaves a light footprint on the civic landscape. All that’s left behind is the residue of music.
In celebration of St. Louis’ 250 years of being St. Louis, cake sculptures have been appearing at choice locations throughout the city. The St. Louis Symphony cake arrived on Monday. My colleagues Adam Crane and Erika Ebsworth-Goold posed with the new addition to Powell Hall and Grand Center.
If the tempos picked up a bit in the second half of the Friday morning Coffee Concert, if the Mozart sounded a bit more glowing than usual, the Olympic hockey score might have had something to do with it. Félicitations, Bernard Labadie.
Bernard Labadie. He shoots. He scores!