Bernstein’s ‘On the Town’: ‘Ya Got Me’

If your only knowledge of Leonard Bernstein’s musical “On the Town” is the famous movie, then you don’t know it. The film cut most of Bernstein’s music and the composer ended up boycotting it.

Here’s a great bit from the studio cast recording made in 1960 under Bernstein’s direction, and not in the movie. There are two quick comedic preludes and then the wonderful song “Ya Got Me.” The characters are attempting to cheer up their friend, Gabey.

Pacific Symphony: August concerts

Pops conductor Richard Kaufman returns to the podium this month to conduct the orchestra in a live-to-picture performance of John Williams’ score to Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” on Aug. 18 at the Pacific Amphitheater. Williams won the Oscar for “Best Original Score” for his music to the Spielberg classic, which will be projected in high definition on a giant screen above the orchestra. Tickets here

On Aug. 12, artistic partner Pacific Chorale holds its annual choral festival concert in Segerstrom Concert Hall. Artistic director Robert Istad leads community singers, the Chorale and guest artists in performances of music by Mozart: the “Vesperae solennes de confessor,” K.339; the  “Alleluia” from “Exsultate, jubilate,” K.165; “Ave verum corpus,” K.618; and an excerpt from the Organ Fantasia in F minor, K.608. Tickets are free but reservations are required 

photo: ™ & © Universal Studios.

Miscellany

The Boston Symphony’s top flutist sues orchestra for not paying her as much as a male colleague. …

Edward Elgar

More than year after sustaining a hand injury, Lang Lang returns to the concert stage. …

The brilliant British composer Oliver Knussen is dead at 66. …

The Mozart Effect may be back, this time reducing epileptic activity in children. …

In case you missed it, here’s the building that’s going up next to Segerstrom Concert Hall. …

A woman who brought an Elgar manuscript to the Antiques Roadshow is threatened with legal action. …

“From the Top” lays off its longtime host Christopher O’Riley. …

A Washington Post investigation uncovers more #MeToo incidents in the world of classical music. …

Four years after nearly going under, San Diego Opera is stable and growing. …

The music in his favorite restaurant was terrible, so a famous composer took it over. …

 

GSOplay at the Gothenburg Symphony

GSOplay is the Gothenburg Symphony’s online series of high definition performance videos. “We release approximately two to three videos per month and normally the performances are available for viewing up to 30 days after the release date,” the website says. Currently, the page features a nice range of repertoire, including the Symphony No. 5 by Sibelius, the “Symphonie fantastique” by Berlioz and the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Stenhammer.

Above, Kent Nagano conducts the orchestra in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3.

Anton Urspruch: Symphony in E-flat (1882)

Anton Urspruch (1850-1907), a name new to me, was a German composer, pedagogue and pianist who studied with Lachner, Raff and Liszt. He was said to be one of the latter’s favorite pupils. He composed many works, but, like Franck and Chausson, only one symphony. The piece is Brahmsian, but lighter and brighter, all to the good. It strikes me, after brief acquaintance, as very worthy of revival.

Marcus Bosch conducts the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie. I have posted the movements separately for easier sampling.

To hear other music in this series, click on the “neglected symphonies” tag at the bottom of this post.

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Emilie Mayer: Symphony No. 7 in F minor (1856)

Emilie Mayer (1812-1883) was a German composer, quite successful in her day. Among her compositions are 8 symphonies, a piano concerto, several concert overtures and much chamber music. Her most famous teacher was Carl Loewe, remembered today mostly for his lieder.

Her Symphony No. 7 is impressive and very Schumannesque.

To hear more music in this series, click on the “neglected symphonies” tag below this post.

A visit to Pacific Symphony’s music library

You go in the artists’ entrance at Segerstrom Concert Hall, walk past the security guard behind the window (once you get the OK), enter the first door on the right and head down two flights of stairs. You’re in the basement now, walking down a long concrete hallway in low light when, on the right, you come upon this plaque.

It’s the library of Pacific Symphony. Step inside and it’s a cozy and quiet little place.

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Meet Michael Clive, Pacific Symphony’s program annotator

By Erica Sharp

“Sometimes as a joke I refer to myself as ‘your intrepid annotator,’” said Michael Clive, longtime program note writer for Pacific Symphony, in an interview last week. He had just arrived back at his Connecticut home and grabbed a cup of coffee, ready now for a chat on the phone.

Clive was referring to a Symphony Magazine piece written about his style of program note writing during his early years with Pacific Symphony. “The premise of that article is that program notes were taking a new direction. They were becoming less formal and more interesting.”

Though he had done some program book writing for regional orchestras as a volunteer when he was 23, Pacific Symphony was officially the first orchestra he wrote program notes for. After Clive’s fellowship at the National Endowment for the Arts for classical music writers, Joseph Horowitz, former artistic advisor of the orchestra, recommended that he contact the Symphony.

From the very start, he was encouraged to take chances in his writing.

“Every time I have written something and thought it was risky, they put it in,” he said. “I said you can take it out if you want, but they have left it.”

Clive obtained his masters of arts degree in music criticism at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in 1987. At the time he was enrolled at the university he had a job with an advertising agency in New York and was living what he described as “a very corporate” lifestyle.

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Luciano Berio: Quattro versioni originali della ‘Ritirata notturna di Madrid’

The full title of this 1975 piece explains what it is: “Quattro versioni originali della ‘Ritirata notturna di Madrid’ di Luigi Boccherini, sovrapposte e transcritte per orchestra.”

In English that would be: “Four Original Versions of the ‘Withdrawal by Night in Madrid’ by Luigi Boccherini, superimposed and transcribed for orchestra.”

Riccardo Chailly conducts the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano “Giuseppe Verdi.”

Enjoy.

William Grant Still: Symphony No. 5, ‘Western Hemisphere’

Written in 1945, Still’s Fifth is an attractive, easy to listen to and evocative American Symphony.

The movements are described thusly:

  • 1. “The vigorous, life-sustaining forces of the Hemisphere” (briskly)
  • 2. “The natural beauties of the Hemisphere” (slower, and with utmost grace)
  • 3. “The nervous energy of the Hemisphere” (energetically)
  • 4. “The overshadowing spirit of kindness and justice in the Hemisphere” (moderately)

John Jeter conducts the Fort Smith Symphony.