Recommended recordings: September

Recommended recordings of the pieces performed by the Pacific Symphony on its programs in September.

Shostakovich: Festive Overture. Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi, conductor. Chandos.

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1. Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Krill Kondrashin, conductor. Martha Argerich, piano. Philips.

Rimsky-Korsakov: “Procession of the Nobles” from Mlada. Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, conductor. On “Rimsky-Korsakov’s Greatest Hits” album from Sony Classical.

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Pacific Symphony: September concerts

The summer season ends with fireworks and the 40th anniversary indoor season begins with shooting stars this month.

The annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular, Sept. 8, features big works by Pyotr Ilyich and his Russian compatriots. The commanding Van Cliburn-winning pianist Vadym Kholodenko returns to perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and of course the same composer’s 1812 Overture, festooned with cannons and fireworks, ends the proceedings. Festive works by Shostakovich, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin are also performed. Carl St.Clair conducts. Tickets here

The opening night concerts, led by St.Clair on Sept. 27-29, are a kind of 40th birthday party for the Symphony (founded in 1978). The orchestra’s first composer-in-residence, Frank Ticheli, is back with a new version of his Shooting Stars; new concertmaster Dennis Kim and principal violist Meredith Crawford step forward to solo in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante; the eloquent pianist Olga Kern takes on Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3; and, wrapping it all up, a special performance of Ravel’s Boléro, played in tandem with a special film tracing the orchestra’s 40-year history. Tickets here

Our newly named Sunday Matinées series opens the next day (Sept. 30) with a slightly shortened version of the above (Rachmaninoff and Ravel). Tickets here –TM

Lukas Foss: Piano Concerto No. 1

The neoclassical Piano Concerto No. 1 by Lukas Foss (1922-2009), recorded by Pacific Symphony, Carl St.Clair, conductor and Jon Nakamatsu, piano. Released 2001. The piece was first written as a clarinet concerto when Foss was 17. He made this version of it four years later.

–TM

Interview: Pianist Alexander Romanovsky to make Pacific Symphony debut with Prokofiev’s Second Concerto

By TIMOTHY MANGAN

Alexander Romanovsky is a Ukrainian pianist who lives in southern Switzerland, near Lugano, about 400 meters from the Italian border. When he goes jogging in the morning he likes to venture into the neighboring country, the border guards not even bothering to stop him. “No, they know me already,” Romanovsky says with a smile.

The pianist was speaking recently on Skype, where his image fluctuated between ghostly and frozen but where generally his talk came through. He isn’t well known in the U.S. yet, having played here but little. (He has appeared with the New York Philharmonic at the Bravo! Vail Festival and with the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia.) He’ll be making his California debut with Carl St.Clair and Pacific Symphony in concerts Feb. 1-4 at Segerstrom Concert Hall.

Romanovsky and St.Clair are well acquainted though. The two met for the first time in Costa Rica a couple of years ago when the pianist came to perform Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto with the National Symphony Orchestra there, for which St.Clair serves as music director.

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Audio: Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 9

One of the earlier of Mozart’s masterpieces, the Piano Concerto No. 9, K. 271, completed when he was 21. Here’s an exceptional performance from the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields conducted by Neville Marriner, with Alfred Brendel at the piano.

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson plays it with Pacific Symphony and Rune Bergmann
tonight through Saturday.