Stravinsky conducts ‘Pulcinella’

Composer Igor Stravinsky conducts the Toronto Symphony in the ending of his own ballet “Pulcinella.” This is in 1967, very late in his life, the latest I’ve seen him conducting on film. He would have been about 85 here. Stravinsky is sometimes criticized for having been a poor conductor. Though there is a fair amount of sloppy playing here, he reveals himself as a lively podium presence, alert to rhythm, tempo and the trenchant cue.

The composer’s acknowledgement of the applause is also affecting.

California symphonic concerts in May

For those who enjoy a good browse, this is an entertaining list provided by the Association of California Symphony Orchestras. See what orchestras around the state are up to this month.

Counties: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, and Yuba

Alameda County

Sunday, May 6, at 5 PM
Berkeley Symphony
Joana Carneiro, music director
René Mandel, violin
Deanna Badizadegan, viola
Peter Wyrick, cello
Britt Day, piano
Bohuslav Martinu: Duo No. 1 for Violin and Cello, H.157
Rebecca Clarke: Sonata for Viola and Piano
Brahms: Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25
Piedmont Center for the Arts, 801 Magnolia Ave., Piedmont
(510) 841-2800

Friday, May 18, at 8 PM
Oakland Symphony
Michael Morgan, conductor
Liana Bérubé, violin
Bernstein: Serenade after Plato’s “Symposium” for Violin & Orchestra
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 ‘Pathétique’ in B minor, Op 74
Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland
(510) 444-0801

Sunday, May 20, at 4 PM
Community Women’s Orchestra
Dana Sadava, conductor
Joan Tower: Made in America
Aaron Copland: music from Our Town
Dvorak: New World Symphony
Lake Merritt United Methodist Church, 1330 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland
(510) 463-031

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Neglected symphony: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger Symphony No. 5

I hadn’t even heard of this composer before a conductor friend suggested I listen to this piece, the Symphony No. 5 by Wilhelm Peterson-Berger (1867-1942). Peterson-Berger was a Swedish composer and music critic who was an anti-modernist. The Symphony No. 5, written in 1932-33, is so conservative, in fact, that one could consider it almost backward. The problem is that it’s also interesting, beautiful and accomplished. See what you think.

Michail Jurowski conducts the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra.

Hear another neglected Swedish symphony by clicking here.

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