Entries by Brian Heck

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5

Notes by TŌN bassoonist Cheryl Fries The Mysterious Bruckner Anton Bruckner’s compositions and legacy have remained a constant fascination and mystery. Bruckner has garnered a rather bizarre reputational legacy, accumulating several different personas: death obsessed, anti-social, a drunk, and a country bumpkin. It seems nearly impossible to determine exactly who Bruckner the person was, but […]

R. Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks

Notes by TŌN oboist Jasper Igusa The Merry Prankster Richard Strauss depicts the pranks and misadventures of the German peasant folk hero Till Eulenspiegel in his tone poem Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks). The title character, an infamous trickster always portrayed as the protagonist, precedes Strauss’ work by hundreds of years. His origins […]

VIDEO FLASHBACK: Bruce Montgomery’s Concertino for String Orchestra

In March, conductor Andrés Rivas led The Orchestra Now in a livestreamed, physically distanced performance of Bruce Montgomery‘s Concertino for String Orchestra at the Fisher Center at Bard. Former TŌN violinist Shaina Pan wrote that “[The] English composer wrote mostly choral and film music, but was also known for his classic crime novels and short stories which he […]

Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition

Notes by TŌN flutist Rebecca Tutunick Inspiration From Grief Grief has inspired some of the most monumental pieces across all art forms. For Modest Mussorgsky, loss spurred what is one of his most well-known pieces in the repertory. Following the young death of Victor Hartmann, an architect and artist, Vladimir Stasov organized a posthumous exhibition […]

Brahms’/Slatkin’s Brahmsiana

Notes by arranger Leonard Slatkin The concept of the transcription has been around for almost as long as written music has existed. Numerous composers and arrangers have felt compelled to recast works, and several of these pieces were staples of the concert hall when I was growing up. Years went by before I realized that […]

Cindy McTee’s Circuits

Notes by TŌN violinist Misty Drake A Fresh Approach The 1970s–80s set America on a new trajectory of musical innovation. Steve Reich and Philip Glass were among the most influential names that charted a fresh approach to compositional techniques. Minimalism not only became a movement that pioneered new sounds of a modern America, but also […]

VIDEO FLASHBACK: Frank Martin’s Petite symphonie concertante

In March, conductor Zachary Schwartzman led The Orchestra Now and soloists Renée Anne Louprette on  harpsichord, Frank Corliss on piano, and Taylor Ann Fleshman TŌN ’22 on harp in a performance of the Petite symphonie concertante by composer Frank Martin, who was born 131 years ago this week. Taylor Ann Fleshman writes that “The Petite symphonie concertante was composed […]

VIDEO FLASHBACK: Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1

Last November, conductor Leon Botstein led The Orchestra Now in a livestreamed, physically distanced performance of the Chamber Symphony No. 1 of composer Arnold Schoenberg, who was born 147 years ago this week. TŌN clarinetist Matthew Griffith writes that “the Chamber Symphony No. 1 is a landmark at a distinctly pivotal moment in the history […]

TŌN IN: Shostakovich & Dawson

In this September 12, 2021 performance livestreamed from the Fisher Center at Bard, Leon Botstein conducts William L. Dawson’s distinctive and emotionally charged Negro Folk Symphony and Shostakovich’s enormous and patriotic 7th Symphony, Leningrad, written largely after the composer had fled the city following the German invasion during WWII. Read the full concert program by […]

Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, Leningrad

Notes by TŌN violist Celia Daggy The Dichotomy of Fame and Rebellion Dmitri Shostakovich was himself both a distributor and victim of Soviet propaganda. For most of his professional life, he had to toe the line between pleasing the state with his music, and remaining true to himself and his people. Some of his works […]