STAY TŌNED—AUDIO FLASHBACKS

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings

This week’s Audio Flashback is the Serenade for Strings by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who was born 181 years ago this week. TŌN performed the work with conductor Leon Botstein on September 19, 2020 as part of the “Out of the Silence” festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival (BMF) and the Fisher Center at Bard. In his concert notes on the Serenade, BMF Artistic Codirector Christopher H. Gibbs notes that Tchaikovsky was writing this piece at the same time as his famous 1812 Overture, and wrote in a letter to his patron, “The overture will be very noisy. I wrote it without much warmth or enthusiasm; therefore it has no great artistic value. The Serenade, on the contrary, I wrote from an inward impulse; I felt it, and venture to hope that this work is not without artistic qualities.” You can read the full notes on the Serenade by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Duke Ellington’s Solitude

This Tuesday’s Audio Flashback is Solitude by the brilliant Duke Ellington, who was born 122 years ago this week. Ellington was recognized as the greatest jazz musician in America, giving voice to the Black experience in his works. He was an indefatigable innovator who was always open to new forms of expression, eventually crossing boundaries of genre and writing longer compositions for symphony orchestra. We performed Morton Gould’s arrangement of this piece with conductor Leon Botstein on September 26, 2020 as part of the “Out of the Silence” festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival and the Fisher Center at Bard.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings

This week’s Audio Flashback is Antonín Dvořák‘s Serenade for Strings, which TŌN performed outdoors with conductor Leon Botstein on September 12, 2020 as part of the “Out of the Silence” festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival (BMF) and the Fisher Center at Bard. In his concert notes on the piece, BMF Artistic Codirector Christopher H. Gibbs says that the work was composed in just 12 days in 1875, after Dvořák had won a grant from the Austrian government. “The carefree mood of the piece shows that the composer was freed ‘from anxiety in his creative work’ (the stipulated goal of the prize); he was also newly married and had recently become a father.” You can read Gibbs’ full notes on the Serenade by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Adolphus Hailstork’s Sonata da Chiesa

This week’s Audio Flashback is Sonata da Chiesa by Rochester, New York-born composer Adolphus Hailstork, who celebrates his 80th birthday this week. In his concert notes, Bard music professor Kyle Gann says, “The 17th-century term ‘sonata da chiesa’ denoted instrumental chamber music suitable for religious meditation; Hailstork has expanded on the concept to give us an orchestral analogue to a choral Mass. The piece’s seven sections, played without pause, have titles taken from liturgical music: Exultate, O Magnum Mysterium, Adoro, Jubilate, Agnus Dei, Dona Nobis Pacem, Exultate (reprise).”

TŌN performed this work outdoors with conductor Zachary Schwartzman on September 12, 2020 as part of the “Out of the Silence” festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival and the Fisher Center at Bard. You can read Kyle Gann’s full concert notes by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Hindemith’s Concert Music for Piano, Brass, and Harps

This week’s Audio Flashback is Paul Hindemith‘s Concert Music for Piano, Brass, and Harps. TŌN tuba player Jarrod Briley calls this piece “one of the hidden gems of Hindemith’s repertoire” and says, “of the many fantastic composers throughout classical music history, I can think of few who wrote as expressively and effectively for brass instruments as Paul Hindemith.” We performed this work with pianist Blair McMillen and conductor Leon Botstein in a physically distanced concert that was livestreamed from the Fisher Center at Bard in November 2020. You can read Jarrod Briley’s full concert notes on the music by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Alvin Singleton’s After Choice

This week’s Audio Flashback is After Choice by Brooklyn-born composer Alvin Singleton. In his concert notes, Bard music professor Kyle Gann says, “After Choice is Singleton’s tribute to a fellow important African American composer, Leroy Jenkins. Jenkins was a consummate improvising violinist in the free jazz world. Singleton has appropriated “licks” from Jenkins’ nimble playing style and juxtaposed them among the strings with pizzicato against bowed lines, in quite tricky rhythmic assemblages of unison septuplets and quintuplets. No more than two lines are heard at once, often doubled in octaves, and the recurring pitch sets aptly convey the contours of Jenkins’ frenetic fiddling. When a second violin solo cadenza appears just before the end (against the first violins), it’s as though Jenkins’s spirit makes a momentary appearance.”

TŌN performed this work with conductor James Bagwell on September 12, 2020 as part of the “Out of the Silence” festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival and the Fisher Center at Bard. You can read Kyle Gann’s full concert notes by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta

This week’s Audio Flashback is Béla Bartók‘s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, which we performed on September 26, 2020 with conductor Leon Botstein as part of the “Out of the Silence” festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival (BMF) and the Fisher Center at Bard. In his concert notes, BMF Artistic Codirector Christopher H. Gibbs says the work “integrates Bartók’s profound knowledge of Western musical tradition, immediately evident in the fugue that opens the piece, with his pathbreaking research of folk music, not limited to the region of his native Hungary but extending farther afield to North Africa.” You can read the full concert notes by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: William Grant Still’s Serenade

This week’s Audio Flashback is William Grant Still‘s Serenade. Still, often called the “Dean of African-American composers,” wrote this piece in 1957 on a commission by the Great Falls High School in Great Falls, Montana. The piece reflects his interest in American folk idioms, with conventional melodies and harmonies that nonetheless express a fresh and individual compositional voice. The Orchestra Now performed the work outdoors (hence the crickets you will hear in the background!) with conductor James Bagwell last September as part of the Out of the Silence festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival and the Fisher Center at Bard. 

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges’ Symphonie concertante in G Major, Op. 13

This week’s Audio Flashback is the Symphonie concertante in G Major, Op. 13 of 18th-Century composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. TŌN performed the piece with violinists Cyrus Beroukhim and Philip Payton and conductor Leon Botstein on September 26, 2020 as part of the “Out of the Silence” festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival and the Fisher Center at Bard. The son of an enslaved woman and a plantation owner in the South Caribbean, Bologne led a fascinating life, excelling in both athletics and music. He was praised by future American president John Adams, and once lived in the same house as Mozart. You can read the concert notes, written by Christopher H. Gibbs, Artistic Codirector of the Bard Music Festival, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Edgard Varèse’s Hyperprism

This week’s Audio Flashback is the piece Hyperprism from French composer Edgard Varèse, which premiered in New York City 98 years ago this week, and which The Orchestra Now performed with conductor Leon Botstein in a streaming concert from the Fisher Center at Bard this past November. In his concert notes, TŌN horn player Steven Harmon says, “Hyperprism is one of a handful of Varèse’s most influential works, all written in a period between 1921 and 1925, all of which contributed to a notoriety comparable to that of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. In just a handful of scores, most of them lasting only a few minutes, Varèse elevated rhythm to a new prominence, granted percussion instruments a role of unforeseen importance (and complexity), and developed a new sound world, dependent not on melody and harmony, but on timbre, texture, and dynamics.” You can read his full notes on the piece by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Four Novelettes

This week’s Audio Flashback is Samuel Coleridge-Taylor‘s Four Novelettes. Coleridge-Taylor honored his pan-African heritage with ever-mellifluous compositions that increasingly embraced syncopation. African American elites of the Gilded Age cherished him. Whitney Slaten, Assistant Professor of Music at Bard College, writes in the concert notes: “Though Coleridge-Taylor has been called the “Black Mahler,” there are more apt musical analogies. One writer … hears “touches of Brahms and the blues.” Similarly, one could listen to the dotted rhythms that introduce the first movement and find echoes of Handel, who used them to pronounce the regality in his oratorio Messiah.” TŌN performed the piece with conductor Zachary Schwartzman on September 19, 2020 as part of the “Out of the Silence” festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival and the Fisher Center at Bard. You can read Whitney Slaten’s full concert notes on the work by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Roque Cordero’s Adagio trágico

This week’s Audio Flashback is Adagio trágico by Panamanian-born composer Roque Cordero. Cordero first started working on the piece in 1946, after the death of his mother. He then set it aside, completing it only in 1955 after another tragic event: the assassination of Panamanian President José Antonio Remón Cantera, whose wife, Cecilia Pinel de Remón, had been a benefactor of Cordero’s. TŌN performed the work with conductor Andrés Rivas on September 19, 2020 as part of the “Out of the Silence” festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival and the Fisher Center at Bard. You can read the concert notes, written by Peter Laki, Visiting Associate Professor of Music at Bard College, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Lady

This Tuesday’s Audio Flashback is Sophisticated Lady by the brilliant Duke Ellington. Ellington was recognized as the greatest jazz musician in America, giving voice to the Black experience in his works. He was an indefatigable innovator who was always open to new forms of expression, eventually crossing boundaries of genre and writing longer compositions for symphony orchestra. We performed Morton Gould’s arrangement of this piece with conductor Leon Botstein on September 26, 2020 as part of the “Out of the Silence” festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival and the Fisher Center at Bard.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Mendelssohn’s String Symphony No. 8

This week’s audio flashback is our performance of the 8th String Symphony of composer Felix Mendelssohn, who was born 212 years ago this week. Believe it or not, Mendelssohn wrote this string symphony when he was just 13 years old! He seems to have particularly valued this symphony because he immediately made a slightly different version for full orchestra. We performed the piece with conductor Leon Botstein this past September in an outdoor tent (hence the background sounds!) as part of the Out of the Silence festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival and the Fisher Center at Bard. You can read the concert notes by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: William Grant Still’s Out of the Silence

This week’s Audio Flashback is William Grant Still‘s meditative Out of the Silence. Still, the first African-American to have a symphony performed by a major U.S. orchestra, wrote this work as part of Seven Traceries, a set of mystical piano pieces intended as musical portraits of God, which were subsequently orchestrated by the composer. The Orchestra Now performed this piece outdoors (hence the crickets you will hear in the background!) with conductor James Bagwell last September, opening the Out of the Silence festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival and the Fisher Center at Bard. 

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Jessie Montgomery’s Strum

This Tuesday’s Audio Flashback is the recent work Strum by Jessie Montgomery. Montgomery’s music has been recognized with the ASCAP Foundation’s Leonard Bernstein Award, and her current commissions include works for the New York Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall. The Washington Post has called her music “turbulent, wildly colorful and exploding with life.” The Orchestra Now performed Strum with conductor Andrés Rivas as part of last September’s Out of the Silence festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival and the Fisher Center at Bard. You can read the concert notes, written by Christopher H. Gibbs, Artistic Codirector of the Bard Music Festival, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: George Walker’s Lyric for Strings

For our first Audio Flashback of 2021 we offer the elegiac Lyric for Strings by George Walker. Walker was the first African-American winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Fanfare magazine called him “one of the greatest composers of our time.” The Orchestra Now performed this piece with conductor James Bagwell as part of last September’s Out of the Silence festival, presented with the Bard Music Festival and the Fisher Center at Bard. You can read the concert notes, written by Christopher H. Gibbs, Artistic Codirector of the Bard Music Festival, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Joachim Raff’s Psalm 130: De Profundis

Our second Audio Flashback this Tuesday goes back to April 2019, when we performed the U.S. premiere of Joachim Raff‘s Psalm 130: De Profundis at the Fisher Center at Bard with conductor Leon Botstein; soprano Elizabeth De Trejo; and the Bard Festival Chorale, directed by James Bagwell. You can read the concert notes, written by TŌN horn player Emily Buehler, by clicking here.

0:00 Introduction: Andante (Moderately slow)
1:59 De Profundis: Andante con moto (Moderately slow, with motion)
8:24 Si iniquitates: Andantino (Moderate)
12:59 Quia apud te: Allegretto (Moderately fast)
17:18 A custodia matutina: Andante con moto (Moderately slow, with motion)
22:40 Et ipse redimet: Allegro (Fast) 

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral

Our first Audio Flashback this Tuesday is to our 2018 performance of Jennifer Higdon‘s ethereal and emotional blue cathedral. Higdon called the piece “a place of beginnings, endings, solitude, fellowship, contemplation, knowledge, and growth.” We performed the work with conductor James Bagwell at the Fisher Center at Bard on February 3, 2018. You can read notes from the composer by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4

Beethoven‘s Piano Concerto No. 4 premiered on this day in 1808 in Vienna. Beethoven wrote the piece for himself, and its premiere was the last time he ever performed as a soloist with an orchestra. Pianist Anna Polonsky played the concerto with The Orchestra Now and conductor Leon Botstein at the Fisher Center at Bard this past February. You can read the concert notes, written by TŌN horn player Steven Harmon, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Eroica

Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the greatest classical composers of all time, was born 250 years ago this week. We honor him by sharing our February performance of his Symphony No. 3, Eroica. This innovative work marked a turning point not only in Beethoven’s career, but in music history altogether. We performed it with conductor Leon Botstein at the Fisher Center at Bard in a concert celebrating Beethoven. You can read the concert notes, written by TŌN flutist Leanna Ginsburg, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms

This Tuesday’s Audio Flashback is Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, which premiered 90 years ago this week. Stravinsky uses unusual instrumentation in this piece to create dark resonance and complexity. It all leads to an incredibly thought-provoking musical experience. Our 2018 performance at the Fisher Center at Bard, with the Bard College Chamber Singers and Bard Festival Chorale under the direction of James Bagwell, was led by conductor Leon Botstein. You can read the concert notes by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Elgar’s Symphony No. 1

This week’s audio flashback is our 2018 performance of Edward Elgar’s Symphony No. 1, performed with conductor Leon Botstein at the Fisher Center at Bard. Hans Richter, who conducted the premiere 112 years ago this Thursday, called it “the greatest symphony of modern times.” The audience at the premiere was so enthusiastic that Elgar was called to the stage to take a bow five times, and the symphony was performed around the world over 80 times in the following year. You can read the concert notes by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Penderecki’s Double Concerto

Our second Audio Flashback today is the 2012 Double Concerto of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, who was born 87 years ago yesterday and passed away this past March. We performed the work in December 2017 with conductor JoAnn Falletta and two of her colleagues from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra: violist Dennis Kim and cellist Roman Mekinulov. You can read the concert notes by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Stravinsky’s Divertimento, The Fairy’s Kiss Suite

Our first Audio Flashback this Tuesday is the suite from Stravinsky‘s ballet The Fairy’s Kiss, which we performed last November at the Fisher Center at Bard with conductor Leon Botstein. The ballet, which is an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Ice Maiden and was Stravinsky’s homage to Tchaikovsky, premiered at the Paris Opera 92 years ago this Friday. You can read the concert notes, written by TŌN cellist Sarah Schoeffler, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: R. Strauss’ Four Songs, Op. 27

Our second Audio Flashback this Tuesday is the Op. 27 of Richard Strauss, Four Songs. Strauss originally wrote these songs for his wife, the soprano Pauline de Ahna, and gave them to her as a gift on their wedding day. We performed the work with soprano Paulina Swierczek and conductor Leon Botstein at the Fisher Center at Bard in September 2019. Read the concert notes, written by TŌN violinist Gaia Mariani Ramsdell, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 1

Today’s first Audio Flashback is our 2018 performance of Carl Maria von Weber‘s Clarinet Concerto No. 1 with soloist Elias Rodriguez TŌN ’18, winner of the orchestra’s 2017 Concerto Competition. Rodriguez calls this piece “a passionate journey with a protagonist who is at first sorrowful and suffering; then the epitome of innocence and beauty; and finally the joker, playful and exciting.” The work’s composer was born in Eutin, Oldenburg, Germany 234 years ago this Wednesday. We performed the concerto with conductor Leon Botstein at the Fisher Center at Bard on February 17, 2018. You can read Rodriguez’s concert notes by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Eugene Goossens’ Jubilee Variations

As we head in to Veterans’ Day in the United States, we offer a unique composition with a distinctly American sound written by eleven American composers. In celebration of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary in 1945, conductor and composer Eugene Goossens wrote a theme and finale, and invited ten other composers—including Aaron Copland, William Schuman, Walter Piston, and Roy Harris—to write variations. TŌN gave the NY premiere of this rarely-performed work at the Fisher Center at Bard two years ago this week under the baton of Gerard Schwarz. You can read brief concert notes by clicking here.

0:00 Theme: Goossens
00:42 Variation 1: Paul Creston
1:49 Variation 2: Aaron Copland
3:11 Variation 3: Deems Taylor
5:42 Variation 4: Howard Hanson
7:41 Variation 5: William Schuman
9:37 Variation 6: Walter Piston
11:20 Variation 7: Roy Harris
14:00 Variation 8: Anis Fuleihan
16:03 Variation 9: Bernard Rogers
18:16 Variation 10: Ernest Bloch
20:22 Finale: Goossens 

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Copland’s Lincoln Portrait

This Election Day we offer our 2018 performance of Aaron Copland‘s Lincoln Portrait, with narrator Mx Justin Vivian Bond and conductor Leon Botstein. Composed in his distinct Americana style, and using themes from “On Springfield Mountain” and “Camptown Races,” Copland put together text in which he quotes different documents and speeches by Abraham Lincoln, including the Lincoln-Douglas debates and the Gettysburg Address. May this music help serve as a reminder of what makes this democracy so great.

You can read the concert notes, written by former TŌN flutist Matthew Ross, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Dohnányi’s Symphony No. 2

Our second Audio Flashback today is the Second Symphony of Hungarian composer Ernő Dohnányi. Written in the midst of the Second World War, this work alternates between a defeated man’s longing for death, and the desire to live, even through strife. Leon Botstein conducted TŌN’s performance of this symphony in the spring of 2017 at the Fisher Center at Bard. Read the concert notes, written by former TŌN clarinetist Elias Rodriguez, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain

Just in time for Halloween, we offer Mussorgsky’s frantic and fantastical Night on Bald Mountain, which premiered on this day in 1886. Known for its use in movies like Fantasia and The Wizard of Oz, and more recently in Halloween commercials for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, this musical poem represents a witches’ sabbath that boils and bubbles until the morning church bells scare away the spirits of darkness.

TŌN performed this piece in the fall of 2017 at the Fisher Center at Bard under the baton of Leon Botstein. You can read brief program notes, written by former TŌN violist Omar Shelly, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Egon Wellesz’s Prospero’s Incantations

Today we’re offering two Audio Flashbacks of works that were inspired by the plays of Shakespeare. Austrian composer Egon Wellesz was born 135 years ago this Wednesday. His 1936 Prospero’s Incantations sets five important characters and moments from Shakespeare’s The Tempest into individual movements. Though it was written 84 years ago, we performed the U.S. premiere of the piece just one year ago with Austrian conductor Hans Graf at the Fisher Center at Bard. You can read the concert notes, written by TŌN violist Leonardo Vásquez Chacón, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Joseph Joachim’s Hamlet Overture

Today we’re offering two Audio Flashbacks of works that were inspired by the plays of Shakespeare. Joseph Joachim—who was one of the leading violinists of his day, a favorite of Brahms—composed his Hamlet Overture at age 21, and it premiered 167 years ago this month. Listen for Hamlet’s inner turmoil, indecisive and mysterious, reflected in the music. We performed this piece two years ago under the baton of Leon Botstein at the Fisher Center at Bard. You can read the concert notes, written by former TŌN horn player Ethan Brozka, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Verdi’s Requiem

Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi was born 207 years ago this month. We performed his profound Requiem last year with soprano Margaret Tigue, mezzo-soprano Chloë Schaaf, tenor Cooper Nolan, bass Wei Wu, the Bard College Chamber Singers, the Bard Festival Chorale, and members of the Bard College Conservatory Orchestra. You can now listen to the audio recording of that performance, conducted by Leon Botstein, and read the concert notes, written by TŌN clarinetist Ye Hu, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Stravinsky’s Funeral Song

Our second Audio Flashback today is our April 2018 performance of Igor Stravinsky‘s long-lost Funeral Song. This tender lament was written by a young Stravinsky in tribute to the passing of his teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov. The parts were thought to have been destroyed in a fire, and were discovered just five years ago. You can read the concert notes by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Stravinsky’s Requiem Canticles

Igor Stravinsky‘s Requiem Canticles premiered 54 years ago this Thursday. We performed the piece two years ago at the Fisher Center at Bard with conductor Leon Botstein, mezzo-soprano Katherine Pracht, baritone Jonathan Beyer, the Bard College Chamber Singers, and the Bard Festival Chorale. One of the TŌN musicians said, “In typical Stravinsky fashion, this piece is totally out there. It’s made up of dark, short vignettes with a sharp, crisp quality.” You can read the concert notes by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin Suite

Our second Audio Flashback this week comes from our 2017 performance of Béla Bartók‘s The Miraculous Mandarin Suite at the Fisher Center at Bard with conductor Leon Botstein. Debuting as a pantomime ballet in 1926, this risqué story caused such a urproar that it was suspended from production after the first performance! The concert suite has proven to be much more popular, and was performed by TŌN again last December with conductor Tan Dun. You can read the concert notes from our initial performance, written by former TŌN oboist Zachary Boeding, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Beethoven’s The Consecration of the House Overture

Beethoven‘s The Consecration of the House Overture premiered 198 years ago this Saturday, at the opening of the new Theater in der Josephstadt in Vienna. The premiere went so well that Beethoven used this overture to open another concert, when he premiered his ninth symphony. Listen back to our performance of this overture this past February, under the baton of Leon Botstein at the Fisher Center at Bard. You can read the concert notes, written by former TŌN violinist Tianpei Ai, by clicking here

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10

Composer Dmitri Shostakovich was born 114 years ago this Friday. Today we’re revisiting our 2019 performance of his Tenth Symphony, under the baton of Leon Botstein. This piece spans a wide range of emotions, from the brooding, searching quality of the opening of the first movement, to the drive of the second movement, and the ominous clock-ticking of the third movement. Read the concert notes, written by TŌN cellist Lucas Button, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Galina Ustvolskaya’s Symphonic Poem No. 1

Our second Audio Flashback today is Galina Ustvolskaya‘s Symphonic Poem No. 1, which we performed one year ago at the Fisher Center at Bard under the baton of Leon Bostein. Ustvolskaya learned composition from Shostakovich, and dedicated this piece to the workers who tilled the land of Kazakhstan. You can read the concert notes, written by former TŌN bassoonist Matthew Gregoire, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Frank Martin’s Six Monologues from “Jedermann”

Swiss composer Frank Martin was born 130 years ago today. We performed his Six Monologues from Jedermann three years ago with baritone Nathaniel Sullivan and conductor Leon Botstein at the Fisher Center at Bard. Click below to listen to the recording, and read the concert notes, written by former TŌN violist Scot Moore, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3

This Tuesday we revisit our September 2017 performance of Tchaikovsky‘s Symphony No. 3, performed at the Fisher Center at Bard under the baton of Leon Botstein. This symphony is the least-performed of the several that Tchaikovsky wrote. It is occasionally referred to as the “Polish Symphony” due to the Polish dance influences in the rhythms of the final movement, marked as Tempo di polacca. However, musicologists agree that this is a misleading nickname; the symphony is most definitely Russian. 

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, Romantic

Composer Anton Bruckner was born 196 years ago this Friday, and to celebrate we’re releasing our performance of his 4th Symphony, the Romantic. Bruckner is known for his amazing writing for brass instruments, and this symphony has plenty of that “heavy metal” while also encompassing a wide range of emotional, expressive content. This performance was led by maestro Gerard Schwarz at the Fisher Center at Bard in November 2017. You can read the concert notes, written by former TŌN horn player Ethan Brozka, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Lili Boulanger’s Psalm 130: Du fond de l’abîme (De Profundis)

Our second audio flashback today from our April 2019 concert De Profundis is Lili Boulanger‘s heart-wrenchingly beautiful setting of Psalm 130, Du fond de l’abîme. The composer, who was born 127 years ago this past Friday, wrote this piece while at the peak of a terrible pulmonary illness that would soon cut her life short at age 24. The Orchestra Now performed this work with conductor Leon Botstein, soprano Elizabeth de Trejo, tenor Sean Fallen, and the Bard Festival Chorale, who are under the direction of James Bagwell. You can read the concert notes, written by TŌN clarinetist Rodrigo Orviz Pevida, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Virgil Thomson’s De Profundis

This Tuesday we offer two audio flashbacks from our April 2019 concert De Profundis. The first is Virgil Thomson‘s choral setting of Psalm 130, performed a cappella by the Bard Festival Chorale, conducted by James Bagwell. The text is below the video, and you can read the concert notes, written by TŌN trumpet player Guillermo García Cuesta, by clicking here.

Out of the deep have I called unto Thee, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice:
O, let Thine ear consider well
the voice of my complaint.

If Thou, Lord, wilt be extreme
to mark what is done amiss,
O, Lord who may abide it?
For there is mercy with Thee,
therefore, shalt Thou be feared.

I look for the Lord,
my soul doth wait for Him.
In His word is my trust.
My soul fleeth after the Lord
before the morning watch,
I say before the morning watch.

O, Israel, trust in the Lord,
for with Him there is mercy,
And with Him is plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel from all his sins.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini

Our Audio Flashback this Tuesday is Tchaikovsky’s symphonic fantasia on Dante’s Inferno. In Francesca da Rimini we hear the title character and her lover descend into the circles of Hell, tossed about violently in a whirling storm of souls. Tchaikovsky was initially interested in creating an opera around this story, but the orchestral work he composed instead was an instant success. This performance was recorded at the Fisher Center at Bard in February 2019 under the baton of Leon Botstein. You can read the concert notes, written by TŌN cellist Sarah Schoeffler, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9

Oh, the joy! Given everything that’s going on in the world right now, we hope you’ll find it soothing to take an hour to luxuriate in one of the greatest symphonies of all time, Beethoven‘s Ninth. This performance was recorded in October 2017 at the Fisher Center at Bard, and features conductor Leon Botstein, soprano Chloé Olivia Moore, mezzo-soprano Teresa Buchholz, tenor John Pickle, bass-baritone Alfred Walker, the Bard College Chamber Singers, and the Bard Festival Chorale.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Schumann’s Symphony No. 2

Our Audio Flashback this Tuesday is our 2018 performance of Schumann‘s Symphony No. 2, under the baton of James Bagwell. Schumann was suffering from both physical and mental illness when he was writing this symphony, which he thought was noticeable in the music. “Only in the final movement did I begin to feel my old self again,” he wrote.  And indeed the final movement is a triumph, as the optimistic melody and resolution combat the moody and rebellious nature of the first movement. Read the concert notes by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, The Great

This Tuesday’s Audio Flashback is our performance of Schubert‘s Great 9th Symphony with conductor Hans Graf at the Fisher Center at Bard this past fall. Schubert’s 9th wasn’t heard until 11 years after his death! It was discovered at his brother’s house by Robert Schumann, and the premiere was conducted by Felix Mendelssohn. You can read the concert notes, written by TŌN horn player Emily Buehler, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”

To celebrate Bastille Day, today we’re listening back to our performance of George Gershwin‘s An American in Paris, recorded with conductor James Bagwell at the Fisher Center at Bard in February 2018. Gershwin began writing this piece during his trip to Paris, and he was so inspired by the Parisian taxi horns that he handpicked several horns to bring back to the U.S. for the New York City premiere at Carnegie Hall. Read the concert notes, written by former TŌN oboist Regina Brady, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Mahler’s Symphony No. 7

Gustav Mahler was born 160 years ago today, in 1860. We mark this 7/7 with our performance of Mahler’s 7th Symphony, conducted by Leon Botstein at the Fisher Center at Bard in February 2018. Mahler allegedly completed most of the symphony in just four weeks, during one of the happiest moments of his life and career. But by the time it premiered three years later, his life had turned upside-down. Read the concert notes by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Copland’s Symphony No. 3

As Pride Month comes to a close and Independence Day draws near, we pay tribute to an iconic gay composer who was celebrated for his “Americana” sound, Brooklyn’s own Aaron Copland. His third symphony is also known as the “Great American” and features the theme from his famous “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Read the concert notes, written by TŌN trumpet player Guillermo Garcia Cuesta, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Symphony No. 1

This Tuesday’s audio flashback is the first symphony of Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Written in the composer’s late teens and early 20s, this symphony was an assignment from Rimsky’s composition teacher, and the second movement was written while he was at sea in the Russian navy. Some hailed the piece as “the first Russian symphony” due to its use of Russian folk melodies and avoidance of traditionally German compositional techniques. Read the concert notes, written by former TŌN harpist Emily Melendes, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: R. Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life)

This week we’re looking at the theme of heroism in music. We invite you to stream our performance of R. StraussEin Heldenleben (“A Hero’s Life”), a work in six movements which the composer (tongue planted firmly in cheek) said features “lots of horns—which is always a measure of heroism.” Read the concert notes, written by former TŌN violinist Sophia Bernitz, by clicking here.

AUDIO FLASHBACK: Wagner’s Siegfried’s Rhine Journey from Götterdämmerung

This week we’re looking at theme of heroism in music. We invite you to stream our performance of Wagner’s Siegfried’s Rhine Journey from the opera Götterdämmerung or “Twilight of the Gods”, depicting the ride that our hero and his lover take along the mighty Rhine River. Read the concert notes, written by TŌN violist Leonardo Vásquez Chacón, by clicking here.

Audio Flashback: William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony

This Tuesday’s audio flashback is our 2018 performance of the First Symphony of African American composer William Grant Still, which he dubbed the Afro-American Symphony. Written in 1930, this was the first symphony by an African American composer to be performed by a major orchestra in the United States. Still said that in writing the piece, he sought to portray “the sons of the soil, who still retain so many of the traits peculiar to their African forebears.” You can read more of Still’s notes on the symphony by clicking here.

The Orchestra Now remains committed to the fight against racial injustice, and stands in solidarity with black communities.

Audio Flashback: Ives’ Decoration Day

We’re releasing a live concert recording every Tuesday, and today we offer Charles IvesDecoration Day, based on the composer’s childhood memories of the Memorial Day celebrations in his hometown. Listen below and read the concert notes, written by former TŌN percussionist William Kaufman, by clicking here.

Audio Flashback: Lera Auerbach’s Violin Concerto No. 3, De Profundis

Starting today, we are thrilled to release a live concert recording from our archives every Tuesday! Today we offer the U.S. premiere of Lera Auerbach‘s Violin Concerto No. 3, De Profundis, performed with soloist Vadim Repin.

Audio Flashback: Glière’s Symphony No. 3, Ilya Muromets

Make some time this weekend to enjoy the epic Ilya Muromets symphony of composer Reinhold Glière, who studied with Rimsky-Korsakov and taught Prokofiev. Muromets is a famous folk hero of ancient Kievan Rus’, and this massive, multi-movement tone poem follows his gripping story. Read all about it in the concert notes, written by TŌN flutist Denis Savelyev, by clicking here.

This performance was recorded live at the Fisher Center at Bard on December 12, 2018, conducted by TŌN music director Leon Botstein.

Audio Flashback: Korngold’s Cello Concerto in C

We wish we could be performing for you live right now, but in the meantime please enjoy this recording of our performance of Erich Wolfgang Korngold‘s Cello Concerto in C, performed with soloist Nicholas Canellakis at the Fisher Center at Bard as part of the Bard Music Festival on August 9, 2019.