johnleiser

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Samuri in NY@ TMOTCONY

In Uncategorized on June 25, 2010 at 2:06 pm

It seems that the first delegation from Japan, in1860 was sent by the ruling Samuri’s and captivated NY with their exotic dress and customs. The museum displayed pictures and artifacts and little stories in another very attractive comment on our history. Newspaper articles and photos showed how NY welcomed the Japanese with parties and parades and lots of attention. The timeing of the Civil War and this event show an interesting perspective in our history. NY was becoming a center of commerce and art and finance and wanted the world to see.
Gotta take a sec and check this out

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Missa solemnis@ NY Phil 6/23/10

In Uncategorized on June 25, 2010 at 1:58 pm

The last concert in my series was a doozie. Al Largo by Magnus Lindberg, composer in residence started the program with a kichen sink of sound, a good sink. All kinds of percussion and melodies sound new and yet not leaving us behind to figure it out. It was accesible and attractive. Al Largo is when the boat just loses sight of land and it’s on the high sea, hhhmmm.
Beethoven is the touch stone of all western music and this mass is wonderful. It is not often played ’cause it’s tough to do, but our NY Phil did the job.Four good singers and the NY Choral Artists did an amazing job. I was so mezmerized that I looked for the communion line.

SMSS @St I 5/5/10

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Every time there is a SMSS concert, I wonder how Kent Tritle will make it better than the last one. Sure there are favorites, but they keep piling up with music that I never heard and I go to St. Ignatius every Sunday so you might guess there are try outs for the pews. Maybe ! Kent instructs us with a soft touch and at the end of the season you barely realize that you know lots more than you did when it started. This gem mixes Monteverdi, Stravinsky and Arvo Part, spanning 400 years and showing us both how much has changed and how little. The singers and the chorus are some great sound that I don’t really have a name for without sounding silly. The church is the real place to hear this music, sacred music in a sacred space, oh I get it. Trying to separate the two does a disservice to both, but the nonpracticing want to hear too, so it helps to keep the music playing. Monteverdi wrote liturgical music for a living and had to produce all the time and Laetatus sum and the two motets that we heard show the consistent high quality of his compositions. And the singing was remarkable. Igor Stravinsky is very much in the NY scene, who would think SMSS as trendy, so his mass fit that bill. Beautifully done and preformed. Arvo Part might have been a rock star if was born 10 years later and Miserere shows us what an amazing composer he is and the singing and the singing. Ending with his Beatitudes. Lucky are the listeners because they will hear more next season, thanks Kent!

The Yellow Jackets with Mike Stern @ Rose Theater 4/30/10

In Uncategorized on May 1, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Let me start by saying these guys are great players and I like them a lot. This is the wrong venue for jazz fusion, not to mention decade, and there should be places to hear this stuff. Le Poisson Rouge comes to mind. Mike played fast and furious, no bad or extra notes from him and Bob Mintzer is a wonderful foil. Love when they play the melodies together. Jimmy Haslip’s base playing pushes every one and Will Kennedy is a machine whew! Russell Ferante only plays what is perfect for the occasion and the entire effect is a terrific band and show.

Tosca @ The Met 4/29/10

In Uncategorized on May 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm

The lady at the bus stop sneared at me for going to see the new Tosca production;so I told her we were aged out and The Met needs to get new people interested. Needless to say the rest of the bus ride was nice and quiet. and she was wrong, this is a modern set and not Zefferilli, OK. More to the point is Philippe Auguinmade the Met Orchestra sound great, no surprise , but a good effert and Marcello Giordani is the tenor of the moment and sang the@#$%$# out of Caraaadossi and Daniela Dessi was fine. George Gagnidze made us hate Scarpia with good singing and posturing and the final effect of Tocsa jumping and being freeze framed as she does was great. I like the production and the clamor about it is good for opera, it has something contemporary to say. Keep them coming Peter!!

Stravinsky Festival@ The NY Philharmonic 4/28/10

In Uncategorized on April 29, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Years ago a seat mate at Carnegie Hall did not renew her subsciption and I asked her why. She said she didn’t like the music. I countered that it was an excellent series, chamber works in fact, and replied:”YOU even like Stravinsky”. I got a full dose last night at the NY Phil concert conducted by Valery Gergiev and my freind was right, I even like Stravinsky! A giant orchestration including the Marinsky chorus opened with Zvezdolikiy a rarely heard gem was georgeous. The chorus , with that disticntive Russian sound told the the story of star face at the end of the world. Gergiev made the Philharmonic sound as though they spent the seaon in St. Petersburg. I’ve never heard quite the sound in the 30 years I have been a fan. If that wasn’t enough of a surprise Leonidas Kavakos playing the Violin Concerto took off from there. I should know this guy, but don’t. He is a terrific player, very dramatic, after all it is Stravinsy, and technically very sound . It was a wonderful rendition.And the Oedipus Rex, narrated by Jermy Irons, good choice V, and sung by Anthony Dean Grffy, and Waltraud Meier, Mikhail Petrenko in three roles and Alexander Timchenko, and the chorus again blew the top off AFHall. Maybe I’m just a fool for Russian music, but this final program in the series shows just how important Stravinsy was and again how good the NY Philharmonic is.

Armida@ The Met 4/19/10

In Uncategorized on April 21, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Anything that has Renee Fleming in it is something to see, hear?. She is wonderful in this hardly proformed Rossini opera. She is joined by a crew of tenors, that’s why it is not done much, led by Lawrence Brownlee as Rinaldo and we are glad that Peter Gelb had the vision to have this gem produced. The Met Orchestra is just the best, led by Ricardo Frizza and the chorus is terrific as usual. A modern set that captures the direction that the Met has to go in order to get a new audience as this one ages out. Love and Revenge are the choices, just like real life. Love enters just like the grammies this year and revenge is properly scary. And Renee sings and sings and sings. She is the Diva of our time.

SMSS@ St. Ignatius 3/24/10

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2010 at 1:38 pm

I don’t know who Frank Martin was, but Kent Tritle does and a good thing; so we heard Martin’s Mass for Double Chorusa cappella for the first time. The singers that inhabit SMSS are uniformly wonderful and they filled the church with sound, SMSS, I get it!
And then Mozart’s Requiem, with Rachel Rosales and Jennifer Lane and Brian Stuki and Matt Boehler and the the orchestra and chorus and …. We can’t know how innovative Mozart was because we are so used to hearing him. This near final piece never disappoints. Rachel is my favorite soprano so this was an even bigger treat. Twenty years of this series and every concert is a surprise . Twenty more Kent!

Attila@ The Met 3/27/10

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Attlia has not been done at The Met for a long time and I don’t know why! The Verdi music is great and lots of juicy solo and ensemble and choral parts, it is Verdi after all. And to hear the way he turned into La Traviata and Rigoletto is refreshing. We are so used to these melodies that it is a deja vu kind of experience to hear unfamiliar and yet some how in our ear in Atilla. The story is typical, that is a tenor a couple of basses and a soprano fighting to the death. Viva Italy,I guess!
The staging is new and interesting. It hovers over the action and somehow highlights the singing, I am in a small minority that liked it a lot, but I think The Met could use some new stuff!
The singers were mostly new to me and they were uniformly excellent; Odabell,Violeta Vassallo, announced a cold, but it was not apparent, she hit all the notes with a hammer!!the chorus and the orchestra is so good that we almost forget that it wasn’t always this way. And Sam Ramey as a cardinal including red shoes and the cardinal cap looked like the exclamation point for this terrific opera production.

Kronos Quartet @ Zankel Hall 3/14/2010

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I switched tickets and closed my eyes and picked this concert, knowing full well that the Kronos Quartet will not disappoint! Who knew there were Azerbaijan music groupies? Well there are and for just cause, Alin Qasimov and his daughter Fargana rock? Well maybe not rock, but the held their audience in a trance for a very long time with melodies from their homeland. Homayoun Sakhi plays rubab, a guitar like instrument from Afghanastan that was also enthralling. And the show started with Dohee Lee from South Korea with a dance and singing and drama story telling that paved the way for the rest of this diverse and wonderful program. It’s hard to have an opinion of things that are heard for the first time, at least for me, but I’ll listen to Kronos and be drawn into the World any time!