Although both Jean Sibelius and Dmitry Shostakovich are both products of the early and mid-20th century, many differences separate the two. Sibelius was more oriented towards traditional harmony and melody, whereas Shostakovich tilted at times to the atonality and abruptness that eventually became a tradition of its own by the end of the 20th century, and perhaps a trite one at that.
Jason Kao Hwang's most recent release is an eclectic collage of jazz, classical and Chinese music that sets aflame the traditional structure of the common jazz record. Let us indulge and joyously incinerate with "Burning Bridge."
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra marked Veteran's Day with a heroic performance by pianist Horacio Gutiérrez and conductor Jun Märkl of Beethoven's Concerto No. 5 ("Emperor") -- a work written under the cloud of war and occupation.
Ben Folds is no stranger to playing packed houses full of excited fans in St. Louis. However, last night's room was different.
When was the last time you left a St. Louis Symphony concert thinking, "Well, that was fun?" I'm not talking about an outdoor "pops" or special holiday event, but a regular series concert. If you're like me you might have used words like exciting, stimulating, moving, challenging or even that old saw "interesting" – but "fun"? And yet this weekend at Powell Hall fun was definitely being served up in heaping helpings, courtesy of conductor David Robertson, pianist Orli Shaham and a couple of deceased wise guys named George and Charles.
The St. Louis Symphony closed out its current subscription season with yet another blockbuster program. Pianist Horacio Gutierrez soloed in Sergei Rachmaninov's ever-popular Piano Concerto No. 2, and the Symphony was joined by the Symphony Chorus, soprano Christine Goerke and baritone Brett Polegato for the too-rarely-performed Sea Symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Given the breadth, vision and diversity of musical though of each work, either would have made almost a complete program in itself, but guest conductor Robert Spano--on loan from Atlanta--brought both masterpieces to the capacity audiences assembled in Powell Hall.
It sometimes seems that, nearly 140 years after his death, we are still trying to figure out just who Richard Wagner really was. He was a poet, a philosopher, a creator of dramatic prose--and most of us have heard about his racism, directed towards Jews and others whom he regarded as cultural interlopers. But one fact remains undisputed: Wagner was undoubtedly one of the greatest composers who ever lives, and one of the most inspiring. Even the Nazis, in their stupefied state, were able to realize his greatness, and, sadly, co-opt his message to subsume into their own world view.