Online recommendation – Il trittico from the Royal Opera House

In the words of the Royal Opera House:

Contrast is the essence of Giacomo Puccini’s operatic triptych, Il trittico. The one-act works that form the trilogy – Il tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi – range from gritty melodrama to life-affirming comedy. While each opera stands alone, the three come together to create a sense of a complete event, rich in textures and musical forms.

Director Richard Jones matches the eclectic range of Puccini’s music in a production of great verve and invention, moving from the grimy banks of the Seine to a children’s hospital and from there to a garish apartment in 1950s Italy.

Il trittico had its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, in December 1918. The trilogy was performed in full at Covent Garden in 1920 and again in 1965. Richard Jones’s acclaimed 2011 production was the first complete performance of Il trittico at Covent Garden in 46 years.

You can stream the operatic trilogy from the Royal Opera House website here, up until 19 June 2020.

LSO: Always Playing – Steve Reich Quartet & Sextet tonight @ 7pm

Tonight’s installment of the LSO’s online series ‘Always Playing’ is a smaller-scale affair, as the LSO Percussion Ensemble deliver two of Steve Reich‘s more recent works for percussion.

The Sextet, a substantial work from 1993, is complemented by the Quartet completed 20 years later, a more challenging and fragmented composition.

The team – percussionists Neil Percy, Sam Walton, Gwilym Simcock, David Jackson, Simon Carrington, Philip Moore and Joseph Havlat – add works from Joe Locke (Her Sanctuary) and Makoto Ozone, Simon Carrington’s arrangement of Kato’s Revenge.

You can read more about these works in the booklet notes for the concert here – and the performances themselves, given at LSO St Luke’s across concerts in October 2015, March 2018 and February 2019, can be seen on the orchestra’s YouTube channel from 7pm tonight here:

 

Online recommendations – Bergen International Festival 2020

How long is it since you last experienced live music?

For the vast majority of us it will be two months and counting now…the last for Arcana having been on Monday 16 March at the Wigmore Hall.

Thankfully in that time a huge number of artists, organisations and orchestras have stepped into the breach, either with archive concert footage or with online concerts and recitals. One of the biggest contributions to date, however, comes from the Bergen International Festival, which is streaming over 50 events online for free.

These are genuine live events, given without an audience and streamed across the world from the festival’s website – and there is some quality music making coming up.

The evening of Saturday 23 May will see Leif Ove Andsnes and friends giving an all-Schumann concert at 20:00 (19:00 GMT), capped by the wonderfully invigorating Piano Quintet, while Sunday 24 May (21:15, 20:15 GMT) brings the traditional festival performance of Grieg‘s evergreen Piano Concerto. The soloist will be Víkingur Ólafsson, with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under chief conductor Edward Gardner. Intriguingly, the Grieg will be prefaced by VasksThe Fruit Of Silence, with the Edvard Grieg Kor.

Meanwhile Monday 25 May brings an intriguing concert from ​Leif Ove Andsnes (piano), Sonoko Miriam Welde (violin), Ludvig Gudim (violin), Eivind Ringstad (viola) and Amalie Stalheim (cello). The quintet will perform works by Schubert, Mozart and Jörg Widmann – the composer’s Idyll and Abyss and String Quartet no.3. Nicknamed the Hunt, it will follow Mozart’s quartet of the same name.

These three concerts alone give an idea of the breadth of repertoire and quality we can expect from the festival. Head here to experience it for yourself!

Online music recommendations – Chamber Music Scotland, City of London Sinfonia & Sandy Burnett’s Listening Club

The online options for music lovers continue to grow – but here at Arcana we wanted to highlight three in particular.

First is a rolling recommendation, for the City of London Sinfonia and their Comfortable Classical at Home series (pictured above). This has been a really excellent series of discovery, catering for all levels of knowledge including beginners, the musically curious and those looking for fresh insight into familiar pieces.

Members of the orchestra are clearly at home in front of the camera, and the next instalments – from principal clarinet Katherine ‘Waffy’ Spencer (Thursday 21 May) and cellist Becky Knight (Tuesday 2 June) are set to be every bit as enjoyable as the series so far – which can be seen on the orchestra’s Facebook channel. It is well worth considering a donation to the orchestra through that page too, recognising the problems musicians are having finding work in lockdown.

Also well worth exploring is Chamber Music Scotland, who are offering a weekly series of streamed concerts and lectures. Future appearances are scheduled from guitarist Sasha Savaloni and a trio of flautist Georgia Browne, violinist Tuomo Suni and harpsichordist Tom Foster.

The next online event from Chamber Music of Scotland is tonight, Wednesday 20 May. It will be presented by cellist David Watkin, who will be looking for meaning from the solo cello works of J.S. Bach in quarantine. Bach’s music is proving particularly popular in lockdown, presumably due to its suitability for one performer, who can take on the rich part writing to sound like several people at once. You can watch this on the organisation’s YouTube channel, where you can also catch up on previous episodes:

Finally a nod in the direction of Sandy Burnett, who is running a summer-long online Listening Club. Every Tuesday at 11am Sandy, a highly respected broadcaster and musician, will offer his own insights into a chosen classical work in his typically engaging and informative style. The next, on Tuesday 26 May, will focus on Bach and his Sonata for Solo Violin in G minor – while future instalments will include works by Weill, Mozart, Monteverdi, Messiaen and Beethoven. You can join the Listening Club here

Online recommendations – Living Room Live

Today’s nudge in the direction of an online concerts brings us to Living Room Live.

This is an exciting new initiative from a group of musicians keen to make a difference to those in isolation, led by violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen and her composer sister Freya, together with pianist George Fu, consultant Daniel Ross and viola player Ann Beilby.

Living Room Live started just two months back but is already hosting three concerts a week through Facebook live, each concert starting at 6pm BST.

This week you can catch Zoë Martlew‘s cabaret alter-ego Nefari on Monday 18 May, then up and coming cellist Laura van der Heijden playing Bach‘s wonderful Solo Cello Suite no.4 on Wednesday 20 May. Meanwhile Friday’s concert, from violinist Amalia Hall, will feature the virtuosity of Ysaÿe, channelled through two sonatas for solo violin.

All concerts can be viewed in real time and in catch-up mode through Living Room Live’s Facebook page here