The Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara died on Wednesday at the age of 87. He wrote eight symphonies, nine operas, 12 instrumental concertos, plus a wide variety of orchestral, chamber, instrumental, choral and vocal works. [more inside]
Hilary Hahn performs Jennifer Higdon's remarkable Violin Concerto, for which Higdon won the Pulitzer Prize: 1726, the first movement, is challenging and prickly; Chacconi, the second, is calmer, slow and colorful; Fly Forward, the brief and exciting finale, is worth listening to even if you're not a fan of contemporary classical music. Here, Hahn talks about having Higdon as a teacher at the age of thirteen, and Higdon talks about writing for Hahn's individual style; after the concerto's world premiere, they recorded themselves talking to each other on what looks like a computer cam, which is both fun as heck and a fascinating look at the relationship between composer and performer.
The lunch concerts in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw used to be (possibly still are) often public general rehearsals for the big evening series. Here we can see the mental transformation of pianist Maria Joao Pires, who expects another Mozart concerto than conductor Riccardo Chailly begins to conduct. [more inside]
Three-time Gramophone Award winner, Dame of the Empire, and, by consensus, the world's greatest living performer of Mozart's keyboard works, Mitsuko Uchida also gives great piano face. [more inside]
Two 20th century additions to the comparatively small body of concertos for double bass and orchestra: Einojuhani Rautavaara's Angel Of Dusk (II, III), from 1980, and the 1948 concerto of Eduard Tubin (II, III). Those are courtesy of YouTube, but if you're not sated you can hear still more from bassist Phillip Serna, and a great deal more, from the fine Contrabass Conversations podcast.