alla breve
Spring cleaning…

After a pretty busy season (3 (of 5) new operas plus a rare requiem by a Portuguese composer), I now have a good stretch in front of me with no new music to learn for quite awhile. We’re working on Carmen at FGO, and while it’s good to re-visit it, it’s not nearly as intensive as prepping an opera I’ve not conducted before (it also helps that I’m covering, not conducting). It’s really time for me to tackle some other projects that have decidedly little to do with music.

Like always, I’m putting off getting started on a big project (reorganizing my home after being away for 4 mos) by spending way too much time online. I’m trying to kick-start myself by putting on Prokofiev’s 3rd piano concerto; for some reason this music always puts me in a get-it-done mood. I don’t particularly think it’s the frenetic energy of the first movement, nor do I think it’s the fact that it’s (nominally) in C major; it’s maybe the unusually satisfying formal construction (which is obvious if you’ve studied it or not), with everything structurally lining up exactly as it should. Not that it’s at all predictable - just a sense that after you listen to each movement, all is exactly how it should be. Odd thing, I know…

Speaking of frenetic energy - I have 2 recordings - Argerich / Abbado / Berlin and Graffman / Szell / Cleveland… the second of these has always been my favorite - virtuosity balanced with poetry. I’m now getting used to the Argerich recording - sometimes, to be honest, her jaw-dropping-finger-busting passagework can almost sound flippant, but in this work, I realized it’s the Berlin Phil that’s overly frantic, not her - maybe that’s why I don’t like it as much.

See next post for a side-by-side comparison…