Classical music critic Michael Andor Brodeur wrote in The Washington Post this morning about why classical music is so important during this time of crisis, and why classical musicians are creating a new space for themselves in the virtual world. His article, In a time of uncertainty, classical music provides a sense of permanence, is a must-read.
Brodeur’s article links to several virtual performances including one by the Cunningham Piano Online Ensemble. Before clicking on the link, I assumed this would be a piano ensemble, but Cunningham Piano is a piano showroom and music school outside of Philadelphia. The Online Ensemble is made up of 111 musicians from 9 countries performing Mozart’s choral motet “Ave Verum Corpus.” The virtual ensemble includes students, amateurs, and even a few musicians from The Philadelphia Orchestra in a moving performance. The West Australian Social Distancing Orchestra (WASDO) performs a “Bit o’ Bolero,” two and a half minutes of Ravel’s Bolero. There are also links to performances from Norway, Spain, Netherlands, Colorado, and more.
In other videos, A group of Nashville studio singers perform an epic cell phone choir, and it is the perfect antidote to feeling overwhelmed, which so many of us are by this horrific pandemic. Ailey Dancers Perform Rennie Harris Lazarus Together While Apart . My husband and I saw this Rennie Harris work a year ago at the Kennedy Center – an absolute knockout, and this two-minute version gives you an idea of the energy in the piece.
We can even experience music streamed from north of the Arctic Circle. Finnish pianist Paavali Jumppanen was scheduled to be on a US tour in late March, early April. Paavali is a long-time friend, and we had planned to hear him play with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York on March 25. He was also scheduled to play in Washington, DC, and in Florida. Since all of these performances were, of course, cancelled, the Grand Piano Series in Naples, Florida arranged a recital/interview streamed from Lapland, Finland, where Paavali and his family are isolating for the duration of the pandemic.
Recital may be too formal a word. Milana Strezeva, Artistic Director of Grand Piano Series, interviews Paavali, and he plays short works by Sibelius and Debussy on his small Fazer piano, a Finnish piano that has a remarkable sound for a small upright. We are self-isolating in all kinds of places during this pandemic, but there probably aren’t too many musicians north of the Arctic Circle who are streaming music for us.
Thanks to all of you who sent comments last week and suggestions for viewing. There were too many comments to post, but I am passing on your suggestions.
The Philadelphia Orchestra has added a Listen on Demand page to their website featuring performances from recent years.
The city may be shut down and suffering devastating losses, but The New York Phil Plays On.
The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra features a Concert Library with both video and audio concerts.
And updated two days ago, Classic FM provides videos of well-known performers playing from home, including Joyce DiDonato, Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman.
Stay well everyone, and feel free to pass on any links to music that you think the rest of us would enjoy.