Explore the Score- Dvorak Stabat Mater

Antonin Dvorak- Stabat Mater, op. 58 Dvorak began and completed his great setting of Jacopone da Todi’s 13th century poem Stabat Mater under a cloud of great personal tragedy. In 1875 his oldest daughter Josefa died only days after her birth. The grieving Dvorak turned to the ancient text of the Stabat Mater, seeing in its evocation of Mary’s grief at the death […]

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The youth orchestra experience: a letter to, and about, WYSO

I thought some readers might be interested in a little essay I contributed to the current edition of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras’ newsletter. A text version follows the scan. Youth orchestras are incredibly important- they make a huge difference in all kinds of young people’s lives. Support the one in your community!     […]

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The Greatest Unloved Symphonies

I just conducted Bruckner’s Second Symphony for the first time a few days ago- even many of the most pro-Bruckner opinion makers seem to think that only his symphonies from the Fourth onward are worth doing, and the often over-zealous defences of the early symphonies by well-intentioned  fans of the composer sometimes do more harm […]

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What’s in a name? Depends on whether it’s the right name.

Reformist musicologists with a politically-correct worldview might find themselves raising an eyebrow at this week’s Surrey Mozart Players concert, where, with blatant disregard for all the latest scholarship, the orchestra and I will be playing Johannes Brahms’ “Variations on a theme of Josef Haydn.” We will not be playing the now-ubiquitous “Variations on the Saint Anthony Chorale.” […]

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What’s wrong, what’s great, and what the future looks like (hint: good if we don’t blow it)

Hello Vftp friends and fans: First- the final installment of our top 20 of conducting is done and will go up soon. Apologies for the delay. It has been a very, very hectic and intense couple of weeks at Vftp Intl Road Headquarters. This time last week, I was putting the finishing touches on what […]

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Explore the Score: Dvorak- Symphony no. 8

  Dvorak 8 was the first score I ever went out and bought and subsequently tried to analyze. We had played the work in my youth orchestra under the guidance of James Smith, a truly great musician and orchestral trainer. I’d always been interested in conducting, but the transformation James had made in the orchestra […]

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