Walter Bricht (1904-70) is one of thousands of Austrian musicians who fled Hitler and found oblivion in America. After 1940, Bricht stopped composing. A premiere recording of his orchestral works reveals a young composer at ease with the entire palette of symphonic sound, a man with something to say, albeit in his own time. Like Franz Schmidt, to whom he has been compared, Bricht lacks a certain urgency, but there is post-Mahlerian largesse in abundance and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic give full value under conductor Andrew Constantine. Definitely one for the reference shelves (Toccata ****).Read More
Tell us more about the connection between George Chadwick and Edward Elgar, and Chadwick’s contribution to musical life in New England.
It’s both simple and complicated. Elgar was everything Chadwick wanted to be but wasn’t, a world renowned composer. Being held in high regard in the US at the end of the nineteenth century wasn’t enough for him. Both composers made numerous visits across the Atlantic – Chadwick to encourage performances of his music, Elgar to receive honorary degree – yet, bearing in mind they both were their country’s leaders in their field and they had ample opportunity to meet, contact was remarkably minimal. I feel from the correspondence and diaries I’ve read that Chadwick would have loved to have had an ongoing relationship with Elgar.Read More
Moments after ascending the podium at the Reading Symphony Orchestra’s Oct. 11 season-opening concert, music director and conductor Andrew Constantine waved a smartphone at the audience. It’s a gesture now familiar to concertgoers everywhere, who of course expected to be gently admonished on the dire consequences of not turning off any and all electronic devices immediately, if not sooner.
Constantine, an Englishman with strong American connections (he is music director of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and of the Reading Symphony Orchestra), leads an impressive account of Elgar’s masterpiece – deeply-felt (not least ‘Nimrod’), insightful, vividly detailed, expressively glowing – one to shortlist, and as superbly played as it is recorded: I have returned to it several times with undiminished admiration.Read More
Several years ago, as he further studied fellow British countryman and composer Edward Elgar, Constantine kept coming across the name of a lesser-known American composer, George Chadwick. In addition to their proximity in age – Chadwick was born in 1854; Elgar, 1857 – Constantine recognized how their careers paralleled each other. And while the two composers would eventually meet (Elgar apparently unimpressed), Constantine's newest project would reunite them.Read More
“The focus is to create a great performance for Saturday night,” Constantine says before the evening’s rehearsal begins. A native of County Durham, England, even his distinct British accent has a tone of immediacy. “While I know that it will get dramatically better by dress rehearsal, then concert, there’s only so tolerant I can be and only so tolerant the other musicians want me to be if things are going awry.”Read More