This date was set about 10 months ago, just before the current pandemic took hold, and it looks like this program, entitled “Letters from America”, will be John’s first public performance of 2021. In April 2019 John conducted Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto with the same soloist as in this concert, James Ehnes; and last February he conducted Barber’s Essay No. 1 (part of the melodic basis of King Crimson’s first hit). This concert features Barber’s Overture to The School for Scandal.
This concert also includes a piece arranged by Robert Russell Bennett (“Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture”) and Aaron Copland’s “Symphonic Ode”, which don’t interest me.
However, Kurt Weill’s Violin Concerto (1924) is a revelation and a joy. “I am working on a concerto for violin and wind orchestra that I hope to finish within two or three weeks,” Weill wrote of this composition. “The work is inspired by the idea—one never carried out before—of juxtaposing a single violin with a chorus of winds.” The accompaniment includes percussion and string basses, in addition to woodwinds and brass. Below is Weill’s concerto played by the LSO.
Above John during the pandemic before his haircut and shave: Weill’s concerto played by the LSO with Hermann Scherchen conducting.
Except for my End of the Year wrap-up, this will be the last original posting concerning my beloved John Wilson until 2021. Those of you who know exactly where we reside in the US will understand when I say there’s been a lot of scary racial conflict going on here, which has now escalated to a degree that I now worry not only for own my safety, but for Mister Grumble’s (who as you might know is 74 and blind). So I may have my hands full for awhile. (Anyone who cares to, message me on FB and I’ll tell you all about it.)
- “The Story So Far, with Conductor John Wilson”
- “The Story So Far; Or, Conductor John Wilson—His Limits”