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In Brief: MLK Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.

  • Some more 18th-century opera for your holiday weekend listening: Antoine Dauvergne's Hercule mourant (1761), from the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles. The cast includes Véronique Gens and others, with Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques. [France Musique]

  • Rafał Blechacz plays Chopin's second piano concerto, with the Sinfonia Varsovia in the Salle Pleyel in Paris. The program also includes a Szymanowski overture and Mendelssohn's 4th symphony. [France Musique]

  • Online video of the world premiere of Pierre Henry's new piece Paroxysms, in a film introduced by the composer himself, speaking from his home in Paris. []

  • From the Verbier Festival last summer, Charles Dutoit conducts Stravinsky's Petruchka, plus Nelson Freire in Brahms's second piano concerto. [France Musique]

  • Watch the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, with Tugan Sokhiev conducting Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Musorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death, with mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina. []

  • It's still Epiphanytide, so here is Bach's Christmas Oratorio, with the Chœur de Radio France in the Basilique Sainte-Clotilde in Paris. [France Musique]

  • Also watch the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, with Tugan Sokhiev conducting a program of French music, including violist Antoine Tamestit in Berlioz's Harold en Italie. []

  • A fine singer, Thomas Quasthoff, announced this week that health problems now require him to retire from public performance. [The Classical Review]

  • Hear Daniel Barenboim conduct the Staatskapelle Berlin in Bruckner's third symphony and Mozart's 27th piano concerto, with himself as soloist, from Granada. [France Musique]

  • The 5e Biennale du quatuor à cordes opens today at the Cité de la Musique in Paris, with performances all week (January 14 to 22) by string quartets from around the world. One of them will be with the Pražák Quartet, whose members spoke to Nathaniel Herzberg about what it was like to have to replace its first violinist, Vaclav Remes, who retired due to struggles with dystonia. They are now playing with Pavel Hula. [Le Monde]

  • The concerts of the 5e Biennale du quatuor à cordes will include performances of all of the compositions for string quartet by Wolfgang Rihm: participants include the quartet of the Capuçon brothers, the Quatuor Arcanto (with Tabea Zimmermann and Jean-Guihen Queyras), the Cuarteto Casals, Quatuor Diotima, Quatuor Ébène, and the Thymos, Voce, Modigliani, Zemlinsky, Tetraktys, Tokyo, Arditti, Hagen, Borodin, Ysaÿe, Kronos, Jerusalem, and Takács Quartets. I wish I could be there. [Le Monde]

  • Well, you can be there, sort of -- at least some of these concerts of the 5e Biennale du quatuor à cordes will be available as online video this week. [Cité de la Musique Live]

  • At the same time in Paris is the Carte Blanche series of concerts hosted by Viktoria Mullova in the Auditorium du Louvre, continuing through January 20. Marie-Aude Roux published a long interview with the violinist. [Le Monde]

  • Cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton and conductor Dennis Russell Davies join the Orchestre Français des Jeunes for Strauss's Don Quixote, Janáček's sinfonietta (op. 60), and Rabaud's Procession nocturne, in the Salle Pleyel. [France Musique]

  • Pianist Alexis Weissenberg passed away this week, at age 82. [The Telegraph]

  • A performance of two pieces by Karlheiz Stockhausen, Tierkreis (1974,1975) and Kontakte (1958,1960), by Le Cabaret Contemporain from Tremblay-en-France. [France Musique]

  • Many knickers got in a twist this week by the vastly over-reported story of a cell phone that disturbed the end of the New York Philharmonic's performance of Mahler's ninth symphony. No one likes to have noise disrupt my listening more than yours truly, but I feel badly for the poor person whose device went awry. Of course, people should do the best they can to silence their electronics during performances, but cut this person a break. [New York Times]

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