You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Gil Shaham’ tag.

Fred Spector with his 1733 Bergonzi violin (J.B. Spector photo)

For more than fifty years, Fred Spector—a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s violin section from 1956 until 2003—was the proud owner of a Carlo Bergonzi violin that dates from 1733. Bergonzi, of course, is widely considered to be the greatest pupil of the most significant maker of string instruments, Antonio Stradivari. Spector passed away earlier this year at the age of 92, and this past weekend’s concerts were dedicated to his memory.

Those concerts featured John Storgårds in his Chicago Symphony debut, leading the Orchestra in the Suite no. 1 from Grieg’s Peer Gynt, Sibelius’s Symphony no. 1, and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with Gil Shaham, a longtime friend of Fred Spector.

Gil Shaham plays Spector’s Bergonzi on November 29 (Ari Spector photo)

A few weeks ago, the Spector family offered Shaham the opportunity to play the Bergonzi while he was in town. He arrived in Chicago early on Wednesday, November 29, in time for his first run-through of Mendelssohn’s concerto with Storgårds and the Orchestra, and just as the rehearsal ended, Fred’s widow Estelle and their son Ari arrived at Symphony Center with the violin in tow. We met Shaham backstage and introduced him to the Bergonzi.

“It’s wonderful, marvelous,” remarked Shaham after playing a little of the Mendelssohn followed by a taste of Korngold’s concerto. “It’s a privilege and so very special to play on this beautiful instrument.” He then switched to his Stradivarius, the Countess Polignac from 1699 (that he’s been playing since he was eighteen), and then went back to the Bergonzi for a section of one of Bach’s partitas. Needless to say, it was remarkable to hear the two instruments—played by a musician of Shaham’s caliber—back-to-back and up close.

Estelle Spector and Shaham during intermission on Sunday, December 3 (Frank Villella photo)

For the Sunday December 3 matinee, several of Spector’s family members were in attendance, including Estelle, their children—Lea, Mia, J.B., Julie, and Ari—grandchildren, former CSO members, and several friends. Following a spectacular performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Shaham returned to the stage but holding a different violin. After thanking the audience, he said, “Today is a very special day. This is a beautiful Bergonzi violin, that belonged to Fred Spector, a member of this Orchestra for nearly fifty years. And on it I would like to play for you a brief encore in his memory.” Shaham then performed the Gavotte en rondeau from Bach’s Violin Partita no. 3 in E major, BWV 1006.

During the intermission, Estelle graciously thanked Shaham for his generosity and kindness. “What a wonderful tribute to Fred, the Bergonzi, and the Orchestra. Thank you so much.”

A beautiful gesture from one extraordinary musician—and instrument—to another.

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19 Boulez

Since 1991, Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus Pierre Boulez has amassed and extraordinary discography with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including landmark twentieth-century masterpieces by Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, and Edgard Varèse, as well as Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. And in 2005 as part of the CSO’s From the Archives series, a two-disc tribute of radio broadcast performances was released. A complete list of those recordings is below:

BACH/Schoenberg Prelude and Fugue in E flat Major, BWV 552 (Saint Anne)
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1991
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

Boulez Bluebeard

BARTÓK Bluebeard’s Castle
Jessye Norman, soprano
László Polgár, bass
Nicholas Simon, narrator
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1993
Deutsche Grammophon
1998 Grammy Award for Best Opera

BARTÓK Cantata profana
John Aler, tenor
John Tomlinson, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Margaret Hillis, director
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1991
Deutsche Grammophon
1993 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album, Best Engineered Recording–Classical, Best Performance of a Choral Work

Boulez Bartok Concerto

BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1992
Deutsche Grammophon
1994 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Orchestral Performance

BARTÓK Concerto for Piano No. 1
Krystian Zimerman, piano
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 2001
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Shaham

BARTÓK Concerto for Violin No. 2
Gil Shaham, violin
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1998
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Dance Suite
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1992
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Two Pictures for Orchestra, Op. 10
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1992
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Divertimento for String Orchestra
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1993
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Four Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 12
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1992
Deutsche Grammophon
1994 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Orchestral Performance

BARTÓK Hungarian Sketches
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1993
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Mandarin

BARTÓK The Miraculous Mandarin, Op. 19
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1994
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1994
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra No. 1
Gil Shaham, violin
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1998
Deutsche Grammophon

BARTÓK Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra No. 2
Gil Shaham, violin
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1998
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Prince

BARTÓK The Wooden Prince
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1991
Deutsche Grammophon
1993 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album, Best Engineered Recording–Classical, and Best Orchestral Performance

BERG Lulu Suite
Christine Schäfer, soprano
Recorded in Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany, April 2000
EuroArts

BOULEZ Fanfare for the 80th Birthday of Sir Georg Solti
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1992
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

BOULEZ Livre pour cordes
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1999
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

DEBUSSY First Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra
Larry Combs, clarinet
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1994
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 15: Soloists of the Orchestra II)

Boulez EuroArts

DEBUSSY Le jet d’eau
Christine Schäfer, soprano
Recorded in Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany, April 2000
EuroArts

DEBUSSY Symphonic Fragments from Le martyre de Saint Sébastien
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1995
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

DEBUSSY Three Ballads by François Villon
Christine Schäfer, soprano
Recorded in Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany, April 2000
EuroArts

JANÁČEK Glagolitic Mass
Elzbieta Szmytka, soprano
Nancy Maultsby, mezzo-soprano
Stuart Neill, tenor
Nathan Berg, bass-baritone
David Schrader, organ
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 2000
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

MAHLER Three Rückert-Lieder (Liebst du um Schönheit, Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft, and Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen)
José van Dam, bass-baritone
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1996
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

MAHLER Symphony No. 1 in D Major
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, May 1998
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Mahler 9

MAHLER Symphony No. 9 in D Major
Recorded in Medinah Temple, December 1995
Deutsche Grammophon
1998 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance

MAHLER Totenfeier
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
Deutsche Grammophon

MESSIAEN L’ascension
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1996
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

Boulez Pelleas

SCHOENBERG Pelleas und Melisande
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1991
Erato

SCHOENBERG Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1991
Erato

SCRIABIN Piano Concerto in F-sharp Minor, Op. 20
Anatol Ugorski, piano
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Prometheus

SCRIABIN Prometheus, Op. 60
Anatol Ugorski, piano
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
Deutsche Grammophon

SCRIABIN Symphony No. 4, Op. 54 (The Poem of Ecstasy)
Recorded in Medinah Temple, November 1995
Deutsche Grammophon

Boulez Zarathustra

STRAUSS Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
Deutsche Grammophon

STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Op. 28
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1995
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 19: A Tribute to Pierre Boulez)

STRAVINSKY The Firebird
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1992
Deutsche Grammophon

STRAVINSKY The Firebird
Recorded in Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany, April 2000
EuroArts

Boulez Firebird

STRAVINSKY Fireworks, Op. 4
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1992
Deutsche Grammophon

STRAVINSKY Four Studies
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 1992
Deutsche Grammophon

STRAVINSKY Four Studies
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, February and March 2009
CSO Resound

Boulez Pulcinella

STRAVINSKY Pulcinella
Roxana Constantinescu, mezzo-soprano
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Kyle Ketelsen, bass-baritone
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, March 2009
CSO Resound

STRAVINSKY Symphony in Three Movements
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, February and March 2009
CSO Resound

STRAVINSKY Symphony of Psalms
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, director
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, November 2000
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 22: Chicago Symphony Chorus: A Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration)

Boulez Thomas

THOMAS . . . words of the sea . . .
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
ARTCD

VARÈSE Amériques
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1995
Deutsche Grammophon
2001 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance

VARÈSE Arcana
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
Deutsche Grammophon
2001 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance

Boulez Varèse

VARÈSE Déserts
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1996
Deutsche Grammophon
2001 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance

VARÈSE Ionisation
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, December 1995
Deutsche Grammophon
2001 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance

The Orchestra also has recorded compositions by Boulez, released both commercially and as part of the From the Archives series:

BOULEZ Messagesquisse for Seven Cellos
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
John Sharp, Stephen Balderston, Philip Blum, Loren Brown, Richard Hirschl, Jonathan Pegis, and Gary Stucka, cellos
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, September 1994
CSO (From the Archives, vol. 21: Soloists of the Orchestra III)

Boulez Notations Barenboim

BOULEZ Notations for Orchestra I-IV
Recorded in Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany, April 2001
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
EuroArts

BOULEZ Notations for Orchestra VII
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Recorded in Orchestra Hall, January 2000
Teldec

Numerous upcoming programs celebrate Pierre Boulez, including Beyond the Score: A Pierre Dream on November 14 and 16, 2014, and Boulez’s Piano Works on March 15, 2015, with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich.

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