On this day in classical music: Richard Strauss’ “Burleske for Piano and Orchestra” was given its premiere in 1890. Eugen d’Albert was the soloist and the composer conducted. While opera occupied much of Strauss’ career, he did compose concertos for horn and oboe, a small number of choral works (including the “Four Last Songs”), several tone poems (“Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks,” “Don Juan,” “Death and Transfiguration,” “Don Quixote” and “Ein Heldenleben” among others). The “Burleske” hangs of the fringes of the concerto repertoire, partially due to the difficulty of the solo part and its short playing time (approximately 20 minutes which means it’s often paired with another concerto). Listen to Martha Argerich perform the “Burleske” with the Berlin Philharmonic. Claudio Abbado conducts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q_zSvns0QY
On this day in the musical theatre: In a rare coincidence, the original London production of “Evita” and a subsequent revival opened on the same date in 1978 and 2006. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical bio of Argentine first lady Eva Peron became a hit in London, running for 3,176 performances or nearly eight years. Among the stars who have played the role of the iconic Evita are Elaine Paige, Stephanie Lawrence, Patti LuPone and Florence Lacey. “Evita” is back on Broadway this season, with a cast headed by Elena Roger, Ricky Martin and Michael Cerveris. Listen to Elaine Paige sing “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CAv9hfafAI
Musical musings: LuPone has stated about her time starring as Eva Peron: “Evita” was the worst experience of my life. I was screaming my way through a part that could only have been written by a man who hates women. And I had no support from the producers, who wanted a star performance onstage but treated me as an unknown backstage. It was like Beirut, and I fought like a banshee.