Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tchaikovsky's E Flat Major Seventh Symphony

The premiere of Tchaikovsky's E Flat Major Seventh Symphony was given by the Moscow Philharmonic under Terian on 7th February 1957. The American premiere was given by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy in 1962. The symphony was completed from sketches of Tchaikovsky by Semyon Bogatyryev who was a Russian composer and Professor at the Moscow Conservatory. Bogatyryev was born in 1913. He has composed two operas, two symphonies and a cantata. It took him about ten years to orchestrate from the sketches left by Tchaikovsky. He completed the work in 1956. I am including the Ormandy (American premiere recording) and the Gennady Rozhdestvensky readings.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ice Station Z

Ice Station Zebra is a film made on the exciting novel written by Alistair MacLean. It covers the cold war period of the late nineteen sixties. The story is about a spy satellite orbiting in the atmosphere and then parachuting to a place in the Arctic near Greenland. This is observed both by Russia and the United States of America. A figure in a hood struggles through the ice storm and retrieves the capsule. He is not aware that he is being watched by another person who is hidden nearby. Soon, the world hears that Drift Ice Station Z has met with a disaster as a weather station at the North Pole. Nuclear submarine, Tigerfish, commanded by James Ferraday (Rock Hudson) is sent from Scotland to be tried out as a rescue mission. He is asked to take a band of marines and a mysterious British passenger called David Jones (Patrick McGoohan) along with a Russian defector, Boris Vaslov (Ernest Borgnine). This tale is about how the submarine manages to break through the ice caps at Drift Ice Station Z (Zebra)(Previously the expansion codes for the letter Z were Zebra as they are Zulu today). There are several mishaps. There is sabotage involved. Once they manage to break through the ice caps, they find the weather station in a wrecked state with very few survivors. Jones is looking for the capsule. There is a twist in store for the viewers here as to who is looking for what and whom. The Russian defector Vaslov plays an important part. The climax is quite exciting with Russian and American warplanes joining the party at Zebra. Captain Ferraday saves the day with his quick thinking. They are all after the capsule as it contains photographs of the locations of American missile bases that are taken from a British satellite that is stolen by the Russians. The film has been directed by John Sturges and it was released in October 1968 using the 70mm Panorama Lens and six-track stereophonic sound effects. The background music score is excellent by Michel LeGrand. This is good movie experience as the cinematography and the exciting musical score draw you into the film. The story moves at a decent pace with intelligent dialogues keeping you well engrossed.