It's Verbier Festival time again, and for the fifth year in a row, medici.tv is broadcasting many of the concerts live - some 24 of them - starting Friday, July 15. Tomorrow's opening night features conductor Charles Dutoit and pianist Nelson Freire in Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Stravinsky's Petrouchka, both with the formidable young Verbier Festival Orchestra. Other highlights: pianist Stephen Hough in a recital with one of his own sonatas (subtitled Broken Branches) plus Beethoven, Scriabin and Liszt (July 21); a concert Tosca with Barbara Frittoli, Aleksandr Antonenko and Bryn Terfel led by Gianandrea Noseda (July 24); and Valery Gergiev in Dutilleux (Métaboles), Richard Strauss's Burleske (with pianist Denis Matsuev) and Act I of Wagner's Die Walküre with Frank van Aken, Eva-Maria Westbroek and Matti Salminen (July 30).
The broadcasts - in superb audio and video - are free, and archived for viewing as many times as desired. (A few years ago I must have watched Martha Argerich in Prokofiev's Third Piano concerto some five or six times, seduced by a camera above the keyboard showing close-ups of her hands.)
There are those who profess a certain wariness of Anton Bruckner's symphonies—for both their length and repetitive motifs. Others, like me, find an otherworldly ecstasy in his canvases, and one way of looking at Bruckner is as a "proto-minimalist," a view apparently shared by conductor Franz Welser-Möst. On Wednesday, as part of this year's Lincoln Center Festival, he and the Cleveland Orchestra begin Bruckner: (R)evolution, four nights with Symphonies 5, 7, 8 and 9, and all but the massive Eighth paired with a work by John Adams. The Fifth will follow Adams's Guide to Strange Places; Leila Josefowicz will be the soloist in his Violin Concerto, preceding the Seventh; and on Sunday, the Doctor Atomic Symphony will be the companion for the powerful Ninth.
The conductor and orchestra have also released DVDs of the same Bruckner works, recorded in Severance Hall (7 and 8), Vienna's Musikverein (9) and the Abbey of St. Florian (5) where the composer is buried. Coincidentally, Welser-Möst has been chosen to receive the 2011 Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor from the Bruckner Society of America, and will receive the award at Lincoln Center following the dress rehearsal on July 13. The maestro is in heady company; the medal's first recipients (in 1933) were Arturo Toscanini, Serge Koussevitsky and Bruno Walter.