Jeff Beal (born 1963) – film, TV (House of Cards) and concert composer – with Kelly Hall-Tompkins

Concert recorded on the morning of Friday, January 12, 2024 at Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, and broadcast by SLPR on Saturday, January 20, at 7.30 p.m. local time

…the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. This one did: the SLPR broadcast arrived at 1.30 this morning for me. Was I awake? I only became conscious during the interval. The following is an attempt at a rescue…

This concert opened this three-part series, if reaching the airwaves second (this was the first, broadcast-wise,, and included Jeff Beal’s new violin concerto, Body in Motion, for Kelly Hall-Tompkins. Sadly, not being awake, I missed it; so, below, I have included one of his jazz albums, which I enjoyed, and I hope to hear the violin concerto one day. I also missed the Antheil, so that is also below thanks to YT. It begins with an earworm.

Now being conscious, I heard the concert’s second half. Leonard Slatkin conducted the Ellington recently at the MSM,, and this St. Louis account had a breezy al fresco quality that was very appealing.

I have nothing but admiration for the Fritz Reiner-commissioned Robert Russell Bennett refashioning of selections from the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, rather different to the composer’s own assemblage, Catfish Row, In St. Louis Slatkin surprisingly omitted the first five or so atmospheric minutes (Previn does similarly on his LSO recording), possibly due to rehearsal constraints and getting to grips with the new Beal. Porgy was certainly lively; and just for the record Leonard did it complete in Detroit,, so I’ll leave you there with Dorati’s Decca version, below.

Wish me luck to hear all of next Saturday’s SLPR broadcast of the final concert, taking place this very afternoon.

George Antheil A Jazz Symphony (First SLSO performance)
Jeff Beal Body in Motion, for violin and orchestra (World premiere)
Duke Ellington The Three Black Kings
George Gershwin/Robert Russell Bennett Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture