Posted inInterview

The Never-Ending Task

After 19 years leading the Minnesota Orchestra, Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä will be saying goodbye this month, with performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 from June 10 to 12 and a “farewell celebration” on June 17. His tenure with the orchestra—and especially the recordings he’s made with the group—have been almost universally acclaimed: It took […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Not Even Past

Kronos Quartet, Rinde Eckert, Vân-Ánh Võ: “Mỹ Lai” (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings) David T. Little, Royce Vavrek, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, NOVUS NY, Mellissa Hughes: “Am I Born” (Bright Shiny Things) Back in September 2016—in an only slightly saner world—novelist Lionel Shriver gave a keynote at the Brisbane Writers Festival. The festival’s organizers had […]

Posted inInterview

Is Wagner Addictive?

Lawrence D. Mass, M.D., is a retired specialist in addiction medicine and a cofounder of Gay Men’s Health Crisis. The first person to write about AIDS in the U.S. press, he is the author of Homosexuality and Sexuality: Dialogues of the Sexual Revolution, Volume 1, and Homosexuality as Behavior and Identity: Dialogues of The Sexual […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

For Your (Re)consideration

Patricia Petibon, La Cetra, Andrea Marcon: “La Traversée” (Sony) BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sakari Oramo, Peter Donohoe: “Dora Pejačević: Piano Concerto & Symphony” (Chandos) Giulia Semenzato, Kammerorchester Basel: “Angelica Diabolica” (Alpha) We’re in the middle of a renaissance for historically-maligned women: Tonya Harding, Monica Lewinsky, Britney Spears, Lorena Bobbitt, and Pamela Anderson are among those whose […]

Posted inReview

Song of the Goats

Watching a Yorgos Lanthimos film invariably leads to esoteric questions. Via “Dogtooth”: Why are you calling an armchair a “sea”? From “The Lobster”: If you had to be irreversibly changed into an animal, which one would you pick? And, thanks to Lanthimos’s new short, “Bleat,” co-commissioned by the Greek National Opera and cultural nonprofit NEON: […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Beautiful Serialism Playlist

Like some others on the 300-million-headed-hydra of hysteria known as Twitter, I was mildly irked on April 26 when the Columbia University linguist and New York Times op-ed writer John McWhorter published an essay titled “Classical Music Doesn’t Have to be Ugly to be Good.” Citing two recent books, McWhorter argues, among other things, that […]

Posted inHistory

Rhapsody in the Dark

In 1989, the Government of Algeria submitted to the journal of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML) what it termed a “somewhat difficult request.”  It concerned the country’s most fabled and lauded composer, Mohamed Iguerbouchène.  By then he had been dead for almost a quarter of a century. Born in […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Time Lost and Found

Czech Philharmonic, Semyon Bychkov, Chen Reiss: “Mahler: Symphony No. 4” (Pentatone) Vicky Chow, Jane Antonia Cornish: “Sierra” (Cantaloupe) If you know anything about Proust’s mammoth In Search of Lost Time, it’s a moment from the first installment, Swann’s Way. In it, Proust describes the moment of unlocking an old memory of Sunday mornings spent with […]

Posted inInterview

Pact with the Dictator

In the summer of 2009, Valery Gergiev organized an exhibition in St. Petersburg called “Wilhelm Furtwängler: Maestro, Man, and Myth” as part of the White Nights Festival. At the opening, Gergiev gave a speech noting that Furtwängler had been attacked all his life because of his biography, yet “he served a great cause with all […]

Posted inInterview

The Desire to be Human

Andreas Scholl is one of the best-known German countertenors. His popstar potential can be measured by the fact that he was the first countertenor to be a guest at Last night of the Proms and on a few late-night talk shows. He’s played a key role in shaping the countertenor renaissance of the last 30 […]

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