Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Moth Elegies

If there was ever a case for establishing a middle ground between separating the art from the artist and not, it’s Othmar Schoeck. Born in 1886 by the shores of Lake Lucerne, Schoeck found himself in the unfortunate position of being a dyed-in-the-wool Romantic working in a world that was trending inexorably towards the modern […]

Posted inPlaylist

A May Day Playlist

Whether your Labor Day falls on May 1 or the first Monday in September, the core concept remains the same: honoring the workers who keep countries running. In this decade, we’re facing another cultural reexamination of work—one perhaps best summarized by a TikTok sound that has somehow been attributed to both “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Imitations and Intimations

Alexei Lubimov: “The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross” (ECM) Alexei Lubimov, Ivan Monighetti: “Silvestrov: Piano Sonatas, Cello Sonata” (Erato) Radu Lupu, Zubin Mehta, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra: “Beethoven: Piano Concerto Nos. 3 & 5” (Decca) Nicholas Angelich: “Prokofiev: Visions Fugitives, Piano Sonata No. 8 and Romeo & Juliet” (Erato) “I play Haydn after […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Harrison Birtwistle Playlist

Harrison Birtwistle died on April 18 at the age of 87. He was regarded as one of the foremost composers of his generation, a member of the so-called Manchester School alongside Alexander Goehr and Peter Maxwell Davies. His music attracted adjectives like ”iconoclastic” and “uncompromising”; one famous anecdote recounts Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears walking […]

Posted inInterview

“We Cannot Just Sit and Be Terrified”

In conversation, Ukrainian concert pianist Anna Fedorova is controlled, which belies the expressive style with which she usually plays. Her disposition is unfailingly sweet, and the hint of a kind smile is ever-present—but her face is also understandably lined with stress and sadness, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As a follow-up to […]

Posted inInterview

Dangerous Symbols

On April 14, the Russian keyboard player Alexei Lubimov and the singer Yana Ivanilova performed a concert at DK Rassvet, a venue in central Moscow which, similar to New York’s (Le) Poisson Rouge, hosts concerts and cultural events and doubles as a club. As Lubimov was performing playing a solo portion of the concert, with […]

Posted inReport

The Maestro’s ATM

On April 12, the website of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny released an investigation into the hidden international wealth of conductor and Putin confidant Valery Gergiev. The report is the latest in a series authored by Navalny’s team which, as the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project notes, do not constitute neutral journalism—a video […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Night Music

Justina Jaruševičiūtė: “Silhouettes” (Piano and Coffee Records) Camerata Zürich, Igor Karsko: “Leoš Janáček: On an Overgrown Path” (ECM) Golda Schultz, Jonathan Ware: “This Be Her Verse” (Alpha Classics) Justina Jaruševičiūtė describes the “Wolf Hour” as “that time of night in which people wake up without any particular reason and can’t fall back asleep.” It’s an […]

Posted inInterview

Truth Over Hope

On February 23, one day before Russia invaded Ukraine, Anna Stavychenko, the artistic director of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra, spoke with VAN about life in “a constant state of stress” and the importance of music for the Ukrainian identity. Since then, Stavychenko and her family have left their home. She is now commuting between Warsaw […]

Posted inInterview

Hit Me in the Belly

On March 18, the trumpet player Håkan Hardenberger celebrated his 60th birthday with a concert with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, where he performed Brett Dean’s trumpet concerto “Dramatis personae,” and smiled gamely (and sipped champagne) through an encore rendition of the theme from “Superman” in his honor. (Disclosure: As with my recent interview with […]

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