Posted inInterview

Mission Family

In 2013, Groupmuse launched as an app to help you put on live classical concerts in your home. It was the height of the app boom, and outlets from Wired to the Wall Street Journal praised Groupmuse as the AirBnB or the Uber “of classical music.” Those comparisons read differently now—but Groupmuse was never trying […]

Posted inOpinion

Erotic Vocabularies

In his 1997 biography of Franz Schubert, late Austrian musicologist Ernst Hilmar points a microscope at the minutiae of the composer’s travels. If you have ever found yourself desperate to know the route Schubert took on his first journey from Vienna to visit a noble family in Želiezovce in the spring of 1818, Hilmar has […]

Posted inInterview

Out of Hand

John Holloway plays the Baroque violin with a sinewy sweetness, his lines as textured and alive as the bark of a tree or the hand of a nonagenarian. That his career started on the modern violin in a conventional orchestra—after conservatory, Holloway was briefly principal second in the Bournemouth Sinfonietta—now seems as improbable as late […]

Posted inBreaking

The Politics of D Major

Like a panel of elementary-school teachers, music critics weren’t mad—just disappointed yesterday. That was when the Staatsoper Unter den Linden announced that conductor Christian Thielemann would replace Daniel Barenboim as music director starting with the 2024-25 season. Stern and badly-spelled I expected better of yous rang out across the land, directed at the city’s center-right […]

Posted inInterview

The Possibility for Conflict

Discussing repertoire in VAN last week, pianist András Schiff said, “No one can do everything; we have our limits.” Tell that to Jacob Greenberg. A longtime member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Greenberg performs as a soloist, accompanist, and with orchestras on piano, harpsichord, harmonium, organ, and clavichord. He has recorded repertoire ranging from Bach […]

Posted inInterview

What Ebbs Away

Composer Donnacha Dennehy writes music inflected by the overtone harmonies of the French spectralists and the propulsive rhythms of American minimalism, a combination resulting in something all his own. It’s a captivating blend that perceives the hypnotic thread uniting two genres often considered at odds (and whose practitioners were frequently dismissive of one another). I […]

Posted inInterview

Next to a Miracle

On Alexander Melnikov’s latest album, titled “Fantasie,” the Russian pianist performs music by seven composers including two Bachs, Mendelssohn, Busoni, and Schnittke. Despite the Romantic reveries implied by the title—in the feet of a lesser pianist, this would be a washed, pedal-heavy album—Melnikov’s approach to the fantasies is decisive and articulate, full of precision and […]

Posted inInterview

The Sounding Organism

Immediately recognizable in Greek-French composer Georges Aperghis’s works are moments of startling, absurd and often witty theater. In his famous “Récitations” for solo female voice, sensual incantations expand and contract, pyramid-like, on the page and in time; “Les guetteurs de sons” (for three percussionists) delights in the play of sound, movement, and expectation created by […]

Posted inRankings & Roundups

Every Bach Cantata, Ranked

After ranking the complete Scarlatti sonatas and Schubert songs, you might think I’d have learned my lesson, both in time spent and in baffled—or worse—reactions received. Still, I admit when I decided to take on ranking the complete Bach Cantatas, I was a little naive about the time commitment required. With fairly regular listening, this […]

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