Posted inInterview

Sudden Shattering

An Interview with Allan Clayton By · Title Image © Monika Ritterhaus · Date 6/7/2018 In May, a new staging of Handel’s “Semele” premiered at the Komische Oper in Berlin. Allan Clayton, in coattails, a three-piece suit, and pink socks, played a sprightly Jove, who has just fallen in love with a mortal woman. When […]

Posted inInterview

A Memory of Violence

An Interview with Mark Barden By · Title Image Polka Dots by Yayoi Kusama (Public Domain, via Pixabay) · Date 5/31/2018 The Berlin-based, American composer Mark Barden writes music that is both technically refined and irresistibly gripping. He has an ear for rhythmic propulsion and microtonal chords that make sense and sound beautiful without falling […]

Posted inOpinion

Music of the Middle Degree

How Jörg Widmann’s Music Became Ubiquitous By · Title Image Screenshot from a performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with Valery Gergiev · Date 5/17/2018 One night this spring, a composition by Jörg Widmann made me cringe. Mitsuko Uchida was playing a program of Schoenberg, Schubert, and the 44-year-old German composer at the Pierre Boulez Saal […]

Posted inInterview

The Calibrated Voice

An Interview with Matthias Goerne By · Title Image © Caroline de Bon · Date 5/10/2018 The voices of singers tend to call forth abstract, flowery adjectives. But when you hear the baritone Matthias Goerne, it’s easy to point out the specific moments that distinguish his art. As Wotan from Wagner’s “Ring,” he sings about […]

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Tonefoil Hat, Episode 4

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · Title Image INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 5/10/2018 The writer writes a sentence. He reads back what he wrote. He fixes a redundancy, then he writes another sentence. He changes that sentence, too; maybe adds a rhythmic nuance. He puts something on the page, reads it back, […]

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Tonefoil Hat, Episode 5

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · Title Image INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 5/31/2018 In a 2016 New Yorker article, Patrick Radden Keefe reported on a unit of the London Metropolitan Police he termed “super-recognizers.” These police officers have the ability to see a face once and then recognize it again among millions […]

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Tonefoil Hat Finale

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · Title Image INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 7/5/2018 I’m giving up. The last time I made any progress with David Lucas Burge’s Perfect Pitch Ear Training SuperCourse was June 12—almost a month ago. My ear training practice sessions now end after five minutes. I’ve started hurling insults […]

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Tonefoil Hat, Episode 3

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · Title Image INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 4/26/2018 Masterclass 6 of David Lucas Burge’s Perfect Pitch Ear Training SuperCourse starts much the same as the previous five: with chatter. He tells me that through his course I will start to experience “a little Christmas of musical perception.” […]

Posted inReview

Heels of Fortune

On Philip Venables’ “The Gender Agenda” By · Photography © Mark Allen · Date 4/19/2018 Opera so often has an aftertaste of evil. The character of Osmin in Mozart’s “Entführung aus dem Serail” is an embarrassing Middle Eastern caricature absurdly obsessed with blood and gore. Wagner’s knights and gods like to address their female counterparts […]

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Tonefoil Hat, Episode 2

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · TITLE IMAGE INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 4/12/2018 “Music satisfies the heart, leading us back to the Self, to the silence within. It is hard to hang on to negative emotions when we sing and dance with our 100%. Singing and dancing connect us to the moment.” […]