Posted inOpinion

Music of the Middle Degree

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 in Berlin. His piece, “Sonata facile” (2016), quoted the Mozart original extensively, interrupting it at times with modified dissonant bass lines, interjections of clusters […]

Posted inInterview

The Calibrated Voice

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 the castle of the gods as if it were a tender memory from Schubert’s “Winterreise.” In […]

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Tonefoil Hat, Episode 4

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · Title Image INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 5/10/2018 Get started with Tonefoil Hat here. 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 […]

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Tonefoil Hat, Episode 3

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · Title Image INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 4/26/2018 Listen to Episode 1 of Tonefoil Hat here.Listen to Episode 2 of Tonefoil Hat here. 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 […]

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Tonefoil Hat, Episode 5

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · Title Image INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 5/31/2018 Get started with Tonefoil Hat here. 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 […]

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Tonefoil Hat Finale

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · Title Image INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 7/5/2018 Get started with Tonefoil Hat here. 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 […]

Posted inReview

Heels of Fortune

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 simply as “woman.” Blackface still makes regular appearances in contemporary stagings of Verdi’s “Otello.” In […]

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Tonefoil Hat, Episode 2

Can I Learn Perfect Pitch? By · TITLE IMAGE INTERNET ARCHIVE (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 4/12/2018 Listen to Episode 1 of Tonefoil Hat here. “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%. […]

Posted inInterview

How Things Align

An Interview with Raven Chacon By · Photography Courtesy of Raven Chacon · Date 4/5/2018 I met the composer Raven Chacon one afternoon in the library of the American Academy in Berlin, where he is currently a fellow. Normally based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Chacon creates stereophonic, tactile music, as well as sound and visual […]

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Death and the Theater

On the evening of November 21, 2015, a scrum of protesters blocked the glass doors of the Teatr Polski in Wrocław, Poland. They were members of the Catholic organization Krucjata Różańcowa za Ojczyznę (Society of the Rosary) and far-right groups such as the All Polish Youth and the National Resurrection of Poland. Piotr Rybak, a […]