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Sensual Narratives

The music of Jay Schwartz is hedonistic. You listen to it, and when you’re finished you can’t wait to listen to it again. His SoundCloud page becomes an almost physical addiction. It envelopes you in shimmering glissandi of infinite complexity, teases you with the briefest glimpses of tonal intervals, and rewards you with the endorphin […]

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Forgotten Worlds

An Interview with Christophe Rousset By · Photography © Eric Larrayadieu · Date 12/21/2017 Actus Humanus, a festival of early music in Gdańsk, Poland, ended on December 17. I was there for the final concert, which featured the harpsichordist Christophe Rousset, the soprano Ann Hallenberg, and the period band Les Talens Lyriques. The repertoire was […]

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A Long Way

The harpsichordist and ensemble leader William Christie could quite easily be mistaken for a patrician, 1960s-era CIA operative out of Norman Mailer’s novel Harlot’s Ghost. Yesterday morning, he was wearing a fitted black suit, blue shirt, beige pocket square, and polka dot socks, and spoke in aristocratic American English that clearly recalled his days studying […]

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Suspended States

An Interview with Jürg Frey By · Illustrations Digital copies based on the works of Agnes Martin · Date 11/23/2017 In October, Erstwhile Records released a recording of the Swiss composer Jürg Frey’s six hour tape piece “l’àme est sans retenue I.” I took this opportunity to revisit and translate a conversation we had in […]

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Malleable Structures

The composer and performer Tyshawn Sorey was in Berlin recently as the very first Artist in Residence at the Berlin Festival’s JazzFest. At a concert on November 2, he played an array of highly differentiated sounds, combining subtly with his trio colleagues Christopher Tordini and Cory Smythe. For large chunks of the work, Sorey’s face […]

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Critic Bashing

It’s a peculiar and alienating feeling to sit among a crowd of people and feel as defensive as the others feel delighted, as unmoved as they feel enthusiastic. That’s what happened to me on October 22, when Vladimir Jurowski, the conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and new music director of the Berlin Radio Symphony […]

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Two Sides of a Concert, Part I

Who Loved It, Who Hated It – “Elektra,” Deutsche Oper, October 19 By · Title Image Helena Perez García (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) · Date 10/26/2017 Naively in retrospect, I came to the Deutsche Oper’s recent production of “Elektra” with an expectation that its reception would be mostly positive. The work is a staple of German […]

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Good Giggles

The first time classical music humor on the internet was funny can be dated to approximately September 22, 2016, the launch of the page Classical Music Memes for Contemporary Teens. Once ruled by “Bach to the Future” and “You Can’t Handel It” type jokes, classical music humor now referenced Ferneyhough and conservatory anxiety and caused […]

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A Francisco Guerrero Marín Playlist

The Spanish composer Francisco Guerrero Marín had a rare talent: he was a master of beginnings. More often than not, his pieces start with textures of blinding, gripping intensity. From there, they explore musical landscapes similar to those of Giacinto Scelsi at his most rugged and alpine. One Spanish critic described Guerrero Marín’s music as […]