Posted inInterview

A Way to Remain Alive

In 2005, a Belgian NGO came to Ramallah with a truck full of musical instruments to donate to the city’s nonprofit music school, ​​Al Kamandjati (“The Violinist”). One of the boys who helped to unload the violins, violas, cellos, double-basses, and guitars was 15-year-old Shehada Shalalda, who lived in the neighborhood. It was an innocuous […]

Posted inInterview

Where the Trees Are

Whether it’s Julius Eastman’s “Prelude to the Holy Presence of Joan of Arc,” Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis,” or Anthony Davis’s “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X,” listening to Davóne Tines sing is like watching rock climber Alexander Honnold free solo up El Capitan: You’re struck by the raw power and voltage of his stentorian […]

Posted inPlaylist

An Edward Said Playlist

Edward Said reigned as the poster child for public intellectuals, having made early waves with his breakout 1978 tract, Orientalism. Just a few weeks after the 20th anniversary of his death from leukemia at the age of 67, his name is being invoked again on all sides of the news cycle. His criticism of both […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

In These Times

“Beethoven” It’s always fun when an album nearly slips past your radar until it becomes the catalyst for controversy. This isn’t a slight to Alice Sara Ott, whose early recordings of Chopin’s complete waltzes and Beethoven’s “Waldstein” Sonata are among my favorite interpretations. More likely, her Beethoven compendium—including a live performance of the First Piano […]

Posted inOpinion

Immoral Decisions

Update, 10/6/23: WCPE announced via its website that, “After careful deliberation, due consideration, and hearing from our supporters, listeners and the public, The Classical Station has decided to broadcast the entire 2023-2024 season of New York Metropolitan Opera.” Last month, Berlin’s newly-nomadic Komische Oper opened its first season in exile with Hans Werner Henze’s “Das […]

Posted inReport

Relaxing in the Pressure Cooker

On YouTube, there’s a video of a 1973 concert with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Bernard Haitink performing Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with soloist Artur Rubinstein. It’s an extraordinary concert to hear, between the young Haitink, the 86-year-old Rubinstein, and the orchestra’s signature sound (consistently described as “homogeneous and transparent at the same time”). The […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Sea Major Playlist

A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of killer whales. Since 2020, pods of orcas have been attacking ships and yachts in European waters. As of about a month ago, more than 500 yachts had been attacked off the Iberian Peninsula alone. This summer, other aquatically-inclined mammals have joined their orca comrades (orca-mrades?), with reports from […]

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