Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Curious Relations

For all of the secrecy, holiness, and exquisite pain of the medieval troubadour songs, the stories they profess to tell are one-sided. Rarely are we offered the woman’s perspective, or even any supporting evidence for the emotional evisceration that’s often at the heart of these ballads of forbidden and unconsummated love. Not so for contemporary […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Metropolitan Opera Playlist

If you’d like to drive an ice-pick through your eye but are short on equipment, the New York Times comments section is often a good virtual substitute. Case in point: The 700-plus responses to the paper’s coverage of the Metropolitan Opera’s decision to focus future seasons on more new works and living composers, citing sold-out […]

Posted inPlaylist

A “Winterreise” All-Stars Playlist

I came here as a stranger. Actually, no: I was very familiar with “Winterreise” before this latest exploration. But, after listening to 75 recordings of the work in quick succession, I’m beginning to question whether I really knew “Winterreise” before now.  While the winter solstice is behind us and days are now officially getting longer, […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Winter Journeys

In the third episode of “Dekalog,” Krzysztof Kieślowski’s ten-part series of interconnected short films (each based on one of the Ten Commandments), cab driver Janusz’s Christmas Eve is interrupted by Ewa, his former extramarital lover. Janusz abandons his family dinner to assist Ewa with what he believes is tracking down her missing husband. What Ewa […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Leagues of Nations

Among the cameos in Singing Like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, Kira Thurman’s jam-packed history of Black performers in German-speaking Europe, is Claudio Brindis de Salas Garrido. Thurman describes the virtuoso violinist as “a mirror reflecting German conversations about Black masculine musicality in the Kaiserreich,” or the German Empire. […]

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