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 inPages Turned

Pianist of the Century

“Igor Levit’s career is a stark demonstration of the dissolving of boundaries between art and commerce, journalism and public relations,” wrote Hartmut Welscher in an article for VAN in 2020. One can add publishing to the ever-growing list of formats whose traditional ethical boundaries Levit has blurred, as House Concert, written by Florian Zinnecker under […]

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. […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Weather Patterns

“You are the sky,” says the Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön. “Everything else is just the weather.” Chödrön offers this as a guide for dealing with strong emotions—a more tangible variation on “this too shall pass.” Emotions arise and, while they feel like they may fully inhabit every pore of our body, they rarely leave […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

In the Wake

Classical music isn’t known for being in-the-moment: Seasons are planned years in advance, and there are people who still refer to “The Rite of Spring” (1913) as “contemporary” music. Even in this deferred environment, however, lockdown albums and works composed in the mindset of social distancing are nothing new. With so much downtime and so […]

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