Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Movement in the Shadows

Sabine Devieilhe, Raphaël Pichon, Pygmalion: “Bach & Handel” (Erato) Sean Friar, NOW Ensemble: “Before and After” (New Amsterdam) Anthony Roth Costanzo, Justin Vivian Bond: “Only an Octave Apart” (Decca) All easygoing years are alike; each exhausting year is exhausting in its own way. For 2022, I can place my breaking point at West Elm Caleb. […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Natural Instincts

Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Thomas Dausgaard: “Mendelssohn Symphonies 1 & 3” (BIS) The Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin: “Florence Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3” (Deutsche Grammophon) Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin: “Sibelius 3” (ATMA Classique) Yu Kosuge: “Four Elements: Water, Fire, Wind, and Earth” (Orchid Classics) Sarah Kirkland Snider, Gallicantus: “Mass for the Endangered” (New […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Vintage Prada and Snow

Lise Davidsen, Leif Ove Andsnes: “Grieg” (Decca) Christian Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt: “Beethoven: Sonatas, Op. 30” (Ondine) Adam Tendler, Jenny Lin: “Liszt: Harmonies poétiques et religieuses” (Steinway) A line from Phoebe Stuckes that has (for lack of a better word) stuck with me in the turnover of a new year: “I want to be stinking drunk […]

Posted inI Know, But

I Know, But: “The Four Seasons”

Here’s a reason to hate “The Four Seasons”: I last heard “Spring”—unbidden—as I passed through east London’s Walthamstow Bus Station during a routine commute home. Realizing that piping classical music into its stations was a cost-effective means to deter young people from hanging around, Transport for London started playing Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven in 2006. Since […]

Posted inI Know, But

I Know, But: “Boléro”

If you remember the 1980s, you remember Ravel’s “Boléro.” Although the work became a fixture on orchestral programs shortly after its premiere in 1928, the ’80s was arguably the decade of peak “Boléro” saturation, bookended by the soundtrack for the 1979 Dudley Moore comedy, “10,” and Frank Zappa’s 1991 album, “The Best Band You Never […]

Posted inI Know, But

I Know, But: The “1812 Overture”

When Tolstoy began working on what would become War and Peace, his 1869 opus that moves fluidly between historical novel and philosophical treatise, he initially had a completely different story in mind. Rather than craft a constellation of parallel and intersecting histories between 1805 and 1820 (with a particular focus on Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of […]