Posted inOpinion

Music of the Middle Degree

One night this spring, a composition by Jörg Widmann made me cringe. Mitsuko Uchida was playing a program of Schoenberg, Schubert, and the 44-year-old German composer at the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin. His piece, “Sonata facile” (2016), quoted the Mozart original extensively, interrupting it at times with modified dissonant bass lines, interjections of clusters […]

Posted inOpinion

The Maestro Will See You Now

“The situation is rather complicated because Maestro himself is not yet in Wrocław…” read the email. The wheels had just come off an interview we’d already spent 10 Polskibus hours (equivalent to around 100 earth-hours) traveling to. “Maestro,” first name Krzysztof, last name Penderecki, written as if there was and could only ever be one. […]

Posted inOpinion

Patchwork History

By Andreas Staier · Date 04/20/2017 Andreas Staier was born in 1955 in Göttingen, Germany. He was the harpsichordist for Musica Antiqua Köln for three years and has performed as a Hammerklavier and harpsichord soloist with all the major early music ensembles. In this article, he responds to the controversial VAN interview with Mahan Esfahani […]

Posted inOpinion

Surveying the Orchestra

Why is the Repertoire So Narrow? From the inquisitive “Is Timid Programming Classical Music’s Biggest Threat?” in WQXR to the damning “America’s Orchestras are in Crisis” in New Republic, discussions of programming repeat an alarming diagnosis: performing groups choose repertoire from a rapidly shrinking list. The Republic’s Philip Kennicott thinks that managements cater to a […]

Posted inOpinion

Breaking Binaries

Classical music has a gender problem. The numbers are consistent and dismal: as various orchestras have announced their 2017–18 seasons, numerous outlets have tallied how many male and female composers are represented, and so far none seem to be doing better than the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where male composers still take up 88 percent of […]

Posted inOpinion

Maestro Monopolies

“Worthy gentleman, and my loving countrymen,” wrote the English lutist and composer John Dowland in the introduction to his 1612 song cycle “A Pilgrims Solace,” “I have been long obscured from your sight, because I received a Kingly entertainment in a foreign climate…Some part of my poore labours have found favour in the greatest part […]

Posted inOpinion

The Prodigy Complex

A journalist, Janet Malcolm once wrote, preys “on people’s vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.” Great profiles always seem to contain an element of backstabbing. That’s why it’s wrong to write one of a child. When journalists betray their subjects, they are at least adults; they don’t need to […]

Posted inOpinion

Tacet Acceptance

In 2012, I embarked on a study of the classical music profession in the UK and Germany. I was interested in learning what it is like to work as a musician, the ups and downs of the profession, and how musicians deal with the often precarious nature of their work. Another issue that I wanted […]

Posted inOpinion

Redundant Space

On June 19, I saw the English National Opera’s production of “Tristan und Isolde.” Besides the cast, the house advertised its collaboration with the British-Indian artist Anish Kappoor, who doubled as the production’s set designer. Employing a famous artist as a set designer is an appealing double whammy for opera houses, promising both creative constructions […]

Exit mobile version