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A Francisco Guerrero Marín Playlist

The Spanish composer Francisco Guerrero Marín had a rare talent: he was a master of beginnings. More often than not, his pieces start with textures of blinding, gripping intensity. From there, they explore musical landscapes similar to those of Giacinto Scelsi at his most rugged and alpine. One Spanish critic described Guerrero Marín’s music as […]

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A Gérard Grisey Playlist

On August 16, the Salzburg Festival ended its focus on the French composer Gérard Grisey with a complete performance of his cycle “Les espaces acoustiques” by the Austrian ORF Symphony Orchestra and Maxime Pascal conducting. It was an hour and a half during which the music’s timbral and structural richness occupied the brain’s entire perceptive […]

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A Giacinto Scelsi Playlist

The only proper word for the music of the self-taught Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi is “sublime.” Not in the common sense of the word, which comes to something like “very good”—but in the sense that Moses Mendelssohn understood it, that is, something that is frightening and overwhelming and pleasing and painful and immense and transcendent […]

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Ideal Expressions

I met Jakub Hrůša on a warm April weekend in Bamberg, Germany. In the fall of 2016, he was named the fifth music director of the Bamberger Symphoniker, an orchestra deeply rooted in the Czech tradition. For this interview, I asked him to select some of his favorite pieces from that tradition, and then discussed […]

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A Daniel Grossmann Klezmer Playlist

Daniel Grossmann is the conductor and music director of the Jakobsplatz Orchestra in Munich, which focuses on Jewish music. In this playlist, he tells us the brief story of his relationship with the frequently underestimated—particularly in his home country—genre of klezmer. I hate klezmer. Or do I? Right now, it seems to me, Germany is […]

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A French Election Playlist

Music of Confidence, Satire, and Universality Title Image Mortimer62 (CC BY-SA 2.0) · Date 05/11/2017 The tension among French people in Berlin on May 7, when the final runoff between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron took place, was palpable. Musicians in particular were worried: Would visas and work permits soon be real bureaucratic problems […]

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A Sung Jin Hong Playlist

Sung Jin Hong is the artistic director and conductor of the New York ensemble One World Symphony. In this playlist, he explores identity and idealism in music. Here is his introduction to the selection.   “What is it about Mignon that has captivated composers for over two centuries? More than 70 different composers have given voice […]

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A Brexit Day Playlist

Andrew Manze, Music Director, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover Ralph Vaughan Williams – Symphony No. 5; Ralph Vaughan Williams (Conductor), London Philharmonic Orchestra A pacifist and humanist, Vaughan Williams completed his Fifth Symphony during the darkest days of the World War II. It was premiered in London in 1943 and is an unambiguous expression of hope and […]

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A #HearAllComposers Playlist

On March 21, musicians and music lovers who desired more diverse orchestral programming took to Twitter with the hashtag #HearAllComposers, to encourage symphony orchestras to program music by non-male and non-white composers. The hashtag came largely from the efforts of Emma O’Halloran, Annika Socolofsky, Amanda Feery, and Finola Merivale, all young composers frustrated with the […]