Posted inRankings & Roundups

Every Schubert Song, Ranked

In her 2019 review-cum-retrospective of John Updike, writer Patricia Lockwood noted that her assignment felt “like a flamboyant completist stunt, like one of those Buzzfeed articles where someone ranks every episode of the original Care Bears cartoons.” I would like to situate this ranking of every Schubert song in the same hallowed pantheon as the […]

Posted inRankings & Roundups

Piano Entanglements

In the spring, while stuck at home avoiding the coronavirus, I read Lea Singer’s forthcoming novel, The Piano Student, which tells the story of Vladimir Horowitz’s affair with a 23-year-old male protege, Nico Kauffman. Drawing from Horowitz’s actual letters to Kauffman, Singer depicts a forbidden relationship in which Horowitz vacillates between ardently declaring his love […]

Posted inRankings & Roundups

Keyboard Warriors

Stravinsky puts it pithily enough: Music “expresses nothing outside of itself.” It’s a dictum that puts critics like me on the back foot, accusing us of peddling only a pale and inadequate imitation of the thing itself. Those who can’t, write. But it also describes a deeper sense of music as incommensurable, elevated by thinkers […]

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Sonic Distancing

In the last 10 years or so, countless theories have surfaced to describe what ails classical music’s concert halls. Is it the stuffy architecture; the ban on beverages; the hushers and passive-aggressive insiders; or the (crumbling) bans on social media use that turn off many potential visitors, especially those who are young and non-white? The […]