Posted inRankings & Roundups

Domestic Primadonna Assoluta

In the autumn of 2021, neatly coinciding with the release of her latest album “Amata dalle Tenebre,” Russian soprano Anna Netrebko published her first (cook)book, the German-language Der Geschmack meines Lebens (“The Taste of My Life”). Upon discovering this a few weeks ago, our only course of action was to throw multiple-course Anna Netrebko-themed dinner […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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

A guide to livestream concerts during the coronavirus outbreak. By VAN Team · Title Image JD X/Unsplash · Date 3/13/2020 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 […]