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 inEssay

Gated Debussy

The Paris Métro’s Line One to Étoile is pretty crowded this afternoon. There are slightly fewer smartphones than there were a couple of years ago; a few passengers are even reading books. Line Two is next, almost empty, and just two stops to Porte Dauphine, where the train disappears into the tunnel as I emerge […]

Posted inReport

Wieck Spot

For all her infamous name recognition, performances of Clara Wieck Schumann’s works are still puzzlingly rare. For decades I never questioned this; I bought the industry-wide indoctrination of “low quality.” But when I began to objectively look and listen, I realized Wieck’s compositions were filled with innovative tonal relationships, thematically unified structures, advanced motivic developments, […]

Posted inEssay

Necessary Shadows

Who invented black metal, that hateful, unholy, visionary genre? Potential candidates include bands Venom, Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate, or, most likely, the revolutionary Bathory. But exactly 100 years before Venom’s 1982 album “Black Metal” codified the term, the world saw a work similarly infused with perverted religiosity, hatred, mutilation, darkness, extreme ideological stances, blood, racist […]

Posted inEssay

The Intelligence of Bodies

When VAN asked me to do a review of an artificial-intelligence-created realization of Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony called “Beethoven X: The AI Project,” which is based on the skimpy sketches he left when he died, I more or less groaned in my reply. “Not for me,” I said. “I know pretty much what I’ll think about […]