Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Under the Influence

Colin Jacobsen, Eric Jacobsen, Karen Ouzounian, The Knights: “The Kreutzer Project” (Avie) Vladimir Jurowski, Bayerisches Staatsorchester: “Beethoven: Symphony No. 2, Brett Dean: ‘Testament’” (BSO Recordings) Let’s talk about Beethoven’s second violin concerto. By which I mean his “Kreutzer” Sonata.  Of course, the “Kreutzer” Sonata isn’t a concerto in the strictest sense of the word. But […]

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Is This What You Wanted?

“Is this what you wanted,” Leonard Cohen asks in the refrain of his eponymous song, “to live in a house that is haunted by the ghost of you and me?” With the Bayreuth Festival traditionally opening the house for each performance by having members of the orchestra’s brass section play an appropriate snippet of the […]

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Gazing in the Dirt

The concept of resurrection presupposes a well-established order of things: life, death, burial, remembrance, and then finally the call to rise again, this time unto eternity. The structure of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 mostly follows that order. But what happens when there’s a fundamental disturbance, even breakdown in this arrangement? When a decent death and burial […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Time Future

Danish String Quartet: “Prism IV” (ECM) Wild Up: “Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy” (New Amsterdam) “Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future,” writes T.S. Eliot at the beginning of his Four Quartets. The work was in part inspired by Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 132, which Eliot found “quite inexhaustible” […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Still Somewhere

Alexandre Kantorow, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Jean-Jacques Kantorow: “Saint-Saëns: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2” (BIS) Joanna Goodale: “Debussy in Resonance” (Paratay) Lavinia Meijer: “Are You Still Somewhere?” (Sony) As the composer himself tells the story, when Camille Saint-Saëns was six years old, he composed a romance for a singer. The 12-bar work left its interpreter’s father […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

A Little Tenderness

Reinis Zarins: “Pēteris Vasks: Solo Works” (Ondine) Nicky Spence, Christopher Glynn: “Schubert: The Fair Maid of the Mill” (Signum) Overheard last week in Tempelhof Field—a public park fashioned, in true Berliner style, out of an abandoned airport:  “I hate it here.” “Berlin?”“No, this plane of existence.” A relatable feeling. Fortunately, there’s a new Pēteris Vasks recording. […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Time Lost and Found

Czech Philharmonic, Semyon Bychkov, Chen Reiss: “Mahler: Symphony No. 4” (Pentatone) Vicky Chow, Jane Antonia Cornish: “Sierra” (Cantaloupe) If you know anything about Proust’s mammoth In Search of Lost Time, it’s a moment from the first installment, Swann’s Way. In it, Proust describes the moment of unlocking an old memory of Sunday mornings spent with […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Night Music

Justina Jaruševičiūtė: “Silhouettes” (Piano and Coffee Records) Camerata Zürich, Igor Karsko: “Leoš Janáček: On an Overgrown Path” (ECM) Golda Schultz, Jonathan Ware: “This Be Her Verse” (Alpha Classics) Justina Jaruševičiūtė describes the “Wolf Hour” as “that time of night in which people wake up without any particular reason and can’t fall back asleep.” It’s an […]