Posted inBreaking

A Queen Elizabeth II Playlist

Queen Elizabeth II reigned for 70 years. Sources inside the BBC report that the rolling television coverage of her life and times is planned to continue just as long. What follows is a monarchical playlist to help those inside and outside the UK make sense of this momentous event through music.  Benjamin Britten: “Gloriana” (1953)  […]

Posted inEssay

A Spiritual Vibration

In Chinese, the characters to describe the type of intense intellectual bond that transcends words like “friendship” or “romance” mean: “Know yourself.” The term is pronounced zhiji in Mandarin, but the characters—and core meaning—remains the same across other dialects. To know yourself, in other words, depends on recognizing your image reflected in another. In turn, […]

Posted inReview

The Indifferent Cosmos

In July 1996, Gérard Grisey was at work on the first movement of what would be his final composition, the “Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil”  (“Four songs for crossing the threshold”) when he made a note to himself in his journal. “If I ever compose an opera,” he wrote, “make the stakes and the […]

Posted inHistory

Caller of Spirits

When pianist Mark Austin began researching composer Peter Warlock, ahead of recording an album of his songs with the mezzo-soprano Anna Harvey, Austin focussed on the music and not the life. “I started to read a biography of Warlock and I got about halfway through,” he says. “This is unusual for me, as I’m normally […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Theater of Music Playlist

You walk on stage, and it’s terrifying: senior-recital-gone-wrong, late-to-a-masterclass-with-Big-Name-Soloist, career-ending-farce-with-your-parents-in-the-audience terrifying. As always, it’s inexplicably hot on the boards (or too cold, or the lights are too bright) and you’re sure the audience can see the sweat glisten on your frustrated, unhappy face. You’re flubbing notes left and right, barreling through an old favorite, lilting […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Between Cosmos and Chaos

Martin Fröst, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra: “Jesper Nordin: Emerging from Currents and Waves (Live)” (BIS) Angélique Kidjo, Filharmonie Brno, Dennis Russell Davies: “Philip Glass: Symphony No. 12, ‘Lodger’” (Orange Mountain Music) Nightingale String Quartet: “Vagn Holmboe: String Quartets, Vol. 2” (Dacapo) If Elon Musk’s Twitter deal had gone through, would there have been […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Empty Spaces

Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Heinz Holliger: “Schönberg: Kammersymphonie Op. 9, Sechs Kleine Stücke, Op. 19; Webern: Symphonie, Op. 21, Fünf Sätze, Op. 5” (Fuga Libera) Zehava Gal, Laurence Dale, Veronique Dietschy, Carl Johan Falkman, et. al. “La tragédie de Carmen” Bertrand Chamayou: “Messiaen: Vingt Regards sur l’enfant Jésus” (Erato) “I can take any empty […]

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

An Elegant Matrix

Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Joonas Ahonen: “Le monde selon George Antheil” (Alpha Classics) Florent Ghys: “Ritournelles” (Cantaloupe) Florent Ghys: “Mosaïques” (Cantaloupe) Latvian Radio Choir, Sigvards Kļava: “John Cage: Choral Works” (Ondine) The fact that you are reading this article right now owes much to a request posed to composer George Antheil in 1940: “Hedy Lamarr wants to […]