Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

For Your (Re)consideration

Patricia Petibon, La Cetra, Andrea Marcon: “La Traversée” (Sony) BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sakari Oramo, Peter Donohoe: “Dora Pejačević: Piano Concerto & Symphony” (Chandos) Giulia Semenzato, Kammerorchester Basel: “Angelica Diabolica” (Alpha) We’re in the middle of a renaissance for historically-maligned women: Tonya Harding, Monica Lewinsky, Britney Spears, Lorena Bobbitt, and Pamela Anderson are among those whose […]

Posted inHistory

Rhapsody in the Dark

In 1989, the Government of Algeria submitted to the journal of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML) what it termed a “somewhat difficult request.”  It concerned the country’s most fabled and lauded composer, Mohamed Iguerbouchène.  By then he had been dead for almost a quarter of a century. Born in […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Beautiful Serialism Playlist

Like some others on the 300-million-headed-hydra of hysteria known as Twitter, I was mildly irked on April 26 when the Columbia University linguist and New York Times op-ed writer John McWhorter published an essay titled “Classical Music Doesn’t Have to be Ugly to be Good.” Citing two recent books, McWhorter argues, among other things, that […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Moth Elegies

If there was ever a case for establishing a middle ground between separating the art from the artist and not, it’s Othmar Schoeck. Born in 1886 by the shores of Lake Lucerne, Schoeck found himself in the unfortunate position of being a dyed-in-the-wool Romantic working in a world that was trending inexorably towards the modern […]

Posted inPlaylist

A May Day Playlist

Whether your Labor Day falls on May 1 or the first Monday in September, the core concept remains the same: honoring the workers who keep countries running. In this decade, we’re facing another cultural reexamination of work—one perhaps best summarized by a TikTok sound that has somehow been attributed to both “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and […]

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 […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Floating in Gesture

Belcea Quartet, Tabea Zimmermann, Jean-Guihen Queyras: “Brahms String Sextets” (Alpha Classics) Rebeca Omordia: “African Pianism” (SOMM Recordings) Two things have been stuck in my head lately. The first comes from Anna Stavychenko’s recent interview with my colleague Hartmut Welscher, given just before Russia’s invasion, while the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra director was on permanent red alert. […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

You Want It Darker

Gidon Kremer: “Mieczysław Weinberg: Sonatas for Violin” (ECM) Stéphane Degout, Simon Lepper: “Epic: Lieder & Balladen” (Harmonia Mundi) Anna Prohaska, La Folia Barockorchester, Robin Peter Müller: “Celebration of Life in Death” (Alpha) There are several moments in the Torah when a figure, called on by God, answers that call with a single word: Hineni. It’s […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

We Are All Ghosts

Ashley Bathgate & Kate Moore: “Stories for Ocean Shells” (Cantaloupe) Genova & Dimitrov Piano Duo: “Amy Beach: Complete Works for Piano Duo” (CPO) Anna von Hausswolff: “All Thoughts Fly” (Southern Lord)  Kali Malone: “Pipe Inversions (for Kimberger III)” (Important Records) There’s a building near the Tiergarten in Berlin, just behind a section of the Zoological […]

Posted inProfile

Fuse, Liquify, Distort

I have long admired the music of Fausto Romitelli. His epic video opera, “Index of Metals” (2003) pointed toward new worlds of expressive possibilities for young composers like me writing experimental music for instruments and electronics at the start of the 21st century. The piece features a soprano and three enormous panels of colorful video […]

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