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 […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Roadrunners

Martin Achrainer, Maki Namekawa: “Philip Glass: Songs” (Orange Mountain Music) Concerto Italiano, Rinaldo Alessandrini: “Daylight: Stories of Songs, Dances and Loves” (Naïve) Roderick Williams, Roger Vignoles: “Mirages: The Art of French Song” (Champs Hill Records)  There comes a point when, driving down a long stretch of highway, you get hit with a disorienting feeling of […]

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

Like the Volga Singing

Psychoanalysis and opera both have an uneven relationship to feminism, to put it mildly. The former, even when challenging the disorienting, traumatic quality of patriarchy, is a product of that same power. The practice’s roots lie in Jean-Martin Charcot’s Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, which turned the confinement of so-called “hysterical” women into a public spectacle. […]

Posted inI Know, But

I Know, But: “Boléro”

If you remember the 1980s, you remember Ravel’s “Boléro.” Although the work became a fixture on orchestral programs shortly after its premiere in 1928, the ’80s was arguably the decade of peak “Boléro” saturation, bookended by the soundtrack for the 1979 Dudley Moore comedy, “10,” and Frank Zappa’s 1991 album, “The Best Band You Never […]