Posted inEssay

Quarter Rest with Fermata

Quarter Rest with Fermatafor Richard R. Schantz On this dayin the Weih-nocturne glowof this roomful of rhombicuboctahedronsthe real augmented by reflection time isn’t ordinary. Right on cue(you always said to anticipate entrances in light of narrative)there you areby your crystal fountain, posing unanswered questionsd’arte, d’amoreexposition, disclo(the)sure(your Sprechstimme unequivocalstill strictly, stubbornly non-rhotic). You extend, generouslyarsis, thesisup and down, […]

Posted inPages Turned

Pianist of the Century

“Igor Levit’s career is a stark demonstration of the dissolving of boundaries between art and commerce, journalism and public relations,” wrote Hartmut Welscher in an article for VAN in 2020. One can add publishing to the ever-growing list of formats whose traditional ethical boundaries Levit has blurred, as House Concert, written by Florian Zinnecker under […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Dark Academia Playlist

I hadn’t heard of Dark Academia—a subculture born on Tumblr that soon migrated to Instagram and TikTok—until sometime last year when I suddenly started seeing posts about Donna Tartt’s The Secret History everywhere. One of my favorite books, I was surprised to see it now become the basis of memes, outfits of the day, playlists, […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Reaching the Surface

John Wilson, Sinfonia of London: “Ravel: Orchestral Works” (Chandos) Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, Marc Minkowski: “Haydn: ‘London’ Symphonies” (Naïve) Les Talens Lyriques, Christophe Rousset, et. al.: “Lully: ‘Armide’” (Aparté)  In 1980, the city of Lausanne, Switzerland commissioned Jean-Luc Godard to create a short film in celebration of its quincentenary, one of two that they would […]

Posted inInterview

Completed by Perception

When I was 13 or so, I raced through Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, finishing the final volume, The Amber Spyglass, on Christmas eve. I carried the complex melancholy of the ending around with me for weeks afterward in defiance of holiday cheer.  Recently, I realized that Pullman is also a classical music fan. […]

Posted inPlaylist

A “Ulysses” Playlist

James Joyce’s 1922 novel Ulysses has hummed with sound for one hundred years. “Mrkgnao!” goes Leopold Bloom’s cat while he makes breakfast; “Pprrpffrrppffff” goes his posterior after dinner later. We hear the chattering of the telegraph in the “Aeolus’” episode, the clattering of cutlery and clinking of glasses as Bloom eats and drinks his way […]

Posted inEssay

Metaphysical Relief

In September, the legendary German filmmaker, author, actor, opera director, and skateboarding-opinion-haver Werner Herzog turns 80. Herzog’s use of music in his films is noticeably more eclectic and more surprising than that of most of his director colleagues, according to our contributor Thomas von Steinaecker, who is currently finishing a documentary on the artist.  A […]

Posted inReview

Song of the Goats

Watching a Yorgos Lanthimos film invariably leads to esoteric questions. Via “Dogtooth”: Why are you calling an armchair a “sea”? From “The Lobster”: If you had to be irreversibly changed into an animal, which one would you pick? And, thanks to Lanthimos’s new short, “Bleat,” co-commissioned by the Greek National Opera and cultural nonprofit NEON: […]

Posted inHistory

Talking to Ghosts

About seven years ago, HBO almost made my dream television show. It was called “Virtuoso,” and was produced by Elton John and written and directed by Alan Ball. From all accounts—and I followed them closely—it was to be something of a soap opera about the founding of a conservatory obviously based on the real-life Vienna […]

Posted inEssay

Adaptation in America

Becoming an opera librettist was, for me, a natural extension of years spent working as a playwright in downtown New York theater and experimental music-theater. That fertile stomping ground provided an immersion into the dramaturgy of space and sound, the architectonics of tension, duration, and alternate modes of language and narrative. Writing for theater, I […]