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

Reflections and Refractions

Caroline Eidsten Dahl: “Telemann: 12 Solo Fantasias” (LAWO Classics) Jeanine De Bique: “Mirrors” (Berlin Classics) Leonidas Kavakos: “Bach: Sei Solo” (Sony) Lucile Boulanger: “Solo Bach-Abel” (Alpha) I’m convinced that, after enough listening to and reading about classical music, we each land on that one composer we can’t stand. Growing up outside of Boston, listening to […]

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

Movement in the Shadows

Sabine Devieilhe, Raphaël Pichon, Pygmalion: “Bach & Handel” (Erato) Sean Friar, NOW Ensemble: “Before and After” (New Amsterdam) Anthony Roth Costanzo, Justin Vivian Bond: “Only an Octave Apart” (Decca) All easygoing years are alike; each exhausting year is exhausting in its own way. For 2022, I can place my breaking point at West Elm Caleb. […]

Posted inInterview

Luxurious Boredom

When countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo was 11 years old, he performed in a Broadway production of “The Sound of Music” alongside capital-P Personality Marie Osmond. Out of the goodness of her heart, Osmond offered the boy a deep discount on her range of dolls, a line she developed with the television shopping channel QVC. Costanzo […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Goldberg Variations Playlist

Writing about my musical path for the New York Times last month, I noted that the one strand of continuity for me, between instruments and repertoires, was Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Part of that continuity was my dissatisfaction with the work. Don’t get me wrong, the Goldbergs are incredible. But, from piano to harpsichord to organ, […]

Posted inReport

Holistic Improvisation

I work in the niche realm of historical performance, but videos from the 2020 Bovicelli Competition are the nichest thing I have seen in a long time. This year’s competition, officially titled the “International Singers’ Competition on the Diminution Practices of the 16th and 17th Centuries,” was hosted by the Schloss Weißenbrunn Foundation in Germany […]

Posted inEssay

Centuries of Silence

Only then can his creative genius begin redounding, as it should, to the glory of Black music history,” writes the musicologist Robert Stevenson in his 1982 article, “The First Black Published Composer.” Stevenson’s subject was Vicente Lusitano (ca. 1520-ca. 1561), an African-Portuguese priest and musician who enjoyed an international career. Stevenson heralds works like the […]

Posted inInterview

Make Up The Notes

The first thing one sees in Gwendolyn Toth’s apartment on the west side of Manhattan, above Lincoln Center, is the keyboards: Three of them wrapped up and standing on their ends inside the front door. In the living room, there are several more, some ready to travel, some available to play—seven in all, including a […]