Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Only Connect

Nicholas Phan, Brooklyn Rider, et. al.: “Stranger – Works for Tenor by Nico Muhly” (Avie) London Choral Sinfonia, Michael Waldron, et. al: “Colourise” (Orchid Classics)  In his program notes for “Stranger,” Nico Muhly writes that he “almost always” prefers prose to poetry as a composer; setting prose “offers a more oblique entry-point into the text.” […]

Posted inInterview

Becoming Sound

On stage, there is something of a Monsieur Hulot-esque quality to Joëlle Léandre. She hunches over her big double bass, leaning forward with furrowed brow, huffing and puffing as she plays, sometimes letting those huffs and puffs emerge as full-throated vocalizations, each one a triumphant bof! of simultaneous exultation and exasperation. Watching her solo set […]

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 inInterview

Conscious Decoupling

“Hi, my name is Flora and I am an instrument.” With these words, Flora Marlene Geißelbrecht introduced her program, titled “Viola and Voice, Sybils and Songs,” for the Berlin Prize for Young Artists. But it wasn’t just a welcome—it was also a description and a summary, in typically laconic Viennese fashion. The young Austrian was […]

Posted inReview

 Love, Anger, Agency

Kate Molleson begins Sound within Sound: Opening Our Ears to the Twentieth Century with a loud call for change. “I write this book out of love and anger. The love, because I want to shout from the rooftops that classical music is gripping, essential, personally and politically game changing. The anger, because I can’t shout proudly about a […]

Posted inInterview

The Birth of a New Ritual

As a child, Alvin Curran would lie in bed at his parents’ Providence, Rhode Island home and listen to the counterpoint between the booms of trains shunting together at a nearby rail yard and foghorns down at the harbor a few miles away. “Was that a piece of music?” I ask him. “Absolutely,” he replies. […]

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 […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Still Somewhere

Alexandre Kantorow, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Jean-Jacques Kantorow: “Saint-Saëns: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2” (BIS) Joanna Goodale: “Debussy in Resonance” (Paratay) Lavinia Meijer: “Are You Still Somewhere?” (Sony) As the composer himself tells the story, when Camille Saint-Saëns was six years old, he composed a romance for a singer. The 12-bar work left its interpreter’s father […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Not Even Past

Kronos Quartet, Rinde Eckert, Vân-Ánh Võ: “Mỹ Lai” (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings) David T. Little, Royce Vavrek, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, NOVUS NY, Mellissa Hughes: “Am I Born” (Bright Shiny Things) Back in September 2016—in an only slightly saner world—novelist Lionel Shriver gave a keynote at the Brisbane Writers Festival. The festival’s organizers had […]