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

Time Lost and Found

Czech Philharmonic, Semyon Bychkov, Chen Reiss: “Mahler: Symphony No. 4” (Pentatone) Vicky Chow, Jane Antonia Cornish: “Sierra” (Cantaloupe) If you know anything about Proust’s mammoth In Search of Lost Time, it’s a moment from the first installment, Swann’s Way. In it, Proust describes the moment of unlocking an old memory of Sunday mornings spent with […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Harrison Birtwistle Playlist

Harrison Birtwistle died on April 18 at the age of 87. He was regarded as one of the foremost composers of his generation, a member of the so-called Manchester School alongside Alexander Goehr and Peter Maxwell Davies. His music attracted adjectives like ”iconoclastic” and “uncompromising”; one famous anecdote recounts Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears walking […]

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 inInterview

Hit Me in the Belly

On March 18, the trumpet player Håkan Hardenberger celebrated his 60th birthday with a concert with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, where he performed Brett Dean’s trumpet concerto “Dramatis personae,” and smiled gamely (and sipped champagne) through an encore rendition of the theme from “Superman” in his honor. (Disclosure: As with my recent interview with […]

Posted inInterview

Personal Mathematics

“Music,” says composer and woodwind player Roscoe Mitchell, “is a science.” The octogenarian is in Bergen, Norway, for the city’s annual Borealis Festival of experimental music. In a few days’ time, he’ll bring the weekend to a thrilling close with two sets, one solo (accompanied by several pre-recorded videos of himself improvising at home), and […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

The Polyhedral Spree

Ramon Lazkano, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, L’Instant Donnée, Johanna Zimmer, Manuel Nawri: “Diptyque Jabès” (Odradek) Les Siècles, François Xavier Roth, et. al.: ”Pelléas et Mélisande” (Harmonia Mundi) Kate Soper: “The Understanding of All Things” (New Focus Recordings) The Syrian poet and diplomat Nizar Qabbani wrote that words are like sparrows: they don’t require travel visas. I […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Artifacts of Past and Future

Svyatoslav Lunyov: “Panta Rhei” (Ukrainian Live Classic) Valentyn Silvestrov: “Requiem for Larissa” (Ukrainian Live Classic) Alla Zahaykevich: “Nord-Ouest” (Ukrainian Live Classic) Over the last week, I’ve jotted down several aphorisms from composer Svyatoslav Lunyov, in slapdash, automated translations from their original Ukrainian. “The artist is like a spider,” he told the Kyiv Daily. “To catch […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Different Trains

Eric Nathan, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose, et. al.: “Missing Words” (New Focus Recordings) Danielle Eva Schwob, PUBLIQuartet, et. al.: “Out of the Tunnel” (Innova) Judd Greenstein, yMusic: “Together” (New Amsterdam) A few weeks ago, in this column, I wrote about that moment when you’re driving along a highway at consistent speed and you […]

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 […]

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