Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

In the Wake

Classical music isn’t known for being in-the-moment: Seasons are planned years in advance, and there are people who still refer to “The Rite of Spring” (1913) as “contemporary” music. Even in this deferred environment, however, lockdown albums and works composed in the mindset of social distancing are nothing new. With so much downtime and so […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Sense and Sensuality

Simon Zaoui, Pierre Fouchenneret, Raphaël Merlin, Marie Chilemme, and Quatuor Strada: “Gabriel Fauré: Horizons II” (Aparté) Marie-Eve Munger, Les Boréades de Montréal, Philippe Bourque: “Maestrino Mozart” (ATMA Classique) Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Kirill Gerstein, Marie-Christine Zupancic: “Mieczysław Weinberg: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 7, Flute Concerto No. 1” (Deutsche Grammophon)  […]

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 inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Under the Influence

Colin Jacobsen, Eric Jacobsen, Karen Ouzounian, The Knights: “The Kreutzer Project” (Avie) Vladimir Jurowski, Bayerisches Staatsorchester: “Beethoven: Symphony No. 2, Brett Dean: ‘Testament’” (BSO Recordings) Let’s talk about Beethoven’s second violin concerto. By which I mean his “Kreutzer” Sonata.  Of course, the “Kreutzer” Sonata isn’t a concerto in the strictest sense of the word. But […]

Posted inReview

Gazing in the Dirt

The concept of resurrection presupposes a well-established order of things: life, death, burial, remembrance, and then finally the call to rise again, this time unto eternity. The structure of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 mostly follows that order. But what happens when there’s a fundamental disturbance, even breakdown in this arrangement? When a decent death and burial […]

Posted inReport

Trial and Error

In November 2021, two trumpets of the Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal in western Germany slithered up a chromatic motive at the beginning of the fourth movement—the “Tuba Mirum”—from Antonin Dvořák’s Requiem before disappearing into an unsettling augmented woodwind chord. The kind of exposed orchestral passage that only registers as difficult when someone cracks a note or the […]

Posted inInterview

The Never-Ending Task

After 19 years leading the Minnesota Orchestra, Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä will be saying goodbye this month, with performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 from June 10 to 12 and a “farewell celebration” on June 17. His tenure with the orchestra—and especially the recordings he’s made with the group—have been almost universally acclaimed: It took […]

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 inInterview

Renaissance State

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Stockholm to speak with English conductor Daniel Harding and hear a rehearsal and concert with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, which Harding has led since 2007. (Disclosure: The orchestra covered my flights and hotel for the trip.) Harding and I had lunch together at a restaurant so fancy […]

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 […]