Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Winter Journeys

In the third episode of “Dekalog,” Krzysztof Kieślowski’s ten-part series of interconnected short films (each based on one of the Ten Commandments), cab driver Janusz’s Christmas Eve is interrupted by Ewa, his former extramarital lover. Janusz abandons his family dinner to assist Ewa with what he believes is tracking down her missing husband. What Ewa […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Leagues of Nations

Among the cameos in Singing Like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, Kira Thurman’s jam-packed history of Black performers in German-speaking Europe, is Claudio Brindis de Salas Garrido. Thurman describes the virtuoso violinist as “a mirror reflecting German conversations about Black masculine musicality in the Kaiserreich,” or the German Empire. […]

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 […]

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