Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Weather Patterns

“You are the sky,” says the Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön. “Everything else is just the weather.” Chödrön offers this as a guide for dealing with strong emotions—a more tangible variation on “this too shall pass.” Emotions arise and, while they feel like they may fully inhabit every pore of our body, they rarely leave […]

Posted inEssay

Resonant Messages

I have been playing the piano since the age of three, but for most of my time at the instrument I was oblivious to the long history of African-descended classical musicians. Today, as a music historian and performer, I am drawn to narratives from and around the African continent and diaspora: to make sense of […]

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 inInterview

Targeted Melodies

In “What Grieves Frenzy Drown’d,” an album released on SCRIPTS Records in April by 27-year-old New York-based guitarist Alec Goldfarb, melodies rise out of coarse microtonal string textures like strange objects—both ancient and modern, water-smooth rocks and plastic detritus—found on a rough-hewn beach. Occasionally these melodies sound familiar, influenced by Goldfarb’s immersion in Indian classical […]

Posted inInterview

Anti-Angelic Aesthetics

The harp world is small and isolated, often ignored by media outlets. But changes are afoot among those who play the instrument at the highest level. New repertoire and collaborations are on the rise, as are different ways of thinking about the harp’s past and why it’s an instrument overwhelmingly played by cisgendered women. (An […]

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 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 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 […]

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