Music Reviews

Music Reviews

Jan 30th 2016

One of the great innovators of new music, composer Julius Eastman, was born unlucky – both black and gay.

Dec 29th 2015

The perfumed prose of music criticism can sometimes be as annoying as it is unhelpful.  For a lesson in turning music into words, however, there is better, as I have found in reading analyses and opinions on Johann Sebastian Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.

Dec 22nd 2015

French-Armenian pianist Varduhi Yeritsyan has attracted international accolades from major critics for her vigorous interpretations of the ten Scriabin piano sonatas, a corpus that continues to intrigue pianophiles a hundred years after his death.

Dec 17th 2015

Alexander Scriabin’s ten piano sonatas serve as a guide to his journey from Romantic to atonal composition, 20 years in the making. His innovations took him into obscure, abstract territory but rescued him from being labeled a mere Chopin copycat, his starting point.

Dec 5th 2015

British pianist Paul Lewis delivered a silken, stormy and violent performance of the colossal Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-minor Op. 15 Thursday evening (Dec. 3), joined by the Orchestre Nationale Bordeaux Aquitaine in the city’s new Auditorium.

Nov 26th 2015

Pianist Arcadi Volodos, one of the most impressive virtuosos to emerge from the Russian School in the past few decades, captivated a Bordeaux audience last night (Wednesday, Nov. 25) with a program of Brahms and Schubert. The program climaxed with four sparkling encores and a standing ovation.

Nov 18th 2015

The Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang left his Bordeaux audience somewhat nonplussed Tuesday night (Nov. 17) by opening his recital with 45 minutes of shallow salon music, Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons”.

Nov 1st 2015

At what point did Pierre Boulez say his teacher’s music made him want to vomit? The teacher, of course, was the great French composer Olivier Messiaen, and Boulez was his ex-student. Scholars have been trying to track down that unkind cut for decades but details remain clouded.

Oct 28th 2015
A decade ago, any mention of a choir would probably have brought Sunday morning hymns to mind. But there’s been a revolution in attitudes towards joining the local choir.
Oct 24th 2015

The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra opened its season this week with rousing performances of two works that had never before been combined on a program for Boston audiences – Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” and Richard Strauss’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra”.

Oct 18th 2015

Morton Feldman’s delicate, will o’ the wisp compositions demand of the listener a special mental and spiritual investment, a belief in music’s potential to pervade human consciousness.

Oct 9th 2015

Boston is that most musical of American cities, so there is never a shortage of recital and concert to choose from. I visit Boston twice and year and partake freely of the offerings.  Boston’s talented performers are the equal of New Yorkers, Parisians, even Berliners.

Sep 6th 2015

Not to brag, but I've stood upon some pretty rarified podiums: I've conducted "New York, New York" for Frank, "The Candy Man" for Sammy, and "Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie," for Don McLean.

Sep 5th 2015

Frank Castorf’s maintained his anti-romantic stance with his production of “Götterdämmerung” at Bayreuth on Wednesday, August 26th, and went further by giving the heroic music of Siegfried’s Funeral March and the final measures of the opera to Hagen.

Sep 3rd 2015

Perhaps Frank Castorf was in a bad mood when he conceived his production of “Siegfried” for the Bayreuth Festival –or he was just mischievous.

Aug 31st 2015

The decadence of the Nordic gods continued to be a major theme in Bayreuth’s “Die Walküre” as envisioned by Frank Castorf, who grew up in East Germany with the Marxist view of the world.

Aug 30th 2015

Two outstanding young pianists – one from Hungary, one from Italy – have been selected to become the first Oberlin-Como Fellows, two tuition-free years of study in a new partnership of the International Piano Academy Lake Como and the U.S. Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Aug 26th 2015

In the Frank Castorf production of “Das Rheingold” that I saw in Bayreuth on Friday (August 21), Wotan and company have their god-like powers, but they are just a bunch of gangster types in a low-life setting.

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