Music Reviews

Music Reviews

Jan 25th 2015

I left jazz behind many years ago when I got hooked on Handel. The harmonies, the bounce and the melodies of the old German seemed to hold much more promise. I remember boasting to a friend, “I even have The Messiah in English.” I had a lot to learn. 

Jan 20th 2015

As composer Morton Feldman enjoys a comeback in contemporary music circles today, a Swiss arts and design academy has published a new tribute to him along with a CD featuring an ethereal interpretation of Palais de Mari, Feldman’s last solo piano work.

Jan 17th 2015

French pianist Hélène Grimaud returned to Bordeaux Friday night (Jan.

Jan 17th 2015

One would think that a reliable warhorse like “Tosca” might be a dull affair because it is performed so often, but the most recent Seattle Opera production shows that Puccini’s masterpiece still can grip audiences in the gut.

Jan 15th 2015
Even casual fans of classical music know of Ludwig van Beethoven’s deafness.  But could his hearing loss actually have been his greatest advantage as a musician?

Maybe so, says Leif Ove Andsnes, the highly acclaimed Norwegian pianist touring th

Jan 2nd 2015

The one thing the blogosphere does not need is another article about trendy, hip, ironic, facially-haired Brooklyn. In fact some recent articles now toll the death knell of the borough, saying that Brooklyn is passé; it seems that Queens is the new Brooklyn.

Dec 28th 2014

A powerful new recording of Rachmaninov’s familiar Sonata for Cello and Piano in G Minor Op. 19 (Light and Shadow, Becsta Records) manages to take this rich Russian music to new heights. It ranks comfortably alongside several impressive readings by other major cellists.

Dec 12th 2014

Marc-André Hamelin, Canadian-born and now residing in the Boston suburbs, has just completed a highly successful two-concert series in Bordeaux, playing the Beethoven piano concerto No. 4 including his own cadenza.

Dec 11th 2014

Canadian-born pianist Marc-André Hamelin kept a Bordeaux audience riveted Wednesday evening (Dec. 10) by his super-sensitive rendering of a familiar warhorse, the Beethoven piano concerto No. 4. Familiar, yes, but Bordeaux had never heard it performed quite so perfectly.

Dec 10th 2014

Canadian-born virtuoso pianist Marc-André Hamelin, looking relaxed and happy about his debut in Bordeaux this week, took time out between rehearsals at the city’s new concert hall, l’Auditorium, to talk about his past and what is coming next.

Nov 29th 2014

As any honest critic will tell you (if you can find one), writing about contemporary piano  is a long and thorny process requiring multiple hearings or multiple arguments with the composer.

Nov 27th 2014

You don’t have to be Irish to fall in love with music from the Emerald Isle.

Nov 20th 2014

The fifth annual Bordeaux piano festival, l’Esprit du Piano, concludes nine days of keyboard music on Friday Nov. 21 with Henri Barda playing works by Mozart, Brahms and Chopin.

Nov 18th 2014

Conducting is essentially a phenomenon associated with Western classical music. As a rule, rock and jazz bands do not employ a conductor unless they are teaming up with a symphony orchestra.
Nov 8th 2014

The NEC Philharmonia’s world premiere performance of Leon Kirchner’s retouched version of his charming Music for Flute and Orchestra arrived at Jordan Hall Wednesday with the popular Paula Robison and her gold flute.

Nov 6th 2014

It wasn’t so long ago that many musicians feared the piano was losing its way in serious music. The repertoire had not grown significantly in the 1950s and 1960s, and technology was increasingly favored by composers on the cutting edge.

Oct 2nd 2014
Abba - Knowing me, knowing you

I’m quite used to receiving abuse concerning the content of this column, but in contrast my previous post (about

Sep 30th 2014

In the hit parade of operas, Puccini’s La Bohème rates a solid third place after La Traviata and Carmen, so it was pretty much guaranteed a rousing reception as the opener of the new season in Bordeaux last week.

Sep 25th 2014

Think of your favourite piece of music. Do you get shivers when the music swells or the chorus kicks in? Or are the opening few bars enough to make you feel tingly?

Despite having no obvious survival value, listening to music can be a highly rewarding activity.

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