Length in music, along with time itself, stretches and compresses like an accordion, with only vague guidelines for overloading or underwhelming listeners, for leaving them hypnotized or fast asleep - especially as pieces get longer and longer. It's a badge of honor - at least in my circles - to say that you've sat through Morton Feldman's five-hour String Quartet No. 2, and … [Read more...] about Five, six, seven hours? With music by Feldman, Eastman, Cage and Hersch, how much does that matter?
The Metropolitan Opera's world premiere staging of The Hours - which opened Nov. 22 and plays through Dec. 15 - would be one of the season’s major cultural events if only because it’s three interweaving stories are headed by the most celebrated singers of our time: Joyce DiDonato as the legendary Mrs. Dalloway author Virginia Woolf, Kelli O’Hara as the suicidal 1950s housewife … [Read more...] about Metropolitan Opera’s The Hours: Feeling the love (but from afar)
Pianists don't come in complete packages anymore, or maybe never did. Artur Rubinstein and Clifford Curzon possibly fooled us into thinking that there could be a single classical pianist that you would turn to, from Mozart to Granados, for the duration of your musical life. Among current pianists, Paul Lewis can be trusted with nearly everything and delivers the kinds of peaks … [Read more...] about Modern pianists: Will they be everything to everybody? Hope not.
Mahler's Symphony No. 7, sometimes subtitled “Song of the Night,” is the composer’s most wayward symphony. It’s not one of the pretty ones. With five seemingly mismatched movements, the 80-minute piece doesn’t cooperate with itself in the manner of other Mahler symphonies — and certainly not with the history of western music. The final movement can be so bewildering that … [Read more...] about The Berlin Philharmonic dares us to love it – and we do
Music - it is often said - is about one thing: Music. It only conveys itself. But it has magical adhesive qualities when in the company of words, ideas, subtexts, which is why the classical world has evolved into a medium for social justice. If the Supreme Court won't stand up for saving the planet, the composers will - but with an abstraction that, in its best instances, hits … [Read more...] about Music that changes the world – one catacomb at a time