Why - I ask myself - was I so drawn to the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday (Nov. 15)? Tangible reasons include the presence of violinist Sergey Khachatryan - one of the best out there - as well as the commercial recordings that have fitfully emerged from that mountainous former-Soviet country. Then there’s the Komitas factor. He was an … [Read more...] about The Armenian National Philharmonic makes a magical stealth appearance at Carnegie Hall
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