The third and, for now, last next to last in a brief series, this post collects all of my writing for The New York Times between my report on the American Symphony Orchestra concert of November 17 and the collective article "Critics Weigh In on Standout Operas of Recent Decades," both of which I posted individually elsewhere. I'm including the "Classical Playlist" CD capsule-review posts that have been appearing on the paper's ArtsBeat blog, but I also intend to create a new landing page specifically to compile those reviews for easy access.
At this point, I intend (or at least hope) to present fresh reviews and articles as they appear…fingers crossed. As before, the first date refers to the event, the second to when the review appeared.
David Lang "New Voices, New Music" at Zankel Hall, November 20, 2013
November 25, 2013 (web-only)
Nicholas Deyoe’s “Lullaby 4,” played by the startlingly versatile gnarwhallaby, a California quartet in matching black outfits, murmured and pounced with the spontaneity of free improvisation, yet always conveyed the sense of a firm guiding hand.
Juilliard String Quartet at Alice Tully Hall, November 21, 2013
November 27, 2013
Paradoxically balancing thoroughgoing poise with an almost reckless edge, they expertly enacted visionary qualities intrinsic to late Schubert.
THOMAS: ‘Resounding Earth’
Third Coast Percussion
(New Focus Records)
EVA-MARIA HOUBEN: Piano Music
R. Andrew Lee, piano
Through his consistently impressive solo releases on the curiously named Irritable Hedgehog label, the Colorado-based pianist R. Andrew Lee has asserted a vision of musical Minimalism far broader than the limited patch that abused term usually signifies.
21c Liederabend at the BAM Harvey Theater, November 22, 2013
November 26, 2013
Despite a growth trajectory that has seen each successive 21c Liederabend housed in a larger space with more elaborate production elements, Ms. Morrison and Ms. Prestini preserved the sensation of a family affair…
…the group covers an admirably broad expressive range: from Alex Mincek’s rigorously calibrated violence to Felipe Lara’s voluptuous, elemental lyricism, by way of expressive contemplations from Wolfgang Rihm and David Brynjar Franzson.
In just eight minutes, this chamber orchestra work perfectly encapsulates her uncanny knack for conjuring the natural world — not through quaint, picturesque mimicry, but with potent evocations of elemental power, flux and potential.
…those qualities were enacted convincingly at the close of a brilliantly played, fervently felt account, enriched with silken strings, robust brass and eloquent solos by the principal winds and the concertmaster, Max Tan.
UnCaged Toy Piano Festival at Pianos, December 12, 2013
December 14, 2013
The spirits of John Cage and Charles M. Schulz’s Schroeder converged on the Lower East Side on Thursday night…
BEUGER: ‘Sixteen Stanzas on Stillness and Music Unheard’
Greg Stuart, vibraphone
‘DUETS FOR SOLO SNARE DRUM’
Nick Hennies, snare drum
Nick Hennies and Greg Stuart, percussion
…a ghostly, gorgeous lesson in how close, concentrated listening can alter and enhance perception.
Like Satie’s “Gymnopédies” as heard through a narcotic veil, the music stair-stepped and circled with melancholy deliberateness, slight disharmonies lending the sensation of cracked, yellowed photos.
‘FALSTAFF’ Herva Nelli, Teresa Stich-Randall, Giuseppe Valdengo; Arturo Toscanini, conductor; Robert Shaw Chorale, NBC Symphony Orchestra (RCA Gold Seal).
‘OTELLO’ Renata Scotto, Jon Vickers, Cornell MacNeil; James Levine, conductor; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus (Sony Classical, DVD).
‘LA TRAVIATA’ Maria Callas, Alfredo Kraus, Mario Sereni; Franco Ghione, conductor; Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Lisbon (Myto Records).
VERDI REQUIEM Anja Harteros, Sonia Ganassi, Rolando Villazón, René Pape; Antonio Pappano, conductor; Santa Cecilia Academy Chorus and Orchestra (EMI Classics).
‘RIGOLETTO’ (from “Verdi at the Met: Legendary Performances at the Metropolitan Opera”) Bidú Sayão, Jussi Bjoerling, Leonard Warren; Cesare Sodero, conductor; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus (Sony Classical).
True story: “Rigoletto” changed my life.
New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, December 28, 2013
December 30, 2013
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, titled “Pathétique” and completed in August 1893, is a beautiful time bomb with a faulty firing pin — or so it can seem, given the response its unorthodox construction almost inevitably compels.