Bach — B minor Mass (Double-header)

1) Performance of 2011 at Abbaye de Fontfroide, Narbonne, France; conducted by Jordi Savall. Rating 5 stars. 2) Performance of 2012 at Royal Albert Hall, London; conducted by Harry Bicket. Rating 5 stars. * * * * * In the …Read More

Sinatra: An American Icon

Another choice exhibit in New York City is at the Library of the Performing Arts- —  “Sinatra—an American Icon,” — which so handsomely shows the life, career, and talent of that charismatic and extraordinary singer. It will resonate particularly for …Read More

Gershwin’s Concerto in F

  The photograph of Yuja Wang on the invitation showed an athletic female Lang Lang with a short skirt, which diminished her talent immediately. But no such person appeared on stage with Michael Tilson Thomas and the superb group of musicians …Read More

Seymour: An Introduction

This is a surprisingly compelling documentary about Seymour Bernstein, a successful and internationally acclaimed classical pianist who, at the age of 50, stopped playing concerts because of the crippling anxiety associated with them. His last public performance, he asserts with …Read More

The Wrecking Crew

My husband and I had a busy Saturday planned so we went to a 10:45am screening of “The Wrecking Crew,” a fabulous documentary on the professional musicians who played on the albums of the Beach Boys, the Byrds, Sonny and …Read More

Mozart C minor Mass, K.427

Performance on YouTube, with John Eliot Gardiner conducting the Stockholm Philharmonic; soloists Miah Persson, Ann Hallenberg, Hedge Rønning, Peter Mattei. A first-rate performance of this great work, by a conductor who specializes in 18th-century choral works. It takes only an …Read More

Hermès Quartet

  This talented group of musicians is headquartered in Paris but perform all over the world. They are young (20s/early 30s), vigorous and perfectly coordinated in executing such classical works as Haydn, Janacek and Schumann. There is a precision and youthful …Read More

Chinese New Year Music

  Several museums hosted events for the Lunar New Year this time, as did the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, which begin its tribute a couple of years ago with a half Chinese/half Western program. This year, however, the emphasis was …Read More

The Vienna Philharmonic

The first team was on the field at Carnegie Hall for the Vienna’s performances of Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 1 (sometimes called “Beethoven’s Tenth.”) An interesting program, with the later symphony first, then the towering First Symphony …Read More

St. John Passion

Another choral work from the Berlin Philharmonic archives, a performance in February 2014 Bach’s St. John Passion, conducted by Simon Rattle with soloists Camilla Tilling, Magdalena Kozena, Tobi Lehtipuu, Mark Padmore as the evangelist, and Roderick Williams as Christus. When …Read More

American Sniper

  Clint Eastwood films tend to raise issues that provoke conversation and thought. I’d put “Dirty Harry,” “Mystic River,” “Flags of our Fathers,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Letters from Iwo Jima” and “Gran Torino” in that category. “American Sniper” does the …Read More

Mendelssohn — Elijah (1846)

  Obedient as always to the dictates, directives, and even the whims of our august Aisymnatist, who has issued a ukase demanding more reviews of choral music, we turn once again to the archives of the Berlin Philharmonic where we …Read More

Walküre Microlude

What is a microlude? The term was apparently coined by a Hungarian avant-garde composer named György Kurtág, born 1926, pretty old if still alive, who wrote (in 1977) a composition titled “12 Microludes for String Quartet — Hommage à András …Read More

“Lady Day…” at HBO Filming in New Orleans

  Whether or not you caught Audra McDonald in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” while it played NYC at Circle on the Square, here is a heads up: HBO filmed a live performance in New Orleans for airing …Read More

Bach — St. Matthew Passion

Obedient as always to the commands of the Panhypersebastos of the VDP, and particularly his desire to see more reviews of choral music, here is another from the Berlin Philharmonic archive. There are two performances of this work, one in …Read More

tears become… streams become…

The 67th Street Armory has become one of the most creative venues in the city, thanks to Rebecca Robertson and her artistic directors whose imaginations enable theatergoers to enjoy experiences they could never have in any other space. Hence this …Read More

Mozart in the Jungle

  Recovering oboist Blair Tindall’s 2005 tell-all look into the world of Drugs, Sex and Classical Music comes to the small screen via Amazon Studio’s streaming video service. The pilot episode is up now, and all 10 first-season episodes are …Read More

Beethoven Missa Solemnis

  Back to the Berlin Philharmonic archive with a performance on June 3, 2012, conducted by Herbert Blomstedt; soloists Ruth Ziesak, soprano; Gerhild Romberger, alto; Richard Croft, tenor; and Georg Zeppenfeld, bass. The Missa Solemnis is a rather austere work. …Read More

Brahms Requiem: Performances II and III

It turns out that the Berlin Philharmonic Archive has two other performances of this work: II: Made in Vienna in 1997, with the Swedish Radio Choir, conductor Claudio Abbado, soprano Barbara Bonney, bass Bryn Terfel (now famous at the Met). …Read More

Paper Music: A Ciné Concert by Philip Miller and William Kentridge

The celebrated South African artist William Kentridge presented his Paper Music Concert Monday night at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. In a packed auditorium (tickets were impossible to get!) Kentrdige narrated and showed short videos. The artist described them as “new …Read More

Brahms Requiem

Berlin Philharmonic concert: Brahms Requiem.  Conductor: Herbert von Karajan; soloists Gundula Janowitz, soprano; José van Dam, bass. Recorded at a live performance in Salzburg, 1978. Despite Karajan’s well-known flamboyance, the performance was musically sober, precise, beautifully done by orchestra, soloists, …Read More

New York Philharmonic

Beethoven: Overture to Konig Stephan (King Stephen), Op. 117 Beethoven: Piano Concerto #1 in C major, Op. 15 Stravinsky: L’Oiseau de feu (The Firebird). Complete ballet score Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor Jeremy Denk, Pianist   It bears repeating. The New York …Read More

Carmina Burana

  When Jacques Lacombe led the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” in 2008, the audience was blown away. So was the search committee, seeking a new maestro for the orchestra. In short order, Lacombe became the …Read More

New York Philharmonic

Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 The NYPhil seems to be on fire this season. Nowhere was it more evident than with Mahler’s sweeping masterpiece, Symphony One. While conductor Alan Gilbert knew the music well, having performed it largely in Europe, and …Read More

Dick Hyman and Bucky Pizzarelli in South Orange

Jonathan Schwartz would call them “senior citizens of jazz.” They perform with a total economy of motion — allowable since Bucky is 88 years young. But they provide a total generosity and freshness of sound. Seton Hall University brought these …Read More

Berlin Philharmoniker — Carnegie Hall Opening Night

Say what you will about the creativity and vision of today’s composers; there is something solid about the eternal verities of the classics. This rang especially true in the newly restored concert hall where Rachmaninoff, Bruch and Stravinsky were magnificently …Read More

New York Philharmonic Opening Night Gala

  Opening night of the Philharmonic never pleases New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini; last year he was up in arms over a lack of inventiveness at the Gala. This year was totally inventive, but for him it was a …Read More

Letter from London 2: Fera at Claridge’s and Tony Bennett

Fera at Claridge’s I have long harbored a distaste for restaurants that try so hard to be new and hip, they create dishes that are more of a masquerade than a meal. My sentiments are shared in a Wall Street Journal …Read More

Leroy Anderson’s The Typewriter

This is for all us ancients who remember the typewriter. Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) was an American composer of short, light concert pieces, many of which were introduced by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler (“The Syncopated …Read More

Letter from Tanglewood

Conductors have a way of hanging on to the very end. At dinner after his triumphal Tanglewood and Boston Symphony debut, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Music Director Jacques Lacombe recounted how it was just weeks from when Leonard Bernstein announced …Read More

Music in Trois-Rivières, Quebec

A group of donors and trustees of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra journeyed into the depth of French Canada to discover the roots of our music director, Jacques Lacombe. The culmination of our journey was a concert by the other …Read More

City Lights

    The San Francisco Symphony, as part of its Film Night series, presented Charlie Chaplin’s superb “City Lights” and accompanied it with a magnificent live performance of Mr. Chaplin’s lush original score. Acres of copy have been written lauding …Read More

Pinch-Hitting for Dudamel

Next year Dudamel needs to get his flu shot. His heralded three-day stint with the N.Y. Philharmonic got canceled due to “severe” flu. I was disappointed because I wanted to see the fiery, tiny Venezuelan conduct the massive Bruckner Symphony …Read More

Alma Deutscher — Musical Prodigy

I am not a fan of the now popular YouTube videos of either clever or amusing dogs or cats, and I am definitely not interested in videos of precocious children. That is why, merely to placate my cousin, I thought …Read More

Vienna Philharmonic

We were at the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall on Thursday night. Andris Nelsons, who is James Levine’s replacement at the BSO, conducted. The Vienna performances this year are themed to Carnegie Hall’s Vienna City of Dreams program and they …Read More