November 24, 2015 • 7:51 am 0
© Ulla-Carin Eckblom
Can we really claim that there is a Mahler Ten? Opinions remain sharply divided among the most fervent Mahlerians. Some refuse to consider the proposition of performing even the first movement of the composer’s final, unfinished symphony – let alone any of the various attempts to construct a performable whole using the extensive sketches Mahler left behind at his death in 1911.
November 22, 2015 • 9:45 am 0
Part of this week’s excellent program by San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas.
November 20, 2015 • 9:43 am 0
To celebrate its 20th anniversary year, the Miró Quartet has been pursuing some characteristically innovative and ambitious projects. This week the group announced the winner of its Transcendence Education Project: the Fox Chapel Area High School Orchestra in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Entrants had been invited to submit a 30-second video on the topic of ‘musical transcendence’ with prizes including a free masterclass and other chances to interact with the Miró Quartet.
November 19, 2015 • 8:54 am 0
Bliss: Sir Mark Elder, who just conducted the opening of San Francisco Opera’s Meistersinger.
November 16, 2015 • 7:25 am 0
In the immediate aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, music presenters struggled to readjust programmes so that they could provide an appropriately solemn response. For some this seemed the only justification to enjoy music at all in the face of nightmarish reality.
But the act of making music with care and conviction is itself life-affirming and humanity-empowering, as Leonard Bernstein knew when he famously declared: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before”.
November 15, 2015 • 7:51 am 0
Tonight the Los Angeles Master Chorale performs a program celebrating the hotbed of creativity this amazing and diverse city inspires. Here’s my essay for the program:
A couple of months ago, Angelenos were treated to a concert by a chamber ensemble known as The Golden Bridge (whose singers include some members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale). Led by Suzi Digby, Lady Eatwell OBE, and true to its name, the ensemble links two golden ages of choral music: Tudor England and the remarkable choral creativity now flourishing in California — particularly in the Los Angeles region.
November 12, 2015 • 10:30 am 1
My essay for San Francisco Opera’s new Meistersinger production has now been posted:
Richard Wagner was among those fired up by the fervor and idealism of the mid-nineteenth century revolutionary mindset sweeping Europe. He had tried to jumpstart radical change in the aftermath of the failed Dresden uprising of 1849 (in which he had actively taken part).
After a period spent rechanneling that energy from poetics into art with his new Ring project, Wagner eventually came to recognize the necessity of more gradual transformation.