MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Serving up the music of memes

Charles Ives: Thanksgiving and Forefathers’ Day

Filed under: American music, Charles Ives, San Francisco Symphony

A Noble Attempt: Thomas Dausgaard Leads the Seattle Symphony in Mahler’s Tenth

Thomas Dausgaard
© 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.

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Filed under: conductors, Mahler, review, Seattle Symphony

“Dinner’s Ready!”


Filed under: photography

Brentano Lieder

Part of this week’s excellent program by San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Filed under: San Francisco Symphony, Schumann, Strauss

The Miró Quartet’s “Transcendent” Project

miro1.jpgTo 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.

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Filed under: chamber music, Schubert, Strad

Elder Wagner


Bliss: Sir Mark Elder, who just conducted the opening of San Francisco Opera’s Meistersinger.

Filed under: conductors, San Francisco Opera, Wagner

Music for a While: Beguiled by Beethoven and John Luther Adams in Los Angeles


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”.

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Filed under: Beethoven, John Luther Adams, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ludovic Morlot, review

Made in LA


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.

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Filed under: choral music, commissions, Los Angeles Opera, new music


Filed under: Uncategorized

Meistersinger: Beyond the Revolution


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.

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Filed under: essay, San Francisco Opera, Wagner

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