MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Pairing Masterpieces by Shostakovich and Stravinsky

DS

Here’s my new story for the Seattle Times on this week’s upcoming Seattle Symphony program:

On Jan. 28, 1936, Dmitri Shostakovich woke up to read a sternly worded condemnation of his music in the official Soviet newspaper, Pravda.

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Filed under: Seattle Symphony, Seattle Times, Shostakovich, Stravinsky

A Getty Vista

getty

Filed under: photography

Piatigorsky International Cello Festival

May22_LunchConcert_NarekHakhnazaryan_01_crDanielAnderson_Full

Narek Hakhnazaryan in recital; photo by Daniel Anderson

Here’s my report for Musical America on the recently concluded second edition of the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival held in Los Angeles (behind a paywall):

LOS ANGELES—“Of all the titles applied to me, I like ‘teacher’ best of all,” the cellist Gregor Piatigorsky once said. And of the many angles that might be used to describe the festival devoted to his instrument and named in his honor, the most salient is a passion for sharing knowledge — not just musical knowledge, but the wisdom gathered from a life devoted to performance. More than anything else, the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, which took place in Los Angeles between May 13 and 22, became an ode to omnivorous curiosity as the lifeblood of genuine musicianship.

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Filed under: cello, essay, Musical America, review

Happy 75th, Bob Dylan

Filed under: Bob Dylan

Opera Thrillers and Chillers

After recently covering a  powerful Flying Dutchman production and the world premiere of The Shining, a new opera by Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell based on the Stephen King novel, I decided to look a little more into the intersection of opera and ghost stories.

Here’s my new piece for Rhapsody. It’s a fascinating but enormous topic. I focused on the early German Romantic lineage, without even broaching the enormous popularity of Walter Scott-inspired Gothic opera (Lucia, etc.). Debussy’s Poe fixation, early Strauss/Hofmannsthal, Expressionism and other Modernist strains, and later manifestations are other topics I didn’t have space for here.

The Shining and Other Opera Thrillers and Chillers

Perched in the Colorado Rockies in the dead of winter, the Overlook Hotel is the setting for Stephen King’s 1977 breakthrough novel The Shining. It is during the off season at the vast resort that King’s fictional aspiring writer, Jack Torrance, takes up residence with his wife and son. He hopes to work on his latest opus in the peace and quiet, with minimal responsibilities as caretaker of the presumably emptied-out hotel to distract him.

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Filed under: essay, new opera, Rhapsody

Cello-estial

Overtaken by cello thoughts….

Filed under: cello

Gluck’s Revolution: Orphée in Seattle

sheehanphoto: tenor Aaron Sheehan, who sings the role of Orphée (credit: Kevin Day)

Here’s my story for The Seattle Times on the new production of Gluck’s French version of his epochal Orpheus opera, which Stephen Stubbs and Pacific MusicWorks are performing this weekend.

In May of 1774, 15 years before the French Revolution, the 18-year-old Marie Antoinette ascended the throne as queen of France. Less than a month before that, German composer Christoph Willibald Gluck, her former music teacher — and the son of a gamekeeper — made his debut in Paris with his opera “Iphigénie en Aulide.”

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Filed under: directors, Gluck, Pacific MusicWorks, Seattle Times, Stephen Stubbs

Cellissimo

celliIt’s been an exhilarating week at the Piatigorsky Cello Festival in Los Angeles. I’ll have a report for Musical America next week.

Filed under: cello, festivals, photography

The Shining: A Chilling Artistic Triumph

Shining-8photo (c) Ken Howard

My review of the new opera The Shining, by composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell, is now live on Musical America (behind a paywall):

 

St. PAUL—It seems fitting that the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, where Minnesota Opera makes its home, is located just a mile-and-a-half from the F. Scott Fitzgerald House, where … »Read

Filed under: Mark Campbell, new opera, review

The Agony and the Ecstasy: Byron Schenkman & Friends

byronMy preview of the final Byron Schenkman & Friends concert of the season has now been posted by The Seattle Times:

When great artists are struggling, that pain sometimes comes through in their work — but not always. Take Beethoven and Schubert, who produced some of their loftiest music during periods of intense suffering.

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Filed under: Beethoven, preview, Schubert, Seattle Times

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