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.
May 31, 2016 • 7:58 am Comments Off on Pairing Masterpieces by Shostakovich and Stravinsky
May 29, 2016 • 11:20 pm Comments Off on A Getty Vista
May 26, 2016 • 7:58 am Comments Off on Piatigorsky International Cello Festival
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.
May 24, 2016 • 12:13 pm Comments Off on Happy 75th, Bob Dylan
May 24, 2016 • 7:15 am 1
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.
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.
May 22, 2016 • 11:10 pm Comments Off on Cello-estial
Overtaken by cello thoughts….
May 19, 2016 • 11:06 pm Comments Off on Gluck’s Revolution: Orphée in Seattle
photo: tenor Aaron Sheehan, who sings the role of Orphée (credit: Kevin Day)
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.”
May 19, 2016 • 7:42 pm Comments Off on Cellissimo
It’s been an exhilarating week at the Piatigorsky Cello Festival in Los Angeles. I’ll have a report for Musical America next week.
May 16, 2016 • 7:00 am 2
photo (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):
May 15, 2016 • 4:50 am Comments Off on The Agony and the Ecstasy: Byron Schenkman & Friends
My 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.