MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Madness, Revenge, and New Music: Looking for the Lost Finale of L’Orfeo

Pacific MusicWorks members David Morris on viola da gamba, harpist Maxine Eilander and lutenist Stephen Stubbs, in a performance of ‘Wayward Sisters’

This weekend’s program by Early MusicWorks, titled Wayward Sisters, will include the world premiere of artistic director Stephen Stubbs’s new musical completion of the “lost ending” to Monteverdi’s 1607 opera L’Orfeo. I spoke to Stubbs about the project for Early Music America:

Opera was born of the tantalizing premise that what had been lost to history could be regenerated through an act of creative imagination. So it seems peculiarly fitting that one of the foundational works of the art should inspire a similar effort…

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Filed under: Early Music America, Monteverdi, Stephen Stubbs

St. Matthew Passion from Raphaël Pichon and Pygmalion

I reviewed the new Raphaël Pichon/Pygmalion recording of the St. Matthew Passion for Early Music America:

Perhaps the best way to adequately describe the extremely intense, 3-D quality of motion that Raphäel Pichon and the Pygmalion ensemble achieve in the St. Matthew Passion’s opening chorus is by way of comparison with another art: say, Stendhal’s description of the young Fabrizio caught up in the fog of Napoleonic battle in The Charterhouse of Parma (which Balzac praised as a marvel that “often contains a whole book in a single page”)….

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Filed under: Bach, CD review, Early Music America

Rethinking Romanticism: Early Music’s Latest Adventures in Time Travel

The fall edition of Early Music America’s magazine carries my new article on encounters between historically informed performance and Romanticism:

 Revolutions have a way of coming full circle. As the HIP movement began spreading more than half a century ago, its bracing challenge to conventional interpretations echoed the rebellious spirit of the 1960s…

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Kent Nagano on his collaboration with Concerto Köln to prepare for a HIP Ring

Filed under: early music, Early Music America, Romanticism, Schumann, Wagner

Bidding A Baroque Adieu: End Of The McGegan Era At PBO

One of the productions I was most keen on seeing this season is the U.S. stage premiere of Jean-Marie Leclair’s only opera, Scylla et Glaucus: planned as Nicholas McGegan’s spectacular farewell as music director of Philharmonia Baroque — originally planned for later this month.

To mark the occasion, I wrote this profile of this extraordinary artist for Early Music America.

Nicholas McGegan looks back on his 34 years as music director of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, a tenure that ended suddenly amid the coronavirus pandemic….

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Filed under: Baroque opera, early music, Early Music America, Nicholas McGegan

Teodor Currentzis in North American Debut

Teodor Currentzis will make his North American debut with musicAeterna this week at The Shed in New York. On the program is Verdi’s Requiem, together with an experimental film by the late Jonas Merkas. I was asked to write a profile of Currentzis for Early Music America magazine.

Filed under: conductors, Early Music America, profile, Teodor Curentzis

Living Inside the Music: Teodor Currentzis and musicAeterna

Looking ahead to his American debut at The Shed in November, my profile of Teodor Currentzis for the fall issue of Early Music America magazine is now available.

Within a few moments of listening to a performance led by Teodor Currentzis — whether live or recorded — you realize something different is unfolding. Nothing sounds taken for granted. What you assumed to be familiar parameters of a well-known piece — tempo, dynamics, accentuation — are suddenly open to question, the music propelled by a spirit of fierce collective concentration….

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Filed under: conductors, early music, Early Music America, profile

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