Maria João Pires and The Wrong Concerto


My feedreader’s been sadly neglected over the past few days — a condition produced primarily by my vacation, but perpetuated by a rising terror at the thousands of unread posts that would doubtless assail me upon opening its “pages” — so I’m coming to this story a bit later than the rest of the InterWebs. (Actually, the [Read More...]

The Messengers of Mozart’s Music


Earlier this year, the violin and viola that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself used in his own concerts traveled to to the United States for the first time, giving performers and listeners everywhere goosebumps. NPR’s Anastasia Tsioulcas filed a report in which she discusses touching the instrument for the first time: I could feel my heart stop. [Read More...]

Whittaker’s Wonderful World of Whistling


I’ve always been a whistler. Always, though it frequently drives my wife, my boys, and my co-workers — even, ironically, me — nuts. Actually, maybe I should rephrase that: I’d always considered myself a whistler. Until the day I heard this for the first time: My folks listened to Roger Whittaker religiously when I was [Read More...]

Enjoying Haydn’s Keyboard Concerti


Franz Joseph Haydn is easily most famous for his symphonies. And so he should be. Yet as an inveterate contrarian, I’ve long had a soft spot for his lesser known chamber music and concerti. (And yes, I realize that saying something is lesser known than Haydn’s symphonies is a far, far cry from saying it’s obscure. But [Read More...]

Musical Muscle Memories


I (semi-unexpectedly) spent the last three days almost entirely unplugged. First, because a late September snowstorm knocked out all power at the office until surprisingly late in the weekend. And second, because we embarked on an exciting three-day Hunter Education course with all of the boys. Yep, you heard me. ALL. THE. BOYS. As a result of the [Read More...]

Food for Thought (and for the Ears)


This comes from Ola Gjeilo, a contemporary Norwegian composer I’ve been exploring of late: There isn’t anything wrong with dissonance, as conflict and discord is a natural part of life and necessary for all positive development and maturation. And in most areas of society, conflict is something we very much want to resolve. But in a great deal of avant-garde art, the [Read More...]

A Furtwängler On Every Street Corner


I’m a sucker for Improv Everywhere. They’re a blast. (And their mission statement moonlights as a description of The Susanka Seven. “Prank collective that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places?” I’m living that every day.) But their latest offering hits new heights of awesome, even for them. For our latest mission, we put a [Read More...]

Palate Cleansing with Cantus


After last week’s excitement, I feel like I could do with a bit of non-controversy. Something calming. Something straight-forward. Something like this: That’s Cantus, a Minneapolis-based, nine-member vocal group described by some as “the premiere men’s vocal ensemble in the United States.” I don’t know how to make a judgement on that particular claim — does [Read More...]

Leonard Cohen’s “Show Me The Place”


Thanks to Steven Greydanus’ musings on this Fred Stobaugh piece from a few weeks ago, I’ve been listening to Leonard Cohen’s “Show Me The Place” almost non-stop ever since. I love it. Absolutely love it. Though I’m not entirely sure why I love it so. Musically, it’s pretty straightforward (aka, plain). And I’m not at all sure what [Read More...]

Perlman and Zukerman Play Handel and Halvorsen


This is definitely one of those “made in Heaven” matches; on both counts, actually. Wonderful, wonderful stuff. (Also, a very nostalgic piece for me. I played it a great deal during my piano-lesson days, though perhaps not quite this well. And yes, legalists, I didn’t play the Handel-Halverson version, because that title refers to the [Read More...]