Sonic Youth. The New Yorker, Oct. 19, 2015.
Halloween came a bit early in Los Angeles, as a group of people attired in the manner of Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange made their presence felt at a performance of Beethoven's Ninth in Disney Hall. Concertgoers stopped and gawked, but failed to be scandalized. An older gentleman called out, "Well done, droogies!" There was no audible ultraviolence during the performance itself, in which Gustavo Dudamel led the combined forces of the LA Phil and the Simon Bolivár Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. This is what happens when I bring Sasha Frere-Jones to a concert.
October 07, 2015 | Permalink
New and recent publications of interest (at least to me).
Kevin C. Karnes, A Kingdom Not of This World: Wagner, the Arts, and Utopian Visions in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna (Oxford UP)
Adrian Daub and Charles Kronengold, The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism (Oxford)
Robert C. Holub, Nietzsche's Jewish Problem: Between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Judaism (Princeton)
Norman Domeier, trans. Deborah Lucas Schneider, The Eulenburg Affair: A Cultural History of Politics in the German Empire (Camden House)
Ed Pavlić, Who Can Afford to Improvise?: James Baldwin and Black Music, the Lyric and the Listeners (Fordham)
Greil Marcus, Real Life Rock: The Complete Top Ten Columns, 1986-2014 (Yale)
— Feldman, Rothko Chapel, works of Cage and Satie; Kim Kashkashian, Sarah Rothenberg, Steven Schick, Houston Chamber Choir (ECM, out Oct. 23)
— Verdi, Aida; Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Ludovic Tézier, Erwin Schrott, Antonio Pappano conducting the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and Chorus (Warner)
— Laurie Anderson, Heart of a Dog (Nonesuch, out Oct. 23)
— Berlioz, Symphonie fantastique, Lélio; Riccardo Muti conducting the Chicago Symphony, with Mario Zeffiri, Kyle Ketelsen, and Gérard Depardieu (CSO Resound)
— Ornstein, Piano Quintet, String Quartet No. 2; Marc-André Hamelin, Pacifica Quartet (Hyperion)
— Berg, Lyric Suite, Wellesz, Sonnets of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Zeisl, Komm, süsser Tod; Renée Fleming, Emerson Quartet (DG)
— Julia Wolfe, Anthracite Fields; Bang on a Can All-Stars, Choir of Trinity Wall Street (Cantaloupe)
— Cage, String Quartet in Four Parts, Thirty Pieces for String Quartet, Four; Quatuor Bozzini (qb)
Ir's very sad to hear of the sudden demise of Gotham Chamber Opera, which over the past fifteen years has greatly enriched New York opera life with fresh productions of offbeat repertory: Britten's Albert Herring, Haydn's L'isolata disabitata and Il mondo della luna, a Martinů double bill, the Baden-Baden 1927 program, Cavalli's Eliogabalo. The circumstances are somewhat mysterious, and more is sure to be revealed.
Gods and all angels sing the world to sleep,
Now that the moon is rising in the heat
And crickets are loud again in the grass. The moon
Burns in the mind on lost remembrances.
He lies down and the night wind blows upon him here.
The bells grow longer. This is not sleep. This is desire.
from "The Men That Are Falling"
September 28, 2015 | Permalink
At long last, the nonsensical "Happy Birthday" copyright has been struck down, the Los Angeles Times reports. Judge George H. King's opinion can be read here. Stravinsky testifies in Memories and Commentaries that he was unaware of the tune's copyrighted status when he used it in his tribute to Pierre Monteux: "I must have assumed this melody to be in the category of folk music ... or, at least, to be very old and dim in origin." Evidently, he was not pursued for royalties, perhaps because he used only the melody and not the words.
September 23, 2015 | Permalink
New and recent releases of interest.
— Lutosławski, Piano Concerto, Symphony No. 2; Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, with Krystian Zimerman (DG)
— Paula Matthusen, Pieces for People; Terri Hron, James Moore, Manta Percussion, Jamie Jordan, Kathleen Supove, Yvonne Troxler, Molly Shaiken, Tiit Helimets, Abi Basch, Wil Smith, orkest de ereprijs, Wim Boerman, Todd Reynolds (Innova)
— Similar Motion: works of Glass, Kampela, Debussy; Momenta Quartet (Albany) [see also the Momenta Festival in NYC, Sept. 30 - Oct. 4]
— Montanari, Violin Concertos; Johannes Pramsohler, Ensemble Diderot (Audax)
— Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim; Anthony de Mare (ECM)
— Scott Worthington, Prism (Populist)
— Stefan Wolpe, Music for Violin and Piano (1924-1966); Movses Pogossian, Varty Manouelian, violins, Susan Grace, piano (Bridge)
September 22, 2015 | Permalink
"Unanfechtbare Wahrheiten gibt es überhaupt nicht, und wenn es welche gibt, so sind sie langweilig." ("There are absolutely no incontrovertible truths, and if there are any, they're boring.")
— Dubslav von Stechlin, in Fontane's Der Stechlin
September 19, 2015 | Permalink
On the weekend of Oct. 2-4, Laurie Anderson occupies the Park Avenue Armory with Habeas Corpus, a "meditation on time, identity, surveillance, and freedom."... At the Kitchen, Claire Chase carries on her Density 2036 project Sept. 29 to Oct. 2.... O Columbia, a new chamber opera by Gregory Spears, composer of Paul's Case, will have its première at the Houston Grand Opera next week. It's a rhapsody on the theme of exploration, drawing on interviews with astronauts and Houston-based NASA engineers.... On the Corymbus blog, Edward Qualtrough gives dispiriting statistics on gender inequality in the opera world. He writes, "I dread to think how many of those operas pass film and theatre’s Bechdel Test, where two named women are featured talking to each other about something other than a man."... "I love Italian opera but this is ridiculous," Micaela Baranello says of the new Met season.... This Friday at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York, the Argento Chamber Ensemble gives the American première of Georg Friedrich Haas's Introduktion und Transsonation. Works of Murail and Scelsi fill out the program.... Tickets for The Industry's Hopscotch opera, an experiment in automotive music theatre (Oct. 31 - Nov. 15), go on sale today.... WasteLAnd opens its fall season with a program entitled The Future of Terror: works of Kurt Isaacson, Jason Eckardt, and Elise Roy.... Jessica Hopper, author of The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, speaks grippingly on sexism, misogyny, and abuse in the pop-music world.
September 16, 2015 | Permalink