At what point did Pierre Boulez say his teacher’s music made him want to vomit? The teacher, of course, was the great French composer Olivier Messiaen, and Boulez was his ex-student. Scholars have been trying to track down that unkind cut for decades but details remain clouded.
The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra opened its season this week with rousing performances of two works that had never before been combined on a program for Boston audiences – Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” and Richard Strauss’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra”.
Morton Feldman’s delicate, will o’ the wisp compositions demand of the listener a special mental and spiritual investment, a belief in music’s potential to pervade human consciousness.
Boston is that most musical of American cities, so there is never a shortage of recital and concert to choose from. I visit Boston twice and year and partake freely of the offerings. Boston’s talented performers are the equal of New Yorkers, Parisians, even Berliners.
Not to brag, but I've stood upon some pretty rarified podiums: I've conducted "New York, New York" for Frank, "The Candy Man" for Sammy, and "Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie," for Don McLean.
Frank Castorf’s maintained his anti-romantic stance with his production of “Götterdämmerung” at Bayreuth on Wednesday, August 26th, and went further by giving the heroic music of Siegfried’s Funeral March and the final measures of the opera to Hagen.
Perhaps Frank Castorf was in a bad mood when he conceived his production of “Siegfried” for the Bayreuth Festival –or he was just mischievous.
The decadence of the Nordic gods continued to be a major theme in Bayreuth’s “Die Walküre” as envisioned by Frank Castorf, who grew up in East Germany with the Marxist view of the world.
Two outstanding young pianists – one from Hungary, one from Italy – have been selected to become the first Oberlin-Como Fellows, two tuition-free years of study in a new partnership of the International Piano Academy Lake Como and the U.S. Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
In the Frank Castorf production of “Das Rheingold” that I saw in Bayreuth on Friday (August 21), Wotan and company have their god-like powers, but they are just a bunch of gangster types in a low-life setting.
Some stage directors probably would say that it’s insane to take a full-sized orchestra out of the pit and put it on stage during an opera performance, but that didn’t stop director François Racine from doing it for Seattle Opera’s production of Verdi’s “Nabucco.” Racine also had the company cov
What originally got Philip Glass going as a composer was the realization that he was “living in a world where all the composers were dead. Even the living ones were dead.” He decided to do something about it.
WHEN I TOLD a snarky friend I was writing about the new Philip Glass autobiography, Words Without Music, she asked, “Does it go like this: I, I, I, I, I, I, was, was, was, was, was, born, born, born, born …?” Snarky.
The International Tchaikovsky Competition in St. Petersburg and Moscow ended last night (July 1) in a virtual American sweep in the piano category, with gold and bronze prizes going to American-trained Russian boys and the silver to a Chinese-American player from Boston.
With mixed results, the San Francisco Symphony performed Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis,” using projected imagery and movement on June 11th  at Davies Symphony Hall.