Category: Blog

  • Louis Langrée on Beethoven’s Mega-Concert

    Louis Langrée on Beethoven’s Mega-Concert

    Concerts were longer in the time of Beethoven, as were attention spans. But even by those standards, the storied program he organized for Vienna’s Theater an der Wien on Dec. 22, 1808 was over the top. Called the Akademie, it ran from 6:30 to 10:30 pm in two parts and included the premieres of the […]

  • Oscars 2020: Year of The Cello

    Oscars 2020: Year of The Cello

    In listening to several scores to films nominated for Academy Awards in 2020, a particular feature emerges: a prominent cello theme. The instrument has been called on to convey a range of moods and even shaped the plot of at least one film.

  • Julia Wolfe on Evoking the ’60s in ‘Flower Power’

    Julia Wolfe on Evoking the ’60s in ‘Flower Power’

    For all of the iconic protest music that came out of the 1960s and early ’70s, classical composers mostly stayed at a remove from that decade’s turbulent events. There were a handful of noted exceptions, of course, including Terry Riley, La Monte Young, George Crumb and Karlheinz Stockhausen, but their works were not exactly staples […]

  • The Crown Season 3 Soundtrack Features Beethoven, Chopin

    The Crown Season 3 Soundtrack Features Beethoven, Chopin

    In the third season of the Netflix series “The Crown,” the story spans the mid-1960s to the late ’70s, a period that allows producers to draw on a rich array of popular music. American songbook standards give way to rock anthems by the Kinks, the Four Seasons, Deep Purple, the Who and David Bowie, among […]

  • Philip Glass Finds Orchestral Converts

    Philip Glass Finds Orchestral Converts

    The New York Philharmonic recently opened its fall season with the King Lear Overture, its first commissioned score by Philip Glass. Music director Jaap van Zweden was a driving force behind the premiere. “I felt strongly that this was a symphonic composer that needed more attention from our orchestra,” the Dutch conductor told me in […]

  • Shostakovich Is Having a Moment and This Conductor Is On It

    Shostakovich Is Having a Moment and This Conductor Is On It

    In scanning the calendars of symphony orchestras this season, you may notice that Shostakovich is having a moment. The conductor Karina Canellakis considers the composer’s present-day relevance.

  • Angel Blue Preps for Porgy and Bess at The Met

    Angel Blue Preps for Porgy and Bess at The Met

    The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess is returning to the Metropolitan Opera for the first time in 34 years, with the soprano Angel Blue and the bass-baritone Eric Owens in the title roles. In a bit of luxury casting, they’ll be joined by Ryan Speedo Green, Latonia Moore and Denyce Graves, among several other noted singers. […]

  • Michel Legrand: The Easy-Listening Modernist

    Michel Legrand: The Easy-Listening Modernist

    In 1979 a critic for the New York Times confronted Michel Legrand with the criticism that his popular music was sentimental, “trite and treacly.” The occasion was the premiere of the off-Broadway adaptation of Jacques Demy’s film “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” with Legrand’s sung-dialogue score. 

  • Bernard Haitink Retires, Leaving a Massive Mahler Legacy

    Bernard Haitink Retires, Leaving a Massive Mahler Legacy

    During a fascinating backstage tour of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam last month, a knowledgeable and droll tour guide paused before a wall of photos of past music directors.

  • The Transcontinental Railroad Kickstarted The Modern U.S. Concert Tour

    The Transcontinental Railroad Kickstarted The Modern U.S. Concert Tour

    Until 150 years ago the West Coast was isolated behind the Rocky Mountains. Then, on May 10, 1869, a game-changer called the Transcontinental Railroad was completed, fully connecting San Francisco, Sacramento and countless small mining towns to the rest of the Union. It made way for the largest movement of orchestras, opera companies and soloists […]