Consumer Reports

This entry is part 2 of 12 in the series Con­sumer Reports

This entry is part 2 of 12 in the series Con­sumer ReportsLook­ing out for your dol­lars, so you don’t have to … Must Haves and New Releases * DG is releas­ing a new Clau­dio Abbado Mahler cycle. This one col­lects his live record­ings with the Berlin Phil­har­monic and the Lucerne Fes­ti­val Orches­tra, and com­pletely super­sedes his(…)

PLAYLIST Week 1, 2014

Great record­ings of mas­ter­pieces from the roman­tic era. All highly rec­om­mended, espe­cially the upcom­ing Har­mo­nia Mundi releases: Otto Klem­perer, Phi­larha­mo­nia Orches­tra, New Phlhar­mo­nia Orches­tra: Gus­tav Mahler: Sym­phonies 2, 4, 7 9, Das Lied von der Erde Friedrich Gulda, Beethoven: 32 Piano Sonatas, Vari­a­tions, Bagatelles Isabelle Faust, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Alexan­der Mel­nikov, Beethoven: Piano Trios Op. 70 No.(…)

Music I Loved — February 2013

For the short­est month, Feb­ru­ary was packed with new and upcom­ing releases that I loved. Taken together with music that was released or pre­viewed in Jan­u­ary, I already have a short-list for finest record­ings of the year, and my plea­sure in lis­ten­ing to these record­ings assures me firmly that I will be enjoy­ing them just(…)

Keepin’ It Real

Links and Lists: You’ve read my Jazz Crit­ics Poll bal­lot, now find the final, tab­u­lated results here, results in all cat­e­gorieshere, the list of indi­vid­ual bal­lotshere, and the top 10 essay from Fran­cis Davis, the head mofo in charge. Daniel Barenboim’s new record­ing of the Beethoven sym­phonies with the West-Eastern Divan Orches­tra was one of the(…)

The Year in Beethoven

Beethoven is eter­nal, the cal­en­dar just marks time. But we note things that hap­pened dur­ing a year and remem­ber it that way, and we reward things from a given you, so it’s time to look at the year in Beethoven. You might find a good gift: If you all you know of Beethoven is the symphonies,(…)

Coming Out Parties

This month, two young pianists are mak­ing splashy debuts. One of them is no stranger to clas­si­cal music fans, that’s Jeremy Denk, who already has a few self-produced CDs, includ­ing a great record­ing of the Ives Con­cord Sonata to his name, as well as a well-known blog and pub­lished arti­cles in the New Yorker and(…)

April Playlist

Rec­om­mended record­ings, new and old: Jerome Sab­bagh, Plugged In, on the Bee Jazz label, is packed full of great think­ing and play­ing, it touches on many styles but sub­verts them all into the Sabbagh’s over­all con­cep­tion, which has grown in both focus and expan­sive­ness. Jozef Dumoulin’s key­board work, from both the hard-bop tra­di­tion and Joe Zawinul’s(…)

… And In Other News …

I’m not bed­ding down at Gala­pa­gos yet, but I’ve been there, seen that and had some stuff to say about it, specif­i­cally Anti Social Music, Darcy James Argue, Orpheus Cham­ber Orches­tra and Chris Thile. Sorry about the Web 1.0 for­mat­ting, we’re still iron­ing out the back-end. Also, for you Beethoven lovers, which is all of(…)

Where’s the G Train?

Still run­ning to Park Slope, we hope … Lots of stuff going on over the next few days, and I can’t make it to every­thing, so please, do try to your­self: The amaz­ing fun of the upcom­ing Amer­i­can Mav­er­icks fes­ti­val starts today at Q2, tune in for great and rarely heard Amer­i­can Music, and get your(…)

Da Capo al Fine: Beethoven and Sibelius

It’s good we have these new discs, and it’s good this can be done with music. Musi­cians play­ing music is roughly com­pa­ra­ble to writ­ers read­ing the works of oth­ers for their own per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion and aes­thetic inspi­ra­tion. Writ­ers read and re-read, and how they feel about a book will change over time, through age, expe­ri­ence and espe­cially the prism of the other books they have read. But what can a writer do with this other than talk about it or use it as fuel for their work? Music is dif­fer­ent. The size and scope of a sym­phony may be like a novel, but a sym­phony is a set of instruc­tions for musi­cians to fol­low, it’s like tak­ing dried mush­rooms and recon­sti­tut­ing them in broth. The sym­phony pre­serves a composer’s ideas, but it requires musi­cians to turn it into some­thing we can expe­ri­ence. And how musi­cians do that can, and should, change. What do weeks and years of meals, sleep­ing, love and heartache, travel, com­pan­ion­ship and lone­li­ness, sat­is­fac­tions and frus­tra­tions, books and elec­tions and fam­ily and clothes and clouds have to do with the length of a dot­ted eighth-note, the full­ness of a crescendo, the rel­a­tive weight of notes in a phrase, and espe­cially the out­pour­ing of inchoate, raw, won­der­ful emo­tion from deep in the chest, down through the arm and out of the baton or bow? Only absolutely everything.