Looking up from the endless chill and gloom of this past winter, I see that it’s been four weeks since I last posted here. Mea culpa. I had been using weekly playlists as a shorthand way of producing implicit reviews, but even those fell by the wayside under an unexpected rush of writing assignments and adjusting(…)
Things to hear, see and anticipate: Vijay Iyer has big plans on ECM: Simone Dinnerstein is holding a Google Hangout on February 12, 1–2 p.m. EST. Live from the Greene Space, you can watch it here, join the Q&A here, and tweet with hashtags #BachInventions and #GoogleHangout. That same evening, there is free new music at(…)
In a January without snow, there’s not much excuse not to get out of the house. And after what amounted to a long, languid pause from Christmas through the first week of the new year, there are enough enticing events to plan for that no one, myself included, will be able to make it to(…)
And if they, and anyone, are intelligent, then how can we comprehend Bach? As the title of an excellent book about him goes, he was the learned musician. One need know nothing of his biographical details to hear this in his music. His mastery of the complex and technically formidable compositional structure of fugue is an obvious intellectual achievement, celebrated in obviously intellectual ways that break down the music into some sort of mathematical puzzle. While that’s a valid way to appreciate it, I find the pronouncements that result about music being like math to be too easy, too dismissive of what music actually is, too quick to don the mantle of learning. Music is not mathematics, actually, music is physics. Mathematics is the language of physics, the way it is expressed from one person to another, and while that language can be used for music as well, it’s utility is limited.
It’s not often I get to review a number one record, much less two. In fact, it’s never. And, considering my taste, it will probably never happen again. But as I write this, the two recordings in question are number one: Simone Dinnerstein’s Bach: A Strange Beauty , holds that place on the Billboard Classical chart,(…)
He wasn’t Jesus, but in some ways he’s just as important. In music, there is Before Bach and After Bach, a period of time that bifurcates two completely different ways of imagining musical possibilities. All the pagan, Judaic and Platonic ideas and values that are the foundations of Christianity needed Jesus to synthesize into something(…)
Since outside of science, bad ideas never die, they just gain an increasingly loud and ignorant constituency (see: Supply Side Economics), I know I’m never going to stop seeing/hearing how new media is going to get rid of the book, the CD, etc. Physical media will always be with us, and so will television, and(…)