Maverick Media

American Mavericks is in full swing here in New York City. I have some mixed feelings about Monday's San Francisco Symphony concert -- I'm not sure what John Adams was thinking when he made Absolute Jest, and it's hard to square Jessye Norman's substantial career with a performance of John Cage's Song Books -- the … Continue reading Maverick Media

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San Francisco Symphony, Adams: Harmonielehre, Short Ride in a Fast Machine

In 1996, I went to a San Francisco Symphony concert with a good friend. The program was generally typical of orchestra concerts around the world; an overture, a concerto, intermission, a symphony. In the details, however, lay the brilliance of Michael Tilson Thomas' musicianship, attitude and salesmanship (a vtial talent for a music director): Rossini's … Continue reading San Francisco Symphony, Adams: Harmonielehre, Short Ride in a Fast Machine

Revenge of the Nerds: The Meek's Inheritance

The story of how the digitization of music revealed the music industry's feet of clay has been told more than once, but it's never been properly explained. File sharing may be the prevailing symptom, but it' s not the actual cause. Something preceded the creation of Napster, and that was the desire, even the need for many music fans, to have a Napster. As far as I have seen, after the many books and articles on the subject, no one has touched on the parties responsible, the decisions they made, what they thought they were doing and how they were fooling themselves. Perhaps it's because it's been told from the standpoint of business, when it's really a story about music.

Baby Playlist, #3

Philip Glass: Orpheé; Portland Opera, Anne Manson This will certainly please fans of Glass, and is a fascinating example of how his late style is developing. Like La Belle et la Bête, this is an operatic adaptation of an accidental libretto, i.e. the script from a Cocteau movie. It suffers from the same problematic detail, … Continue reading Baby Playlist, #3

May Day

The new month has snuck up on me, but I've still been collecting recommended highlights of what's happening musically, and sometimes otherwise, in New York City and through the wires: The Russian Stravinsky festival continues through May 8, still with great programming, including all the old favorites (Petrushka, Le Sacre), the great and too little … Continue reading May Day

Mahler Songs

The San Francisco Symphony has released their penultimate recording in MTT's Mahler cycle, which is so far the finest cycle I know - albeit expensive. For this recording of Das Lied, MTT uses two male singers, Stuart Skelton and Thomas Hampson. Skelton is superb, as good as I've heard in this piece, which is extraordinarily … Continue reading Mahler Songs