Wednesday, November 10, 2010
With the news of her death over the weekend, I found myself watching clips of Shirley Verrett on YouTube yesterday. Sadly, I never saw her perform on the opera stage. But, thanks to YouTube, I was able to get a sense of just how fabulous she was. I was absolutely blown away by what I saw. Her Delilah was to die for. And this from a woman who was known to be quite shy! Amazing. I’m still moved as I think about it this morning.
Monday, October 25, 2010
One of today's most respected Puccini sopranos, Patricia Racette tells Midge Woolsey about her ecclectic career that spans verismo to cabaret. And she reveals why she identifies with "complicated, conflicted" characters.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
What touch! Pianist Garrick Ohlsson had an eloquent dialogue tonight with his instrument, with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and with all of us listening to his Carnegie Hall performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4. Ohlsson's fingers on the keyboard managed precise intricacies, each note articulated clearly, but I was so impressed with the way all notes integrated into a vivid, thrilling whole.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I'm curious to know about your memorable CD gift giving and/or receiving moments. What was the CD and why was it a successful gift? Was it romantic? Great music for dinnertime?
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Last weekend I had the pleasure of recording an in-studio performance by composer Van Dyke Parks, which will broadcast on my WNYC show Spinning On Air this Sunday evening at 8 pm. My first exposure to Parks's work was when I heard The Beach Boys song “Heroes and Villains” on the radio while a kid back in the 1960s. Parks wrote the lyrics for that song, and subsequently worked on The Beach Boys’ “Smile” and his own 1968 album “Song Cycle,” and many projects since. Back when I first heard his music I knew it was new, exciting, and different, but I probably didn’t recognize that it was such an effective, natural blend of folk, pop, and classical influences.
Friday, October 08, 2010
Kraft has finally come to New York, carrying with it the local, found-object flavor that composer Magnus Lindberg requires when installing this legacy-defining piece.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
On Thursday morning, composer Magnus Lindberg and the New York Philharmonic held the final rehearsal before the New York premiere of his 1985 industrial work Kraft. That piece features an arsenal of noise-making instruments augmented by various found objects, including scrap metal, an oxygen tank and other junk, all of which were picked up from a Staten Island junkyard.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
If there is an audience for it, what difference does it make if a classical artist decides to cross over into the world of popular music every once in a while? I’ll grant you that it suits some singers better than others, but I really don’t see the harm in it. And, if a few more people get turned on to classical music along the way, why not?
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Up until a few weeks ago, you'd hear a generous amount of recordings from pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev. But now that Pletnev is under investigation for child rape in Thailand his voice has been silenced in concert halls and on the radio – in the U.S. and U.K that is. But back home in Russia, and elsewhere his beat marches on. Pletnev founded the Russian National Orchestra 20 years ago and its season kicked off this month as planned with Pletnev on the podium.