Monthly Archives: May 1989


Some composers work with a quill pen, some with a computer. Andrew Lloyd Webber may not be the first composer to operate on a treadmill, but he is certainly the best paid. We’ve heard it all before. From the beginning — or at least from “Jesus Christ, Superstar,” which came close to the beginning — […]


It was an exhilarating ending to a remarkable concert series: Pierre Boulez and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, ending their three weeks at UCLA’s Royce Hall, not with a whimper but a bang — many bangs, in fact. The piece was Edgar Varese’s “Ameriques,” the first work completed by that Franco-Italo-expatriate upon settling in New York […]


Twenty years have passed since the happy crowds dashed through Count Almaviva’s palace to celebrate the marriage of Figaro and Susanna. Figaro and Susanna are still the Count’s faithful retainers, and the entourage is increased by the presence of a pair of bastard children: Leon, born to the Countess after a dalliance with Cherubino, and […]


[FI STYLE, OPERA] [QL RICH, MUSIC FOR TUESDAY, MAY 23] NEW YORK Whenever Louis XIV needed some opera to sweeten the air in his new palace at Versailles, he snapped his royal fingers and his favorite composer, Jean-Baptiste Lully, sprang to the task. Matters operatic aren’t so favorable around Paris these days, I hear; still, […]


After 800 years, Hildegard von Bingen is back in the headlines. Records of her music are beginning to pile up. Only last week there was a very clear¬†¬† photograph of her in a West Side throwaway paper. (At least I [ITALassume [ENDITAL it’s a photograph of her; it came alongside an article about her music, […]


Expected miracles are no less miraculous than the ones that surprise. Pierre Boulez did, as expected, start the Los Angeles Philharmonic on the road back toward a state of orchestral grace at UCLA’s Royce Hall on Saturday night. The playing he got from his musicians was alert, precise and richly colored. The program was full […]

Chamber Music/LA

Once again the crowd was large and, for the most part happy; Chamber Music/LA ended its fourth annual go-around in a blaze of popularity if not glory. The playing, at the Japan-America Theater on Sunday afternoon, was mostly (if not entirely) of de luxe quality. The music, alas, was not. Mozart wrote few works that […]


Twenty-five years ago, when I first sat down with Pierre Boulez to discuss the future of the C-major scale and similar weighty matters, he had already emerged as a pulverizing presence on the musical landscape. He had called, in one famous interview, for a destruction of all the world’s opera houses and a reduction of […]


It always works: plan an interesting program and the crowds will come. Monday night’s Green Umbrella event at the Japan-America Theater stands as proof: a program of genuine interest, a near-capacity crowd. It was a program about daring, about musical exploration into unknown regions — most of all, into unknown sounds. It was an act […]


Sunday afternoon I sat in the handsome music room of a serene old Pasadena mansion, beguiled by the soft, silken sounds of David Tanenbaum’s guitar. Out through the picture window I watched as a beautiful small bird — some kind of finch, I think — landed on a branch and joined in with the music. […]