Monthly Archives: May 1999

The Product, Triumphant

IT WAS A MONTH FOR SYMPHONIES: Mozart in full glory, two unfamiliar Dvor├ík delectables, one often-roasted chestnut from the Shostakovich legacy and another more rare — and, of course, the Nine. Beethoven’s inscrutable legacy drew sell out crowds to Costa Mesa’s Performing Arts Center; from overheard lobby conversations I would judge that the contingent who […]


An all-in-one festival of the Beethoven Nine is one of music’s can’t-lose propositions. The size is right: five concerts of leisurely length, with room here and there for an overture or two. The music, needless to say, is also right: “the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man.” wrote E. […]

Let's Hear It for Ockeghem

Photo by William WegmanLISTENING TO VERY OLD MUSIC DEMANDS a confrontation on shaky ground between the imaginations of the long-dead composer and the listener presumed alive. However pious the press releases may read on the subject of “authentic performance practice as the composer might have heard it half a millennium ago,” the impression is inescapable […]

The Beethoven Imperative

“Gusts of splendor, gods and demi-gods contending with vast swords, color and fragrance broadcast on the field of battle, magnificent victory . . . it will be generally admitted that Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man.” –E.M. Forster, Howards End BEETHOVEN LOOMS LARGE, AS […]

Opera Elsewhere

LAST FRIDAY WAS WALPURGIS EVE, when witches ride and ballerinas glide, a festivity that provides the only justification I can think of for producing Charles Gounod’s Faust. Bill di Donato’s Bel Canto Opera did its usual patch-‘n’-paste job, in the auditorium at Culver City High. (One thing about being a Bel Canto fan: You get […]