Monthly Archives: May 2000

Family Picnic

It was billed as a “gala”; the ticket prices bespoke “gala,” and so, I’m told, did the fancy sit-down dinner upstairs after the music ran out. The farewell entertainment concocted by the Los Angeles Opera last week to wish Godspeed to its founder/honcho Peter Hemmings turned out, to its credit, less of a “gala” in […]

The Notes Between the Notes

I‘m still obsessed with memories of Marino Formenti’s piano concerts at LACMA; you would be, too, if you‘d been there. On the third concert, he pulled off an acrobatic marvel, performing simultaneously on two pianos, tuned a quarter-tone apart, set at right angles behind him. The music itself was no mere trick: a big, clangorous […]

It Took a Weill

One hundred years after his birth, 50 years after his death, Kurt Weill can finally be measured. Against all the news about the abandonment of serious music by the giants of the recording industry, EMI Classics has produced the first-ever recording of Weill’s grandest, most ambitious stage work, Die Bürgschaft, in a performance worthy of […]

Good, Bad, Beautiful, Ugly, Etc.

There was chamber music in town last week, the wrong pieces beautifully played. On Wednesday, three delightfully earnest and talented young musicians from overseas — the violinist Christian Tetzlaff, his younger sister the cellist Tanja, and the pianist Leif Ove Andsnes — played an evening‘s worth of lesser Schumann. On Friday, the estimable Emanuel Ax […]

Legalized Violence

A gap of 166 years separates the C-minor Piano Concerto of Mozart (K. 491) from the Piano Sonata of Jean Barraqué, but they share at least this: the ability to wreak sheer violence upon an audience, to numb the ears into disbelief by the power of innovation. Not all pianists are smart enough to recognize […]