Monthly Archives: March 2001

The Gadfly in the Grove

George Grove, lighthouse builder Precious words abide. In 1986, I turned up in one of the Grove dictionaries as “an unpredictable gadfly”; now, in the latest Grove, I still am. At least they spelled my name right, both times. The latest arrival is the second edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians […]

As Good As It Gets

Murray Perahia‘s concert at the Cerritos Center last week strengthened my conviction that he is the most satisfactory, the most honorable, American pianist. Watching him at work, you are touched by his sublime confidence. He knows what he’s good at, and he tells you that what he‘s good at is also what he loves. He […]

Divine Madness

Leonard Bernstein, the story goes, once described Olivier Messiaen as ”God‘s cocktail pianist.“ Cute and to the point, I guess, but I wonder how many of His bar patrons would hang out, ordering refills, with Messiaen at the keyboard walloping away on his Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jesus. One or two of these ”contemplations“ at a […]

Father of Reinvention

The Philharmonic’s Stravinsky Festival is at its midpoint as I write. That the performances have been splendid is, of course, a given; something in Esa-Pekka Salonen’s own lively curiosity, his way of reacting to musical adventure of high audacity, the clear long-range vision that enables him to command the cumulative growth of a piece, are […]


Operating on the brave but often-challenged principle that an audience still exists for, and cares about, the music of the recent past, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s current “Focus on Igor Stravinsky” festival focusses broadly. Over four weeks ending March 12, there have been orchestral concerts, chamber-music events, discussions, symposiums and art shows; following the final […]