Monthly Archives: May 2001

Tuning In, Tuning Out

Toward the end of a recent symposium celebrating hardcore musical creativity, someone asked what seemed to be a sensible and important question: How can a listener, confronted with an abstruse piece of new music, recognize what‘s going on? How do we,in other words, determine from our ears’ evidence whether this is a piece of chance […]

Four Play

Before there was Scrabble, there was the string quartet. The dinner dishes were cleared, and the company retired to the music room to try out the latest chamber-music delectation from the busy presses in Berlin, Vienna or Paris. Music for four — the “Divertimento a Quattro,” as it was first called — was the medium […]

Felix the Felicitous

Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto is so immediately lovable that we can forget what an original and important work it really is. It can bring out the best in a performer, as it did for Sarah Chang in her Philharmonic appearance last week. It can also bring out the worst, as it did for Bulldozer Nadja […]

Fulfillment at the Close

I would like to live long enough to see this happen: A pianist’s recital ends with Opus 111, the last of Beethoven‘s 32 sonatas; as its final cadence — music touched by an angel — merges into the surrounding silence, the audience shares that silence for some minutes and then, in silence, leaves the hall. […]