Monthly Archives: October 2001

Five Not-So-Easy Pieces

The Philharmonic‘s presentation around Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra was a distinguished event worthy of the music — as the treatment accorded the Piano Concerto three weeks before had not been. Bold to the point of insolence, gorgeously color-splashed, this suite from 1909 (revised, but not diminished in the 1949 revision) had been substituted for […]


Land of strong lumberjacks and even stronger coffee, Seattle moves ever onward toward its unlikely transmogrification into the Bayreuth of the West.  In little more than a quarter-century, the city’s intrepid operagoers have had  three separate and distinct versions of  Ring des Nibelungen set before them, unalike in appearance and conception, triumphant in audience acclaim. […]

The Jewish Gaucho

They’re still talking about it in Stuttgart — about the night, just over a year ago, when a capacity audience in that normally strait-laced metropolis went berserk for nearly half an hour at the world premiere of a 90-minute choral work from an unknown pen. ”Was Madonna in the hall?“ asked one local paper; ”or […]


It will be interesting to see whether the efforts of our major cultural managements will succeed in turning Arnold Schoenberg into a media hero, as they did Igor Stravinsky last season. Schoenberg himself never made it, and the account of his attempting to divert the direction of Hollywood studio music is an amusing small episode […]

A Sad Symphony With a Happy Ending

CLASSICAL MUSIC IS DEAD ONCE AGAIN, AND ITS CORPSE HAS never been livelier. The villains have been variously identified, and the saviors as well. Audiences dwindle. One faction says the defection has to do with too much worn-out, familiar repertory. Elsewhere, the defection is blamed on an overdose of 12-tone, electronic, minimal, Stravinsky. Musicians, too, […]

A Contemporary Landmark

Pierre Boulez brought his Répons here for its first — and, so far, last — hearing in the spring of 1986. It took another 14 years for a recording of the work to appear, in Deutsche Grammophon’s 20/21 Series, which, the way things look now, might be the last significant project in an industry bent […]

Ten Who Care

MaryAnn Bonino‘s Chamber Music in Historic Sites brings in superb small entertainments from around the world — chamber music, early music, solo recitals — and plunks them down in enhancing architectural settings — churches, mansions, classic lobbies. You hear a Haydn quartet in the music room of, say, a Pasadena Greene Greene, and you’re finally […]

The Difference

It didn‘t take too much gift of prophecy to recognize the fates that brought Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic to a merger of their destinies. People still talk about his debut here (November 29, 1984) — a fair-haired conqueror from an exotic land, bearing an abrasive new hitherto-unknown symphony (the Lutoslawski Third). Credit […]