Monthly Archives: April 2002

The Substitute Soundtrack

THE PERPETRATORS OF DEAD MAN WALKING — the opera inflicted upon the stage of Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Hall these past few nights — have gone to some lengths to distance themselves from Tim Robbins’ 1995 film of the same name and derivation. Their source, or so they would have us believe, has been Sister Helen […]


“Schubert’s dynamics,” asserts the Isabelle Huppert character in Michael Haneke‘s gut-wrenching new film The Piano Teacher, “range from scream to whisper, not loud to soft.” Her student-victim is struggling with the slow movement of the A-major Sonata, one of the three extraordinary works in the genre that Schubert created during his last year. In a […]

Ending at the Beginning

TIMIDLY PLANNED, HANDSOMELY EXECUTED, the Philharmonic’s “Schoenberg Prism” ended a couple of weeks ago with the one work most likely to draw cheers, the early Transfigured Night — originally a sextet but later expanded by the composer for string orchestra. To these ears, the music makes a stronger impact in the original chamber version, the […]

The Magic Abides

Pity the deprived soul whose spinal column cannot vibrate to the way Mozart uses clarinets and trombones in The Magic Flute. Shed a tear for the misguided misanthrope who fails to find the presence of God — by whatever name — in the music for Sarastro in that opera. Bemoan the unreconstructible rationalist who howls […]