Monthly Archives: July 2002

Mozart, and Then Some

San Luis Obispo, known affectionately to its residents as ”SLO,“ has had its own Mozart Festival for 31 years. The genial and capable Clifton Swanson, who teaches conducting at Cal Poly — the town’s major school and its major industry as well — was the festival‘s co-founder and is still its musical bright light. I […]


For better or for worse, director Benoit Jacquot has dealt with Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca — ”that shabby little shocker,“ in critic Joseph Kerman‘s immortal words — pretty much as the opera deserves. Nobody has ever mistaken the work for a subtle, life-size drama of heartbreak and redemption, and neither do Jacquot and his generally superior […]

Magic Time at the Bowl

At about 8:10 on the night of July 16, the sky above the Hollywood Bowl was dappled with small puffs of cloud, turned a soft pink in the rays of the setting sun. At the same moment, the sound came off the stage in similar puffs of string tone, dappled with flashes of audible light […]

A Loss of Originality

The passing in recent weeks of Ralph Shapey (at 81) and Earle Brown (at 75) — strong-willed American composers, originals both, unalike in style but comparable in stature — inundated me in another wave of the nostalgia that is one of the more benevolent afflictions of old age. Musical New York in the 1960s — […]

Dim Future, Bright Past

Clouds of gloom thicken around the classical-music landscape, and around classical recording most of all. The major labels have so cut back their activities in this area that the few important releases in recent months — Simon Rattle’s Gurrelieder on EMI, say, or Martha Argerich‘s Schumann (of which more later) or the Emersons’ set of […]

Not With a Bang but a Whisper

Tchaikovsky here, Turandot there: The music season soared toward its final days at full volume, on grand, swooping wings. At the close, however, there was exquisite quietude. Sitting last weekend in the courtyard of that architectural wonder, the Rudolf Schindler house in West Hollywood, with Schindler’s stark, simple structural lines dwarfed by trees and tall […]