Monthly Archives: January 2003

Concerted Efforts

At the Philharmonic these weeks there have been concertos: the old standbys (Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn) hacked at by wet-behind-the-ears virtuoso wannabes, but also new stuff for new combos: works for cello, solo and multiple, under the Green Umbrella, big pieces for English horn and for massed percussion in elegant conflict with Esa-Pekka Salonen’s assembled forces. Nothing […]

The Visionary

Luciano Berio was to have been among us these weeks, with his new edition of Monteverdi‘s Coronation of Poppea at the Music Center and several other performances of his music in the area planned to honor his special genius. An ongoing illness, plus injuries from a recent car crash, denied us his presence, with the […]

The Site and the Sound

One thing I will not do: join the procession of prognosticators whose crystal balls have already informed them, 10 months ahead of the fact, that the music in the new Disney Hall will rank among the world‘s supreme acoustical wonders. My cynicism in this regard is hard-won; memories of the sounds of inaugural gala performances […]

Bill's Gong Show

You want to know the history of L.A.‘s music? Ask the history makers themselves, best of all the three surviving geezers who’ve been here, done that and keep it up. David Raksin, 90 last year, came to Hollywood in 1935 to create movie music for Charles Chaplin; his later triumphs include the slithery title tune […]


No abandoned orphan draws such tears and frustrations as does Turandot, Puccini’s final work, left incomplete at the composer’s death in November 1924 and rushed to completion by lesser hands soon afterward. It remains a sad thought that 325 years of grand Italian opera tradition should come to its sputtering end in the merely competent […]

Thunder in Paris, Echoed Worldwide

No two works of Hector Berlioz are in any way alike; nothing from his pen resembles anyone else‘s music. Mention of Berlioz brings on images of diabolical incantations, rattling of dry bones, and opium-induced nightmares; how, then, explain the deep, soft musical discourse of his oratorio L’Enfance du Christ, given so exquisitely by Esa-Pekka Salonen […]