Monthly Archives: August 2003

The Seasons Unseasoned

If you’re as old as I am, you can remember a time when Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons was one of music’s unknown quantities. My Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia from 1948 – the year the long-playing disc hit the market – doesn’t list a single authentic recording. By 1952 there were two – an honorable version with […]

Monuments, Indoor and Out

Twenty years, give or take, separate Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto and Berlioz’s “Fantastic” Symphony; one week separated their presence at the Hollywood Bowl (in very classy performances, if you were wondering). The two works sing in different languages, but they occupy similar positions in the musical annals. Both stand at a crossroads. Beethoven’s vast design, […]

The Passionate Adventurers

Strange are the workings of the Fates. A couple of weeks ago, as I rummaged through the collected writings of Olin Downes in search of his adulatory bloviations on the matter of Jan Sibelius, the telephone rang with the news of Harold Schonberg’s death. Olin Downes had been chief music critic at The New York […]

Fast Forward

Tod Machover’s Hyperstring Trilogy, on the Oxingale label and by some distance the most exhilarating disc release of these otherwise drab summer months, sets off memories of the not-too-distant past and stirs up all kinds of hopes for a not-too-hopeless future. Riffling through my old writings, from when this publication and I were 10 years […]