Monthly Archives: December 2005

The Festive Muse

The Babe Set Free At its first hearing here (March 2003, at the Old Place), El Niño was warmly received, but with one reservation almost unanimously voiced. John Adams’ musical evocation of the Nativity story is, for most of its two-hour length, powerful and haunting, made especially so by the superb writing for its vocal […]


Andsnes in Depth The Philharmonic has had the admirable idea, for the last couple of years, of inviting some of the more interesting guest artists to tarry in town for more than the usual one-week stint, to display a broader range of their interests than just a single concerto. Last year’s “on location” visitor was […]

Terrae Incognitae

Painting by Tahir Salahov,Courtesy Los AngelesPhilharmonicDark Regions E-flat minor is dank and sinister territory. Ascribing personalities to specific tonalities is a shifty business at best; very often mere mechanical considerations of particular instruments make the difference. The E-string is the highest on the violin, therefore works in that key will be high-pitched; French horns are […]

Opera on Grand

Photo by Robert MillardSacred Richard Wagner’s Parsifal stands as one of opera’s unassailable peaks; full credit is due to any company for attempting the work at all – and, I suppose, to any audience willing to undergo its five-hour dimensions. Further credit, then, redounds to our local company for assuming the difficulties of an already […]

The Year In Night Music

Photo by Walter SchelsPianists: Two of the world’s best began and ended the Philharmonic year at Disney. For starters, Mitsuko Uchida – who does for pantsuits what Olivier used to do for Hamlet – lit magical lights through all five of the Beethoven concertos. At the end, as these words fall onto the press, the […]