Monthly Archives: May 2006

Sudden Shock

Wanderings Claude Vivier was born in Montreal in 1948 to anonymous parents, raised in an orphanage and then by foster parents named Vivier. Honored eventually as a brilliant if disturbing composer, he ended up in Paris, where, at 34, he was stabbed to death in his apartment by a young man he had picked up […]

A Honeyed Thunder

Hybrids Even in his much-regretted absence, the late Lou Harrison remains a glowing presence. The paltry three concerts of his music in Orange County over the past few days that have been passed off as this year’s Pacific Symphony American Composers “Festival” left much great music unplayed, and wasted time on insignificant works. Even so, […]

Spinal Column

The Only Other Music Gy├Ârgy Ligeti’s Requiem first makes itself known in your lower spine, moves overpoweringly upward and explodes into full awareness. Deep, dark harmonies resound from the low voices in the two interwoven choirs, further colored by the orchestra’s most solemn contingent; they form a dense web whose very lack of compass stops […]

To Wonder, to Ponder

Unfinished but Polished One question immediately surfaced, as a near-capacity audience cheered itself hoarse at the sublime artistry of Ian Bostridge and Leif Ove Andsnes, and the performers had run out of encores: Why aren’t there more concerts like this? Art-song programs, we are told, draw poorly; solo piano recitals, too, unless they’re performed by […]

The Past Master

The New Art Act 2 of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo begins in a sunlit meadow. Orpheus and his pals – nymphs, shepherds, homeless – are celebrating his recent marriage to Euridice. Orpheus, the greatest singer of the day, spins off song after song on his “golden lyre” to the happiest of harmonies. Suddenly a dark figure blots […]