Monthly Archives: August 2006

Seasonal Malfeasance

One of a Kind Few musical works of consequence have endured the variety of treatment, ranging from the ecstatic to the abusive, that befalls Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Even though its time in the spotlight has been relatively brief (composed around 1715, it never really attracted notice until some 200 years later), the musical […]

Past Particles

Backward, Turn Backward At 14, the precocious Wolfgang Mozart had already turned out 10 symphonies, four operas, three concertos, masses, sonatas, a string quartet and a basket of serenades. At that age, the slowpoke Jay Greenberg has ground out a mere five symphonies, one chamber work and a clutch of overtures. True, his time has […]

Concertos on Land, Fire Water

Earthbound What is there to say about the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto? Its music evokes the full vocabulary of bland, useless adjectives: well-balanced, elegantly detailed, perfect. On my well-stocked shelves of critical writing I find no poisoned pen aimed against the work. Even that teeming battleground, Nicolas Slonimsky’s Lexicon of Musical Invective, provides nary a harsh […]

Songs Sad and Seasonal

Molar Malaise There are moments in Hector Berlioz’s music when the harmonies become so clumsy, so befuddled in the sheer ugliness of their sound, that the mere progression around a simple turn of phrase starts to throb like a toothache – especially when, as with mine, the teeth are new. But then you immediately realize […]

How Some Birds Changed Sibelius and My Life

Magnificent Obsession Those of you who have been following this page for any length of time, and are easily shocked, are advised to direct your gaze elsewhere this week, because my mood, which no amount of medication in my well-stocked cabinet is able to divert, seems irrevocably fastened on an obsession to break out in […]

The 20th Century and Me: Beginnings

Editor’s note: Alan Rich has been the classical music critic at the L.A. Weekly for the past 15 years. Prior to the Weekly, he wrote for Newsweek and the Herald Examiner and California Magazine and, before that, New York Magazine and the New York Herald Tribune. Now 82, he is a local and national treasure, […]