Monthly Archives: November 2006

Ripe, Rare, Romantic

Out of Mothballs Large-scale chamber works by Gabriel Fauré, I would have thought, might comfortably rest on one of the less accessible shelves in my musical larder, their presence acknowledged from afar. After succumbing to the absolute enchantment of one of these works, the C-minor Piano Quintet, at a recent Philharmonic Chamber Music Society concert, […]

Daring Young Men

Powder Keg Powder Her Face is an arrogant young man’s masterpiece, fearless and forthright. Its central character – the decrepit, decaying Duchess of Argyle, fornicating her way toward oblivion – is one in a grand line of operatic monsters from Amneris, say, to Lulu. Its creator – the formidable Brit Brat Thomas Adès, at 24 […]

It Comes With the Job

Nothing More Than . . . The past few weeks have made their mark on my critical apparatus. Johannes Brahms has been his usual nasty scold. Richard Strauss has gone on a rant and a screech. A cadence in a Mozart piano concerto left me numb, and a pileup of dissonances in a Bach cantata […]

Sound and Substance

Battle of the Brands At Disney Hall, the conductorless chamber orchestra known as Orpheus performed its brand of Mozart against that of the pianist Emanuel Ax; they did not match. Orpheus, which is popular for the same reasons that attract crowds to blind tenors and one-armed acrobats, is proficient at producing a well-sculpted wall of […]

Conduct Becoming

The Mystery Kid The young man – the slender, bespectacled, smiling schoolboy – strode to the Disney Hall podium, took his bow, turned to the orchestra. His gestures were modest, sure and eloquent; the curves and pulses of Mozart’s Figaro Overture fell beautifully into place. Whoever he was, the guy obviously knew the music and […]