Monthly Archives: January 2008

In and Out of Church

Full ServiceThe crowd observed a moment of silence as Lorin Maazel brought his performing forces to a reverent ending in a darkened Disney Hall last week, then burst forth in high-decibel approval. As with Messiaen’s pictorial panorama the week before, and the urban masterworks of the preceding week, those who crave fare other than the […]

In Living Color

In 1973, the story goes, the wonderful, if eccentric, New York patron Alice B. Tully asked Olivier Messiaen to compose a piece for the American Bicentennial. Messiaen hesitated at first; the notion of celebrating American skyscrapers or the like did not appeal. Then Tully told him she had been invited to India, and one of […]

Not With a Whimper

It was good to hear Earl Kim’s music again; I knew him at Berkeley in the late ’40s, when I had the job of working the Music Department’s only tape recorder and he was already composing deep, dark, moving songs, from which I learned much. Susan Narucki sang his Exercises en Route at the Monday […]

A Rocky Landscape

The Cat House Afire Edgard Varèse arrived in New York in 1915, age 32. His journey from his native Burgundy had taken in most of Europe’s cultural capitals, where his scores had been played, admired, and many lost in a couple of fires. He had attended the notorious premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, as […]

Onward! The Philharmonic's Concrete Frequency

Starting From Here December wasn’t much; you get so many sing-alongs. One night, a young man of scholarly mien, Jonathan Biss, tried out his fingers, but not apparently his heart, on the Beethoven Fourth Piano Concerto at Disney. Afterward, he sat in front of me, and many people, rather rudely it seemed to me, crawled […]