Category Archives: A Little Night Music

All the articles written for the L.A. Weekly under the column title “A Little Night Music”

The Sound of Silence

1.34 METERS TALL, SHORT ARMS, SEVEN FINGERS — four right, three left — large, relatively well-formed head, brown eyes, distinctive lips; profession: singer — so reads, in its entirety, Thomas Quasthoff’s autobiographical entry on his Web site: a profile in … Continue reading

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Opera on High

Santa Fe‘s opera house is a scenery-studded 800-mile drive from Los Angeles; last week it seemed like home away from home. You ran into familiar Los Angeles faces everywhere — at the operas, and at other soul-renewing gathering places by … Continue reading

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Perfect Opera

What makes an opera work? If I had to guide a friend through the devious answers to that question, my final goal would be an understanding of the human interplay with Mozart‘s music in The Marriage of Figaro, tempered with … Continue reading

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Eyezapoppin

For better or for worse, director Benoit Jacquot has dealt with Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca — ”that shabby little shocker,“ in critic Joseph Kerman‘s immortal words — pretty much as the opera deserves. Nobody has ever mistaken the work for a … Continue reading

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Mozart, and Then Some

San Luis Obispo, known affectionately to its residents as ”SLO,“ has had its own Mozart Festival for 31 years. The genial and capable Clifton Swanson, who teaches conducting at Cal Poly — the town’s major school and its major industry … Continue reading

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Magic Time at the Bowl

At about 8:10 on the night of July 16, the sky above the Hollywood Bowl was dappled with small puffs of cloud, turned a soft pink in the rays of the setting sun. At the same moment, the sound came … Continue reading

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A Loss of Originality

The passing in recent weeks of Ralph Shapey (at 81) and Earle Brown (at 75) — strong-willed American composers, originals both, unalike in style but comparable in stature — inundated me in another wave of the nostalgia that is one … Continue reading

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Dim Future, Bright Past

Clouds of gloom thicken around the classical-music landscape, and around classical recording most of all. The major labels have so cut back their activities in this area that the few important releases in recent months — Simon Rattle’s Gurrelieder on … Continue reading

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Not With a Bang but a Whisper

Tchaikovsky here, Turandot there: The music season soared toward its final days at full volume, on grand, swooping wings. At the close, however, there was exquisite quietude. Sitting last weekend in the courtyard of that architectural wonder, the Rudolf Schindler … Continue reading

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Sir Donald and His Ideal Listener

Sir Donald Francis Tovey changed my life — for the better, I like to think. I was 20, as hapless a premed as ever walked along ivied walls. Somebody in physics lab showed me a slim volume he‘d just acquired: … Continue reading

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