Cult Conductors: A New Review Series

We live in an era when more recordings of more music by more artists are available than at any time before. In particular, the release of Big Boxes of live performances, radio broadcasts, and even commercial recordings now in the public domain, have given collectors the opportunity to sample extensively the output of conductors whose […]

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All-Bartók Season-Opener With The Hungarian National Philharmonic

Budapest, September 25, 2019; Müpa—For my ongoing survey of Budapest’s orchestral scene, I picked out an all-Bartók evening with the Hungarian National Philharmonic. The National Philharmonic came to (Western) fame under its longtime director János Ferencsik and again when it was led for two decades by Zoltán Kocsis until the latter’s death in 2016. The […]

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Big Opera-Feud: To say “dick” or not to say “dick”, that is the Question

The German word “dick” has many translations. It does, as so often, depend on context. It could mean “fat” or “tubby”. More likely it means: “big”, “chubby”, “corpulent”, “Rubenesque”, or “thick” (as in a slice of bread). It is a descriptive word. Like many descriptive words, it can be turned into an insult, assuming it […]

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Fine Performance of Korngold’s Dreamlike Die Tote Stadt at Bard

Bard Summerscape, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.; August 18, 2019—For almost 20 years now, Bard College, at Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, has been presenting, under music director Leon Botstein, important operas outside of the familiar repertory of the major opera companies. Works by Chabrier, Smyth, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Blitzstein, Zemlinsky, and others have met with audience and critical […]

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A Magnificent Budapest Ring, Part 2: Walküre, Siegfried, & Götterdämmerung

Budapest, June 13-16, 2019; Müpa—If the Rheingold of the Budapest Wagner Week’s annual Ring Cycle was a stunner for its excellent-yet-largely-unknown cast, the three remaining operas of the tetralogy boasted excellence with well-known stars of the Wagnerian world. Apart from Johan Reuter’s elegant, noble Wotan – ever the host of an elegant 1920s dinner party […]

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First Complete Recording Of The Works Of Heinrich Schütz Concluded

Leinfelden-Echterdingen, July 3, 2019—The complete recording of his work creates an important monument in sound to Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672), the first German composer of international repute. Hans-Christoph Rademann and the Dresdner Kammerchor have completed the first recording of Schütz’s entire multifaceted oeuvre in 20 volumes on 27 CDs. On this occasion, the festive opening concert […]

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My Augsburg Confession

Augsburg, June 8, 2019, Leopold Mozart Violin Competition—After a week with five long days of trials, amounting to some 35 net hours of intense Mozart-, Paganini-, Bach-, and Mendelssohn-listening, the 10th Leopold Mozart Violin Competition is in the books. It will conclude tonight with the Prize Winners’ Concerts. In yesterday’s finals, three candidates out of […]

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Mariss Jansons Delivers AM-Berlioz in Vienna

Vienna, May 30, 2019; Musikverein—I don’t know about you, but I have yet to meet anyone who thinks Hector Berlioz in the AM is a terribly bright idea. Certainly not the ingeniously over-egged, self-important frivolity of his Symphonie fantastique, not even with Mariss Jansons leading the Vienna Philharmonic in the Musikverein’s Golden Hall, as was […]

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