On Thursday at the Houston Symphony, it was a mixed bag. Whether or not concerto soloists use sheet music in performance is up for debate, but it always just gives me the impression that they weren’t ready. Read my review at Bachtrack.
Who doesn’t love Bach for his fugues? In Bach’s 1738 instructional book on counterpoint, Precepts and Principles for Playing the Thorough-Bass, he writes: “It is played with both hands on a keyboard instrument in such a way that the left hand plays the written notes, while the right hand strikes consonances and dissonances, so that this results in a full-sounding Harmonie to the Honour of God and the permissible delight of the soul.”
High stakes. The Brentano String Quartet is adding to them with their Art of Fugue, presented as part of Da Camera of Houston’s season next Friday, March 3. Read my interview with first violinist Mark Steinberg at Houstonia Magazine.
Chamber music has always been my favorite genre to perform. It’s a thrill, but one that is often underestimated. Performers like Lars Vogt and Christian Tetzlaff show how deep the art form can go. Read my preview of their Da Camera Houston debut together at Houstonia Magazine.
I have a lot of memories of this work, and with an opera company at the helm, it was a refined performance. But the thing I’ll remember probably won’t be the music (Sasha Cooke, resilient hero, my hat is off to you). Read my review at Houstonia.
I really can’t express what an inspiration it was to hear Yo-Yo Ma perform. You read about these prodigies, but seeing is believing. Read my review at Bachtrack.
PS: For all those curious audience members, his serene encore was the “Appalachia Waltz” by Mark O’Connor. If you have chance, check out their collaborative album of the same name.
I’m proposing a session about my favorite things at the 2018 Modern Language Society Convention in NYC and I would love to get your proposals! See the call below. (And wide range really means wide range, but if you have questions you can email me too.)
Special Session: Opera and Literature
Throughout the history of opera and literature, the two have overlapped and informed each other. This session welcomes a wide range of papers on the topic. 300-word abstracts by 15 March 2017; Sydney Boyd (firstname.lastname@example.org).
And pianist Denis Kozhukhin returns to play the Rach 3. Read my review at Bachtrack.
On Inauguration Day, this opera hit close to home. Read my review at Houstonia Magazine.
If I had to choose just one piece of music to listen to for the rest of my life, Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto might be it. It’s the human experience, majestic and honest. At the Houston Symphony on Thursday, it was less than perfect, but pianist Behzod Aduraimov wasn’t to blame. Read my review at Bachtrack.