Sunday, March 20, 2016



March 12, 2016
Seattle Opera
McCaw Hall, Seattle

Mary Stuart - Donizetti

After all these years I may finally be coming around to Italian opera that isn't by Mozart. In particular I have had problems with what seemed to me a mismatch between the affect (light and silly) and the dramatic moment (dire). But here the clarity of the accompaniment, be it ever so boom chick, can be heard as a constant surface of quiddity, beneath, above, and around which are spun melodies of extreme sophistication, and even within which unexpected transformations unfold. These are the grounds of the Berliozian affectual non sequitur. The ensembles are stunningly supple, and there was a moment in the big chorus just before Mary Stuart's last entrance where the choral writing opens into unexpected dimensions, as though we suddenly are aware of the abyss beneath us. Murderous power struggles should not be so timely, alas.

March 18,2016
Jeremy Denk - President's Piano Series
Meany Hall, Seattle

William Byrd
English Suite #3 in G minor, BWV 808 - J. S. Bach
Sunflower Slow Rag - Scott Hayden and Scott Joplin
Piano Rag Music - Stravinsky
Ninth Pavan and Galliard in D minor from Lady Nevell's Book - Byrd
Ragtime from 1922 - Hindemith
Graceful Ghost Rag - William Bolcom
Canon - Conlon Nancarrow
Pilgrim's Chorus from Tannhäuser - Donald Lambert
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 - J. S. Bach

Jeremy plays with such tender poetry and intricate clarity it seems bad form to quibble, but I do wish he would refrain from all the head wagging and foot kicking. I made the mistake of opening my eyes at the end of the Stravinsky, just in time to catch a flat falling winsome gesture. Please! But aside from my problems with ill-fitting showmanship this was a tremendous evening of fascinating music. His retrospective of crazy rhythms was spot on, though I'm sorry he didn't play Art Tatum's Tea for Two, which was in the program but not performed. The Goldberg Variations were ravishing.


March 13, 2016
8 Lieder: Auf dem Kirchhofe, Op. 105 #4; Der Jäger, Op. 95 #4; Regenlied; Sapphische Ode Op. 94 #4; Ständchen, Op. 106 #1; Therese, Op. 86 #1; Vergebliches Ständchen, Op. 84 #4; Wie Melodien Zieht es mir, Op. 105 #1 - Brahms - Janet Baker, Andre Previn

When I ripped these from vinyl I made no attempt to number the tracks, so this mini-recital was reassembled in alphabetical order. Each song has a complete and ornate frame. When the song is done it stays done.

March 15, 2016
Das Lied von der Erde - Mahler - New Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, Christa Ludwig, Fritz Wunderlich

The symphonic accompaniment plays the part of a cloud of familiars besetting the singer, echoing, mocking. An ever-renewing, inescapable farewell.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

March 14, 2016
Gradus 286 160314 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

In the first rung, among the As and Es up high all the c-sharps were gathered toward the bottom the keyboard, so that the whole came across as a big first-inversion triad.

In the second rung, two or many threads weave in gentle diagonals, ripples on a frictionless pond - or a diaphanous friction is intimated in the refraction of sound upon sound.

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