November 22, 2009 |
In April 1989, the glamorously autocratic Herbert von Karajan resigned from his post as music director of the Berlin Philharmonic, the West German ensemble he had led for 35 years and made into the most brilliant orchestra the world had ever known. In July, he died. On Nov. 9, the Berlin Wall came down. Then, on Christmas Day, Leonard Bernstein, Karajan's old rival, summoned orchestra members from Munich, Dresden, Leningrad, Paris and New York to the once and future capital of Germany for the official concert celebrating the fall of the wall -- a historic performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
December 12, 1999 |
A week and a half ago, Ades won the Gravemeyer Award for "Asyla," and the music world is all in a state. It's not that this 22-minute symphony isn't worthy or that it is the composer's first major orchestral piece. "Asyla" is the freshest of new music, full of inventive sounds and revealing an instantly identifiable personality. No, the controversy is simply that Ades is only 28 years old, and the $200,000 prize is often regarded as a Nobel-like lifetime achievement award.
February 8, 1998 |
Once upon a time, back in the 1980s before Baroque singers marketed themselves as bimbos, before nubile young violinists posed for provocative CD covers, there were Nige and Nadja, the original bad boy and bad girl of the violin. First there was Nigel Kennedy the good boy. In 1984, still in his 20s, he recorded Elgar's outsize, rapturous 1910 Violin Concerto in a performance that spoke directly to traditionalist hearts. It was beautifully played, well controlled yet full of emotion.
January 24, 1999 |
In 1962, when Glenn Gould performed the Brahms D-minor with Leonard Bernstein at a famously controversial concert in Carnegie Hall, the pianist was 30, the conductor, 44; and each was the most talented and original musician of his generation. Those are close to the ages today of Leif Ove Andsnes and Simon Rattle. And the comparisons of these two recordings, a quarter-century apart, are fascinating.
December 5, 1999 |
The Berlin Philharmonic is about to get a wake-up call. The august orchestra has been led for much of the past century by Wilhelm Furtwangler, Herbert von Karajan and Claudio Abbado. But beginning in 2002, when Simon Rattle takes over, there will be a new kind of conductor for a new kind of city. And here is an example of what the former principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and upcoming music director of the Ojai Festival (June 2000) is up to these days.
February 17, 1992 |
Cancellation: The British orchestra the City of Birmingham Symphony, which will tour the United States in April, has canceled its California engagements. According to Ernest Fleischmann, speaking for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn., which was to sponsor concerts by the orchestra at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the ensemble did not receive the sponsorship that had been anticipated and therefore does not have sufficient funds to travel to the West Coast.