October 30, 1989 |
In "New Year," the fifth opera by the dean of British composers, 84-year-old Sir Michael Tippett, the reclusive central character clinches her psychological liberation by slamming a door behind her. But she's no Hedda Gabler. The heroine's escape from fear lacks cathartic punch because Tippett's jazzy but uninvolving score doesn't build grippingly to the climactic exit, which is made in anticlimactic silence.
January 14, 1995 |
Simon Rattle achieved the near-impossible Thursday night: He made a Bruckner symphony seem less than interminable. Actually, he did better than that. With the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the 39-year-old conductor sustained the sense of wonder and tension that Bruckner evokes in his quiet, mysterious opening for the entire hour and 10 minutes of the massive, and in lesser hands meandering, Seventh Symphony.
January 9, 1995 |
Even with a disappointing first half--the world premiere of a tightly wound symphony by the American academic, Gerald Levinson--Simon Rattle's return to the podium of the Los Angeles Philharmonic over the weekend had to be counted a success.
May 9, 2008 |
Nearly a week after a cyclone ravaged Myanmar, food, medicine and fresh drinking water are not the only necessities in short supply. So are independent news accounts from the isolated and politically repressive nation. Expatriates and others have been forced to rely mostly on secondhand accounts and reports from correspondents based in neighboring nations for information about the disaster, which the government says has killed more than 22,000 people.
January 24, 2005 |
He's been called naive. His awkward operas have been parodied for being muddled Jungian parables. And worse, he has been accused of amateurism. What a price poor Sir Michael has had to pay for his radiance. When Michael Tippett died in 1998, I predicted that his glowing music would finally find an adoring audience. I was wrong. The British composer wrestled with deep, dark human concerns.
February 15, 1996 |
When the Boston Symphony makes its first local appearances in five years tonight and Friday at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, the stamp of music director Seiji Ozawa will be firmly evident. In the course of his 23-year directorship--he is the longest tenured conductor currently at any major American orchestra--he's appointed more than half the orchestra and gradually transformed it to play the way he wanted it to.
March 4, 1988 |
There were no surprises this year in the classical Grammy awards. The non-pop category received fleeting token recognition, as usual, from the rock 'n' schlock-oriented academy. The winning choices in this vaunted popularity contest have always tended to be conservative. They have been predicated, no doubt, on the visibility factor (a k a hype quotient) of the famous artists nominated.
September 4, 1988 |
After 22 years with RCA, the only label for which it has ever recorded, the Guarneri Quartet has switched to Philips. The group's debut under these new auspices pairs (as usual) Dvorak's "American" Quartet and Smetana's "From My Life" (Philips 420 803, CD). Simultaneously, RCA has reissued in its midpriced "Gold Seal" CD series (6263) the Guarneri's "American" Quartet, initially released in 1972. The differences are considerable, but either way, the playing is magnificent.