January 25, 1997
Having seen the premiere of Igor Stravinsky's Requiem Canticles some 30 years ago, I can appreciate the excitement surrounding the premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen's new orchestral work ("An Ode to L.A.," Jan. 18). However, when Times music critic Mark Swed claims that "there is nothing to equal the meaningful experience of hearing a new piece of its time and place . . ." he confuses glamour with art. One might just as well say that there is nothing more meaningful about a presidency than attending the inauguration.
October 6, 1990
Times music critic Martin Bernheimer gave readers a perceptive and sensitive review of the commendable musical achievements of the Music Center Opera's new production of "Idomeneo" ("Meddling With Mozart," Sept. 27). The conductor, orchestra and singers gave elegant, virtuoso performances, just as Bernheimer reports. However, Bernheimer's editors did us a disservice by not also assigning a theater writer to review this magical new production designed by Maurice Sendak. Bernheimer really misses the mark in his lengthy (70% of his review)
November 22, 2008 |
The West Coast premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen's 2007 composition "Homunculus for String Quartet" was supposed to have happened Wednesday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, at a concert performed by the Guarneri String Quartet and the Johannes String Quartet. But a death in the family forced Johannes Quartet violist Choon-Jin Chang to pull out of the performance. While another violist, Lesley Robertson of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, filled in for Chang that night, the Salonen composition was canceled -- and Salonen told Times music critic Mark Swed that he did not expect that a replacement violist could learn the piece in time for tonight's planned reprise of the performance at UCLA's Royce Hall.
September 20, 2003
TIMES music critic Mark Swed is frequently too hard on our local music scene. I've often wondered if he and I heard the same concert or opera. For instance, I loved "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," which he disliked. But, if anything, he was too kind to the music of "Nicholas and Alexandra" ("What Could Go Wrong?" Sept. 16). I think the music was not only boring and tedious but also bordered on being unsingable, devoid of any discernable melody. Why did Placido Domingo choose to put on this dog in the first place?
June 6, 1998
Times music critic Mark Swed shows scant regard for the musical tastes of Los Angeles' classical music lovers ("Debating the Philharmonic and Faith," May 30). Indeed, to prefer Beethoven and Brahms, or any of the great masters who have stood the test of time, to the music of Schnittke, Messiaen or Ligeti, is seen as a severe failing on our part. Once, at one of the usually splendid free Sunday afternoon concerts at the Bing Theater of the L.A. County Museum of Art, we sat dutifully, trying to find something musical in the dissonant sawing and scraping that was going on. For one piece, a bizarre water-bubble machine was employed, making incomprehensible sounds.
June 28, 1993
On June 1, Times music critic Martin Bernheimer reviewed the Music Center Opera's presentation of "Lucia di Lammermoor," calling it "a regular laff riot" and setting off a Counterpunch debate. The opera's director, Andrei Serban, adds his unexpected thoughts in an open letter to Bernheimer from Bucharest. Dear Mr. Bernheimer, Knowing from past experiences that answering back to a critic is as useless as pouring water from the empty into the void, after your "coup fatal" I thought you might be pleasantly, if not strangely, surprised to receive from me a fan letter.