Album Review: Corigliano’s Conjurer and Vocalise

John Corigliano is consistently one of the best American composers alive.  Ever since listening to his Symphony No. 1 in college I’ve been hooked on his music.  This album of his music with the Albany Symphony under David Alan Miller is no exception. The first piece, Conjurer, is Corigliano’s first percussion concerto, featuring Dame Evelyn […]

Review: Rite of Spring and Firebird by the Mariinsky Ballet/Orchestra

There is a recurring theme in the arts that if you try and reconstruct something ancient using modern resources, you end up with something new entirely.  By trying to recreate the experience of ancient Greek theater, both opera and the music of Harry Partch emerged.  Neither got the original experience perfectly right, but instead created […]

DVD Review: Wagner- A Genius in Exile

Wagner: A Genius in Exile is a documentary by Andy Sommer that features Richard Wagner’s great-great-great grandson, Antoine Wagner.  Richard spent two stretches of his life in exile in Switzerland, and was known for his extensive hiking in the mountains there.  Antoine travels to Switzerland to experience Richard exile for himself by hiking in the […]

Jennifer Higdon: Early Chamber Works

When I put on the new album of Jennifer Higdon’s early chamber works, I was excited.  These pieces hadn’t been recorded yet, and I was curious to hear some of the venerated Higdon’s humbler, less-polished beginnings.  Reading that Serafin String Quartet had an ongoing collaboration with Higdon meant to me that I was going to […]

NDR Symphony Orchestra and Christopher Eschenbach perform Hindemith

I feel like Michael Corleone when I listen to Hindemith.  Sometimes his almost-constant ending of pieces with a major chord, to me anyway, can ring insincere and betray a lack of commitment to his own materials.  His harmonies are often more weird than interesting, and his quartal melodies can just be too much for me […]