BOOK REVIEW – In his vivid book Klaus Tennstedt: Possessed by Music, author Georg Wübbolt describes how the celebrated conductor, born in East Germany, was his own worst enemy, wracked with self-doubt and given to extreme stage fright.
PERSPECTIVE – Much like the characters it depicts, Nixon in China has seen its stock repeatedly rise and fall since its Houston premiere in 1987. In recent months, the opera has been revisited in no fewer than five productions on the Continent.
DIGITAL REVIEW – There are big recording projects, and then there’s Giovanni Antonini's plan to record all 107 of Haydn’s symphonies, and to complete the project by the composer’s 300th birthday in 2032. Volume 13 abounds with horns.
PERSPECTIVE – John Adams' Nixon in China, with Thomas Hampson in the title role and Renée Fleming as the First Lady, triumphed at Paris' Opéra Bastille while other Americans dotted casts encountered on a continental opera sojourn.
BOOK REVIEW – Maestro and author Carl Topilow offers advice that is specifically practical in the world of community or student orchestras, one path sometimes taken by young conductors. Topilow created the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.
DIGITAL REVIEW – Now available for streaming is a well-produced series of concerts by the Berlin Philharmonic titled The Golden Twenties. Works by composers from Weill and Strauss to Sibelius bespeak an era of exceptional creativity.
DIGITAL REVIEW – Religious fervor and near-operatic passion resound across a CD of six works, four of them written in the 21st Century, performed by the Massachusetts-based choir Gloriae Dei Cantores directed by Richard K. Pugsley.
BOSTON – The early-music ensemble Boston Camerata, innovators in performance practice since 1954, planned a Purcell party. Then came COVID. And necessity sparked a film: Dido and Aeneas, An Opera for Distanced Lovers.
DIGITAL REVIEW – Conductor Bernard Labadie, founder of Quebec's Les Violons du Roy, leads a stylish Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and a strong cast through this attractive score framing a tale of the exotic ancient Middle East.
CINCINNATI – Recalling its World War II fanfare project, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops commissioned solo fanfares from 13 composers, including Tyshawn Sorey's terse flourish for trumpet, to air online.
DIGITAL REVIEW – From concert broadcasts at the mid-century's cutting edge to musical bio-pics and fledgling livestream efforts by today's entrepreneurs (of necessity), the internet remains a source of discovery for our critics.