The Great French Organ Tradition With Paul Jacobs on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, at 7:30pm in Paul Hall

March 2016

Music

A Crop of Recordings IV: Enescu, Suk, Poulenc, Martinů, Tchaikovsky

As collectors know, exploring outside the basic repertory is often both frustrating and rewarding.  The search for significant neglected music, one learns early, is not so easy as it appears. Many worthy pieces one falls in love with turn out to be partial works of genius, with uninspired moments we choose to forgive, defects of length and proportion, or performing requirements condemning them to obscurity.
Art

Danish Solitudes: Vilhelm Hammershøi at Scandinavia House, closes March 26, 2016

Widely recognized in Europe during his lifetime and engulfed by obscurity for decades thereafter, today the Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) is primarily considered to be a “painter of tranquil rooms.” “Interior in Strandgade, Sunlight on the Floor,” one of twenty-four paintings displayed in an intimate recent exhibit at New York’s Scandinavia House, is an archetypal Hammershøi work. A solitary woman hunches over a table with her back to the viewer, her identity and activity unclear. Daylight pours through a large central window, leaving a slanted, luminous grid ghosted on the floor. While the subject matter is characteristic of the period—paintings of bourgeois women and interiors were both immensely popular in 19th century Denmark—the approach is defiantly atypical.
Music

The San Francisco Symphony: Herbert Blomstedt, conductor; Maria João Pires, piano, in Beethoven and Bruckner

It was a surrealistic night. Every so often a trip to the symphony is like that. It had oddities—both nice and annoying. First-off, I thought, ninety seems to be the new seventy. And seventy surely is the new fifty. As Herbert Blomstedt came onstage, he didn't look eighty-nine, that's for certain! Just slightly snowier than last time. Tall, eager, ambassadorial as ever—Blomstedt led the evening without baton and the symphony from memory—an incredible feat with this edition.
Musical Theater

“She Loves Me” at Roundabout’s Studio 54, until June 12

The great challenge of any musical revival is ourselves—specifically, our memories of the cast we first saw, the scenery and costumes. It’s even worse if we have a cast album and know by heart not only the words and music, but also the musical dynamics, phrasing and inflections. This is the challenge I faced attending the final preview the current Roundabout revival of She Loves Me. Will it be as good as I remember?
Arts Press

Support New York Arts and The Berkshire Review!

Our publications continue to be widely acclaimed by leaders in the arts and our readers. Artists in all disciplines have expressed their gratitude for our reviews, articles, and interviews, and so have our readers, in a most gratifying way. We are constantly reminded of the value of our mission to promote the arts and educate audiences around the world.
Early Music, etc.

Ian Hobson, piano: Preludes – Etudes – Variations at Merkin Concert Hall, February 22, 2016: Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninoff

Mr. Hobson's program, consisting of a very early work by Chopin, which he wrote as a conservatory student at age 17 and performed soon after his graduation two years later, the fifty-year-old Debussy's peak as a writer for the piano, and Rachmaninoff's final work written in Russia: in 1917, when he was forty-four, and his world was crumbling around him, as the Revolution continued its course and he realized that he would have to leave his native country, where he had friends, money, and property, and face an uncertain future as an exile, most likely supporting his family with concert tours in the United States, which he hated. All these works have their harmonic, coloristic, and emotional extremities, at points going as far as to reflect the Paganinian tradition of the demented, or diabolical virtuoso. Hobson responded to this with full sympathy in all, as well as prodigious energy.
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