Nathaniel Pierce plays and sings Schubert

Ah, the joys of the student recital. The songs are “Das Wandern” and “Der Erlkonig.”

10 ways not to clap after every single song at a Kathleen Battle recital

[From the archive.]

The following list is offered as a public service.

10. Don’t clap until Kathleen Battle commands you, by royal decree, to clap.

9. Buy two tickets for $250 each to the recital. Leave them in the back pocket of your jeans. Launder according to instructions.

8. You’re on your way to the concert when you realize that you left the back burner on, the one that smokes all the time. You turn around and go home and find your teenager having a wild party in your absence. Rather than get mad, you join him.

7. Wait until you hear “O mio babbino caro.”

6. Go to True Value Hardware. Buy a packet of 5-inch nails. Insert nails between each finger, with the sharp points facing the opposite palm. Attend recital as usual.

5. One word: Handcuffs!

4. Clap only when the “Applause” sign is lit up.

3. Clap only when Battle is singing.

2. Bring your cell phone to the concert. As the concert begins, call your health-care provider with a question about your coverage. Listen to your phone-tree options, press the one you want. Wait.

1. Order the chicken salad and hold the toast — between your knees!

Interview: Esa-Pekka Salonen

(Here’s an interview I did with conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen in July 2014, which was published in the Autumn issue of Port, a London-based quarterly. It has never appeared online before this. I have downloaded jpegs of the text pages from the magazine itself. Click on the thumbnails for larger, and readable, views.)

IMG_0107 IMG_0109


Music criticism books (5): Tim Page’s ‘Music from the Road’


The latest entry in our occasional series on music criticism books is “Music from the Road” by my friend Tim Page. The subtitle is “Views and Reviews 1978-1992.”

It’s a terrific book for many reasons, but one of them that I’m always struck by is his prose style. It is conversational in the best sense, but not “breezy” in the way that most people mean when they say “conversational.”

No, Tim’s prose has a real warmth, grace and flow. You can read it out loud and it sounds well (probably because Tim does that himself before he publishes a piece). It addresses the reader as if he is as intelligent as Tim, and just as interested in the subject matter.

He has an exceedingly wide musical interests.

Sometimes considered a critical no-no, the first person pronoun is used by Tim in a masterly way. He makes its use thoroughly convincing because somehow he talks directly and intimately to the reader and the use of the “I” becomes modest rather than boastful.

Along with Martin Bernheimer and Justin Davidson, he is one of three living music critics to have won the Pulitzer Prize.

“Music from the Road” contains essays, interviews and reviews first published in The New York Times, Newsday and other publications.

Photo No. 1 shows the cover. Photo No. 1 shows the back cover, with blurbs by William F. Buckley, Jr. and Peter Jennings. Photo 3: The title page with Tim’s inscription to me. Photo 4: Part of the table of contents. Photos 5 and 6: Random samples, including part of Tim’s Piano Quarterly interview with Glenn Gould. (Click on the photos for larger views.)

Tim is also the author of a biography of the novelist Dawn Powell, a memoirist, and an editor of many books, including several volumes by Virgil Thomson.


What’s wrong with newspapers?

Here it is, as clearly explained as I’ve seen it anywhere. This is an exceptional piece of journalism on the state of newspapers, as well as very funny. As I’ve said before, the general public doesn’t seem to understand any of this, or to comprehend the implications. If you stay until the end (which I strongly recommend), you are rewarded with a hilarious (because true) skit, complete with celebrities and a soundtrack of Mozart.

Review: Dudamel and LA Phil perform Tchaikovsky Spectacular at the Bowl

Review: Dudamel celebrates a summer favorite to the beat of the USC marching band. Los Angeles Times, Aug. 6, 2016.

Review: Los Angeles Philharmonic performs new ‘Firebird’ with puppets at Hollywood Bowl

Review: A confusing but striking ‘Firebird’ comes to life at the Hollywood Bowl. Los Angeles Times, Aug. 5, 2016.

Video: Pablo Villegas plays the Gran Jota de Concierto by Francisco Tarrega

Igor Stravinsky: Symphony in C (1940)

Charles Dutoit conducts the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande.

To hear works in my Neglected Symphonies series, click here.


Video: Argerich plays Prokofiev

Prokofiev: Sonata in B-flat, Precipitato. Martha Argerich, piano.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 312 other followers