Giulini: Verdi Requiem: Dies irae

How could you not play your heart out for this guy?

Neglected symphony: Emilie Mayer: Symphony No. 7 in F minor (1856)

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Neglected symphony: William Grant Still: Symphony No. 5, ‘Western Hemisphere’

Written in 1945, Still’s Fifth is a pastoral, easy to listen to and evocative American Symphony.

The movements are described thusly:

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Panufnik: Heroic Overture

Łukasz Borowicz conducts the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Interviewing the talent

The stories behind the stories: I won’t assert that they are more interesting than the stories themselves, but they’re not without interest. I’ve learned a lot about classical musicians, both individually and as a group, interviewing them through the years. Composers, to my mind, are the best interviewees. They’re smart, they work alone and they seem to enjoy the opportunity to talk about their craft. Singers tend to live up to their reputation for shallowness and flightiness, I’m not sure why.

You never know what you’re going to get, phoning up or sitting down with a classical musician for the first time. It can be nerve-wracking. I didn’t know what to expect when I phoned the great pianist, intellect, essayist and poet Alfred Brendel. He was one of the all-time best scowlers on stage, glaring at coughers, barely breaking a smile in response to thunderous applause. I was intimidated. It turned out he was an absolute delight, funny, easy to laugh, spilling his tea (and laughing at that), willing and interested to talk and reflect about everything, even his inner self. “Well, I don’t think I’m really driven,” he said. “I’m not a fanatic, I dread fanatics. Fanaticism is something that frightens me. So I have given myself the appearance, or the idea, that I do what I do out of my own free will.” And then he laughed.

Pianist Ivo Pogorelich didn’t laugh at all. He was difficult. I sat down with him for a radio interview once and he didn’t like the microphone the engineer gave him. It fit on his head; he apparently didn’t want to muss his hair. Pogorelich told us that unless he got another microphone, one that sat on the table, he was going to walk, quite the diva. We found a table microphone for him and I proceeded with the interview, delicately.

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Drum majors

Jackson State drum majors redefining the art form. The tune is “Get Ready” by the Temptations. Notice the sousaphones.

Review: A Far Cry and Simone Dinnerstein play Bach and Glass at Soka

Review: Dinnerstein and A Far Cry Turn Bach and Glass into Pleasant Companions. Voice of OC, Sept. 17, 2018.

Listen to this: ‘Bolero’

A short video I wrote (and appear in) for the Pacific Symphony …

Listen to this: Bolero. Pacific Symphony Blog, Sept. 4, 2018.

Deodato: ‘Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun’

Pacific Overtures: September

The latest edition of my classical music newsletter for Pacific Symphony.


  1. September Concerts Roundup
  2. Interview: Dennis Kim
  3. Interview: Meredith Crawford
  4. Listen to This: Boléro
  5. Single Tickets
  6. Connections Series Renamed
  7. Video: Festive Overture
  8. Essential Books (4)
  9. Miscellany

Pacific Overtures. September, 2018.

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