REVIEW: The Sterling Voices of King's College Choir

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge's recent concert at Saint Thomas Church felt like a celebration -- a grateful, momentous turning of the road. It felt like Spring. This was the last occasion on which they would appear under the direction of Stephen Cleobury in the U.S. before he retires. Fittingly, Daniel Hyde, current music director of St. Thomas's own esteemed music program will return to his alma mater to take over Mr. Cleobury's duties as Director of Music. 

REVIEW: 92Y Lyrics & Lyricists Solves Sondheim's Wordplay

The 92nd St. Y’s esteemed series celebrating the great American songbook, “Lyrics & Lyricists,” is in its 49th season, and now under the aegis of the head of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, Ted Chapin. Stephen Sondheim, indisputably the finest lyricist alive today, and arguably the greatest lyricist in the history of the American musical theater, has naturally been a writer the series has performed on more than one occasion. This music theatre nerd yearned to go further “into the words.” But, given how quickly a production like this must be assembled, Sondheim: Wordplay was a winning, entertaining evening celebrating one of our greatest artists.

PREVIEW: April in New York

Cadenza NYC’s monthly preview of New York’s classical music events. A curated list of the most interesting and promising classical music happenings in New York City for the month of April 2019. 92Y, Bargemusic, BAM, Carnegie Hall, New York Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and new this month…The Shed at Hudson Yards!

REVIEW: Anne-Sophie Mutter and Friends at Carnegie Hall

Anne-Sophie Mutter renewed her claim as one of the world’s finest violinists in her recent concert with longtime pianist Lambert Orkis. In an arresting program, the pair explored contrasting and deeply expressed emotions through music, balancing two sonatas by Mozart with two compelling, yet very different twentieth century French sonatas. Blessedly, Mutter remains a champion of new music, and a world premiere was among the highlights of the evening.

REVIEW: Jean Rondeau's "Italian Recycling"

French superstar of the harpsichord world, hipster wunderkind Jean Rondeau, recently written about by Alex Ross in The New Yorker, appeared on Thursday in the intimate Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, with a program of J. S. Bach and Domenico Scarlatti called Italian Recycling, giving local audiences a chance to hear his spellbinding playing in person. His program contrasted the motoric, formalistic music of Bach — which he plays with high stakes and riveting drama — with an assortment of the relatively sensual and exotic single-movement sonatas of Scarlatti. In this wide ranging, yet cohesive, concert, Rondeau proved his mettle as one of the great interpreters of Baroque music on the stage today.

REVIEW: Michael Tilson Thomas and Vienna Philharmonic Stop Time With Mahler’s Ninth

Today’s New Yorkers clamored to hear the Vienna Philharmonic play the Ninth Symphony, often referred to as Mahler's "Farewell" Symphony, on that very stage. The audience was rapt, collectively holding its breath in anticipation of the first upbeat. Audiences these days are rarely so focused -- a congregation of the devout, readying to participate in a ritual, an exorcism of sorts. MTT knows how to pace things for maximum payoff. The final, patiently drawn out minutes, were like layers of atmosphere peeling away from the curvature of the earth. As the final note resonated into silence, Tilson Thomas held his left hand in the air, as if trying to maintain a grasp on something that had slipped away irretrievably.

REVIEW: Masterful Voices Sing of Night, Love, and Joy

Mastervoices, a 100-plus member chorus (originally founded by Robert Shaw in 1941), gave a concert on Friday night in Alice Tully Hall that seemed tailored to provide respite and consolation following what can only be described as an exasperating week in the "real world." It was a joyous evening, both because of the sheer number of performers onstage using their voices to lift all of us up, and through careful, thoughtful programming, and creative ingenuity.

REVIEW: Pintscher Conducts Pintscher at the NY Phil

Matthias Pintscher is one of today's most successful composers, having won many European awards, and a busy conductor, too, serving as music director of Pierre Boulez's prestigious Ensemble Intercontemporain. This week he leads the New York Philharmonic in a program featuring one of his own compositions. On Thursday evening, however, the performance had not fully gelled. For example, at the iconic climax -- the trumpets hailing their triumphant theme in seven -- it took a few beats for everyone to agree on a tempo. Still, the piece's impact comes through, and the performance is worth hearing for the glittering reading of Ravel's Alborada and the spectacular violin playing of  Renaud Capuçon. Hopefully, this brilliant soloist will be back (ideally with some more ingratiating repertoire) in the future.

REVIEW: NYFOS Celebrates Melting Pot of Living Composers in "Hyphenated-Americans"

The New York Festival of Song, in a program centering on the theme of America's cultural melting pot (in festive and artistic opposition to the xenophobia of the current administration), presented an entire evening of recently composed music by living American composers, "Hyphenated-Americans," who bring their disparate world heritage to the American musical voice. The formidable program had moments of spellbinding beauty; it also had moments that felt like work. But, it's valuable work, and no one does it better than NYFOS, who assembles a second-to-none roster of artists, and the rapt audience in Merkin Concert Hall on Wednesday evening was enthusiastic in their support for these "hyphenated," but undeniably American creators. The program's platter of highs and lows had moments of delicious surprises and surprising deliciousness. 

REVIEW: Jaap van Zweden leads a glowing, hopeful German Reqiuem

Jaap van Zweden led a luminescent performance of Johannes Brahms'sA German Reqiuem, Op. 45, this week, in yet another change of gears for the New York Philharmonic's new conductor. Featuring the large Concert Chorale of New York, under the direction of James Bagwell, and soloists Ying Fang, soprano, and Matthias Goerne, baritone, Brahms's unique entry into the canon of the requiem mass glowed with a sense of hope.