Category Archives: Music

Piano music at sunset/Im Abendrot

Pantelis loves walks but does not like to go out at sunsets because they slide into something indeterminate that makes him feel insecure.  Sunsets may lead to bliss or annihilation, or both. In lieder, sunsets come at the end of … Continue reading

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Taking favorite solo sections out of their piano concertos

Listening to the opening movement of the Brahms 1st piano concerto I am reminded of the great number of splendid solo passages that can be found in concertos of this kind.  Such passages may be the opening of the piece, … Continue reading

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On lateness in listening: From late style to late mood

The scholarly symposium “Late Style and the Idea of the Summative Work in Bach and Beethoven,” taking place this month at the Department of Music & Dance in the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, inspired me to return to a particular aspect … Continue reading

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Listening to classical cover versions

I read with special interest an interview that Benjamin Grosvenor gave recently on playing the Liszt sonata.  Instead of analyzing the work itself or placing it in the history of classical music, the 28-year-old pianist compared his recent recording to … Continue reading

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All the world’s a studio

The song produced by Phil Spector is the pop song as authentic concoction. It is not emotional or sincere, it does not represent a slice of life, as did its immediate predecessors, the songs by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. … Continue reading

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Listening to a friend (2)

Having a friend is a rigorous exercise in attentive listening:  We do not listen just to what our friend says but to our friendship summoning us. Having pianist Dr. Pantelis Polychronidis as my “other self” is a multiple exercise in … Continue reading

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Rhythmic listening

As a cosmic, poetic, musical, temporal force, rhythm has an etymological and philosophical resonance that emerged in archaic Greece and continues to echo through recent studies of meter, sound, difference,  time, and performance. Such studies have been focusing on the … Continue reading

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The pianist’s “divine madness”

Sequentia Cyclica (1948-49) is by any measure a demonic artwork.  One of the longest and arguably the most monumental piece of classical piano music, it is based on this theme, a version of the well-known Gregorian chant Dies irae: This … Continue reading

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Piano recitals (2)

Some recitals offer an anthology of great autonomous works from the canonical repertoire.  Others place works in a sequence to narrate the grand story of a composer, genre, or tradition.  A more recent kind of recital assembles a variety of … Continue reading

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Piano recitals (1)

Traditional piano recitals, both live and recorded, consisted in precocious and neurotic virtuosos performing anthologies of canonical compositions by precocious and neurotic geniuses.  This interpretive tradition has recently come to an end, together with its supportive critical and scholarly discourses … Continue reading

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