Category Archives: Music

What is canonical about classical music?

In a recent column entitled “Questioning the Canon,” Simon Woods, President and CEO, League of American Orchestras, argued that, in their effort for “greater inclusion,” orchestras should abandon the notion of a “classical music canon” and embrace the idea of … Continue reading


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The friend of Schubert’s winter traveler

Sometimes I think that my blog could have a single topic — the circulation and uses of this musical landmark which resonates across Western culture:  Since Dr. Pantelis Polychronidis, my “other self,” is a collaborative pianist, the question of the … Continue reading

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Rethinking operatic drama

Today’s pre-eminent opera duo, (German) Jonas Kaufmann and (Greek-German) Anja Harteros, have been inspiring us to rethink operatic drama. DON CARLO: last duet AIDA: “La Fatal Pietra” OTELLO: “Già nella notte densa” LA FORZA DEL DESTINO: act I, 3rd scene IL … Continue reading

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Artists on the operatic stage

Since it aspires to incorporate all the arts, traditionally opera has not presented musicians and painters on the stage, a device that would require adding to the work yet another artistic layer.  Hence their rare appearances.  However, it seems that, … Continue reading

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Why we no longer engage with popular music

During the second half of the twentieth century popular music functioned as a major public domain which gathered young people in a cultural field of intensity – a realm of collective excitement and passionate engagement.  Music as social life offered … Continue reading

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Τurning points in the career of classical composers

Three recent releases made me think of turning points in the career of classical composers.   Mozart Momentum 1785 (2021) includes the Piano Concertos Nos. 20-22, the Piano Quartet No. 1, the piano Fantasia in C minor, and the Masonic … Continue reading

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The pleasures of cataloguing in the list songs of Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim

The obituaries for Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021) amounted to a late tribute to the Broadway integrated musical, a theater genre and cultural industry that lasted for thirty years, from Oklahoma! (1943) to Company (1970) and Follies (1971).  There are many elements … Continue reading

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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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