Category Archives: Classical Music

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

Posted in Classical Music, Listening, Piano

The Wandering Musician

Perhaps no other genre in classical music is as intensely Romantic as the Wanderlieder cycle, the song cycle depicting the adventurous peregrinations of a young wayfarer.*    Such cycles represent the epitome of 19th century male subject position as poet, composer, … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Culture | Tagged , , , , ,

Heine & Schubert’s “Der Doppelgänger”

Franz Schubert’s seminal song “Der Doppelgänger” (1828) is suspended in a unique historical and stylistic moment of classical music, with its ostinato piano part looking back to Bach’s passacaglia and its declamatory vocal part looking forward to Wagner’s Sprechgesang.  It … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Friends, The Double | Tagged ,

Learning from the listening skills of composers

When we discuss musical classical works that draw on other classical works we focus on allusions, references, quotes, paraphrases, parodies and the like, trying to see how new compositions revise and appropriate earlier ones.  However, I have been thinking that … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Listening | Tagged , , ,

Sheltered listening (Beethoven’s “Archduke Trio” under quarantine)

Why did classical music first, among all the artistic genres, respond with enthusiasm and generosity to the current quarantine, making large quantities of its resources freely and globally available?  Even though it is among the least popular genres, why did … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Culture, Listening, Piano | Tagged ,

Music at the threshold

I would love to read a collection of papers on compositions whose liminal character represents a turning point in classical music.  I am thinking about works which might have taken different directions.  In which particular pieces can we see a … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music | Tagged

Making music as rhythming the refrain and becoming-bird

As I embark on listening to the twenty-piece, two-hour solo piano cycle, Vingt Regards sur l’enfant-Jésus (1944) by Olivier Messiaen (1908-92), I start with the opening     glance/gaze/contemplation, the one from the perspective of the father, Regard du Père. I try … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Listening | Tagged ,

Η Φωτεινή Τσαλίκογλου κι εγώ ακούμε τη λύπη στον Σούμπερτ

Είμαι ευγνώμων στη σοφή φίλη Φωτεινή Τσαλίκογλου που μου αφιέρωσε το παρακάτω αφήγημα για τη μουσική λύπη στην έξοχη συλλογή της  Οι παράξενες ιστορίες της Κυρίας Φι (2019) που μόλις κυκλοφόρησε.  Το αφήγημα συλλογίζεται γιατί είναι λυπημένοι, πρώτα οι ακροατές, … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Listening | Tagged ,

Listening ahead

Listening to Beethoven’s overture (1807) to Collin’s forgotten drama Coriolan (1802), I am always filled with trepidation, struck by the great number of times the music stops. It is not just the agitation of the first theme.  From the very … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Listening | Tagged

Spiral motion in time and space

Here is an orchestra spinning a gyre: Helix (2005) is an exhilarating single-movement short orchestral work by Esa-Pekka Salonen (b. 1958) that traces the revolution of a conic helix.  It starts slowly at the wide bottom of a cone and … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Listening