NY Times Article From Different Critics

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NY Times Article From Different Critics

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:29 am

The NY Times had an article in their "classical music this week" with many people writing in-the article has quite a few photos and video and music clips. Regards, Len


Music lovers! I’m writing mere hours from the blockbuster pianist Lang Lang’s return to the concert stage after a year and a half recuperating from an arm injury. At Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra — currently facing an intriguing gender pay discrimination suit brought by its principal flutist — Mr. Lang will venture back gingerly, with Mozart rather than something more key-pounding. As you can see, he’s been diligently exercising.

I, too, am back: from a whirlwind trip to Europe. In Amsterdam, I saw George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s new “Lessons in Love and Violence,” about Edward II of England and the impact of his gay affair on his family and nation. It struck me as an elegant but way too cramped treatment of a subject that wanted more breathing room. (My colleague Anthony Tommasini liked it quite a lot in London in May.)

In Munich, I reviewed a star-filled but dreary “Parsifal.” (The conductor Kirill Petrenko, though, was on fire in his first go at the opera.) I loved David Allen’s profile of Stefan Herheim, a director who always makes me think, but I found Mr. Herheim’s Glyndebourne Festival production of “Pelléas et Mélisande” — set, in classic Herheim style, at the Glyndebourne Festival — uncharacteristically wan.

Coming up next week for me is a trip to Santa Fe to revisit John Adams and Peter Sellars’s “Doctor Atomic.” Be sure to read Michael Cooper’s story on the tweaks Mr. Sellars is making to the opera as it arrives at the birthplace of the bomb. Check out a new recording of the opera, with Mr. Adams conducting; I’m feeling the tension of the score more than ever.

I hope you got your fill of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” this holiday. On Monday we published a wonderful piece by Sheryl Kaskowitz about the 100th anniversary of “God Bless America”; Irving Berlin’s story of immigrating to the United States strikes a special chord this year. And we included Kate Smith’s first go at what became her trademark number.

I ate up my galley copy of Wall Street Journal critic Heidi Waleson’s forthcoming book about New York City Opera and did a little tweetstorm about it.

We won’t be at the always stimulating Aix-en-Provence Festival this year, but I was pleased to interview Bernard Foccroulle, who is stepping down after an 11-year tenure as director, about his favorite productions there.

Happy reading! Happy listening! ZACHARY WOOLFE

Philip Glass has long been celebrated for his scores for new films. But he also writes music for old ones. His 1998 string quartet accompanying “Dracula” (1931), commissioned by the Kronos Quartet, is a stylish work of deathless gloom. (The DVD release makes an ideal pair with the Criterion Collection’s Blu-ray edition of Jean Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which comes with Mr. Glass’s operatic adaptation as an optional soundtrack.)

On Tuesday, Michael Riesman — the longtime musical director of the Philip Glass Ensemble and an inveterate arranger of Mr. Glass’s works for solo piano — gave an authoritative performance of the “Dracula” score at Le Poisson Rouge, underneath two screens showing the film. So booming was his reading that English-language subtitles proved necessary for the audience to keep track of all the dialogue. But this occasional covering of the film’s original sound was worth it. During “Carriage Without a Driver,” Mr. Riesman emphasized a nervy percussive quality that isn’t as prominent in Kronos’s recorded version. SETH COLTER WALLS

With ongoing debate about the merits of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass,” one notable aspect of the piece is often taken for granted: the lead role of the Celebrant is a demanding assignment, both vocally and dramatically. The fast-rising, Panamanian-American baritone Nmon Ford takes on the role in the Mostly Mozart festival’s production on July 17 and 18. In recent seasons Mr. Ford has won praise for performances in American and European opera houses. That he had early promise comes through in this 2012 video of the stirring duet for tenor and baritone from Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers,” performed with the tenor Noah Stewart in a Michigan Opera Theater production. Here are two charismatic young singers giving this beloved duet their all. ANTHONY TOMMASINI

Last summer, I wrote about Marc Blitzstein’s “The Cradle Will Rock” returning, at Opera Saratoga, in a year in which its themes of inequality, corruption and labor rights were again front-page news. Little seems to have changed — the Supreme Court made another ruling about labor unions just last week — and, as if ready with a response, “The Cradle” is back: A recording of Saratoga’s production is out today, on Bridge Records. And for anyone who thinks they know this show, it’s essential listening.

Virtually every production since the storied 1937 premiere, a scrappy act of protest against being shut down by the Federal Theater Project, has imitated that night by performing the score with only a piano. Revivals tend to come off more like cabaret-style revues than the full-fledged theater work Blitzstein and his director, Orson Welles, intended. This is the first commercial recording with Blitzstein’s original orchestration. (Unfortunately, the quality leaves much to be desired.)

Blitzstein wrote “To Bert Brecht” at the top of his finished score; that influence is much clearer in the restored instrumentation. Take this song, “Nickel Under Your Foot,” sung by the Moll, a prostitute. The opening verse recalls the strumming strings of Brecht and Weill’s street-singer style in works like “The Threepenny Opera” and “Alabama Song.” It’s not for nothing that Weill was said to have quipped about “The Cradle”: “Have you seen my latest musical?” JOSHUA BARONE

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/06/arts ... music.html

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Re: NY Times Article From Different Critics

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:12 am

An unbelievably ridiculous potpourri which I am surprised that the Times deigned to print. I don't care what literal anniversary the horrible song God Bless America "enjoyed," it is surely Irving Berlin's worst song that is commonly known and was only introduced to the public by Kate Smith certainly not yet a century ago. Bernstein's Mass is beyond salvation, and I say that as someone who once owned the original recording and watched the revival at the Kennedy Center.

In the following much better Berlin music, Donald O'Connor said that in the studio dubbing session he had to cover his ears because Ethel Mernan's voice was so loud, he could not hear himself.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: NY Times Article From Different Critics

Post by John F » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:50 am

Yes, "God Bless America" was composed a century ago, during World War I. According to the Wikipedia article, he revised it in 1938 as a "peace song" and it was then that Kate Smith sang it on the radio. Berlin gave the royalties from probably his best-selling song to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. You can't get more all-American than that. :wink:

The performing arts library has tons of sheet music for American popular songs going back a long way, and when I was helping to catalog them, I came across an Irving Berlin song I'd never heard or heard of: "I Like Ike." It was written for the presidential election of 1952 and the lyrics consisted mainly of the slogan "I like Ike" repeated again and again. This is surely Berlin's worst song by far:

I like Ike
I'll shout it over a mike
Or a phone
Or from the highest steeple

I like Ike
And Ike is easy to like
Stands alone
The choice of "We the People"

A leader we can call
Without political noise
He can lead us all
As he led the boys

Let's take Ike
A man we all of us like
Makes no deals
His favors can't be curried
And Uncle Joe is worried
'Cause we like Ike

[Alternate last lines:]
Tried and true
Courageous, strong and human
Why, even Harry Truman
Says, "I like Ike"
John Francis

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Re: NY Times Article From Different Critics

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:26 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:12 am
I don't care what literal anniversary the horrible song God Bless America "enjoyed," it is surely Irving Berlin's worst song that is commonly known and was only introduced to the public by Kate Smith certainly not yet a century ago.
I love the way she sang that song! Regards, Len :lol:

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