Friday, March 23, 2007

Q & A

Matthew Guerrieri asks 'em, we answer 'em.

1. Name an opera you love for the libretto, even though you don't particularly like the music.
Cavalleria Rusticana, although "love" is putting it a little strong. Give me hot-blooded Sicilians any day; I just wish Leoncavallo had written the score.

2. Name a piece you wish Glenn Gould had played.
Vingt regards (he didn't, did he?)

3. If you had to choose: Charles Ives or Carl Ruggles?
Ives. Duh.

4. Name a piece you're glad Glenn Gould never played.
The People United Will Never Be Defeated!

5. What's your favorite unlikely solo passage in the repertoire?
Haydn, Symphony No. 93, slow movement, m. 80: the original bassoon fart joke.

6. What's a Euro-trash high-concept opera production you'd love to see? (No Mortier-haters get to duck this one, either—be creative.)
Billy Budd in the era of "Don't ask, don't tell."

7. Name an instance of non-standard concert dress you wish you hadn't seen.
Nigel Kennedy in what I called in my review "Emmett Kelly chic": one spotted cravat around his neck and another serving as a belt, shirt hanging out, jacket sleeves hiked up above the elbows, and one black and one pink sock. What a wanker.

8. What aging rock-and-roll star do you wish had tried composing large-scale chorus and orchestra works instead of Paul McCartney?
Donald Fagen.

9. If you had to choose: Carl Nielsen or Jean Sibelius?
Per Nørgård. Don't push me, man.

10. If it was scientifically proven that Beethoven's 9th Symphony caused irreversible brain damage, would you still listen to it?
Never again, not even once. The Schubert C-Major Quintet stays on my playlist even if it brings a slow gruesome death.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Action Alert

If the political bloggers can do it, why not I? Bay Area folks: Tonight and tomorrow afternoon are your last chances to experience Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert's astonishingly great opera Slow Fire, probably forever. They've brought it back for a 20-year anniversary revival, after which it almost certainly goes into mothballs for the duration.

I caught up with it last night, and it's as potent and funny and ridiculously beautiful as ever. No time for a full review, though I concur with the leaping enthusiasm of the Chron's Little Man, serving as the faithful sock puppet of my colleague Rob Hurwitt. Don't dally; go.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Dreams and Prayers of Kosman the Blind

Sebastian Currier's career boost from winning the Grawemeyer Award takes us one step closer to the hope I've sustained ever since Anne-Sophie Mutter started bringing his music around all those years ago: to see it on a concert program alongside that of Charles Ives. Mutter played the duo Aftersong — why not one of Charlie's violin sonatas to go with? Or Microsymph (which I've never heard) and the Fourth Symphony? Call me shallow, I don't care.