Monthly Archives: February 2010

Samarkand

What few people think of when watching a symphonic orchestra is the modernity of the predominant instruments: the bows. The violin tends to be synonymous with antiquity: we imagine that, for lack of mechanisms, screws, and springs, it’s the oldest … Continue reading

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Hydraulis

From the Pythagorean monochord – the first theoretical unification of art and science – to the technological bunker of IRCAM (the Institute of Acoustic and Musical Research and Coordination in Paris) where the immutable heirs of Pythagoras digitized sound at … Continue reading

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Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité

In the musical world, where everything is planned years in advance, sudden diplomatic breaches seem absurd, if not comical, and they seem to be propitiated by people who don’t know the quality or depth of bonds textured by the fellow … Continue reading

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Lascivissimo Cornetto

1611: the word “orgasm” is born. Gesualdo de Venosa publishes his Responsorias for six voices, without question the most harmonically audacious work in history. Shakespeare writes The Tempest, Monteverdi is about to be named conductor of St. Mark’s Basilica in … Continue reading

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Strings

One of the teachings of war – its only real benefit when it finally comes to an end – is the appreciation of the most basic things: to have arms, to breathe, to see. The soldiers of the Great War … Continue reading

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Popmil10

Rolling Stone, voice of the hippie counterculture converted into odoriferous perfume advertisement, still has some substance under the varnished attempts to rejuvenate refried music and rock mummies. In its last issue of 2009 it presented the 50 best CDs of … Continue reading

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Varadero 1983

Cuban movie clips from the 1950s with Benny Moré or La Matancera present us with cabaret situations where singers display their roguery to seduce beautiful women who dance like goddesses (or devils). The plots almost always involve a wealthy gentleman … Continue reading

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Epiphanies

José Antonio Abreu, who has organized hundreds of monumental concerts on every kind of stage around the world, could not contain his emotion when he related the most recent phenomenon he had witnessed in the stadiums of Mérida and Barquisimeto … Continue reading

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Dominoes and Death

“Even though I’m charging more, I’m earning less each day,” Carlos Duarte repeated to me in one of our interminable rehearsals for a brief tour in 1994. “And I don’t stop playing.” He often took stock of his musical life … Continue reading

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Dudamel vs. Lebrecht

One of the smartest studies of the classical record industry, though depressing in its conclusions, is The Life and Death of Classical Music (Anchor Books, 2007) by the British critic Norman Lebrecht. In this well-documented book that claims to be … Continue reading

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