Calm Before the Season: The Week in Classical Music

Calm Before the Season: The Week in Classical Music


[Read all of our classical coverage here.]

Well, I hope you enjoyed it: the last quiet week before the maelstrom of the fall music season is upon us. To gird yourself for the happy sonic onslaught, I spent untold hours preparing an annotated calendar of the very, very best of what’s to come:

Josh Barone and I chose five of the artists whose work we’re most looking forward to hearing this fall — check out Daniel Dorsa’s gorgeous portraits. And Tony Tommasini described what he’s hoping for from the two — count ’em — new music directors arriving at Lincoln Center this September.

This week hasn’t been silent, of course. Seth Colter Walls checked out — and gave a Critic’s Pick review to — the sixth annual Resonant Bodies Festival of new vocal music, one of my favorite just-post-Labor-Day traditions.

And Gio Russonello listened through the first complete solo covers of the complete Thelonious Monk songbook. I was delighted we agreed on the quality of what Gio calls the “affectionate daring” of the guitarist Miles Okazaki’s version. Here are some elegant samples:

Outside our pages, I gobbled up Rebecca Mead’s profile of the great composer George Benjamin in The New Yorker. “I would like,” he said in it, “before I depart this mortal coil, to have written lots of operas.” Yes, please!

We lost one of the greats this week: the musical-theater diva Marin Mazzie, who died of cancer at just 57. Her imperiously lusty performance in “Kiss Me, Kate” is one of my touchstones. At Sondheim’s 80th birthday concert in 2010, she delivered this burning rendition of “Losing My Mind”:

Her death was a sad reminder of Tatiana Troyanos, one of the greatest 20th century opera stars, who would have been 80 on Wednesday, but died (also of cancer) in 1993. The generosity of that voice!

You get just a glimpse in that ovation of how beloved she was. What a loss!

Well, get some sleep this weekend. (Or, like me, come to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Saturday evening for the start of Julia Bullock’s residency. Or “2001: A Space Odyssey” with the New York Philharmonic!)

Next week brings the official opening of the Philharmonic’s season, and then we’re off to the races! Enjoy.





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