Ravel: Valses Nobles et Sentimentales

performed by Anne Queffélec, or below by Krystian Zimerman (cover image by Jez Timms) “…le plaisir délicieux et toujours nouveau d’une occupation inutile” (the delicious and forever-new pleasure of a useless occupation).  Henri de Régnier, quote published on the piano … Continue reading Ravel: Valses Nobles et Sentimentales

Opera: L’heure Espagnole

Is it still called a concert if it’s an opera? I have a confession: this is the first opera I’ve ever attended, and one of only a few I’ve ever listened to from beginning to end. To my recollection, aside from L’heure Espagnole yesterday evening, the only operas I’ve ever listened to in their entirety are Wagner’s Das Rheingold (a few times) and Verdi’s La Traviata. That’s it, as far as I know. Anything else would be more like secondhand smoke than real listening. All of that being said, I have more than a few opera friends. While the real … Continue reading Opera: L’heure Espagnole

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet: Piano Recital

I’m speechless. I don’t know how I’d managed to get through as much classical music listening, reading, YouTube viewing, and concert going and not have heard of Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. What initially struck my interest and sold me on the concert was one of the names below: It wasn’t Beethoven (x2), or Debussy or Ravel, but Boulez. In case you don’t know (and unless you know me personally, you probably don’t), I’ve been fascinated, obsessed, overwhelmed by the music of Milton Babbitt lately, and by extension, the concepts and ideas behind the serialist movement in general, and Boulez is a very … Continue reading Jean-Efflam Bavouzet: Piano Recital

Concert Review: 2015師大音樂系交響樂團公演: Phenomenon

The 2015 NTNUSO Concert: Phenomenon So, this is one of those concerts you go to for fun. I had the same feelings about a concert last month with the Taipei Symphony, and was blown away. The last concert we reviewed (last week) was the Taipei Symphony’s performance of Mahler 3 under Maestro Eliahu Inbal. This concert was the day after that. I was invited a few days ahead of time to go with a friend at the university who had tickets. I didn’t know anything on the program, but it was a nice opportunity to go, so I certainly didn’t … Continue reading Concert Review: 2015師大音樂系交響樂團公演: Phenomenon

If a tree falls in the forest…

…. and there isn’t a music critic around to… anyway.I have been in various series of discussions with various series of people in what is essentially a dead-end, highly subjective and rather useless dialogue with a few different people about… “what is art?”The ‘tree in the forest’ thought experiment is just kind of what comes to mind when you (‘you’ as in ‘I’) begin to think about defining something based solely on a person’s or people’s perception of it.I would embed this video in the actual post itself, but it wasn’t what actually started the debate, and it has nothing … Continue reading If a tree falls in the forest…

Ravel: Bolero

performed by the London Symphony Orchestra under Claudio Abbado MYCU: Part 6  In one swift stroke of genius, I wrote a wonderful post about this piece, and then Blogger ate it. I am livid. Thankfully, I have most of it still in mind. Thanks for nothing, technologies. From Wikipedia: Ida Rubinstein, the inspiration behind Boléro. Portrait by Valentin Serov. I had to check with a friend to make sure this wouldn’t sound weird, but there’s basically two things you need to know about this piece, and they are as follows: It’s a fantastic treatise in orchestration It’s like, the sexiest piece of classical … Continue reading Ravel: Bolero

Maurice Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit: Trois poèmes pour piano d’après Aloysius Bertrand

performed by Pascal Rogé (from the two-disc Ravel: Piano Works from Decca) (link to a YouTube version, also a superb interpretation played by the fantastic Martha Argerich, whom I talk about below: 1. Ondine 2. Le Gibet 3. Scarbo AND … Continue reading Maurice Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit: Trois poèmes pour piano d’après Aloysius Bertrand