Interpreting Shostakovich

Joseph Horowitz artsjournal.com/aq PostClassical Ensemble’s month-long “Interpreting Shostakovich” festival, in DC, began with a screening of Grigori Kozintsev’s 1970 film version of King Lear, with music by Shostakovich and Boris Pasternak’s Shakespeare translation. If ever there was a film that cannot be viewed at home in TV, this is it. On the wide screen of […]

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Schubert Uncorked

Joseph Horowitz artsjournal.com/aq For a variety of reasons, raw spontaneity is less common at symphonic performances nowadays than in the nineteenth century and before. In the days when they were also composers, performers were of course more prone to improvise. In the days before recordings and airplanes, there was no centripetal norm for interpretation. PostClassical […]

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Restoring the drama to El Amor Brujo

Joseph Horowitz artsjournal.com/aq The two best-known scores by Manuel de Falla – El Amor Brujo and The Three-Cornered Hat – began as stage works. Today, however, we know them as symphonic suites. In the case of Amor Brujo, the loss is formidable: an austere drama turned into a picturesque entertainment. The original 1915 El Amor […]

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Ives the Man

Joseph Horowitz artsjournal.com/aq The central premise of Post-Classical Ensemble’s three-day “Ives Project” at the Strathmore Music Center last week was that Charles Ives the composer was not a curmudgeonly modernist, but a wholesome and uplifting product of fin-de-siecle America. The central presentation, “Charles Ives: A Life in Music,” applied letters and other writings to an […]

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Reinventing the Orchestra: The Importance of Education

Joseph Horowitz artsjournal.com/aq [dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Philadelphia Inquirer reported the other day that, “facing chronic red ink and houses only two-thirds full,” the Philadelphia Orchestra might be undertaking “profound change.” Alison Vulgamore, the orchestra’s president, was quoted saying, “We simply can’t go on doing the same thing… we have to be able to experiment.” Already, there are American orchestras […]

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Interpreting Stravinsky

Joseph Horowitz artsjournal.com/aq Igor Stravinsky, in his polemics, preached “against interpretation.” He insisted that his music be performed as written, and as he himself had performed and recorded it. He idealized mechanical instruments. But in 1978 — seven years after his father’s death — Soulima Stravinsky created an edition of the Stravinsky Piano Sonata (1935) […]

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The Greatest Recording of All Time, Etc.

Joseph Horowitz artsjournal.com/aq It’s nice to be noticed, so thank you to those who have complained about the paucity of recent filings in this space. Usually I write a blog when I’m excited or upset. I don’t notice that I’m any less excited or upset than usual – just that the blog engine has been […]

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The Singularity of Gershwin

Joseph Horowitz artsjournal.com/aq The singularity of George Gershwin is an inexhaustible topic. One thing that sets Gershwin apart is what I’d call his “cultural fluidity.” He is Russian, he is Jewish, he is American. He composes for Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, Hollywood, Carnegie Hall. He is an American in Paris. In Vienna, he is the […]

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