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Alan Rich – So I’ve Heard

An old friend of mine recently commented, "you always have had the best taste in music!"  Well thank you, but Alan Rich is the man! He has been the voice for Los Angeles music criticism for 20 years and I have learned more than a thing or two by keeping abreast of Alan's work. Now, we are so lucky to have SO I'VE HEARD, the blog. To say that this is a Rich resource would not only be a bad pun, but also an understatement. So I've Heard has cataloged reviews going all the way back to January 1983 when Alan Rich and Steve Reich discuss together Reich's, then new recording, "Tehillim". It's heaven! When I was informed of So I've Heard, I immediately added it to my blogroll. I encourage everyone to spend some quality time … [Read more...]

Pleasure’s Exhortation

If you have never experienced Cecilia Bartoli live then you may have missed the whole drama. There is such an infectious exuberance in her performances. She is manifestly compelling. I have been looking for a video that does her justice, but as much as I may enjoy the looking, the listening pales. So let me offer you this,  Pleasure's Aria from Handel's Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (The Triumph of Time and Enlightenment). Opera Proibita, Cecilia Bartoli, les Musiciens de Louvre — Grenoble, Marc Minkowski. 2005 Decca Music Group This 18th century allegorical oratorio, libretto by Benedetto Pamphilj, in which Time and Enlightenment gradually persuade Beauty to relinquish her attraction to the transitory joys of … [Read more...]

Matthias Goerne Interview – Playlist

  We are very lucky here is Los Angeles to have as an evening radio host Jim Svejda. His impeccable taste, intelligent musings and incredible depth of knowledge of classical music and film make his weekly show the Record Shelf required listening. On January 13th, 2009 we were treated to a full four hour interview with German Baritone Matthias Goerne.   I have seen Goerne in recital on several occasions and own a fair share of his recordings. Matthias Goerne, along with Wolfgang Holzmair and Thomas Quasthoff  have emerged as today's foremost interpreters of the German baritone repertoire and art song. Many compare Goerne's lieder execution with that of his teacher, Dietrich Fischer- Dieskau, but I prefer … [Read more...]

Werner Herzog, February 20, 2009, Royce Hall, UCLA — Part 1

Werner Herzog truly has an infinite amount of things to speak of. I wanted to speak about this lecture sooner, but in attempting to do so I found myself, like Alice, sliding down the proverbial rabbit hole, tracking sown some strange and wondrous knowledge. Here is what I learned: PART 1_ That George Murphy and Fred Astraire danced and sang their hearts out in the Cole Porter "Broadway Melody of 1940". If you get a chance to see it on the big screen, do it! That Werner Herzog is a human enthusiast, a champion of the raw psyche, condensed emotionality, "Fever Dreams", and the "Ecstatic Truth". Thus being said, he is the prime candidate to direct opera. Documenting the Wodabee tribes of the Sahara provides Herzog with the … [Read more...]

Happy Birthday George Frideric Handel

George Frideric Handel (23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) Here, for a taste comparison, are two versions of "Ombra mai fu" from Handel's opera Seres (Xerses). The first selection is from the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. Handel Arias, Harry Bicket and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.   Selection two is from the counter-tenor Andreas Scholl. Here from the Heroes CD, Sir Roger Norington, also with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.    It is difficult not to become rhapsodic when describing Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. Her voice possess a pure emotionality tempered by intelligence. When she died at the age of 52 in 2006 it sparked in me a moment of mortality that I could … [Read more...]

Leon Fleisher Interview – Playlist

Leon Fleisher was interviewed by Jim Svejda on KUSC in October 2008 in a two part broadcast. I was glued to the conversation. A profound examination of the art of music, playing, and above all listening. Fleisher lost the use of his right hand due to focal dystonia. In the interim he focused on teaching, conducting and continued performing the left-handed repertoire. Unfortunately these inteviews are not available for transcript due to copyright laws. Below is the playlist from program one, all performed by Leon Fleisher. All Impressive.  This track is from Fleisher's first recording in 40 years after regaining the use of his right hand, "Two Hands", released by Vanguard Classics in 2004. Please enjoy listening to "Sheep … [Read more...]