April 20, 2014
The Brahms I enjoy most is perhaps his least serious, not the “masterpieces” but the more purely recreational fare. The Brahms I listen to most often are his string quintets and string sextets, music that is free and flowing and as songfully melodic as Schubert.
April 10, 2014
Raise your hand if Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," for better or worse, left burn marks on your psyche.
You know how it is: you hear the word "lunatic" and shudder at the memory it evokes of the...
April 8, 2014
The Deity known as Neil Finn brings his Dizzy Heights solo tour to New Haven's Shubert Theatre Thursday.
April 7, 2014
If you attend a recital by a Russian pianist, you'll probably hear some Rachmaninoff, Schubert, Liszt, Chopin and Scriabin. Scriabin? Who? If you're Russian, you know who.
March 31, 2014
We like to envision artists we admire as having lived vivid, melodramatic lives, starving in garrets, battling personal demons, struggling against the Philistines in a world not ready for them. It's a compelling narrative. That's probably why you'll...
March 25, 2014
Who was the greatest musician who ever lived? A dumb question, for sure, but if you just say “Bach,” no one will think you're stupid.
March 21, 2014
With a name that sounds like sneeze and a body of work that's willfully weird and unsettling, composer Alfred Schnittke was the most unlikely of musical heroes. Yet at the time of his death in 1998, he was the world's most widely performed and...
March 17, 2014
If it's St. Patrick's Day, the home stereo, office stereo and car stereo of Rick Koster reverberate with the astounding musical buffet known as Irish Tour 74 .. by the late but immortal Rory Gallagher
February 25, 2014
Sometimes you just need to immerse yourself in beauty, like a soothing soak in a tub. For me, there's no substitute for the voice – and for composers who understand the power of the voice to touch us as no man-made instrument can.
February 19, 2014
When you stand next to a giant, it's hard to get noticed. When music lovers look back the height of the Classical era, the musical expression of The Enlightenment of the 18th century, we tend to notice the two giants: Haydn and Mozart. And then...
February 7, 2014
My mom grew up the The Depression, and a common phrase in her household was "Use up, make do, wear out." Back in the days before recordings (that is to say, for most of human music-making), musicians and composers used to recycle freely. And the...
January 31, 2014
It's hard for me to hold the music of Schubert at arm's length to assess it, because his music is the most personal, the most narrative, the most descriptive of a living character of any composer I know. So on his birthday, Jan. 31, 1797, I offer...
January 27, 2014
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born 258 years ago today, and what more can we say about one of the greatest and most admired musicians ever? So much music to enjoy: 41 symphonies, 27 piano concertos, 36 violin sonatas, 23 string quartets, and, oh those...
January 22, 2014
It annoys me to hear classical radio stations tout their music as “relaxing.” Does anyone ever call a book or a movie or a painting “relaxing”? To me, the best in music is exciting or, at least, transporting. If something...
January 15, 2014
Baroque opera is a stranger in these parts, meaning most of the United States.
January 10, 2014
I often listen to the music of that wonderful second-rater, Johann Nepomuk Hummel. As a composer living in Vienna in 1810, this talented musician was doomed to be viewed as B-List by the presence of a couple fellow residents:
December 31, 2013
New Year's Day in Vienna means one thing: the world's hottest concert ticket, the annual Vienna Philharmonic waltz fest, broadcast worldwide, live in our late morning here.
December 20, 2013
I received a review copy of this Teldec recording when it was released 20 years ago and raved about it. Since then, this recording has only grown on me and moved to the top of my personal playlist.
December 17, 2013
Ray Price, maybe the greatest honky-tonk vocal stylist ever, passed away Monday at the age of 87.
December 16, 2013
A few years back, I was driving across the Gold Star Bridge and turned on WMNR. After a couple measures of solo piano, I was baffled. What the heck is this weirdness?
December 13, 2013
It seems pretty logical. People listen to music they like, right?
Except when they don't.
In my case, I have a wonderful job wherein I get to write a bit about...