Solo

Virtually nothing was posted in January because I was parted from my main axe in Seattle; she needed work, and I needed time to teach and lecture and write, here and in London.  Now the sphere turns and all things return into my waiting hands: the cello, the bow, the black keyboard.  And a microphone awaits as well.  And thus this Bach, raw, an initial … Continue reading Solo

A Little Musical Diplomacy

China is presently thundering its way into some heavily-historically-documented commemorations of the 60th anniversary of the PLA’s arrival in Tibet, while at the same time bringing the rhetorical hammer down in a headline Huanqiu op-ed unsubtly entitled “The West, Sympathizers to ‘Xinjiang Independence’ Terrorism.”  As assertive nationalism and an emphasis on “social stability” (and the threats that forces external to China pose to the country’s … Continue reading A Little Musical Diplomacy

Edward Said as Prose Stylist

I recently was confronted with the absolute revelation of the parallel career of Edward Said, comparative literature professor at New York University and famous analyst of the Arab world, as nothing other than a music critic and musicologist. His Music at the Limits: Three Decades of Essays and Articles on Music includes an introduction by Daniel Barenboim, but it is Said’s writing and grasp of … Continue reading Edward Said as Prose Stylist

Berlin Performance

By way of apologizing for a recent lack of attention to German-language sources on this blog, I should like to mention that I will be appearing in concert with my collaborator, the pianist Andreas Boelcke, at the American Church Berlin on Sunday, February 6, at 11 a.m.  The program will include Schumann, Tchaikovsky, and Shostakovich.  Dr. Boelcke composed some bios, and as always I love … Continue reading Berlin Performance

Cogitating Schumann

Here are a couple of glimpses into the rehearsal room for an as-yet-unannounced performance I have planned of music by the great German romantic master, Robert Schumann.  It’s certainly labored in spots, and far from flawless, but the general outlines of something hopefully worthwhile are emerging.  Rehearsing with a pianist, it seems, is a bit like writing drafts with your editor sitting next to you.  … Continue reading Cogitating Schumann