What You Need to Know About Modern American Music

This and next month, I want to talk about modern American music because I have been listening to new releases in the stellar Naxos American Classics series, as well as to some other new CDs of American music. Curiously, the one thing of which I may be sure is that very few readers will have [...]

Feel the Music

The other day, I had a couple of the girls with me in the car while we ran some errands. A familiar song came on the radio and, without pausing to think, I turned up the volume. "What is this music?" my 7-year-old asked, wrinkling her nose in disgust. Oops, I wasn't alone. I turned [...]

Some Favorites from 2007

Here's a short list of my favorite cultural finds from 2007. If you happen to have seen, read or heard one of these, be sure to leave your own opinion in the Comments section below. I'd like to hear from you. ♦ ♦ ♦ Best Film: Golden Door The one film from this past year [...]

Christmas Stocking

  All I want for Christmas is more CDs.   Let me qualify that request, as piles of unplayed material accumulate in my study, my family room, my bedroom, my briefcase, and my car. Defying the "death of classical music" predictions, there have been some 1,500 CD releases yearly -- and bargains abound. When I [...]

Thanksgiving Bounty

  This is my third attempt to get through the fall harvest of superb new CD releases, but it is still fall, and there is a lot to harvest. This abundance illustrates William Buckley's recent remark in the November issue of the British Gramophone magazine, that "it has to be the greatest gift of modern [...]

International Treasures

  Such has been the abundance of recent classical music releases that I was not able to get past the late 19th century in last month's review of the fall harvest. Let me try to pick up the threads. We will see how far into the 20th century we can get (don't be alarmed; it's [...]

Fall Harvest

  A round of ritual lamentations on the demise of the classical music recording industry has ushered in yet another bountiful fall harvest of CDs. In fact, according to Newsweek, while overall music sales declined by 5 percent last year, classical music sales grew by 22 percent. A large part of that astonishing figure apparently [...]

Pavarotti, a Voice That Will Never Die

  We all awakened this morning to the news that the greatest voice of our generation, Luciano Pavarotti, had died.   The sound of his voice is something that I have carried inside my head since my early 20s, when I first heard him sing La Boheme at the Metropolitan Opera. I heard him sing [...]

Faith in Music

  I recently saw the movie Copying Beethoven. There are very few good films about composers. This is not one of them, although it has the compensation of its "electrifying music," as advertised by the quote from the Seattle Times review on the DVD jacket cover, as if the music had been written for the [...]

Notes Upon Hearing Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto

  How shall we speak of Mozart? We are always struck by his sprightly lyricism, of course, which offers us immeasurable delight but at the same time brings tears to our eyes—the tears that arrive when we find ourselves hailed with pure beauty. Grandeur, hilarity, bliss, poignancy, joy—what words suffice?   I was listening to [...]

How to Start Your Own Garage Schola

  At an international conference on liturgical music sponsored by the Vatican on December 5, 2005, Monsignor Valentino Miserachs Grau dropped a bomb. Being the head of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, and the leading voice for the Catholic Faith in all matters of music, his topic was not merely of academic interest, nor [...]