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March 2008


51tn2anaabl__aa240__2As noted previously, there are Olivier Messiaen memorial concerts happening all over the world this season, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth. The orchestral work that many consider to be Messiaen's masterpiece, Eclairs Sur L'au Dela (1992), was performed by the Vienna Philharmonic in January, and will be played by the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra next month under the direction of Myung-Whun Chung, whose DG recording from 1992 is still the gold standard. The Berlin Philharmonic released a live recording of the work a few years ago that was universally acclaimed.

What is absurd is that our hometown orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, commissioned and premiered the work back in 1992, yet has no intentions to perform it at any point in the near or distant future. I literally came this close to flying to Paris just to see the Chung performance next month, but had to bail at the last minute due to budget constraints. Shame on the NYP for forfeiting this golden opportunity.   

Monday Night Special

P3240026jpgI thought I was back in Austin last night for Kuntry Karaoke at Hank's Saloon on 3rd & Atlantic in Brooklyn. It's pretty much what you might expect, but with a twist: there's an actual live band to accompany your versions of Hank, Johnny, Dolly and Willie. And, these guys are good - especially the seasoned vet on pedal steel, who looked like he just got off the Greyhound from Nashville. 

I'm Not TONY

Time_out_logo For those of you who might be new to FoM, a point of clarification about my Concert Calendar: these are the concerts that I myself plan on attending, not everything going on in the city on any given night. (For that, you can pick up Time Out New York or the Voice.) It is a highly subjective selection, reflecting my own personal and eclectic musical taste, and should not be seen as a tacit endorsement of these institutions and/or musicians. In fact, there have been numerous instances of having to choose between several great events happening on the same night, and I've often wondered afterward whether I made the right decision.

So, to all the arts presenters who have asked for their concerts to be included: I'm glad for the attention, and will make every effort to attend your event if I'm interested and available. But, it's not a bulletin board.

Easter Day

Dsc04957I'm not religious in any traditional sense, but when I used to live on 109th St. and Amsterdam, there was no bigger day on the calendar than Easter Sunday at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. St. John's - the largest gothic cathedral in the world - puts on a massive spectacle, including full orchestra, chorus, even dancers. Prior to 2001, one could also hear the 8,000 pipe Skinner organ, which boomed at various points throughout the service. (A digital organ is being used for now.)

Dsc04945_2 The Easter ceremony was repeated yesterday in the crossing, which managed to hold over 1,000 people even though the cathedral was reduced to less than 1/3 of its usual capacity. There weren't any surprises, but for me, it was a comfort to hear the same hymns, the same organ voluntary - and especially the same meditations by Judy Collins and Paul Winter.  Timothy Brumfield did admirable double duty as both organist and conductor.Dsc04952Dsc04898