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December 2012

12/12/12 Sandy Benefit Live Now

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Only a city like New York could pull of a benefit concert of this magnitude: gathered tonight at Madison Square Garden is a Who's Who of rock royalty from the past 50 years. Just check out this lineup:

  • Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
  • Roger Waters Band with Eddie Vedder
  • Bon Jovi
  • Eric Clapton
  • Rolling Stones
  • Dave Grohl
  • Alicia Keys
  • Chris Martin
  • Kanye West
  • Billy Joel
  • The Who
  • Paul McCartney

Ravi Shankar, who passed away yesterday and helped organize the Concert for Bangladesh at MSG 41 years ago, would be proud. 

The Prophet of New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen, kicked things off tonight with "City of Ruins" (from 2002's The Rising):

"There's a blood red circle 
on the cold dark ground 
and the rain is falling down 
The church doors blown open 
I can hear the organ's song 
But the congregation's gone 

My city of ruins 
My city of ruins 

Now the sweet veils of mercy 
drift through the evening trees 
Young men on the corner 
like scattered leaves 
The boarded up windows 
The hustlers and thieves 
While my brother's down on his knees 

My city of ruins 
My city of ruins 

Come on rise up! 
Come on rise up! 
Now there's tears on the pillow 
darling where we slept 
and you took my heart when you left 
without your sweet kiss 
my soul is lost, my friend 
Now tell me how do I begin again? 

My city's in ruins 
My city's in ruins 

Come on rise up! 
Come on rise up! 
Rise up"

Go here to find out where you can watch on TV or online. If you feel like donating to the cause, all proceeds go to the Robin Hood Relief Fund. 


David Lang's "love fail" at BAM

Love fail 2_Anonymous 4_PC_Rahav SegevPhoto credit: BAM/Rahav Segev

"I don't even like vocal music. I'm far more interested in words than I am with music." - David Lang

David Lang has long been one of our most haunting, mesmerizing composers. He writes slow-moving music that burrows under your skin and stays there, for days or even weeks. Still, for most of his adult life, Lang has been best known as one of the founders of Bang on a Can: the down-to-earth collective of new music troublemakers that celebrated their 25th anniversary this year. 

Things changed for David in 2007, when he won the Pulitzer Prize for the little match girl passiona 30-minute retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson story about a girl who freezes to death while trying to sell matches on the street. The work, written for for Paul Hillier's Theater of Voices, combined a vocal quartet with occasional percussion, notably a deeply resonating bass drum that struck an ominous, atavistic tone. 

Lang returned to the sound world of match girl last week at BAM's Harvey Theater with the New York Premiere of love fail: an evening-length song cycle based on the star-crossed love story of Tristan and Isolde. Commissioned by Anonymous 4—the celebrated female quartet best known for their performances of ancient music—Lang strung together obscure takes on Tristan by everyone from the 12th-century poet Gottfried von Strassburg to Richard Wagner, whose well-known opera served less as role model for love fail than as something to assiduously avoid.

Continue reading "David Lang's "love fail" at BAM" »


Andreas Scholl at Alice Tully

by Angela Sutton

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Saturday's recital at Alice Tully Hall began with an endearing episode. The damp late-Autumn weather, as it sometimes does for many of us, played havoc with star countertenor Andreas Scholl's vocal cords. One verse into John Dowland's "Flow My Tears," Mr. Scholl stepped offstage to properly clear his throat. His accompanist and partner Tamar Halperin smiled to the audience, shrugged, and vamped some Baroque piano. Both performers were so good-humored and frank about the glitch that the audience gave Mr. Scholl a long ovation upon his return to the stage and was in his pocket for the rest of the night.

This sort of magical intimacy persisted throughout the evening, as Mr. Scholl seduced his audience in a program of song. The countertenor, a male voice in the alto range, requires conscious effort to produce and has within it an inherent energy that the alto lacks. Mr. Scholl's free-floating, perfectly tuned voice had both this energy and yet repose, an ear-tickling combination.

Continue reading "Andreas Scholl at Alice Tully" »


WQXR Discussion on Avery Fisher Hall Renovation

by FoM Avery Fisher Hall - DumpLongtime readers of FoM know that I haven't minced words about the visual and aural eyesore that is Avery Fisher Hall, by far the worst concert hall of any major orchestra in the U.S., if not the world. So, imagine my excitement when the Times reported last week that plans are finally underway to renovate that godforsaken barn, though construction is "not expected to start before 2017." No rush, NYPhil.

Last week, I was invited to participate in a WQXR roundtable discussion (albeit remotely) on the AFH renovation with NY Mag's music and architecture critic Justin Davidson and Carroll Joynes, a senior research fellow at the of the University of Chicago. For my part, I talked about what Lincoln Center could learn from some of the more successful new halls I've visited over the past year - including LA's Disney Hall, Miami's New World Center, and Montreal's Maison Symphonique - as well as from the rock world. No word if Matthew or Alan were listening. 

Listen to the full discussion below or online, and share your own thoughts below.