The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Here are the top six essays on and writings about classical music – with runners-up — from 2013, as chosen by famed radio station WQXR-FM in New York City. Plus, marimbist Nathaniel Bartlett will perform on Saturday night.

January 3, 2014
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ALERT: Madison-born marimba player and composer Nathaniel Bartlett (below, in the setup he will use), who specializes in hi-tech, 3-D computer music and experimental new music, will return from Philadelphia to perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday in the Promenade Hall of the Overture Center. Tickets are $9-$16 at the Overture Center box office (608) 258-4141. The program includes the premiere of his own new work “In Balance”as well as “Vivre” by Allan Schindler, who teaches at the Eastman School of Music. Here is a link for information and tickets:

http://www.nathanielbartlett.com

http://overturecenter.com/production/nathaniel-bartlett-marimba-computer

Nathaniel Bartlett in set up

By Jacob Stockinger

Well, the calendar says it is 2014.

But there is still some unfinished business from 2013 to take care of.

This lag happens almost every year for a couple of reasons.

One is that so many local live music events take place around the holidays – including the concert by the Madison Bach Musicians (below) — and that is where I put my blog’s priority in previews and reviews.

MBM Bach canata 2013 Dec

Another reason is that so much blog space in December is justifiably devoted to holiday gift-giving guides that name the best recordings of the past year as chosen by NPR, The New York Times, The New Yorker magazine and other sources. (Box sets, below, were big this year.) I always hope they are helpful and that putting them in one place makes it easy to follow them.

NPR boxed CD sets

In any case, here is an usual year-end offering that I don’t recall from previous years.

A blog at the famed classical radio station WQXR in New York City put together a list of the best essays and writings about classical music from 2013.

I would tweak it bit and put the memoir-essay by prize-winning pianist and blogger Jeremy Denk (below, in a photo from the MacArthur Foundation) about piano teachers and piano lessons in The New Yorker magazine – it was titled “Every Good Boy Does Fine” — higher up on the list than an Honorable mention. A lot of people take piano lessons — or music lessons some kind — and Denk’s essay was a terrific summing up of what goes into being a great student and a great teacher.

Jeremy Denk, 2013 MacArthur Fellow

But there are a lot of good choices, and – best of all — the blog post provides links so you can read them all at once or parcel them out to, say, one a day.

Anyway, The Ear hopes you enjoy them. The range is terrific from an assessment of Van Cliburn’s early and formative career (below top) asit began while he was a young boy to a piece about Richard Wagner and an African-American opera singer by Alex Ross (below middle). Also included are a piece on orchestras in crisis and two essays about the centennial of composer Benjamin Britten (below bottom).

rememberingcliburn

Alex Ross 2

Benjamin Britten

And if you have any other suggestions to recommend for reading, please leave a comment or send me an email.

http://www.wqxr.org/#!/story/top-essays-classical-music-2013/

Despite some severe problems, the state of Classical Music still seems pretty healthy or at leafs not hopeless, judging from this pieces. So here’s looking forward to 2014!

Cheers to you all!


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