Alex Ross points to this terrific summary of the situation regarding the Hungarian government, media and arts, by Iowa-based commentator Bernard Sherman. András Schiff, one of the finest musicians on this earth, has been singled out by anti-Semitic demagogues over there, and of course he has! What better way to protect your nation's cultural heritage, after all, than by shitting all over the human treasures it has produced? And if someone's going around saying he's troubled by political developments in his home country, you should DEFINITELY call him a dirty Jew, because that'll get him to change his tune real fast.
In much happier news, Ross also has some brief but excellent commentary on the recently unveiled New York Phil season. (Here's the season; here's the full press conference.) A few stories here: this year's can't-miss new-music bonanza is a performance of Stockhausen's Gruppen at the Park Avenue Armory; there's a new amazing digital archive of Philharmonic materials and lore; the season has no female composers on it at all.
I'm really not dismayed, should I admit this?, by the orchestra's ongoing championing of living European composers. Who in the heck else is playing European new music in this country? How else are we going to hear it? But I do think Amanda Ameer is right that the brilliant German violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann was maybe not the most exciting choice for NY Phil artist in residence—he's replacing Anne-Sophie Mutter, after all, a German violinist of the very same generation, and it would appear that his programming choices are pretty dull: Brahms, Bach, Beethoven, Berg, and somehow a D (Dvorak) slipped in there by accident. Now, I love all these pieces, I love Zimmermann's playing, and these concerts are going to be fantastic, but he's playing NO new works?
And now, here is a picture of Alan Gilbert that I have doctored so that it looks like he took it with an iPhone.
The L.A. Phil's new season is up, too, and the big news there is (for me anyway) the premiere of a new sacred oratorio by John Adams, entitled The Gospel According to the Other Mary. Maybe he gave it that title to distinguish it from a forthcoming work by Mark Adamo.
What? No, I meant because Mark Adamo's writing The Gospel of Mary Magdalene for the San Francisco Opera! Why, what "mary" did YOU think I was referring to?
Speaking of whom, is there anyone else who really, really misses Mark Adamo's blog? Because I sure do. I spotted him before the premiere of Bernstein's Quiet Place last year, and afterwards I was DYING to know what he thought of it. And now Nixon in China's up at the Met, and I'm dying to know what he thinks of that! Somebody lean on him, would you?? I'll put up my own take on Nixon soon (spoiler: it's a fucking awesome piece), but the operatic blogosphere ain't the same without his POV.
Alright, I'm outta here—now all y'all get on that train and go see Nixon in China, tonight.