When I think back on the musical events of the past decade, I think first of the sound of a composer talking. Righteousness continues to wither away; evil is trending; a time or space outside the machine may no longer exist. Major classical-music institutions are generally too enmeshed in networks of power to make meaningful gestures of resistance. Orchestras and conservatories, no less than the National Basketball Association , stay silent on increasingly dire human-rights abuses in China. Donald Trump has no interest in classical music, yet many of the plutocrats who support domestic performing-arts institutions welcome his policies. Still, I cling to the idea that music can play a constructively antagonistic role in a monopoly culture. The voices that matter most are those of living composers, who occupy a perennially uncomfortable position in an obsessively nostalgic classical ecosystem. They are, to adapt a phrase from Theodor W.
Notable performances of 2019
9. Black Midi, ‘Schlagenheim’
If you are a person who believes, as I do, that popular music is a mirror of sorts—that it reflects something undeniable about the national condition at any given moment—then it appears we were all feeling pretty bummed out in Streaming has made it easier than ever for dedicated listeners to retreat deeper into cocoons of their own making. At times, this felt like an uncomfortably apt reflection of a year in which communication itself turned fraught and unsteady.
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Notable recordings of 2019
For those whose musical proclivities tend to line up with their emotional states, poring over a year or a decade! In , why did I buy every single used Frank Sinatra LP I could find with a picture of him looking lonesome on the cover? Music, maybe more than any other popular art, is tangled up, in a granular and private way, with our lived days; objective greatness is a weird and irrelevant concept compared to what might have resonated for a single person alive in a particular place and time. It felt, instead, like there were fewer places to read about music than ever, and nearly all of those places— self - implication alert! The revenue generated from having your music on a streaming service is hardly equal to the revenue generated from, say, CD sales. Meanwhile, corporations have more fully embedded themselves in our personal lives, making the line between business and everything else even more vague. The kind of stuff that gets played in basements for groups of two to five people at either P. You experience it, it changes you, and it is gone.
By Richard Brody. It should have made her a name to reckon with, rather than one of the thrilling obscurities of artistic history. Norton nonetheless continued to perform and to record including privately—Lewis himself made sure that her playing was preserved , as in a pair of spectacular, idiosyncratic recordings from One features Sonata No. This early recording is unique—brisk and pugnacious, a stormy, bitter Schubert raging against his earthly fetters and then distilling his passions, in the last movement, into headlong lunges, dazzling whirls, and delicate pirouettes. Norton and Lewis had a summer house in the small town of Peacham, Vermont, and she turned it into a hive of musical activity , teaching small groups of students there, launching a summer music festival, and giving concerts in the town church. By Carrie Battan.