Tag Archives: David Nice

Seeking Shostakovich: Revisiting the Fourth Symphony

Shostakovich after the première of the Fourth Symphony at the Moscow Conservatory

Shostakovich after the 1961 première of the Fourth Symphony at the Moscow Conservatory

This past week I spent a good bit of time with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Opus 43 (1935-36). For me, this wild ride of a symphony holds special appeal, so it’s been a pleasure to come back to it. In the process, I collected and augmented material I used when the symphony was first discussed in these pages. That, along with two of the myriad of open questions I have about the symphony, form the raison d’être for this post. Continue reading

Three Pieces by Poulenc

Poulenc in Paris

Poulenc in Paris

If I no longer send you my music it is because I simply do not think it would interest you any more.
—Poulenc to Igor Stravinsky, Letter 343 (1962)

I used to listen to composer Francis Poulenc’s Gloria and Stabat Mater so much that I wore them out. From time to time, I’ve thought to add some pieces to my Poulenc listening repertoire, but I never got very far. I did, however, read Echo and Source, Selected Correspondence 1915-1963, on a prompt from David Nice: Continue reading

My Year in Music 2015

The musicians of Contemporaneous

The musicians of Contemporaneous

Each year I realize yet again how impossible it is to choose among the highlights, let alone write about them with any intelligence. This year is likely to be the last time I make the attempt. Every musical experience is illuminating, above all live performances, but also, particularly with ongoing advances in camerawork and technology, watching and listening online. I’m grateful, too, for the opportunity to be part of communities who love classical music of all stripes and who are generous in sharing their own responses and knowledge. I’ve learned a great deal from so many, and I only hope I’ve been able to give something of value back. Continue reading

When Mahler’s Fifth Symphony Was New Music

Emil Orlik, Gustav Mahler (1902)

Emil Orlik, Gustav Mahler (1902)

Would that I could perform my symphonies for the first time fifty years after my death!
—Gustav Mahler, letter to Alma Mahler (October 14, 1904)
Jens Malte Fischer, Gustav Mahler 692

And who can blame Mahler, when he got reviews like these? Continue reading

Early June in the Hudson Valley with the Dynamic Triptych of John Foulds

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[Foulds] had ideas no one else dared have and he brought them to life.
Sakari Oramo

In early June, I snapped several photographs at the Walkway over the Hudson and Innisfree Garden, and it seemed I ought to put them up somewhere. Along the way, several signs have pointed me to the music of John Foulds. First was a Proms concert to which I was (easily) lured by the promise of hearing Sakari Oramo conduct, among other works, Nielsen’s Symphony No. 6 ‘Sinfonia semplice.’  Tucked in ahead of the Nielsen was a small work by Foulds called April-England, about which David Nice provided a colorful description on The Arts Desk: Continue reading