Lachen Verlernt for solo violin

I’ve devoted a major portion of my life to studying the violin and still get a vicarious thrill out of listening to just about anything written for the instrument (though, thankfully, I haven’t been caught playing air-violin by anyone in the office yet). But even if you didn’t spend your adolescence with a piece of […]

Ricochet for guitar and electronics

Daniel Lippel, guitar. Think of Peter Gilbert’s Ricochet as a sort of virtuoso guitar concerto sans orchestra. Instead, the composer applies a visceral electronic accompaniment of shifting textures—sounds that conjure up the din of a noise show rather than your average concert hall performance. In the end, the composition somehow straddles proper bowtie recital music […]

Imagine Happiness

This sort of thing really shouldn’t bother me but, given my obsessiveness about numbers, I found it rather odd that only five of the compositions on Capstone’s release of Vox Novus’s 60×60 Project, an assembling of minute-long compositions, were a full 60 seconds and that there are actually 61 tracks on the CD. Most tracks […]

The Light in the Piazza

The Light in the Piazza was the big winner at the Tony Awards this year, fetching best score among its many trophies. Something of a revisit to the idea of Do I Hear a Waltz?, the sole failed collaboration between composer/lyricist Adam Guettel’s grandfather Richard Rodgers and his idol Stephen Sondheim, whose musical sensibilities permeate […]

Gotham Lullaby

I love the Brodsky Quartet, and when they joined forces with pop singers like Björk and Elvis Costello on an earlier album, magic happened. But when the Brodsky’s new disc Moodswings arrived, I found myself skipping over all the pop-artist pairings to Meredith Monk’s Gotham Lullaby, and then I was stuck there hitting repeat for […]

Suite No. 2 for Unaccompanied Cello

You have to admire contemporary composers who choose to grapple with classical music’s sacrosanct past, especially those with the chutzpah to take on the task of adding to a well-trodden repertoire niche. Are there any stones left unturned by J. S. Bach and Benjamin Britten when it comes to unaccompanied cello suites? Well, there must […]


The sound of water has allured artists such as Annea Lockwood and Kenneth Atchley to devote significant energy to exploring the infinite textures hidden inside the hydrogen-oxygen mix. For a moment, I thought Lvxus was going to deliver another liquidly rumination. Instead the synth and tape loop duo delivers a 20-minute space-out à la Tangerine […]

Dream With Me

It’s hard to believe there is a single scrap of music by Leonard Bernstein that hasn’t yet made it to CD, let alone a complete musical filling an entire disc. Peter Pan is just that. Bernstein was asked to write a few songs for a 1950 Broadway production and, never the introvert, turned in an […]

Osmosis Part III

Much of Paul Motian’s new disc I Have The Room Above Her has a moody, introspective quality, quite a bit of which comes courtesy of Joe Levano’s tenor sax, though Bill Frisell’s subtler guitar work is no less integral. It’s hard to pick out just one track to love off such a cohesive disc, but […]

Transmission Tenderloin

Created as part of Chris Brown and Guillermo Galindo’s Transmission Series, Transmission Tenderloin was originally broadcast outside on four different FM radio frequencies during a street fair in San Francisco. As translated for this disc, the piece works best on headphones so you get to experience the surround sound bounce of the electronic beats and […]