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 […]

Inspiring Beethoven

Springboarding off the unmistakable dotted motif that opens Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, Kevin Puts conflates his own orchestral writing chops with the over the top drama of the classic warhorse. But instead of out Beethovening Beethoven, Puts quickly decides to reigns in the bombastic opening gesture after it completely explodes, transforming the aftermath into an […]

Study in African Jazz 3

Remember The Waltz Project? It was a 1981 record on Nonesuch (in the pre-Bob Hurwitz days) that grew out of a collection of waltzes by 25 contemporary composers published by CF Peters that put Philip Glass and Milton Babbitt on the same program years before there ever was a Bang on a Can Festival. That […]


Every violist I’ve ever known has lamented the dearth of solo music written for the instrument. Though they’re usually referring to spotlight works with orchestra, Daniel Asia’s Orange, for viola alone, might well be embraced by these same repertoire-seeking musicians. Rather than the showmanship of a concerto, this piece offers the performer the chance to […]