Post image for Music Preview: Sol Gabetta, Gustavo Dudamel, LA Phil (SCHUMANN CELLO CONCERTO; SYMPHONY 3 & 4)

SCHUMANN TO WIN YOU OVER Although his life was difficult, to say the least, ending prematurely in madness, Robert Schumann nonetheless composed music that elevates us through its pure spirit and unique personal character. Last week, Gustavo Dudamel began a three-week exploration of this (I think) underappreciated composer. Of course, Schumann isn’t always necessarily easy, pleasant or […]

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Post image for CD Review: THE PRINCE OF BROADWAY (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

CELEBRATING BROADWAY ROYALTY When I tell you that the Original Broadway Cast Recording of the revue covering Harold Prince’s oeuvre mostly works, it’s an enormous compliment. For here you have seven decades of the most voluminous career in the American Musical Theater crammed into one evening’s entertainment. Taking into account that Prince has produced or […]

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Post image for Theater Review: VIOLET (Actors Co-op in Hollywood)

NO SHY VIOLET Based on The Ugliest Pilgrim, a short story by Doris Betts, Violet — with book and lyrics by Brian Crawley and music by Jeanine Tesori — takes place in 1964 and follows the 25-year-old Violet (Claire Adams) as she travels by bus from her home in the hills of North Carolina all […]

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Post image for Theater Review: THE LAST SCHWARTZ (West Coast Jewish Theatre in Santa Monica)

BUT IS IT GOOD FOR THE JEWS? I love Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now. It feels a bit highfalutin putting it that way, as if I sit around reading Victorian classics when not appreciating the high art of “theatre” (not “theater”). My first experience with it was not the book but the 2001 […]

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Post image for CD Review: OSCAR, WITH LOVE (Various Artists)

OSCAR, WITH LOVE AND BEAUTY AND RESPECT AND… It’s a simple idea that could easily have caused higgledy-piggledy results. In fact, many tribute albums involving various artists contain tracks that are jarringly inconsistent and smack of commercialism. Not so here. Kelly Peterson, the widow of Oscar Peterson (1925-2007), personally produced this extraordinary three-disc set which […]

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Post image for Theater Review: THE GIANT VOID IN MY SOUL (Ammunition Theatre Company at Pico Playhouse)

FILLING THE VOID IN L.A. THEATER Neither my friend nor I were looking forward to this play — I mean, good grief, when I heard that it was about a couple of “fools” going on a journey to fill the void in one of the best friend’s soul… Well, frankly, it just sounded like forgettable, […]

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Post image for CD Review: BRUCKNER 9 with reconstructed finale (Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, John Gibbons)

BACK TO BRUCKNER That there are over 100 recordings of Bruckner’s Ninth — his final and unfinished symphony — speaks to the enormous popularity of this spectacular creation. In 1926, American critic Paul Rosenfeld stated that “Bruckner’s symphonies have scarce commenced heaving their mighty volumes through time, before we know we are come into a world […]

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Post image for Theater Preview: DO RE MI (Musical Theatre West Reiner Reading Series in Long Beach)

GIMME THAT DO-RE-MI, BOYS The 1960 musical Do Re Mi is about a would-be big shot named Hubie Cram, a wheeler dealer who just can’t make the big time. As his wife Kay says, they have 400 hula hoops in their garage and the phase has already passed. This time Hubie has acquired 300 jukeboxes; […]

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Post image for CD Review: FIVE (Tony Banks)

GIMME FIVE Tony Banks gathers no moss. At 68, the co-founder of Genesis is releasing yet another album, his tenth outside of the band. After a successful career as songwriter, singer, film scorer, and multi-instrumentalist (most especially on keyboards), Banks turned to orchestral compositions. His third, released in February 2018, is labelled “classical” but the […]

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Post image for CD Review: BRUCKNER SYMPHONY V (Altomonte Orchester St. Florian; Remy Ballot, conductor)

FEELS FIVE TIMES AS LONG It’s no doubt coincidental that the fifth recording in a series of Bruckner Symphonies conducted live by Rémy Ballot is of the Fifth. If you haven’t yet heard the previous four – the Third, Eighth, Ninth, and Sixth – get ready for a shock. Recorded in August 2017 at St. […]

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