Tempo camicia di forza*

I have long suspected that many musicians today think about tempo in a radically different way from our predecessors. We have clues from the scratchy monaural recordings of performers from the early 20th century, some of which seem wildly and laughably out of time, muddy, and untogether. Excessively self-indulgent Romanticism, the critics said. Perceptive writers […]

RIP, Denny

I didn’t know it at the time, but Dennis Godburn entered my life one day a little more than three decades ago when I got the mail at our house in Brookline MA. Inside a plain white envelope was a mysterious dot-matrix computer print-out on striped paper with perforated edges, and the meticulously-crafted graphic message […]

A modest proposal

Toward a tuning strategy for large Baroque ensembles so we were rehearsing “Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft” (BWV 50) in Boston this week. This is a single-movement cantata which is probably not by Bach but is nonetheless spectacular, with chorus, strings, three oboes, three trumpets, and timps all blazing away in a stentorian […]

Regional opera is alive and well

I had the pleasure last night of participating in a production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte staged by the Commonwealth Opera at the venerable Academy of Music in Northampton MA, where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor used to go to movies while filming Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff. The brains behind Commonwealth is the father-daughter […]

September Prelude

in North Carolina this week. What a great bunch of colleagues!

The loop

It seems that no matter what, the oboists are always a bit out of the loop. That’s why we tend to organize things, so we know what’s going on. Or?

Z-machine excitement

Grandkids were over, the grass was long, I was getting out the Toro. One of the kids said “can I try it” and with some trepidation off we went. Each kid brought his or her own personality to the task. Kevin ran after it, Kat was determined to drive it straight, Samantha displayed her customary […]