Reviews, mostly music, 2017-2009


Mahler 5 (from FB)

Mahler 5, with LA Phil., sitting in the same seats as the last time I heard it, then with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orch., I assume conducted by Dudamel, before he became the Phil’s conductor. First row, behind orchestra, right, thus staring straight down the bells of the French horns. I thought then that was one of the best concerts I’d ever been to; this one has literally (and I use the term literally, not figuratively) blown all memory of that one away. Raucous, cacophonic, hissing and spitting first two movements–can’t really say whether it was ‘good’ or not, and I don’t much care. I kept thinking of Kerouac at the end of On the Road when, stoned, lying between two speakers, he realizes it’s the first time in his life music has been as loud as he wants it. In any case, all proceeded relentlessly through the Scherzo to the Adagietto, which left me with that feeling as it was playing that really, there’s no place I’d rather be right now than here (that movement can often do that, but not in all performances). Oh yes, did I mention the French horns? Just heard one of the principals in dull recital last week, and I could hardly believe this was the same guy. So if you have nothing to do tomorrow and you’re in LA, you might want to drop by. Failing that, find a recording, get some headphones, and kick yourself in the ass every time you hear a bass tone.

“Concrete threat”

‎”Supreme Court’s GPS case asks: How much privacy do we expect?”
By Jonathan Turley, Washington Post, Nov. 11

Note the sentence: “The problem is that privacy remains an abstraction, while crime, or terrorism, is a concrete threat.” It’s such thinking that almost guarantees the end of privacy. “Crime” and “terrorism” are NOT concrete: they are abstract categories, no more abstract than “privacy.” In addition, the notion of a “concrete threat” is senseless. Turley is also not some right-wing legal flunky, but arguing here against the assumptions that seem built in to phrases like this.

Penn State

Too bad the focus of hysteria is on the coach, who is the one person who acted completely within the ethical guidelines of the institution. The fact is, in America (so far), we are not compelled to go to the police to denounce our colleagues based on things we don’t know (hearsay), no matter how horrific the situation, nor should we be. Furthermore, anyone who has worked in a big corporation like a university is bombarded with procedures all the time covering cases similar to this–every one (for better or for worse) requires notification of a supervisor or sometimes a particular office (in the case of sexual harrassment). I have never seen any guidelines that say ‘call the cops’, and they all state that one should not ‘investigate further’. Paterno isn’t a witness, he isn’t a judge, police investigator, or in this case even a supervisor. He will take the fall, but all I’ve read suggests that he (and only he) acted completely within normal institutional procedures. I’m not a fan of institutions, but I’d rather live within these guidelines, however flawed and self-serving, than some of the ones the pedophilia-obsessed commentators are suggesting.
about a minute ago ·

Mahler 2

You doubtless are seeing this way too late, but if you are within, say, a short plane ride of Rochester NY on Oct 22, use whatever frequent flyers miles or limits on your credit card to get your ass to the Rochester Philharmonic for an 8pm performance of Mahler 2nd.