All entries by this author

CD Reviews: Mahler, Elgar, Copland, Busoni, Shostakovich, Lipatti

March 4, 2019 | By Nestor Castiglione | Category: Classical Music and Opera

Mahler: Symphony No. 5 (Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding) [Harmonia Mundi] – British conductor Daniel Harding ventures into the second installment of what promises to be a new integral cycle of the composer’s symphonies. Listening to it one can only ask: why? The Harmonia Mundi production is excellent, with great sense of space, as [...]



‘The Art of the Benshi’ at UCLA

March 2, 2019 | By Nestor Castiglione | Category: Film

Music, it is often said, is a universal language. If one accepts that, then one must also include a crucial dialect in that cosmopolitan idiom: cinema.
With the invention and evolution of motion pictures, the world suddenly became a smaller place. The reach of Hollywood in that history needs no further elaboration. But its rise also [...]



Review: LACO performs Tchaikovsky, Dohnányi and Contreras

February 19, 2019 | By Nestor Castiglione | Category: Classical Music and Opera

A Russian in Italy, a Hungarian in Florida and a Mexican in California. The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s latest program in its In Focus series, which was held Feb. 15 at The Huntington Gardens’ Rothenberg Hall, explored the works of three globe-trotting composers whose travels (and lives) led them wandering far from their native lands.
Tchaikovsky’s [...]



‘The Notebooks of Alexander Skryabin’ from Oxford University Press

February 15, 2019 | By Nestor Castiglione | Category: Books and Lectures, Classical Music and Opera, Featured Articles

Alexander Scriabin’s music was, arguably, the catalyst that set in motion Sergei Rachmaninoff’s career as a touring pianist. Synthesizing elements from Chopin and Russian music with uniquely personal spiritual beliefs, his art captivated audiences, as well as fellow musicians.
Yet after his untimely death in 1915 at the age of 43, his music would come to [...]



LACO Performs the Music of Juan Pablo Contreras

February 12, 2019 | By Nestor Castiglione | Category: Classical Music and Opera, Featured Articles

The popular notion which finds that Western classical music is so much “dead white men’s music” is a typical, if dutifully ignorant one which is held not only by people otherwise unaware of the genre, but even by some of its professional practitioners. In fact, even in Beethoven’s time non-white peoples living in Europe and [...]



Review: Jacaranda Music performs Mahler

February 6, 2019 | By Nestor Castiglione | Category: Classical Music and Opera

Admirers and detractors of Gustav Mahler can often agree at least on one thing: The man had a rare gift for effective orchestration. From the groaning solo contrabass in the First Symphony, to the “bird of death” in the Resurrection, to the disintegrating chamber-like textures of his Ninth and Tenth Symphonies, Mahler’s virtuosic exploitation of [...]



Review: Dilijan Chamber Series Mansurian Birthday Concert

February 6, 2019 | By Nestor Castiglione | Category: Classical Music and Opera

In a recent interview, Tigran Mansurian said he considered himself a musical “grandson” of Dmitri Shostakovich, the doyen of Soviet composers during the mid-20th century. As with his friends and colleagues Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, Andrei Volkonsky and Edison Denisov, among others who stood at the head of the post-Shostakovich avant-garde in the former Soviet [...]



Sarah Gibson Premieres Composition With LACO

January 25, 2019 | By Nestor Castiglione | Category: Classical Music and Opera, Featured Articles

Peter Oundjian, formerly of the Tokyo String Quartet, has put his chamber music days behind him and has now taken up the baton, accruing to the critical plaudits he has earned over a lifetime as a chamber music partner. Southern California audiences will get an opportunity to hear him in this latest guise when he [...]



Interview with Composer Tigran Mansurian

January 25, 2019 | By Nestor Castiglione | Category: Classical Music and Opera, Featured Articles

The milestone represented by the marking of one’s 80th birthday is doubtless a profound one, a token of the human activity—present and long past—which has unspooled before them over the decades, with its memories imprinting themselves upon the soul like static images burned onto a projector screen. But for an artist like Tigran Mansurian, who [...]



Review: Brendan White plays Liszt and Scriabin

January 16, 2019 | By Nestor Castiglione | Category: Classical Music and Opera

It was an incongruous, yet curiously stimulating mingling of incense and sulphur that awaited the listener Jan. 16 at the Glendale City Church. On one hand, the dulcet lyricism of gratitude to the Creator of creators from the future Abbé Liszt; on the other, the chtonian cries—part Aubrey Beardsley, part Aleister Crowley—of the voluptuary Alexander [...]