Chronicles Magazine The Music Column

The Broken Promise of American Cities

There is a saying used in California when the going gets tough: “At least we have the weather.” No matter how expensive, dangerous, unclean, and generally inhospitable the state’s cities become, “at least we have the weather,” Californians say,...

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  • The Music Column

    A Tour of Overtures

    We somehow owe it to ourselves to contemplate the useful word sinfonia, one that once denoted the overture to an opera and suggested a pleasing combination of sounds. So yes—the term that denotes the tradition of symphony is derived from another...

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  • The Music Column

    The Legacy of Leon Redbone

    Leon Redbone left the scene in 2015—I don’t mean that he expired, but simply that he retired. There was mention at the time of health concerns, but he was through with television appearances and concerts and touring, and with recording as well.

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  • The Music Column

    The Pavarotti Effect

    I have been told that there is something called the “Pavarotti Effect,” and that this phenomenon is observable and definable. Perhaps sometimes the Pavarotti Effect was an affect, or perhaps it was subsumed by the “Superstar Effect,” as Sherwin...

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    Simon Pure and Impure

    The other day I came across the pianist Simon Barere on YouTube, and I was glad to see him there—the recognition he has received is certainly deserved, though it is hard to know what would be the appropriate reward to a performer who never got...

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  • The Music Column

    Those Oldies But Goodies

    An Italian-American restaurant I count on features sound reasons for my presence there, and that of others. I like the tone in that environment. There is an aspect of 1950’s atmosphere—the place is quiet, the lighting subdued, and the manners...

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    The Vocal Scene

    Of course my account of “the vocal scene” is not by the late George Jellinek—that cultured gentleman of Hungarian background. He had an extensive, even encyclopedic knowledge of the history of singing.

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  • The Music Column

    The Romantic Revival

    The first thing to say about the Romantic Revival is that the phrase itself is a bit ambiguous, though I haven’t meant to be misleading. Romanticism originally had an aspect of revival of the medieval, as in the Gothic revival and the revival of...

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