Some October Highlights and Beyond

New York’s “leading young early-music ensemble”
perhaps looking a touch younger than they do today
(God, I’m going to get myself killed one of these days…)

For someone who insisted that he was re-taking the classical criticism world by storm, I’ve been pretty quiet these past five or so weeks. Time, it stops for no one. Motivation has been hard to come by. I know I’ll never have more time for personal projects than I do right now, and yet every time I think about, say, writing a full-length article, my stomach turns. I feel somewhere on the cusp of too busy, burnt out, and just plain lazy — but some of those things are constants in my life.

I’ve still been going to concerts — it’s not like I have so many other hobbies. A few highlights from the past month:

  • The Sebastians performing music by Bach and friends with live-produced paintings. Embarrassingly, I actually still owe them a review — they were kind enough to give me a press ticket. A lovely program, lovely playing, lovely conversation after. You’ll read more on them soon, but for now: Daniel, Nick, Ezra, Jeff, and Karl, if you’re reading this, consider me your biggest fan.
  • Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones at the Met — standing room only. Absolutely destroyed my lower back, but well worth the pain.
  • Voces8 later that same day. My first time seeing them live. Left me conflicted, but satisfied.
  • Robert Ashley’s eL/Aficionado at Roulette in Brooklyn. My date, editor, friend, and once review topic Anna Heflin wrote a phenomenal review that followed the strange format of the piece.
  • Brahms chamber music with Garrick Ohlsson and the Tákacs Quartet. Tákacs plays Brahms in a way that makes me think they excel at Bártok (they do). Slightly choppy, but hey, Brahms is comfort food — a slightly soggy French fry is better than no French fry at all.

And then, all of a sudden, it was November. Spooky, huh?

Clearly, I’m a little tired of the conventional review. I mean, the joy of reviewing comes from some idea that one’s opinion matters. I’ve asked myself this question for the the last eighteen months — why does it matter what I think? — and I still can’t figure it out.

So instead, I’m going to approach the concert from the other side: looking forward. I’m in the process of assembling a list of the concerts that I’m most excited for this month. Think of it as the Classical Music Geek concert calendar, a curated selection from other NYC-area lists, highly targeted Facebook ads, and things my friends are performing. (Just because I’m quick to disclose a conflict of interest doesn’t mean I’m not also super excited.) Hopefully, I can provide some value to the reader, not just to the performer — although, every time a performer quotes me in the Press section of their website, my heart does sing a little bit.

But that’s too many words for right now — first, sleep. Look out for that calendar in the next couple days.


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