Smetana's Ma Vlast ("My Country") is the height of 19th century Czech musical nationalism, and though the movements (esp. "Vltava") are performed separately, the cycle remains a must for every Czech conductor. The seven-movement symphonic poem, beginning with the four note motive of a bard's harp praising the mythos surrounding the castle Vysehrad, moves through the swirling eddies of the river Vltava (also known as "Die Moldau") and ends with the town of Tabor and Mt. Blanik, musical narrations of the 15th century Hussite Wars. Strikingly, Smetana wrote the entire cycle after having gone deaf from syphilis.
By Justin Davidson on 01.16.15 in Features
She is no longer the goofy but serious alien girl with the long flowing hair; instead she’s a sage.
By Justin Davidson on 12.02.14 in Features
Justin Davidson examines the way recent solo cello albums by Alisa Weilerstein, Jeffrey Ziegler and Maya Beiser reinvent that wordless, eloquent voice.
By Ami Armstrong on 11.26.14 in Features
Stream the Punch Brothers documentary 'How to Grow a Band' this week.
By John Schaefer on 10.28.14 in Reviews
The interlocking rhythm patterns of Steve Reich, the micro-universe contained in the drones of La Monte Young, the hypnotic sounds of the German motorik bands of the '70s…these are a few of the straws I will grasp at in...