A Comedy of Terrors

I’ve just finished reading Dan Brown’s novel Inferno. It’s another gripper from the American author, involving ancient symbology revolving around Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem The Divine Comedy. The last word of that title signals that it ends happily, not tragically; there’s nothing comedic about the work. It describes Dante’s tripartite journey across the nine Read More …

Supernatural. Super music.

Imagine a bygone era when an existence without religion and superstition would be unthinkable, in which the souls of the departed were believed to exist among the living as a matter of course. In our lives today, surrounded by technology and cosseted by commerce, such powerfully held beliefs exist only in barely acknowledged vestiges of Read More …

Podcast: Liszt’s musical makeovers

From composer to transcriber to performer—less instantaneous than modern transmissions, but it’s how many works first came to be known by music lovers before the dawn of the age of technology. Around half of Liszt’s 800 compositions were transcriptions of other composers’ works. In this week’s podcast Raymond Bisha introduces pianist Sergio Gallo breezing through virtuoso transcriptions by Read More …

New on Naxos Opera: Hector Berlioz’ Benvenuto Cellini

Live Performance from 2007 Features Valery Gergiev and the Vienna Philharmonic “The production was the most spectacular in recent memory,” notes Opera News reviewer Jörg von Uthmann. “Among the singers, Maija Kovalevska’s Teresa stood out. She mastered her top notes and lyrical cantilenas… and displayed a nice sense of humor…Kate Aldrich was a charming Ascanio, Read More …