music clip of the day


Category: classical

Saturday, February 25th

A handful of pieces I never tire of, no matter how many times I hear them. This is one.

Morton Feldman (1926-1987; MCOTD Hall of Fame), For Bunita Marcus (1985); Stephen Drury (piano), live, Boston, 2016



art beat: other day, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Jasper Johns (1930-), In Memory of My Feelings—Frank O’Hara, 1961



Wednesday, February 22nd


Miranda Cuckson, violin; Michael Hersch (1971-), Fourteen Pieces for unaccompanied violin, excerpt; live, 2009


Monday, February 20th

Yesterday, in Chicago, at the Art Institute, I heard this woman play the violin. She played for well over an hour, by herself, without intermission. She performed seven pieces: the earliest, by Pierre Boulez (Anthèmes 1), was composed in 1992; the latest, by Steve Lehman (En Soi), this year. When a performer surrenders to the music wholeheartedly, she invites you, the listener, to do the same. And I did, gratefully.

Miranda Cuckson, violin

Ralph Shapey (1921-2002), Etchings (1945; excerpt), 2009


Playing and talking, 2015




Saturday, February 11th

If I knew I had a week to live, this is one of the recordings I would want to hear.

Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), 24 Preludes
Alfred Cortot (1877-1962), piano, 1933/34



reading table

dizzying, adj. making you feel dizzy. E.g., reading a John Ashbery poem.

Listen to it the way everybody
here was naughty today,
of how broad it is.

Foreign man with an affluent cigar,
he used to live on top of this bed
on the local rails he was so proud of
among the recyclables, this morning,
spouting words that I thought were other.
Yes, and they became addictive. Oh,

make me a boy again! Do something!
But the little candle just stood there,
reflected in its lozenge-shaped mirror.
Maybe that was “something,”
a lithe sentence.

He’s only going to do it for the first time.
It’s snowing hard.

Hand me the orange.

—John Ashbery (1927-), “Just So You’ll Know,” New Yorker, 2/13 & 20/17

Friday, February 10th

Quiet, beauty—sometimes they seem to have all but disappeared.

Valentin Silvestrov (piano), live, Ukraine (Kiev), 2012



random thoughts

I’ve been a criminal defense lawyer for over 30 years. Week in and week out, I’m in federal and state courts. I have deeply mixed feelings about our legal system. But last night, as I read the Ninth Circuit’s 29-page ruling, I felt enormous gratitude for the one branch of government that currently seems capable of—or even interested in—thoughtful analysis.

Saturday, February 4th

never enough

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Partitas No. 1 (B minor), 2 (D minor), and 3 (E major) for solo violin; Gidon Kremer (violin), live, Austria (Lockenhaus), 2006



art beat: other day, Art Institute of Chicago

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Grapes, Lemons, Pears and Apples, 1887



Thursday, February 2nd

Last night, in Chicago, worn out by work and the world, I walked from my office to Symphony Center, where I heard these folks perform pieces by, among others, this composer—and I’m so glad I did.

Kremerata Baltica with Gidon Kremer (violin), live; Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919-1996), Sinfonietta No. 2, excerpt (3rd mvt., Adagio)



random sights

yesterday, Chicago



Wednesday, February 1st


Wet Ink Ensemble, Pendulum V (Alex Mincek), live, New York, 2009




reading table

in such an ugly time the true protest is beauty

Phil Ochs (1940-1976), Pleasures of the Harbor (1967), liner notes

Tuesday, January 31st

Sunday night, in Chicago, I heard these folks perform at Constellation. Afterward, as I walked out the door, the night air seemed clearer, lighter, as if it had just been washed.

Wet Ink Ensemble, Pendulum VII (Alex Mincek), live, New York, 2013




art beat: other day, High Line (New York)

Tony Matelli (1971-), Sleepwalker, 2014


Tuesday, January 25th

This I could listen to all day.

Jürg Frey (1953-), Sam Lazaro Bros (1984); Dante Boon, piano



musical thoughts

As with breaths, so too with sounds: one after another—each new.


art beat: other day, The Guggenheim (New York)

Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), Tableau No. 2/Composition No. VII, 1913



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