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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2016 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Festival Preview: Beloved Friend: Tchaikovsky and his World

The New York Philharmonic goes all-in on the Russian romantic.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Semyon Bychkov and friend. Original promotional photograph © 2016 Decca Classics. 
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky died in 1893, but earned immortality, remaining far and away the most popular Russian composer of the 19th century. Starting this Thursday, his life and legacy are the subject of a new festival at the New York Philharmonic, Beloved Friend: Tchaikovsky and his World. The festival continues for three weeks, bringing the warmth and passion of his music to the stage of David Geffen Hall and other venues. Tickets and information are available here.

Concert Review: The Master's Singer

Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin play Mozart and Bruckner.
Richard Wagner (left) greets Anton Bruckner in Bayreuth in 1873.
Silhouette by Dr. Otto Böhler from Wikipedia Commons.
The nine-concert Carnegie Hall marathon featuring conductor Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin reached its first milestone on Saturday night. This concert, the third in the series and the last of the opening triptych featured Mr. Barenboim leading his forces in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24, paired with the Symphony No. 3 of Anton Bruckner. This symphony bears the nickname "Wagner." It was one of two works that Bruckner brought to Bayreuth on an 1873 visit, where he and Richard Wagner discussed music over many a pint of beer.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Concert Review: Voices in the Wilderness

The Staatskapelle Berlin takes on the Bruckner Second. 
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Leading from the piano: Daniel Barenboim. Photo © 2017 Staatskapelle Berlin.

When he was 14 years old, the conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim made his Carnegie Hall debut on January 20, 1957,  playing the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Symphony of the Air under the baton of the legendary Leopold Stokowski. Last night, Mr. Barenboim, now 74, celebrated the 60th anniversary of that occasion with the Staatskapelle Berlin, bringing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 and Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 2 to that hallowed stage.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Concert Review: The End is the Beginning

The Bruckner marathon begins at Carnegie Hall.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Staatskapelle.
Photo © 2016 by Chris Christodolou.

One might argue that it is difficult to break new ground in classical music, but inventive conductors somehow find a way. On Thursday night, conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim opened the first complete cycle of Bruckner symphonies in the history of Carnegie Hall, with that composer's Symphony No. 1 paired with Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.