Matthew Gurewitsch
Matthew Gurewitsch
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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Orliński twice over

March 29, 2016 at 11:14 pm

Oops. First mailing of today's piece on the young Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński was a) woefully truncated, and b) lacking links. Hence the second mailing, which I hope you'll enjoy. Apologies for the glitch and any inconvenience.

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In the wings with Jakub Józef Orliński, countertenor
A diva in spite of himself?

March 28, 2016

Keeping Jakub Józef Orliński under wraps is not easy. He had yet to complete his studies at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw when Theater Aachen, across the German border, tapped him for the bravura part of the amorous knight errant Ruggiero in Handel's Alcina. That was two years ago. For a hint of what happened next, check YouTube for the teaser, dominated by the budding countertenor's plumed, half-dressed rock-star likeness, monopolized by the sound of his amber countertenor.

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In memoriam Nikolaus Harnoncourt (December 6, 1929-March 5, 2016)
Sound, thought, emotion, and meaning through the centuries

March 7, 2016

Early music loomed large in the career of the cellist and maestro Nikolaus Harnoncourt, but to call him a specialist (as many did) was wide of the mark. In truth, he was a generalist who approached every piece of music as brand-new. While other scholars of his vintage fetishized antique sound for its own sake, Harnoncourt wanted to know how the characteristics of an instrument--its distinctive timbre, the materials it was made of, its mechanics--might illuminate the deepest meanings of a specific piece of music. His interpretive choices often caught me off-guard, which bothered me for a while. But then it dawned on me that he was challenging listeners to engage with more burning matters than mere aesthetic preference. Following where Harnoncourt led was always an adventure.

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To Paul Griffiths, upon reading the book "let me tell you" but before hearing the concert piece of the same name
Prima le parole

March 4, 2016


Let me ask you... why exactly did you choose lowercase for the title of—what shall I call it? your novel? novella? nuvoletta? When the pages that followed are styled in the usual way?

I put the question to you in an open letter why? Because these notes are not meant as a review, a form I practice mostly under sentence of an assigning editor. So think of this as what John Donne calls in "The Ecstasy" a "dialogue of one"—not between lovers, as in the poem, though I do love your work, but between acquaintances whose very sporadic exchanges go way, way back.

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To Trevor Noah at age 32
A milestone for Comedy Central's new host of The Daily Show

February 20, 2016

Aloha oe Trevor!

As the greeting may suggest, this comes to your from the Island State of Hawaii. Not sure what time zone you're in, but before midnight strikes in mine, I want to wish you the happiest of birthdays. May the years ahead be your best ever.

According to sources ("Someone's been reading Wikipedia again!"), you came to this great stage of fools in 1984, a year never to be uncoupled from the dystopia of George Orwell. Big Brother is watching us! Luckily, Little Brother—that's you, my friend!—is watching right back. Woe betide the emperor who sashays by in the full splendor of his new clothes.

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Books by Matthew Gurewitsch

Cover of Rafal Olbinski Women Cover of When Stars Blow Out

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