Matthew Gurewitsch
Matthew Gurewitsch
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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Hooked! (continued)
Recap of Catch of the Day, Episode 4

December 5, 2016

Started out with a big haul today: Die Walküre, the second installment in Richard Wagner's four-part, 17-hour epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, with Jaap van Zweden leading the Hong Kong Philharmonic and an international cast of important soloists (Naxos, four CD's). From the realms of fable of the curtain-raiser Das Rheingold, which is peopled by gods, dwarves, and giants, we now descend to earth. The great tug-of-war between power in the sense of coercion and the higher power of love continues, with colorful new players on the field. Act 1 introduces the heroic Siegmund, dogged by misfortune, and his long-lost twin sister Sieglinde, miserable in a forced marriage to the brutal warrior Hunding.

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Hooked!
Recap of Catch of the Day, episode 3

December 1, 2016

The chat that is "Catch of the Day" continues. On November 27, at noon Hawaiian time, I returned to the studio at Mana'o Radio 91.7 FM in Wailuku Town, Maui, as Paul Janes-Brown's guest on his "Alpha and Omega Show." For the next hour, I tore the cellophane off new recordings, listened in on a track or two, and weighed in with off-the-cuff first impressions. The balance, as usual, tilted to classical, but with surprises. Click on the links for extra information on the albums we checked out, complementary tracks, and background reading.

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Déjà vu all over again
Talking story about Catch of the Day

November 21, 2016

As "Catch of the Day" listeners have discovered, it's not unusual for the program to showcase recordings by artists I've encountered in person in my previous life on the mainland and in Europe. For those who might like hear more about those artists, here are links to stories from my archive.

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Sounds of music for chaotic times
Catch of the Day launches on Mana'o Radio

November 16, 2016

The best of times? Hardly. Is the worst of times just around the corner? Can our Constitution weather the gathering thunderbolts from Trump Tower? Can the planet? Until he rewrites history, there's reassurance of sorts in the knowledge that our president elect lost the popular vote, lost it by a decisive margin. The victory he claims to have won "easily" rests solely on the procedures of that peculiar institution the Electoral College, as toxic to democracy in this century as the Confederacy's peculiar institution of slavery in Lincoln's. Its abolition cannot come one moment to soon, and momentum is building. But for now, suns rise and set. Having no choice, we fiddle while Rome burns, rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic, and share what news we have.

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Pure Gold from Arvo Pärt
The Deer's Cry and twelve other marvels

October 1, 2016

Fair warning: the new album The Deer's Cry, on ECM, strings together an hour's worth of prayers, meditations, and Bible readings, thirteen items in all, sung mostly a cappella in Russian, Latin, German, English, and Spanish... But before you cut and run, consider this: the music is by Arvo Pärt, of Estonia, now in his fifth straight year as bachtrack.com's number-one living classical composer, ahead of John Adams and John ("Star Wars") Williams, in that order. Call Pärt Spartan if you must, or even monastic: never will he tempt you to whistle along, tap your toe, or swoon at the sonics, yet he holds you in thrall. Whatever his writing may owe to ancient belief systems, it transcends them, speaking to and from our being's ground. Prophetically enough, the album that put him on the map some forty years ago borrowed its title from Tabula Rasa, a double concerto for two solo violins, prepared piano, and chamber orchestra. Vocal or instrumental, Pärt's art clears the slate.

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Books by Matthew Gurewitsch

Cover of Rafal Olbinski Women Cover of When Stars Blow Out

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