Matthew Gurewitsch
Matthew Gurewitsch
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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A recap of Catch of the Day, September 29

October 3, 2019

What we played, what I thought.

Palimpsest (Avie, 2019)

Mika Stoltzman, marimba; Richard Stolzman, clarinet

  • Ravel, Pavane pour une infante défunte
  • Zorn, Palimpsest

The Ravel, originally for piano though probably best known in the composer's characteristically sophisticated orchestration, feels incongruously tangy. The Zorn is a flyaway piece, darting off in many directions. You might suppose that the mismatched timbre and action of the instruments--the clarinet lean and piercing, the marimba metallic and expansive--would suit the contradictory rhetoric of the piece, but to these ears, nothing added up.


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Giya Kancheli, 1935-2019
Composing Nature

October 3, 2019  •  The Atlantic Monthly (April 1997)

Giya Kancheli was nineteen when he realized that geology wasn't for him. "My first expedition," he has said, "was a twelve-mile walk in in ninety-five-degree heat, carrying a very heavy load. When I got back that evening, I drew up a list of professions that would not require much walking." He chose composing. More than four decades later, his music bears witness, perhaps, to the susceptibility that once attracted him to the study of earth: a spiritual hunger for landscapes carved by the elements and untouched by the hand of man, vastnesses in which the spirit can hear the universe and hear itself. A native of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, now resident in Berlin, Kancheli writes music in which instrumental voices sound like human voices and human voices can sound like instruments. He renders silence in a thousand gradations, as Nature does, or unleashes cataclysms from a clear sky. His inspiration, he has said, depends greatly on the view from his window. And what does he like to see? His answer, in Georgian, comes after a long pause. "A big open space is very nice," his daughter translates, "but when it's small, I try to find some beauty in a small space. What is most important is not what I can see but what I can't see." Into those negative spaces he pours his music. Last month ECM New Series issued Caris Mere (After the Wind, the label's fourth luminously realized Kancheli offering. Symphonies are another point of entry into the Kancheli canon. A notable Sony Classical disc couples the sixth and seventh (but beware of dynamic spikes that can blow a speaker or an eardrum).

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In memoriam: Jessye Norman
September 15, 1945-September 30, 2019

October 1, 2019  •  Connoisseur, January 1987

When Jessye Norman visits Salzburg, a not unusual event since she is a great favorite at the music festival there, it often happens that she orders a taxi and a car arrives emblazoned with her photograph. Philips, her recording label, has hired the doors as what the firm likes to call "movable billboards." "It's always so embarrassing when I happen to be in a cab with my picture on it," Norman says merrily, conversing in her dressing room after a rehearsal for a performance of Gustav Mahler's stupendous Eighth Symphony. Is she kidding? By chance, a cab waiting in the courtyard of the Festspielhaus belongs to the fleet that carries the Norman image. And sure enough, when she issues from the stage door, she climbs in with no trace of discomfiture—except at the manners of a fan who pounces from the shadows snapping a shutter.

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A deep dive into swirling waters of Russian Chamber Music
Giacopuzzi, Gusev inaugurate a new series at ProArts, Maui

September 29, 2019  •  Honolulu Star-Advertiser

The international concert artist Jacopo Giacopuzzi was born in Italy, tours a lot in China and Japan, and lives in Santa Barbara, Calif. What's more, he knows his way around Maui. "Every morning at sunrise I go surfing," he said. "Then I come home and start rehearsals." So far, each of his island visits has involved some professional engagement. Giacopuzzi made his debut here in 2015 in a one-keyboard, six-hand piano extravaganza put on by the barnstorming Three Gentlemen From Verona (which happens to be his hometown). He has returned since in a more sober guise to play masterpieces of Beethoven and Schumann, sometimes with local musicians, sometimes with fellow guests.

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Behind the scenes with Lorenzo Brewer, founder and CEO of nkoda
Meet the liberator of Pärt and Ligeti or of their sheet music, anyway

September 26, 2019

In December, Lorenzo Brewer made Musical America's list of 30 Professionals of the Year, a cohort defined as "Innovators, Independent Thinkers, and Entrepreneurs." As founder and CEO of nkoda, which some have called a Netflix and/or Spotify for music scores, Brewer scored on all three vectors. He was, at the time, all of 23 years old.

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Books by Matthew Gurewitsch

Cover of Rafal Olbinski Women Cover of When Stars Blow Out

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