Revisiting “The Red Violin”

The lack of performing arts events during this time of shuttered concert halls has brought its own silver lining: the opportunity, indeed, the hunger, to revisit films that incorporate the classical music world and/or its instruments. And you know, reader, which instrument to which I am most partial, right? Step in François Girard’s 1998 The … Read more Revisiting “The Red Violin”

Debussy’s “Girl With the Flaxen Hair”

Claude Debussy’s “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair” ranks right up there alongside his “Clair de Lune,” “Beau Soir” and “Afternoon of a Faun” on my “favorite short classical pieces” list. In spite of their brevity, all of them immediately transport you, taking you to a vivid, sensual, evocative place that, once you’ve returned to the … Read more Debussy’s “Girl With the Flaxen Hair”

Finnish perfection: the Sibelius Violin Concerto

It’s complex, gripping, devilishly complicated, and sounds like no other concerto in the violin repertoire. Listening to Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’ violin concerto, you hear dark, wintry night; pure, crystalline melody above a cushion of pianissimo strings (starlight has a sound!); brooding motifs; a violin that laments but never stops singing. In the second movement, … Read more Finnish perfection: the Sibelius Violin Concerto