Maazel / Orchestre de Paris @ Salle Pleyel

I’ve just returned from a sensational concert at the Salle Pleyel. I cannot recall the Orcehstre de Paris ever sounding anything close to as formidable as they were this evening. Lorin Maazel, who returned to the OdP after a decade of absence, led a colorful and characterful performance (with more than a few daring nuances of tempo and phrasing) of works by Ravel and Dukas – Ma mère l’oye, Tzigane (with OdP principal violinist Phillipe Aiche), L’Apprenti Sorcier, Rhapsodie espagnole, and La Valse, with the Farandole from Bizet’s L’Arlesienne as an encore.

The audience was wildly enthusiastic, and (knowing full well that this is probably going to ruffle the feathers of a couple of my friends who are frequent critics of Maazel) so was I. Under Maazel, The New York Philharmonic was never less than engaging and more often than not thrilling; this concert, easily the most enjoyable I’ve seen this season, makes me miss the level of playing he got from the Philharmonic.

Classical Mood @MIDEM? Optimistic

Amidst all of the meeting, pitching, hustling, and hump-busting that generally accompanies a label launch (in this case, mine) at MIDEM in Cannes, :there has been more than enough tome to socialize, schmooze, and (as is required in the music industry) pub crawl with colleagues from around the world. And the consensus among my compatriots in the classical biz…

Continue reading Classical Mood @MIDEM? Optimistic

The Great Classical/Jazz Metadata Crisis Solved

After the Worst Air Travel experience Ever® (bottom line: never fly Alitalia), I’ve hit the ground running at MIDEM, and had a terrific breakfast with occasional partner in crime the music biz Todd Landor and musichi‘s CEO/inventor/metadata genius Philippe Watel. If you’re a serious classical music geek or computer audiophile who loves jazz, you know what a pain int the butt it is to find music on Amazon, iTunes, and most other services. Philippe may have hit on a solution – and a cool new player for your media center or netbook! More to follow the middle of next week; stay tuned…

Quasthoff Bows Out

What a shame: Von heute auf morgen (via Boulezian) reports that Thomas Quasthoff, one of my favorite singers, has abruptly announced his retirement from the concert stage, cancelling all forthcoming appearances. The baritone cited health reasons for the decision; thankfully, he will continue to teach. And Quasthoff threw in this zinger when he confirmed the story to news.at: “Moreover, in my view the classical music industry has become superficial. One gets the impression that there is no one left except David Garrett.” Ouch

Gene Gaudette on classical music, cultural politics, political culture, media, and his record labels.