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sherman's site
AKA "Barney Sherman" in the Midwest, "David Sherman" when I lived in California (& went by my middle name), and "Bernard D. Sherman" in print. Analyze that!

 You can hear me as a classical radio host on weekdays from 1-5PM and Sundays from noon-4PM on Iowa Public Radio Classical (any opinions you discern here are my own, not IPR's).

Iowa Defended against Outright Calumny - reprinted from The Atlantic Monthly

Way back in 2002, BBC Music Magazine said something nice about this site: "A refined voice...intriguing articles on early music and performance from a wide variety of publications. A cleansing experience after all this mud-slinging"


inside early music
(oxford university press)

"Excellent . . .a great achievement." -The Times Literary Supplement

"I can't imagine a better book of its kind... readers will profit greatly, and they are addressed considerately and without condescension." - Richard Taruskin

. introduction
"a fluent essay stirring up controversy with a light touch
"- The Musical

performing brahms
(cambridge university press)
Winner, Association for Recorded Sound Collections "Award for Excellence: Best Research in Recorded Classical Music"

"As all-embracing as you could imagine...I predict [it] will never be surpassed or superseded." - Sir Charles Mackerras

''[encourages] interpretive freedom...One of [its] virtues lies in its variety of perspectives...[collated] into a satisfying whole." - Roger Moseley. Journal of the Royal Musical Association

reprinted from The Atlantic, New York Times, LA Times, Early Music, etc.
. authenticity
. bach
. beethoven
. brahms
. chopin
. women's issues, the copyright wars, conducting, festivals, etc.
. hearing loss
. mozart
. weiss, byrd, mahler, strauss
. Defense of Iowa against Stephen Bloom in Atlantic

Since 1998 the website that dares to ask: if a site goes up on the Web and nobody reads it, does it really exist?


2016: At Iowa Public Radio, I've set up an aggregator page called Classical Barn where you can find the long-form pieces I've written (on copyright, women in classical music, Japan and Masaaki Suzuki, the nature of classical music, the core issues of classical radio, and more) as well as long-form pieces I invited other writers to do for IPR, including Uri Golomb, Will Roseliep, and Susan Scheid. (Feel free to let me know if you'd like to write for it!)

014: Iowa Public Radio has given me a page where you can find blog postings, concert audio, interviews, and playlists where you can find blog postings, concert audio, interviews, and playlists.

January 2015: So what WERE the best classical releases of 2014? Don't ask me (or any one writer) - instead, check out my "mega Meta-list" which aggregates about 100 "best-of-2014" lists from around the world.

January 2015: My latest post is on the copyright wars and Jean Sibelius - how his estate abandoned a "trademarking" strategy, how a conflict between the Vienna Philharmonic and the publisher kept the Valse triste out of this year's New Year Concert, and how these events relate to some of the larger issues of copyright today.

August 2014:
Five recent vocal CDs you really should hear - My review with links of Erin Gee's Mouthpieces [that's her to the right], Michael Ching's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Morning in Iowa, Virgil Thomson's The Mother of Us All, and C.P.E. Bach's Magnificat and Heilig! from Freiburg Baroque.

June 2014:
How Exceptional IS Classical Music's "Woman Problem"? My take.

- Alex Ross
of The New Yorker discusses it further here.

- Anastasia Tsoulcias
of National Public Radio discusses it further here.

- Follow-up post: Have women attained parity in the classical violin profession? And if so, what can we learn from it? (Spoiler alerts: Yes, and a lot.)

May 2014: "Yiddish is not a funny language! No language is inherently funny" - Yuri Vedenyapin proves his point with two heartrendingly beautiful songs in this live set from IPR. Yuri, an expert on Yiddish dialects, also talks about the king of prewar Yiddish standup comedy, whose "Weinstein? Einstein!" routine prefigured "Who's on First?"

May 2014:
The great singer, humanitarian, teacher, and civil-rights pioneer Simon Estes dropped in to IPR and spoke with me about his life and work. You can hear our interview at the link; to call him "inspiring" doesn't even come close!

March 2014: Live set at IPR's studio by the early-music ensemble FATHOM. I had no idea how beautiful three voices (Michael Barrett, Robin Bier & Mary Larew) and three viols (Kivie Cahn-Lipman, Loren Ludwig & Zoe Weiss) could sound together. Listen at the link as they perform music from the 1400s through 2014.


November 2013: Stream here: Zingaresca (Oleg Timofeyev and Vadim Kalpakov, Russian guitars) perform and speak with me in IPR's studios. If you want the best in Russian-Roma music you really have to come to Iowa.

November 2013: Stream here: The awesome Trio 826 talks with me and performs in IPR's studio.

November 2013: 
Stream here: Tony Arnone playing Bach live and speaking with me at IPR.

April 20, 2012  - The Bassists did WHAT?
Loving the Twitter feed @LSOonTour1912 - a day-by-day posting of the diary entries of the London Symphony Orchestra's timpanist, Charles Turner, written during their US tour of 1912 - the first US tour ever undertaken by a European orchestra. Gareth Davies of today's LSO is posting them 100 year to the day after they were written. It interests me partly because I'm fascinated by the US in 1912, partly because the diary gives a musician's-eye-view of the legendary maestro Artur Nikisch - and partly because they played two gigs in Des Moines, in the Coliseum. Turner writes, "It is like a barn. Can't play half loud enough" (Today, Des Moines has a beautiful Civic Center with excellent acoustics.) 
But one thing puzzled me. Turner writes, "More trouble with Nick[isch]. He gets on the Basses and gets the bird back."  Wait -  what did "give the bird" and "get the bird" mean to an English musician in 1912? The LSO was a self-governing organization, but I can't imagine even these players openly making an obscene gesture to Nick in rehearsal.
So I queried LSO Administrator Jo Johnson. She answered brilliantly  - "It seems that the etymology of the phrase 'giving the bird' is booing and hissing, like a goose, as opposed to the more obscene gesture we know these days. It was apparently in use in the music hall/ vaudeville era - 1920s - to get someone unpopular off the stage. We can probably assume that giving the bird to the Maestro was more like tutting or grumbling loudly enough to be heard! "

April 19, 2012 - While prepping for interview of Musicians from Marlboro, I read Alex Ross's superb "The Music Mountain" in Listen to This. Vivid portrayal of the life force that is Mitsuko Uchida, one of my favorite great pianists, quoting the Mitsuko-isms that emerge from her brain to the world with welcome frequency. An example, "For the Germans, the greatest thing since Karajan. Karajan, of course, was the greatest thing since Hitler." Alex doesn't say to whom she refers - only, "an overhyped instrumentalist"...
Also love her comment on prodigies: "Do you want yourself to be operated on by a genius twenty-year-old heart surgeon? Do you want to go to the theater and see a teenager play King Lear?"

April 3, 2012 - More on Ken Woods' post on the slow movement of the Brahms Piano Concerto no. 2, discussed below: can't recall where I read it discussed, but it clearly is an hommage to the slow movement of Clara Schumann's Piano Concerto in  A minor, op. 7, which also has a cello solo. This fact strongly supports Ken's belief that this is a "Clara" movement. (Jon Bellman has shown that the first movement of the Symphony no. 1 is too, by finding unmistakable allusions in its development section to Schumann lieder.)
Also, Ken is clearly right that the MM doesn't apply so much to the beginning of the movement. I feel that it means more with respect to the piano's entry - clearly meant to be played rhapsodically.

March 30, 2012 - Martin Pearlman has (a) written an extraordinary article in Early Music America about Armand-Louis Couperin; (b) produced, after decades of work, an
extraordinary critical edition of his music, which he is - get this - giving away free online (what a guy!); (c) made some wonderful recordings of his music, also free at the link; (d) pointed out to you pianists that his music would sound great on your instrument.

March 17, 2012 - Great post by Greg Sandow
on the storm movement in Beethoven's Pastoral symphony. We may think of Disney cartoon storms, but to Beethoven and his listeners it was more like our experience of a tornado; a thunderstorm was life-threatening and truly terrifying. Thus the "song of thanksgiving" that follows feels so profound, even religious (Beethoven inscribed, in German, "we thank Thee, God" over the hushed moment near the end).

March 15, 2012 - Great
article by Jed Distler classifying musicians into "line guys" vs. "chord guys." Incredibly enlightening. Read it!

Feb 24, 2012:  Excellent post by conductor Ken Woods on the slow movement of the Brahms Piano Concerto no. 2 and its relationship to a Brahms song about the death of a young person. It sheds light on one of my long-standing questions. This movement is the only one in Brahms with a really puzzling metronome mark: quarter note=84, about 50% faster than most pianists play it. It's the only metronome mark in Brahms that differs radically from what most musicians do; while a few of his other MMs are on the fastish side, and many more are on the slowish side, most are quite close to intuitive practice. So why is this one so far off?
     Not because of a mistake or oversight: Brahms was careful about MMs, providing them only for a handful of works after much care and thought. Further, he put these MMs into practice: he meant them to guide conductors of his performances when he toured the concerto, testing in Meiningen, premiering it in Budapest and then performing it around Europe.
    I've read two convincing theories for it. The pianist/composer Gianluca Cascioli points out that this movement has a 2-against-3 meter; the 3 is only in the bass line, and, Gianluca says, is audible only at a fast tempo. And the musicologist Walter Frisch argues that the MM is a matter of genre: Brahms heard this movement as a serenade, an orchestral genre that musicians of the era recognized and considered lighter than a symphony. I'm convinced, then, that Brahms played it as a serenade.

    Still, to most performers (e.g., Jeremy Denk) none of this matters: the movement feels right at a slower tempo. I think this reflects its profound emotional content, and I think Ken's comments about the song points us to what that content is: a meditation on mortality and youth. (To be sure, the song is in two-to-bar, suggesting even it is not too slow.) Perhaps Brahms was afraid the movement would sound sentimental-schmaltzy if played for deep feeling - which only supports Ken's view - but if so Brahms has been proved wrong time and again. I'd like to hear a modern pianist try it at the MM (Horowitz and Toscanini come fairly close, so I have my wish, and so does the first Rubinstein recording, with Albert Coates, although Rubinstein himself hated the outcome). But I don't expect to hear it played this way very often; too much emotional resonance would be lost for us.

Feb 19, 2012: Our Conversation about Beethoven's Ninth and Gustav Leonhardt. Here is a transcript of a conversation I had with some friends on Facebook.
The opener: "The late Dutch harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt detested Beethoven's 9th, esp. the finale, which he called "the quintessence of platitude" and "the most vulgar music ever written." [All i've since been able to track down was, "That Ode to Joy - talk about vulgarity! And the text! Completely puerile!" How would you respond to Leonhardt - the master of the subtle, esoteric art of the French clavecinistes - about this topic?"

Jonathan Ahl: "Platitude? Perhaps. But, even if true, I would think LVB elevated platitude to a higher art form in that movement."
Me: "Exactly! LvB was embracing the vulgar in its highest sense. He knew exactly what he was doing. He considered dropping it and replacing it with a purely instrumental finale in a minor key, but decided against it. Fortunately."
Andrew Edlin: "Vulgar literally means 'common'. Since the 9th appeals to so many people, his comment is true. If he wants something exclusive he should listen to Stockhausen!"
Me: "Seid umschlungen, Millionen! Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!" The theme is like a drinking song; Beethoven knew exactly what he was doing.
Jonathan Bellman:  I heard something like this from the revered musicologist Nicholas Temperley, at the University of Illinois when I was doing my masters. Always one to exercise self-control - a first-year masters student, remember - I jocularly riposted, "Don't worry; I won't tell your Chair!" L-o-n-g pause. "I gather you disagree," he said, frowning slightly. When I extricated myself, it was another day of mental "goddammit, Jon, again? AGAIN?"
Fred Smith: It sounds like the musical equivalent to the most tiresome variety of academic political correctness.
Michael Goodleman: I can't image anyone perceiving the Ode to Joy as vulgar. In my humble opinion it's one of the most spiritual orchestral pieces ever. But at the same time Mr. Leonhardt may not have had the consciousness to appreciate it.
Me:  I think you guys are right that this is about Leonhardt, not the Beethoven Ninth. But it's not PC so much as the opposite. Leonhardt lived on a 17th-century canal in Amsterdam in a 17th c house, beautifully restored and filled with 17th c antiques and instruments (and 18th c ones as well). He felt that music went way downhill after the French Revolution (I hope he didn't feel that way about political arrangements!). He played baroque composers as if Beethoven, Wagner, and Stravinsky had never been born, and thus was exceptionally convincing. And to any claveciniste at Versailles, Beethoven's 9th would sound supremely vulgar, and its sentiments Jacobin. So this approach contributed to Leonhardt's artistic greatness, even if it would deprive most of us of a powerful artistic experience. Freude, schone Gotterfunken!
Fred: Thanks Barney - I'm sure you're right.
Rabbi Alan Green: Wonderful discussion! Thanks to all for participating.

Feb 5, 2012: So where does that leave "Historically Informed" Brahms orchestral performance? In my last post, I noted that Norrington is wrong about vibrato. Brahms clearly expected vibrato from orchestral strings, and probably well varied and modulated vibrato at that. My own writings suggest that his "fast tempos" are largely a myth - what we know of Brahms's tempi suggests he often took slowish ones. And how about small ensemble size? Styra Avins demolished that one; Brahms preferred a large ensemble if it could play well. Proportional tempo schemes tying together large works? Fuggedaboudit; that one was easy to debunk.

What's left? Well... gut strings instead of steel, but sounding sweeter than anything you hear in England today; wooden pre-Bohm flutes instead of metal; Vienna horns; leather-covered timpani with hard sticks. Portamento, more than we hear today, but less "thick" and coordinated than in Mengelberg - some players would slide while others did not, creating a much lighter portamento sound. Indeed, free bowing and fingering in string sections for the most part.

So yet again: Norrington, Gardiner, and Mackerras are giving us a modern style of Brahms playing. Turn to pre-war recordings by the likes of Adolf Busch, Clemens Krauss and Bruno Walter (here's an example) for a sense, at least, of period sound and style.

February 4, 2012: Norrington Is Wrong about Vibrato  - I had the good fortune of reading through a pre-pub copy of a major study of 19th-century orchestral string vibrato by David Hurwitz, to be published in Music and Letters. It is thorough, definitive, and devastating. (You can read his informal writings on the topic here.). The conclusion: the clean, non-vibrato string sound that Sir Roger Norrington proclaims as historical is nothing of the sort; orchestral string vibrato was normal, rather than "just an ornament" to be applied occasionally. Contra Norrington, when Bruno Walter first heard the Vienna Philharmonic in the 1890s he was taken by what he described as their special vibrato, and in 1960 he said that the VPO's vibrato was basically the same. Richard Taruskin is again proved right when he says that Norringtonian HIP has little to do with history and much to do with high-modernist taste.

I occassionally think of Sir Roger's current revulsion toward even a trace of vibrato as a kind of obsessive-compulsiveness. I may be wrong; it may have more to do with Norrington's generation rejecting Romanticism and Norrington seeking a unique career niche. In any case, Hurwitz has settled the matter, and all musicians who care about these topics really should seek out his writings ASAP.

February 2, 2012: Stephen Fry on Wagner!!! Genius on genius - a BBC hour-long special, free online.

January 26: George Szell: Was His Strength His Weakness? Donald Peck, principal flutist of the Chicago Symphony, in his excellent book on his years in the Chicago Symphony: "He made mistakes on the podium, which resulted in the orchestra's looking bad. There was a terrible episode during one performance of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony. Szell was most emphatic, stating, 'Watch me! Watch me! After the storm scene, I will make a cut-off before we go on.' The concert came. He did not make the cut-off. Half of the orchestra did make a cut-off as he had admonished, and the other half didn't. It was a scramble.....  he might conduct or not conduct, give entrance cues or not give them. All in all, that three-week period was rife with conductorial errors." WAIT! I thought Szell was the ultimate technician. Not so. The diagnosis? Szell was a giant, writes Kenneth Woods in his excellent blog, but was diminished when he was not in Cleveland: "[He] still inspires awe and fear in his colleagues who knew him in Cleveland, but less admired where he worked as a guest. ...He would have been an even greater conductor outside Cleveland had he just let players relax and play and not tried to control everything.... [he] had to rehearse and drill every detail in rehearsal until it was encased in concrete. The concerts always fell apart because he had hammered any and all flexibility out of us [says a player to Woods], then he would get inspired and try to do something different and couldn't show it, and we were never sure whether to rely on what we saw in the concert or what he said in the rehearsal. Chimes exactly with what Donald Peck said. The takeaway for leaders not only of orchestras but of anything is kinda obvious.

Jan 22, 2012. Thank you for the kind words, Kenneth Woods! It's an awesome CD, folks - hear it!

Jan 18, 2012. What Inspired the opening motif of A Love Supreme?: Alex Ross notices that the sequence of fourths that open John Coltrane's A Love Supreme is identical to that which begins the Fifth Symphony of Jean Sibelius. He does not posit a direct influence; these two great musicians could have arrived at the same motif independently. I'm going to step out on a limb and speculate that what led Trane to think about this sequence was working on his absolutely matchless interpretations of My Favorite Things, heard to special advantage in this take with Eric Dolphy. If there's anything to this idea (and who can know what really goes on in the mind of a genius), props are in order to Richard Rogers for a great song and then to Trane for recognizing the musical potential of this Broadway hit and realizing it so fully.

Jan 15, 2012: Naida Cole Plays Like One Possessed - Try Chabrier's Bourree-Fantasque. After you hear her untrammeled manic joy - the sheer visceral delight in playing repeated notes insanely fast, for example - every other performance seems anemic. And after you hear her mystical, sad Satie, everyone else seems shallow. Take my word for it:

 Dec. 16, 2011:  Gustav Leonhardt, age 84, has cancelled all his future concerts because of ill health. May his health return completely. Meanwhile: thank you for everything, maestro. Here's an example of why he is the father of modern harpsichord playing and the awesome-est of them all:  [To come: a list of my favorite Leonhardt recordings]

New: January 28, 2011: Backgrounder (by me, not an expert on Hungarian politics) on Andras Schiff and Hungary's Media Laws.  UPDATE JANUARY 19, 2012: Damn - I was right. And things have gone downhill.

NEW: Jan. 20 2011: The Bach Violin Glut of the 2000s and Its Puzzling Gender Gap [down for editing]- Jan 20 version; no fewer than 26 violinists recorded the Bach cycle in the last decade. The gist: 1) that's a lotta supply; a stab at why; 2) whether or not you used a period instrument could be predicted partly by your nationality and partly by your gender - if you used a modern instrument, bookmakers could give almost 4:1 odds that you were burdened with a Y chromosome. Next edition of Inside Early Music will never happen, but it would seek gender balance, and would look more into gender and the early-music movement.

NEW: Dec 23: Three notable music books of 20100 that I actually read? I was gripped by (1) John Butt, Bach's Dialogue with Modernity: perspectives on the Passionss - if you're into Bach, especially the Passions, you must read it; it's game-changing; (2)- if you're into Bach, especially the Passions, you must read it; it's game-changing; (2) Jonathan Bellman's Chopin's Polish Ballade: op. 38 as a narrative of national martyrdomm, which joins the short list of books about a single work that open up huge vistas of social, cultural, and political history (another example:, which joins the short list of books about a single work that open up huge vistas of social, cultural, and political history (another example: Late Idyll by Reinhold Brinkmann); and (3)Alex Ross's Listen to This, which you can sample by reading this linked chapter on, which you can sample by reading this linked chapter on how the process of recording changed music radically. . For me, it is the classical-music book of the decade, except possibly for Alex's other book, The Rest Is Noise. I don't mean this as hyperbolic praise: the book revisits many of the essays that shaped my musical thought during the 2000s, and adds an end-of-decade perspective. PS: the chapter on Brahms - the last - is the best single essay on the composer I've read.

NEWW: July 30, 2010: How to play "The Moonlight" first movement - like Gianluca Cascioli. Here he is playing it for a masterclass: Gianluca explains in his Decca recording interview (ok, conducted by me) why it has nothing to do with moonlight, and why he plays it as fast as he does. "C-sharp minor is a strange, almost sinister key; it does not relate to something as Romantic as moonlight. Instead, the reference that strikes me is the passage in Don Giovanni when the Commendatore dies after being stabbed by the Don. Beethoven's triplets are close to Mozart's triplets, and the rhythms in Beethoven's melody are similar to the Commendatore's rhythm....Beethoven wrote down the Commendatore scene among his sketches, which means that he was particularly struck by it.....he wanted to take Mozart as a starting point (a good one!) just to get somewhere else, far away...... It is difficult to describe in words the feeling you have while playing, but Czerny's description comes close to my own: a dark night with a choir of ghosts heard from far away... One element behind my choice of tempo is that the listener must concentrate almost completely on the melody - the choral in the soprano. At slow tempos, very often one hears nothing but the slow triplets, as if they were the melody. But the true melody in the soprano gets lost in the piano's decay of sound, as the notes become disconnected. [My next question was:Does the alla breve meter, two per bar, also imply a fastish tempo?] GC: This was less important to me. For one thing, if you count two beats in a bar you might easily get it much too fast. It must flow, but it must be extremely calm, almost still. Also, what this time signature implied for tempo in Beethoven is not so clear......"

NEW: July 26, 20100Very fine obitVery fine obit of Wendy Allanbrook in today's NYT, by Jim Oestreich. She embodied the word "humane."

New: July 15 2010::Very sad to hear of the death at age 67 ofVery sad to hear of the death at age 67 of Wendy Allanbrook (Wye J. Allanbrook), a great musicologist and great human being.

July 2010:: RIP Sir Charles Mackerras, at age 84. Alex Ross, as usual, says it perfectly: "He had a gift for leading a kind of performance in which nothing out of the ordinary seems to happen and yet everything goes radiantly right." Nice ideal in many areas.

February 2010: The legendary Bruno Walter did NOT like modern flutes, and he did not like the power of postwar clarinet playing. Martin Mayer, in 1960, quotes him: "Think what the flute has gained up top of the range," he says, "but it has lost its beauty. Jean Paul wrote of 'the moonshine of the flute.' Who would now say, 'the moonshine of the flute"? [ILet me note that German and Austrian flutes were still made of wood during Walter's early career; German-speaking flutists resisted metal flutes and the Boehm key system precisely because the French had adopted them].... As for modern playing: "That is just a gentle clarinet," he said [of a clarinet solo in the Schumann Piano Concerto]. "But today they all play trumpet." Quoted in the excellent biography, Bruno Walter: A World Elsewhere, by Erik Ryding and Rebecca Pechefsky, p. 404.

Elijah Wald's history of what actually happened in American pop music in the 20th Century (misleadingly titled "How the Beatles Destroyed Rock and Roll") - I endorse the review in the New York Times book review and recommend the book highly.

Daniel Leech-Wilkinson's book on what actually happened in 20th-century classical music performance: The Changing Sound of Music: He's brought research methodology to new levels of accuracy, and is intellectually fearless and originall. And his book is. And his book is available free online at

NEWW: January 14th, 2009 - You have been reading Greg's five-part posts on where Classical Music is in 2009, right? Read it: RE: post 1: I wrote the following comment to Greg: "Just a loose thought about yet another possible reason why the [classical-music] audience has aged [over the last half of the 20th c, relative to the population as a whole - Greg demonstrates it carefully and has some excellent ideas on why. I suggested adding one:} "(1) music became more and more a marker of group membership - it had been that for centuries, but became more so; (2) people had increasing numbers of options about which group to become a member of: more mobility; (3) crucially- "the young" increasingly became a group you could identify yourself as a member of. Having one's own music (to mark off "us," the young, from "them," the old) became increasingly important (4) having lots of different "musics" to choose among became increasingly possible (recording being a big part of this? And prosperity/leisure?)...... None of this is to replace anything you [Greg] said - it'd be just one more element."

January 14th, 2009-- Instructions for Puck::- oxytocin for Helena and Hermia; vasopressin for Lysander and Demetrius. [re "- oxytocin for Helena and Hermia; vasopressin for Lysander and Demetrius. [re "Anti-love drug may be ticket to bliss" - John Tierney's angle, in the New York Times]

December, 2008 - Entry # 2 Newspapers may be dying and music-critic gigs disappearing, but I'm struck by how good the critics in the USA are in 2008. Having Anne Midgette on the staff of the WaPo is a prime example..

November, 2008 - Felix Mendelssohn devotees: Strongly recommended background reading is Deborah Hertz's brilliant and superbly researched How Jews Became Germans.

April, 2008: Officer, he had a strong jaw, slight underbite, and furrowed brow: Forensic anthropologist Carolyn Wilkinson reconstructs the wigless head of J. S. Bach from a cast of his skull and other evidence. How he might have looked when he was not in full dress and you had just hired him to play for a wedding. - March, 2008

It's scientifically designed to be the most unpopular song ever written. You, of course, will love it. Especially the rapping opera singer - April 2008

Clap Your Hands Say Bravo! The above reminds me of a previous question about whether It's OK to Applaud between movements at a classical concert. The proscription against that sure chimed with the proscription against "histrionics." Anyway, I hold with those who say Express yourself! See: Alex's short essay and Greg's post .

Essential: the 2nd edition of Lydia Goehr's The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works (published in 2007). Our core sense of what music IS (at least for classical fans) turns out to be about 200 years old.

Why not just give Alex Ross his Pulitzer right now and be done with it? (for The Rest Is Noise.) So I wrote in October. I'm delighted that the NY Times has since put it on its "10 Best Books of 2007" list and that the Washingon Post, LA Times, Economist, Time, Newsweek, and Slate put it on their best-of-year lists. His writing has by itself improved the future of music.- Jan 1, 2008

. The tone of moral outrage sounds Wieseltierian (that neologism is not a compliment), and he bullies the defenseless, but Richard Taruskin on the state of classical music is not to be missed. (Much more essential, though, is his Oxford History of Western Music. There he had to seek the tone of the balanced observer - although his difficulties with that role are part of what make the book so compelling.)- Nov. 2007







The BBC Music Magazine liked this website: "[A] refined voice... intriguing articles on early music and performance from a wide variety of publications. A cleansing experience after all this mud-slinging." - April 2002 (may I also mention my modesty and avoidance of self-promotion...?) This means that at least one person has visited this site!

My chapter on "Conducting Early Music" appears in The Cambridge Companion to Conducting (ed. Jose A. Bowen, 2004). Kind review here

. My archived shows
The Wisdom of Crowds with James Surowiecki and Joyce Berg. Better: just read The Wisdom of Crowds. My followup read will be Cass Sunstein's Infotopia. His review of The Wisdom of Crowds is well worth reading: . BUT - see this new study - showing why prediction markets are LESS successful than polls at predicting election outcomes.
my interview with Daniel Altman about his first book, Neoconomy (now available for $0.01 at Amazon...)
And an mp3 of Studs Terkel (on his book And They All Sang) - WFMT called with the opportunity to do a short interview with Studs, and everyone was on vacation, so... I did it. What an honor.
And I just interviewed the brilliant Rebecca Sheir of Alaska Public Radio about her Third Coast-award-winning documentary, The End as Beginning: An Audio Exploration of the Jewish View of Death. I'll play parts of it interspersed with the documentary on KSUI tomorrow. Here's the interview itself (17 minutes) rebecca mp3

. How to Invest- revealed! - a short transcript from when I used to host radio shows on this. Still pretty timely. (TIPS are yielding a little less, but not enough to make a difference to what Larry says.)


Contact me: at gmail




That review of my chapter in The Cambridge Companion to Conducting: "Sherman lucidly moderates between differing views concerning performance practice, from standpoints of control and authority to changing priorities and progress. He argues for a serious study of historical context and the composer's possible intentions, stating that such an approach would engender changes made as a result of 'rethinking the boundaries between work and performance' ...Several issues are addressed, most notably the dilemma of whether to conduct from the podium or the keyboard, awareness of the impact that recordings have had on performance aesthetics, and the democratization of perfomers versus the singular interpretation of the conductor-leader" - Joel Novarro, 19th-Century Music Review, vol. 2 no. 1


. NEW: January 16th, 2009 - RIP John Mortimer. Here's a rarity: a Christmas story for the NYT Book Review. Premise: Tiny Tim grows up to be a misanthrope who makes a fortune through insider trading on the London stock exchange. It's Christmas in 1894, and he's in North Africa with Oscar Wilde, Bosie, Colonel Picton (military aide to the bey), and a French novelist. Sir Tim says, "I never keep Christmas. In fact, I throw it away. I always found that if you kept Christmas it went bad quite quickly." What ensues? - read on.


change in HR article (sample of my business ghostwriting)