György Ligeti | Métamorphoses Nocturnes

“My soul would sing of metamorphoses. But since, o gods, you were the source of thesebodies becoming other bodies, breathe your breath into my book of changes: may the song I sing be seamless as its way weaves from the world's beginning to our day.”  Ovid, Metamorphoses Featured image is a collage by Marie H. Sirois [...]

Igor Stravinsky | Le Sacre du Printemps

YARILA BY SERGEY GORODETSKY First to sharpen the ax-flint they bent, On the green they had gathered, unpent, They had gathered beneath the green tent. There where whitens a pale tree-trunk, naked, There where whitens a pale linden trunk. By the linden tree, by the young linden, By the linden tree, by the young linden, [...]

Heitor Villa-Lobos | Rudepoêma

"Artists live with God – but give their little finger to Satan. I sleep with the angels and dream of the devil." - Villa-Lobos Rudepoêma is Heitor Villa-Lobos’s paramount masterpiece for solo piano, and one of the most impressive and difficult compositions in the entire piano literature. It was completed while Villa-Lobos was in Paris [...]

Igor Stravinsky | Orpheus

"In order to create there must be a dynamic force, and what force is more potent than love?" Igor Stravinsky Orpheus was the brain-child of Lincoln Kirstein who specifically wanted a companion-piece for Apollo to grace the second season of his new venture, Ballet Society. Stravinsky was not normally responsive to being told what sort of music [...]

Leopold Godowsky

« The piano as a medium for expression is a whole world by itself. No other instrument can fill or replace its own say in the world of emotion, sentiment, poetry, imagery and fancy » Leopold Godowsky was born in the village of Soshly near Vilna (then Russian Poland) on February 13, 1870, and died in New [...]

Isaac Albéniz | Iberia

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." Isaac Albeniz Iberia Iberia is a collection of twelve independent works for piano solo by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909). It was composed in London, paris, and Nice in the years 1905-1907. Iberia is considered not only its composer's masterpiece, but also the "corner-stone, the Koran, of the modern [...]

Richard Strauss | Metamorphosen

 « Rien ne se crée, rien ne se perd, tout se transforme. » (Lavoisier) Metamorphosen  is a composition by Richard Strauss for 23 solo strings : ten violins, five violas, five cellos, and three double basses, typically lasting 25 to 30 minutes. It was composed in the last days of WWII. Strauss saw the world he knew in ruins around him. Germany was occupied by [...]

Scriabin | Piano Sonata No. 5

This past January 6 was the 150th anniversary of Alexandre Scriabin's birth. I discovered him with a Marc-André Hamelin album, featuring all the composer's piano sonatas. Back then I was not accustomed to listening to classical music and it took me a while to get acquainted with these new sounds, they resonated at first like [...]

Modus Operandi

I made an Instagram post yesterday explaining the reasons and motivations behind Le nouveau Zèbre. If you have not seen it, you can read it here. Now I have been thinking and this is how I'll be organizing this magazine. On Mondays, I'll publish a post concerning classical music. What I'm listening to, an album [...]

The Black Cat

Over the Christmas Holidays I watched a 1934 movie called the Black Cat by Edgar G. Ulmer. I had seen a couple of months before a short clip of the movie where I recognized Schumann’s Quintet second movement. Needless to say that my curiosity was triggered. The movie actually has a great soundtrack with pieces [...]

Boulanger Trio | Teach me!

Listening this week in the studio to this great album by the Boulanger Trio called Teach me! I think the idea behind this album is to reveal how Nadia Boulanger excelled in her teachings by being able to let her composition students find their true voice. The album showcases works by Jean Françaix, Leonard Bernstein, [...]

Helene Grimaud | The Messenger

In my ears this week, Helene Grimaud's new album : The Messenger. Hélène Grimaud has created a fascinating pianistic dialogue between Mozart and the Ukrainian-born contemporary composer Valentin Silvestrov. "The album includes three works by Mozart: the unfinished Fantasia in D minor K 397, the famous Piano Concerto in D minor K 466, and the Fantasia in C minor K 475. [...]

Mushroom Variations

John cage was an intense mushroom lover. All kinds of mushrooms. I bought "John Cage: A Mycological Foray: Variations on Mushrooms", an absolutely beautiful book not long ago and could not be happier. Such a gorgeous and interesting object. John Cage's life philosophy and thoughts are shared and weirdly are all linked to fungi. There [...]