New York Music Daily

Love's the Only Engine of Survival

Tag: classical music

Simon Leach Plays a Stunningly Modulated Organ Recital at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

It’s good to have the mostly-weekly series of organ concerts at St. Patrick’s Cathedral back again. It took a long time for the church to complete the renovations on the organ there, but in the couple of years leading up to the 2020 lockdown, there were some memorable concerts in that space. Yesterday’s performance, by Simon Leach, was a rewarding continuation of that tradition.

He opened by premiering The Call to Care for Creation, by his wife Helen Leach. It was a shapeshifting, dynamic, sometimes rippling, sometimes strikingly anthemic piece in the Romantic tradition, with a precise, triumphantly spiraling coda

Next he tackled Bach’s Pièce d’Orgue, BWV 572, rising quickly from a lilting, understated introduction to a literally imperceptible build into a resolute, similarly subtle yet powerful forward drive, a march arising from a single casual stroll. Leach continued with an unrelenting power and a sleekly turbulent, impeccably modulated conclusion.

Taken out of context, the Cantabile from Franck’s Trois Pièces pour Grand Orgue was an airy and persistently uneasy change of pace. Where Leach had pursued the preceding piece relentlessly, he pulled back on the reins and let the wistfully wafting, often bittersweet passages in this one speak for themselves.

He closed by launching with a bang into a stampeding take of Dupré’s Prelude & Fugue in B Major, from his Trois Préludes et Fugues, Op. 7. Rapidfire lefthand/righthand fugal moments quickly gave way to concise, brightly translucent chordal riffage, Just as he had done with the Bach, Leach found the piece’s internal swing and rode that with a sine-wave consistency and clarity, at least where the composer’s rhythm was steady. When it wasn’t, he parsed the dynamics for a mutedly cheery chorale before elevating to a clenched-teeth, stabbing intensity.

The next organ concert at St. Patrick’s is April 30 at 3:15 PM, with Clayton Roberts in the console playing works by Bach, Dupre, and David N. Johnson. Admission is free. The sonic sweet spot is in the center pews about three quarters of the way toward the back of the church, where you can watch on one of several video screens.



The Catalyst Quartet Release Another Batch of Delicious Rediscoveries

The Catalyst Quartet are in the midst of a herculean project, resurrecting the work of undeservedly obscure Black American composers. At this point in history, it looks like we’ve finally reached the moment where the racist divide-and-conquer originally conceived to justify the slave trade has been pushed back under the rock from which it crawled. So the time has never been more ripe for rediscoveries like these. While the sinister forces who astroturfed CRT and BLM may be doing their best to weaponize the legacy of artists like Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, William Grant Still and George Walker for a different kind of divide-and-conquer, we mustn’t conflate those schemes with the artists. There are so many breathtaking moments in those composers’ music, and nobody knows that better than violinists Abi Fayette and Karla Donehew Perez, violist Paul Laraia and cellist Karlos Rodriguez.

Their next concert is on April 24 at 7:30 PM as part of the monthly Music Mondays free concert series at Advent Church at 93rd and Broadway on the Upper West Side, where they’re playing works by Florence Price as well as new arrangements of old spirituals, and a new setting of Langston Hughes’s poem, Kids Who Die. It’s a neighborhood institution: get there at least fifteen minutes before showtime if you want a seat.

The quartet’s latest record in their ongoing Uncovered series is the third volume – streaming at Spotify – which opens with Perkinson’s succinct three-movement String Quartet No. 1, “Calvary.” He was an interesting guy: a jazz pianist and one of the first Black American symphony orchestra conductors, who also did some memorable arranging for Marvin Gaye in the late 60s. The quartet launch into the allegro first movement with a steely focus, weaving a counterpoint around a terse oldtime gospel-flavored riff. Diffusely reflective figures, in the same vein as the Debussy string quartet, give way and then mingle with a bouncy forward drive fueled by Rodriguez. Perkinson’s subtle rhythmic shifts, up to an almost aching crescendo from the violins, are a treat.

The gospel allusions grow more distant in the adagio second movement, spiced with delicate pizzicato accents, fleeting pauses and a persistent, wistful reflection drifting on the wings of simple echo phrases. The allegro vivace conclusion is exactly that, with a muted, lilting joy that finally swoops down out of the clouds in a jubilant glissando from Fayette. It’s a translucent, fun piece that should be heard more frequently.

Next up is another terse triptych, William Grant Still’s Lyric Quartet. The use of simple, catchy blues-infused phrases and variations is similar to the album’s first piece, the group picking up with a Dvorakian blend of Americana and Eastern European chromatics in the first movement, an otherwise rather wistful portrait of a plantation – one would assume without slaves!

Movement two, a Peruvian mountainscape, is summery and even more minimalistically crafted. The third movement, presumably a portrait of an American pioneer encampment, captures an optimistic bustle as well as some deliciously fleeting chromatics.

The concluding and most challenging piece is the best-known one here, George Walker’s String Quartet No. 1. There’s a vivid, achingly Bartokian quality in the precise chromatics and sudden swells of the first movement. The molto adagio second – often played as a standalone Lyric For Strings – echoes Samuel Barber and gets a rewardingly meticulous, insightfully dynamic interpretation from the ensemble. Stormy striding motives juxtapose against moments of wary reflection in the concluding movement. Like the first two volumes in the Catalyst Quartet’s series, this has as much historical value as it does as sheer sophisticated entertainment.

Organist Kenneth Corneille Plays Fascinating Baroque Rarities and a 20th Century Showstopper

Earlier today organist Kenneth Corneille played an individualistic program of baroque rarities and a 20th century gem on the magnificently versatile organ at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. First on the bill was Bach’s Fantasia & Fugue in A Minor, BWV 561, which he delivered very uptempo with unusually bright registrations, lightning-fast righthand clusters and practically a sprint in places. It was impressive to hear him play it at this velocity and build a cyclotron of cascades. Adrenalizing, to say the least, and the small crowd who’d come out for the recital loved it. What might have been lost in the stampede is open to interpretation.

Next on the bill were five transcriptions of songs by eighteenth century composer and Notre Dame organist Médéric Corneille (a relation, maybe?). A beefy, striding folk ballad, Brillantes fleurs (Shining Flowers) was next. Dure loi du péché (unpoetic translation: The Penalty For Sin Is Harsh) came across as a steady hymn with flourishes as Sweelinck might have given it, bolstered by extra power on the low end. Number three, titled Grand Dieu (Great God) was a processional with the occasional trilling ornament.

The younger Corneille played Si vous avez beaucoup (If you have a lot) over a stern, catchy pedal figure: it was the most Bach-inflected of the songs. He then switched to more subdued colors for Une éternelle inquiétude (Eternal worry), the most sophisticated of the bunch. subtly building to a flicker of a fugue. And then it was over.

Corneille closed with legendary improviser McNeil Robinson’s 1980 composition, Dismas Variations, opening it like a bulkier, less overtly macabre take on what Jehan Alain did with his Trois Danses. A fiery, portentous rise decayed to airy textures that grew more Messiaenic, Corneille establishing a calm, conversational ambience before another attack-and-lull.

His lickety-split, occasionally dissonant exchanges descended once again into hazy resonance. The conclusion was classic, counteriutuitive Robinson, chuffing rhythmic bursts intermingled within an increasingly enveloping, all-stops-out atmosphere that gave way unexpectedly into tremoloing phantasmagoria and ended completely unresolved.

The next organ concert at St. Patrick’s is on April 23 at 3:15 PM with British organist Simon Leach playing works by his wife Helen Leach as well as Bach, Franck and Dupre. Admission is free: these performances start precisely on time and usually don’t go far beyond the half-hour mark.

Brilliant, Distinctively Dark Discoveries and a Stravinsky Favorite with the MSM Symphony Orchestra

Last night at Manhattan School of Music, guest conductor Leonard Slatkin returned to lead the MSM Symphony Orchestra through a program with pervasive if sometimes allusively dark and phantasmagorical overtones: without a doubt, music that resounds in the here and now.

They opened with Cindy McTee‘s Timepiece for Percussion, and String Orchestra. The orchestra quickly danced their way into its proto-Bernard Herrmann motives, alternately playful and menacing, interspersed with moments of sleekness. Quickly, the orchestra rose toward a furtive rhythm, to a tensely pulsing clave with portenous answers between inquiring brass and cynical strings, and flourishes that echoed the evening’s centerpiece, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. It was a delightfully cinematic, apt curtain-raiser.

Frank Martin’s Concerto for 7 Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion, and String Orchestra made a good segue. Similarly, Slatkin led the orchestra briskly into a balletesque, allusively chromatic swing with a vivid, broodingly inquiring Nicholas Fitch bassoon solo at the center of the allegro opening movement. From there, Hajin Kil’s searching oboe led them down from a moment of suspicious pageantry to more austere territory.

The second movement began as somber ballet, eerie close harmonies in a balletesque tiptoeing rhythm before the brass kicked in, cynically. Strings and brass developed a quasi-flamenco-tinged forward drive, down to a suspensefully tiptoeing Scheherzada lull punctuated by an even more wary Cameron Pollard horn solo.

The third movement gave way to insistent, tense riffing around the central flamenco theme, the horns answering from around the hall with an equal tension. Timpanist Zachary Masri’s coolly striding solo launched a steady, ineluctably marching crescendo spiced with high woodwind flourishes, toward a coda that offered an unexpected triumph. Kudos to the MSM faculty for resurrecting this.

Their take on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring turned out to be more of a controlled demolition than feral folk explosion after a long Russian winter. The initial calls were muted and enigmatic within an ambience that was absolutely pillowy. Likewise, Slatkin kept the orchestra on a tight leash, with meticulously puffing accents in contrast to spritely wind cadenzas. Was he setting the bar on the quiet side for the sake of enhancing future pyrotechnics? Uh, maybe.

The group took an unexpectedly dusty and then light-fingered, swinging rise to a cyclotron swirl, with more blue-flame simmer than fullscale conflagration on all sides. A teasing lull with precisely choreographed flutes drew a heavy duty truck crush from the percusssion and low brass. Yet the call-and-response after that gave way to a strikingly smooth swing – making the gnashing monsterwalk and danse macabre afterward all the more effective for its relative calm.

Slatkin led with a woundedly plush pulse from there to a mere whisper before the spirits began flitting up into the picture on the wings of the flutes again. The iconic unleashed-maidens theme seemed more stage-managed, less pagan than other orchestras have played it in the last few years, maybe due to the demands of training. Or maybe Slatkin had something new to tell us about this piece, from the misterioso slink on the way through a stabbing, stiletto coda.

There are plenty of upcoming public performances at Manhattan School of Music this month. One intriguing program features their choral ensemble singing works by women composers including Meredith Monk, Melissa Dunphy, Ysaÿe Barnwell, and Tammy Huynh on April 19 at 8 PM at the Ades Performance Space at 130 Claremont Ave. The concert is free; take the 1 to 125th St. and walk back uphill.

Colorful, Relentlessly Entertaining, Linguistically-Inspired New Compositions by Eric Nathan

One of the most deviously entertaining recent projects in new classical music is Eric Nathan‘s epic double album Missing Words, streaming at New Focus Recordings. The composer takes inspiration for this colorful collection of vignettes and longer pieces from Ben Schott‘s Schottenfreude, a philosophical satire of the German propensity for interminable compound nouns. In turn, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, American Brass Quintet, cellist Parry Karp and pianist Christopher Karp, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Neave Trio and finally, Hub New Music have as much fun playing this stuff as the composer obviously did writing it.

It’s a series of tableaux and character studies which range from the vividly cinematic to occasionally cartoonish. Sirens are a recurrent trope, as are pregnant pauses and trick endings. Some of the more otherworldly harmonies look back to Messiaen; the more circular passages echo Philip Glass. The series of miniatures at the end are more acerbic and somewhat less comedic – other than the obvious but irresistibly mangled Beethoven quotes.

The opening number, Eisenbahnscheinbewegung (Railway-Illusion-Motion) makes colorful use of dopplers and train-whistle sonics. Herbstlaubtrittvergnügen (Autumn-Foliage-Strike-Fun) has jaunty trombone flourishes echoed by violins. There’s balletesque bustle and a surprise ending in Fingerspitzentanz (Fingertips-Dance) and mini-fanfares grounded by diesel-engine low brass in Missing Words – what’s missing is the operative question.

Nathan spaciously and rather cautiously approaches the strangely intimate acrylic smell of a new car interior, i.e. Kraftfahrzeugsinnenausstattungsneugeruchsgenuss. Rollschleppe (Escalator-Schlep) is as persistently troubled as you would expect from a portrait of somebody who can’t take the stairs – and yet, the piece has a persistent determination. Life in the slow lane really is where all the action is!

Mundphantom (Mouth-Phantom) is a Scooby Doo conversation. Speaking of ghosts, the Straußmanöver (Ostrich-Maneuver) is performed by a seriously phantasmic bird. Schubladenbrief ((Desk-Drawer-Letter) seems to depict a letter stubbornly resisting an opener, but when the envelope finally get slit, its contents suggest its sender is recounting a wild ride.

Dreiecksumgleichung (Triangle-Reorganization) is built around a flashy violin solo and concludes with a lively flute-driven jig. By contrast, the wry, bracing dawn interlude Tageslichtspielschock (Daylight-Show-Shock) will resonate with any musician dreading a gig at an early hour.

Arguably the funniest piece here, Ludwigssyndrom (Ludwig’s-Syndrome) is a tongue-in-cheek, brief piano concerto with rapidfire, ostentatious cascades and a ridiculously good riff joke that’s too good to give away. The steady upward stride of the piano in Watzmannwahn (Watzmann-Delusion) is also pretty priceless.

The only one of the ensembles on the record who have a New York concert coming up are the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, who are Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall on April 15 at 8 PM, playing works by Andrew Norman, Lei Lang and Lisa Bielawa, the latter with the composer on vocals. The venue says you can get in for $21.

Two New York Shows and a Gorgeous, Brilliant Recording of Rare Florence Price Compositions From the Catalyst Quartet

One of the most repulsive divide-and-conquer strategies in the DEI agenda is the implication that those who would advocate for undeservedly forgotten black composers are necessarily complicit in spreading WEF and UN2030 propaganda. Certainly neither this blog nor the Catalyst Quartet want you eating bugs, spending your life pilled up on antidepressants with 3D goggles welded to your skull while Bill Gates’ microchip monitors your social credit score. We just like obscure composers!

In 2021, the Catalyst Quartet – violinists Abi Fayette and Karla Donehew Perez, violist Paul Laraia and cellist Karlos Rodriguez – released a riveting collection of little-known works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, the black British composer who’s recently enjoyed a well-deserved resurgence and whose output compares favorably with Dvorak. More recently, the group have put out an equally fascinating and historically important album of string quartets by 20th century black American composer Florence Price, streaming at Spotify. They’re playing some of that material on April 7-8, starting at 6 PM at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with three sets in the galleries throughout the museum. In order to catch them, you’ll have to follow the sound.

Then on April 24 at 7:30 PM they’re at Advent Church at 93rd and Broadway on the Upper West Side as part of the monthly Music Mondays free concert series, playing works by Price as well as new arrangements of old spirituals, and a new setting of Langston Hughes’s poem, Kids Who Die. How grimly appropriate for 2023!

Three of the Price quartets on the album are world premiere recordings, as is Price’s Quintet in A minor for Piano and Strings, where the ensemble are joined by pianist Michelle Cann. The five musicians open the record by bursting into the quintet, a dynamic web of blues phrasing mingled within a glittering High Romantic architecture. The quartet’s decision to opt for a stark, emotive interpretation in lieu of pervasive lushness pays mighty dividends, especially where Price’s endings and foreshadowing thereof is concerned: she is unsurpassed at those!

Increasingly triumphant violin motives take centerstage in the first movement; Price’s deft use of implied melody, particularly in the piano parts, will have you humming things that aren’t there. Shivery swells behind terse, often hushed piano cascades create a vivid nocturnal mood in the andante second movement. Movement three comes across as a more regally romping comparison to Gershwin, with a little boogie-woogie and Dvorak thrown into the mix. Emphatic triplets fuel the concluding march to a deliciously unexpected, chromatic peak: this piece alone makes the album worth owning.

Up next are Price’s Five Folksongs in Counterpoint for String Quartet. She reinvents Go Down Moses in broodingly cuisinarted, understatedly slashing fashion. Then the quartet make their way from a stark initial theme to the intricate interweave in Somebody’s Knocking at Your Door. Little David, Play on Your Harp is the most lightheartedly bouncy theme here, followed by a brief, Grieg-ish dance through Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho.

The initial, moody moderato movement of Price’s String Quartet in A minor follows a precise, steady web of voices and shows how much melodic impact she could make even while completely eschewing blues phrasing, until well beyond the midpoint where she introduces some subtle echo phrasing. She maintains a stern/hazy contrast in the second movement: the Debussy quartet comes to mind in places.

The group agilely follow the shifts from ragtime cheer to fleeting moments of reflection in Movement three, aptly marked “Juba.” The concluding movement circles along on a fast triplet groove with both subtle Balkan and Indian echoes. Like the other quartets here, this is a major work and deserves a place in standard repertoire.

From here the string quartet move to Price’s Five Folksongs suite. Calvary gets uneasy, airy harmonies before a steady, stern forward drive with an aurora of lightning-fast harmonics overhead, while Price’s variations on Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes stray far from the original theme (her take on My Darling Clementine is a swing-and-miss). The two most straight-up, familiar themes here are Shortnin’ Bread and Swing Low Sweet Chariot, although the latter has plenty of unexpected moments.

Price left her String Quartet in G Major unfinished. The first movement begins with tantalizing hints of blues-infused resolution, along with a seemingly tongue-in-cheek minuet and glistening, increasingly angst-fueled triplet figures. The second has a stately, spiritual atmosphere until descending to a creepy, mutedly marionettish theme and then a welcome return: masterpiece, interrupted.

The full ensemble wind up the album with the Quintet for Piano and Strings in E minor, following another of Price’s series of insistent triplet figures up to a quick piano coda. A starry Romantic waltz and then a lively, tropically-tinged dance follow in turn. This is a must-listen for anyone who loves brilliant rediscoveries.

Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn For April 2023

All these concerts are free of restrictions on entry. Weekly events first followed by the daily calendar. If a venue is unfamiliar, look for it on the old guide to NYC music venues here, which is more of a worksheet now, but it has links to most of the places on this calendar.

Tuesdays in April, inspired, latin-influenced postbop trombonist Conrad Herwig and his septet at the Django, $25.

Thursdays in April, 5 PM poignantly lyrical, eclectic pianist Marta Sanchez at Bar Bayeux.

Three Fridays in April, 8 PM hauntingly cinematic Lynchian/southwestern gothic instrumentalists Suss at Culture Lab

Sundays at around 8 PM trumpeter Jon Kellso and (frequently) guitarist Matt Munisteri lead the Ear-Regulars in NYC’s only remaining weekly hot jazz jam session at the Ear Inn

Sundays in April at 8 PM  cheery, kinetic 20s hot jazz crew Baby Soda Band at St. Mazie’s

4/1, 6 PM soulful reedman Paquito D’Rivera  teams up with pianist Alex Brown at Bethany Baptist Church, 275 W Market St, Newark, free

4/1, 6 PM Colin Carr, cello and Kyungwha Chu, piano play Schubert Arpeggione Sonata in A minor, D.821 and Rachmaninov Sonata in G minor, Op.19 at Bargemusic, $35

4/1, 7 PM dark psychedelic acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine at Terra Blues. They’re back on 4/29

4/1, 7:30 PM tuneful oldschool soul/jazz trombonist Dave Gibson leads his quartet followed at 10:30 by purist postbop saxophonist TK Blue  at the Django, $25. Gibson is also at Smalls on 4/13 at 10:30

4/1, 8 PM surf night at Otto’s with the hard-charging, eclectic  Underwater Bosses, followed at around 9:30 by the more trad Tsunami of Sound and then the space-theme inclined Blue Wave Theory

4/1, 9 PM outrageously entertaining colorful, Bowie-esque female-fronted glamrockers the Manimals at Gold Sounds, $14

4/1,  10:30 PM wildly erudite tenor saxophonist Eric Wyatt and band at Smalls for a set and then the jam session, $25

4/2, 3 PM the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, classical chorale the Downtown Voices, and NOVUS NY, play works inspired by the seven last words of Christ on the cross, by Jane Hawes, Michael John Trotta, Richard Burchard, Gounod, Haydn and Joel Thompson at Trinity Church, free

4/2, 3 PM fiery Spanish sounds with Cuadro Flamenco at the Triad Theatre, 158 W 72nd St (Bwy/Amsterdam), $25

4/2, 6 PM a free reunion show by early 80s LA punk band Channel 3 (original members) at Berlin. They didn’t record a lot but they were more tuneful than most of their contemporaries.

4/2, 7 PM iconic, hilariously charismatic Americana songstress Amy Allison at Pangea, $25

4/2, 7 PM fantastic story-songwriter Lara Ewen, the enigmatically tuneful Shira Goldberg and Nashville honkytonk/southern rock songstress Mercy Bell share the stage at the downstairs room at the Rockwood, $10

4/2, 7:30 PM haunting classical Iraqi crooner Hamid Al-Saadi with iconic trumpeter/santoorist Amir Elsaffar’s Two Rivers Ensemble at Drom, $20 adv tix recd

4/3, 6:30 PM drummer Leonid Galganov, trumpeters Kenny Warren and Aquiles Navarro and tenor saxophonist David Crowell at Downtown Music Gallery

4/3, 10:30 PM smartly impressionistic postbop pianist Miki Yamanaka leads a trio at Smalls, $25. She’s back on  4/10

4/4, 7:30 bassist Giacomo Merega, guitarist Andrew Smiley and drummer Raf Vertessen improvise at Downtown Music Gallery

4/4, 7:30 PM the Balourdet Quartet play works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Hugo Wolf and others at Merkin Concert Hall, $30

4/4, 8 PM psychedelic Silver Arrow  funk-jazz crew the Silver Arrow Band at Drom, free. They’re back o 4/18

4/4. 8 PM a dadaesque collaboration between the Bang on a Can All-Stars’ guitarist Mark Stewart and thereminist Rob Schwimmer‘s Polygraph Lounge project at Roulette, $25 adv tix rec

4/4, 9 PM singer Veronica Davila’s twangy, Bakersfield-flavored hard honkytonk band Low Roller at Skinny Dennis

4/5, 1 PM purist oldschool jazz guitarist Bill Wurtzel with bassist Jay Leonhart at the American Folk Art Museum. He’s back on 4/19

4/5, 8 PM anthemic speedmetal band Cold Dice, then a mystery band who call themselves Peace Sign (GREAT branding, dudes) and then stoner boogie road warriors the Golden Grass at Our Wicked Lady, $14

4/5, 8 PM International Contemporary Ensemble play new chamber works by Mazz Swift and Murat Çolak at Roulette, $25 adv tix rec

4/5, 10 PM nigmatically tuneful, psychedelically abstract rock band Gold Dime at TV Eye, $10

4/6, 7:30 PM  adrenalizing postbop vibraphonist Mark Sherman leads a quartet at Smalls, $25

4/6, 8 PM a Randy Weston tribute with his ex-bandmates, bassist Alex Blake, pianist Danny Mixon, and gnawa musicians Ma’alem Hassan Ben Jaafer on sintir and his Innov Gnawa bandmates Amino Belyamani and Naoufal Atiq at the Dreck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library, free

4/6, 8 PM haunting, cinematic Mediterranean art-rock/postrock themes with Xylouris White  at the Poisson Rouge, $20 adv tix rec

4/6, 8 PM ethereal, raptly haunting singer Sara Serpa and her Encounters and Collisions chamber jazz quartet at Seeds

4/6, 8 PM jazz violinist Sara Caswell with similarly lyrical pianist Julian Shore at the Owl

4/6. 8 PM wild noise/rock trio Loren Connors & the Electric Nature at P.I.T., 411 S 5th Street, Williamsburg, J/M to Marcy

4/6, 8:30 PM catchy all-female luddite punks Tracy City at Otto’s

4/6, 8:30 PM Glass Clouds Ensemble – Raina Arnett (violin), Lauren Conroy (violin), and Marisa Karchin (soprano) – perform works by Telemann, Vaughan Williams, Melissa Dunphy, Forrest Eimold, and Christian Quiñones exploring themes of nature and the meaning of home, at the Tenri Institute, $10 sug don

4/7-8, 7:30 PM perennially tuneful piano improviser Jean-Michel Pilc leads a trio at Smalls, $25

4/7, 9 PM  colorful, lyrical pianist Danny Fox leads his trio  playing the album release show for their new one at the Owl

4/6, 10:30 PM psych-funk/disco group People of Earth a at the Django, $25

4/7, noon, innovative harpsichordist Bálint Karosi, orchestra and choir play his reimagined version of Bach’s unfinished St. Mark Passion at St. Peter’s Church, 53rd/Lex, $30

4/7-8, 6 PM the Catalyst Quartet play works by Germaine Tailleferre and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel in galleries TBA at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, free w/museum adm, follow the sound

4/7, 7:30 PM sizzling postbop saxophonist Mike DiRubbo with his quartet followed at 10:30 PM by  lyrical, thoughtful tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander with his quartet at the Django, $25

4/7-8, 7:30 PM colorful jazz organist Larry Goldings leads a trio at Mezzrow, $25

4/7, 8ish  blazing all-female street band the Brass Queens and psychedelic Afrobeat band Emefe at the Sultan Room, $20

4/7, 8 PM haunting folk noir/Americana songwriter Emily Frembgen at the small room at the Rockwood

4/7, 8 PM a great improvisational evening: Ken Filiano on bass with Santiago Liebson on piano followed by Horse’s Mouth with Ricardo Gallo on piano, Ben Goldberg on clarinet, Sam Kulik on trombone and Ricardo Ricabarren on drums at Soup & Sound

4/7, 10 PM the jangly Big Star-influenced Hasbros at Otto’s

4/7, 10:30 snarling highway boogie/heavy psych band One Way Out at Lucky 13 Saloon, $13

4/8, 4:30 PM neofolk violinist Kite joined by her aunt, superstar klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals at Cara, 225 West 13th St. free

4/8, 7:30 PM multistylistic bassist Max Johnson with his trio at the Django, $25

4/8, 7:30 PM incisive, mesmerizing ragas with Apratim Majumdar on sarod with Amit Chatterjee on tabla at the Chhandayan Center for Indian Music  $25

4/8, 8 PM an intriguing improvisational lineup: Jeong Lim Yang – bass / Christopher Hoffman – cello / Billy Mintz – drums  at Downtown Music Gallery

4/8, 10:30 PM prolific postbop composer and tenor saxophonist Ken Fowser leads a quintet  at Smalls, $25

4/9, 7:30 PM a rare NY return show by brilliantly lyrical early zeros cult favorite Americana songstress Florence Dore at City Winery, $25

4/9, 7:30 PM charmingly retro Americana jazz chanteuse Sasha Dobson with her quartet at Smalls, $25. 4/24, 10 PM they’re at the Ear Inn for the tip jar

4/9, 8:30 PM  intense, cinematic, politically fearless jazz flutist Elsa Nilsson and her Band of Pulses at the Owl

4/10, 7 PM intense, charismatic oldschool soul belter Sami Stevens  at the small room at the Rockwood

4/10. 8 PM noir-inspired honkytonk crooner Sean Kershaw at Cowgirl Seahorse

4/10. 8 PM Amy Irving – the Crossing Delancey star, who as it turns out is an inspired and competent jazz singer – plays the album release show for her new one at City Winery, $25

4/10, 8 PM cellist  Amanda Gookin’s multimedia Forward Music Project featuring works for solo cello by composers Pamela Z, Jessie Montgomery, Sarah Hennies, Camila Agosto, Seong Ae Kim, at Roulette, $25 adv tix rec

4/10, 9 PM  Melissa Gordon of Melissa & the Mannequins – one of the best purist janglerock songwriters in NYC – at the big room at the Rockwood. free

4/10, 9 PM oldtimey string swing crew the Buck and a Quarter Quartet at Skinny Dennis

4/11, half past noon Polish organist Gedymin Grubba plays a program TBA at Central Synagogue, 54th/Lex, free

4/11, 7ish macabre metal band Castle Rat and 90s/zeros metal legends Firebreather at St. Vitus, $20

4/11, 7:30 PM Timothy Chooi, violin and Michelle Cann, piano play works by Amy Beach, Grieg, Silvestrov, Debussy and others at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, $23

4/11, 8 PM rockabilly veterans Emy & the Epix followed by wickedly jangly surf/twang/country instrumentalists the Bakersfield Breakers at 11th St. Bar

4/11, 8:30 PM trumpeter Brad Henkel, violist Joanna Mattrey and drummer Lesley Mok jam at Downtown Music Gallery

4/12, 8 PM timeless nonagenarian vocal jazz legend Sheila Jordan sings the album release show for her new one with Jacob Sacks, David Ambrosio, Vinnie Sperrazza at Bar Bayeux

4/12, 8 PM trombonist Curtis Hasselbring’s playfully cinematic Curhestra at the small room at the Rockwood

4/12, 9 PM  electrifying vibraphonist Simon Moullier and band at Bar Lunatico

4/12, 10 PM guitar goddess Barbara Endes’ exhilarating psychedelic janglerock band Girls on Grass  at Skinny Dennis

4/13, 7 PM the New York Composers Circle  feat. the Bergamot Quartet (Ledah Finck, violin, Sarah Thomas, violin, Amy Huimei Tan, viola, Irène Han, cello), along with Valerie Gonzalez, soprano, Adam C. J. Klein, tenor, Craig Ketter, piano, Haig Hovsepian, violin and Nara Avetisyan, piano play new works by Eric Heilnert, Carl Kanter, Thomas Parente, Susan J. Fischer. Marina Shmotova and Christopher Kaufman at Church of the Transfiguration, 1 E 29th St, $20

4/13, 7:30 PM Americana soul veteran Joe Henry at City Winery, $28 standing room avail

4/13, 7:30 PM tuneful postbop pianist Jim Ridl leads a trio at Smalls, $25

4/13, 9 PM otherworldly French-Algerian singer Ourida at Bar Lunatico

4/13, 9:30 PM Scottish folk trio the Highland Divas at the Cutting Room, $25 adv tix rec

4/13, 10 PM psychedelic soul-rockers Madam West at Bar Freda, $10

4/13. 3 PM Mayuki Fukuhara and Kae Nakano, violins; Liuh-Wen Ting, viola; Benjamin Larsen, cello play works by Beethoven and Grieg at Concerts on the Slope, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 139 St. John’s Place downhill from 7th Ave, $25

4/14, 7:30 PM jazz organist Mike LeDonne with his quartet at the Django, $25

4/14, 8 PM ska night at Otto’s: Mephiskapheles spinoff Barbicide, the edgy, female-fronted Penniless Loafers and  trombone legend Buford O’Sullivan and the Roosters

4/14, 9:30 PM Americana songstress Karen Hudson and and her band play Linda Ronstadt’s 1978 album Living In the USA all the way through at the Triad Theatre, 158 W 72nd St (Bwy/Amsterdam), $15

4/14, 10 PM ambient avant-garde singer/harpist Kitba at the Owl

4/15 the reconfigured Sadies at Union Pool are sold out

4/15, 11 AM (in the morning) a family show by clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party at the Lincoln Center Atrium. There’s another show at 7:30 PM with fearlessly multistylistic pipa virtuoso Min Xiao-Fen‘s White Lotus featuring guitarist Rez Abbasi

4/15, 6 PM catchy, anthemic, female-fronted janglerock band the Belle Curves at the small room at the Rockwood

4/15, 7 PM lavish Indonesian bell orchestra Gamelan Dharma Swara at Ridgewood Presbyterian Church, 59-14 70th Ave (Forest/60th), J to Seneca Ave, $25 adv tix rec

4/15, 7:30 PM  the New York Virtuoso Singers perform Bach cantatas at Merkin Concert Hall, $30/$10 stud. They’re back with a similar Bach program on 4/29.

4/15, 8 PM elegantly ferocious Iranian tar lute star Sahba Motallebi at Roulette, $30 adv tix rec

4/15, 8 PM the Boston Modern Orchestra Project play works by Andrew Norman, Lei Lang and Lisa Bielawa at Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hal., $21 tix avail

4/15, 8 PM the NY Scandia Symphony play dynamic Nordic works by Hugo Alfven, Friedrich Kuhlau, Carl Nielsen, Jean Sibelius at Alice Tully Hall, $25 tix avail

4/15, 9 PM Afrobeat all-star crew Armo – feat. members of Antibalas – at Bar Lunatico

4/16, 3:15 PM Ken Corneille plays his own colorful works on the organ at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

4/16, 4 PM gutter blues/punkabilly band James Godwin and the Ultrasounds at Mama Tried

4/16, 5 PM pyrotechnic clarinetist Ismail Lumanovski’s ferociously kinetic NY Gypsy All-Stars with Ara Dinkjian on oud at Our Saviour’s Atonement, $25

4/16, 7 PM flutist Tessa Brinckman, violinist/violist Allyson Clare, trombonist Taylor Peterson and pianist Brian Mark perform works by Meredith Monk, Brian Mark, Brinckman, Messiaen, Ted Hearne, and Randall Woolf on themes of embattled individualism, accompanied by digital audio and video at Theatre 71, 152 West 71st St, $17.50

4/16, 7ish purist oldschool tenor sax player Craig Handy leads his New Orleans-flavored band at the Django, $25

4/16, 8 PM violinist Terry Jenoure leads a fantastic chamber jazz quintet playing compositions inspired by her grandfather’s harrowing experience being detained at the Canadian border in the 1930s at Roulette, $25 adv tix rec

4/17, 1 PM erudite jazz drummer Winard Harper & Jeli Posse  at St. Paul’s Chapel downtown

4/17, 7:30 PM the Merz Trio play works by George Lewis, A. Mahler, Berg, Bingen, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Brahms, and Ravel at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, $25

4/18, 1 PM Aletheia Teague plays the organ at St. Paul’s Chapel downtown

4/19, 7 PM at Willow Place Auditorium. 26 Willow Place, Brooklyn Heights. repeating 4/21 at 7 PM at Bohemian National Hall. 321 E 73rd St off First Ave, the  S.E.M. Ensemble play works by Petr Kotik, Petr Bakla, Christian Wolff, improvisations by Roscoe Mitchell, Thomas Buckner and guests, Jana Vörösová, Pavel Zemek Novák, Rudolf Komorous and Pauline Oliveros, free

4/19, 8 PM imaginatively techy female-fronted acts: Nebula the Velvet Queen on theremin followed by the dissociatively drifting Sick Din, the Bjork-esque Linda Gardens and new wave/powerpopstress Kira Metcalf at Bar Freda, $10

4/19, 8 PM shapeshifting art-rock/no wave band Heroes of Toolik at the Zurcher Gallery, $20

4/19, 9 PM excellent new Brooklyn Middle Eastern band Baklava Express at Radegast Hall

4/19, 9 PM clever, purist B3 jazz organist Akiko Tsuruga at Cellar Dog

4/19, 9:30 PM  slinky psychedelic reggae-tinged jamband Ace Bandage at Hart Bar

4/20, 1 PM the NOVUS NY String Quartet, featuring Melissa Attebury, mezzo-soprano play works by Rebecca Clarke, Lili Boulanger, Schubert. Juhi Bansal. Samuel Barber and Respighi at St. Paul’s Chapel downtown

4/20, 7 PM ish epic NWOBHM twinbill: Shadowland and Tanith playing the album release for their new one at St. Vitus, $20

4/20, 8 PM a fiery Ukrainian female-fronted folk-punk twinbill: Balaklava Blues and Dakh Daughters at the Poisson Rouge. $30 adv tix rec

4/20, 7 PM  rustic Piedmont-style blues guitar duo Gordon Lockwood at Terra Blues, $20

4/20, 7:30 PM the mighty, stunningly eclectic, Middle Eastern-tinged Eyal Vilner Big Band at the Lincoln Center Atrium.

4/20, 7:30 PM Drew Petersen, piano, plays works by Chopin, Schumann, Ravel, and more at the 92nd St. Y, $30

4/20, 8 PM pianist Beatrice Rana plays works by Bach and Debussy plus Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata at Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, $30 tix avail

4/20, 8:30 PM violinist Ludovica Burtone  Ben Rosenblum (USA) on accordion, and bassist Eduardo Belo at the Owl

4/20, 9 PM  noir guitar legend Jim Campilongo leads his trio at Bar Lunatico

4/20, 9:30 PM Hannah vs. the Many’s fierce, lyrically brilliant frontwoman Hannah Fairchild & Megan Sperger work up material from their upcoming rock musical Stars In My Eyes / Food On the Table at Greenroom 42, inside the hotel at 570 Tenth Ave south of 42nd St.,, expensive,$36 but worth it

4/21, 7 PM Czech chamber ensemble Ostravska Banda play works by Roscoe Mitchell, Petr Kotik, Pauline Oliveros, Christian Wolff, Jana Vörösová and others at Bohemian National Hall, 321 E 73rd St,, free

4/21, 7 PM the Low Frequency Trio play new pieces by Latin American female composers at the Americas Society. 680 Park Ave, free

4/21, 7:30 PM an interesting duo: Geoffrey Keezer on piano and bassist John Patittuci at Mezzrow, $25

4/21-22, 7:30 PM  indie classical chamber orchestra Wild Up play surreal Julius Eastman works at the 92nd St. Y, $25

4/21, 7:30 PM smart, thoughtful vibraphonist Sasha Berliner leads a trio followed at 10:30 by eliably powerful tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard at Smalls, $25

4/21, 7:30 PM timbalero Tito Rodríguez, Jr.’s salsa band at the Lincoln Center Atrium.

4/21-22, 7 PM cellist Matt Haimovitz plays solo works by Bach, David T. Little, Annabelle Chvostek, Tyshawn Sorey, Niloufar Nourbahksh, Roberto Sierra and others at Bargemusic, $35

4/22, 2 PM bassist Santi Debriano leads a quintet with vocalist Nina Shankar at Faber Park Recreation Center, 2175 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island

4/22, 4 PM bass goddess/soul singer Felice Rosser’s ageless reggae-rock-groove band Faith at the community Garden, 311 East 8th St between Ave B and C

4/22, 4 PM Quintet of the Americas play an ecologically-themed concert of works by Shanyse Strickland, Samuel Barber, Christopher Kaufman, Alexandra Molnar-Suhaida, Frank Ticheli and Julio Medaglia at Gallery 9B9, 9 Avenue B, free, res req

4/22, 7 PM New Andalusia play flamenco and arabic themes at the Bronx Music Heritage Center, 1303 Louis Nine Blvd,, $10, 2/5 to Freeman St

4/22, 7 PM the environmentally conscious Jhoely Garay Jazz Orchestra at Culture Lab, free

4/22 10 PM  the fiery, string-driven Sedi Donka Balkan Band at St. Mazie’s

4/23, 3:15 PM organist Simon Leach at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

4/23, 7 PM nuanced jazz and chamber pop singer Kari van der Kloot at the small room at the Rockwood

4/23, 9:30 PM lyrical pianist Bennett Paster‘s Understated Trio at the Django, $25

4/23, 10ish the 3rd Street Band – fronted by Billy Miller, son of iconic freedom fighter Mark Crispin Miller – at Hart Bar. So new they don’t have a website yet but word on the street is that they’re kind of retro and lyrically brilliant.

4/24, 7:30 PM the Catalyst Quartet play African American spirituals, Florence Price’s Piano Quintet in E Minor (with Aaron Wunsch) and a new setting of Langston Hughes’s poem, Kids Who Die, for soprano, piano, and string quartet – how appropriate for 2023! at Music Mondays, Advent Church, northwest corner of 93rd and Broadway, free

4/24, 8 PM Dervisi feat. psychedelic guitarist George Sempepos play an acoustic set of haunting 1930s Greek underground anthems and hash-smoking tunes at Troost

4/24, 8 PM avant garde singer Dafna Naphtali airs out her voice with a jazz duo and octet at Roulette, $25 adv tix rec

4/25, 1 PM Thomas Mellan plays the organ at St. Paul’s Chapel downtown

4/25, 7:30 PM acerbic, versatile tenor saxophonist Julieta Eugenio leads a trio at Smalls, $25

4/25, 7:30 PM glimmering, noir-inspired vibraphonist Tom Beckham leads a trio with Henry Hey on piano and Matt Clohesy on bass at Mezzrow, $25

4/25, 8 PM pianist Florian Noack plays his transcriptions of the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherezade, works by Liszt and more at Merkin Concert Hall, $35

4/25, 8 PM pianist Alison Deane plays her son  Adam O’Farrill’s new suite followed by the O’Farrill Family Band at Roulette, $25 adv tix rec

4/25, 9 PM vicious noiserock jamband the the Skull Practitioners– led by Steve Wynn sparring partner/genius guitarist Jason Victor – at Union Pool, $10

4/25, 9ish perennially haunting, atmospheric folk noir/art-rock chanteuse Marissa Nadler at Public Records, $26

4/26, 1 PM Alcee Chriss, organ; Sandra Miller, flute; Sarah Stone, cello play an all-Bach program at St. Paul’s Chapel downtown

4/26, 7:30 PM Lun Li, violin & Janice Carissa, piano play works by Poulenc, Sciarrino, Messiaen, Bartok and others at Merkin Concert Hall, $24

4/26, 7:30 PM noir-inspired alto saxophonist/composer Nick Hempton with his quartet at Smalls. $25

4/26, 8 PM edgy chromatic vocalists: Palestinian singer Mona Miari and Greek chanteuse Nefeli Fasouli at Drom, $25

4/26, 8 PM energetic ragtime/Romany swing guitarist Felix Slim at St. Mazie’s

4/26, 8 PM saxophonist Caroline Davis leads a killer quartet with Matt Mitchell, Chris Tordini, Allan Mednard at Bar Bayeux

4/27, 1 PM NOVUS NY play chamber works by Messiaen, Biber, Andrew Yee, Elena Kats and Mel Bonis at St. Paul’s Chapel downtown

4/27, 7:30 PM Trio Fadolín (featuring violinist Sabina Torosjan, cellist Valeriya Sholokhova, and cinematic composer Ljova on fadolín), with lustrous klezmer singer Inna Barmash, clarinetists Sam Sadigursky and Zisl Slepovitch; and Ljova’s parents, Soviet-era freedom fighters Alexander Zhurbin and Irena Ginzburg, who bedeviled the authorities back in the 70s and 80s, at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free

4/27. 7:30 PM  brilliant baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian at the Django, $25

4/27, 7:30 PM the Experiental Orchestra play Xenakis’ challenging classical duel piece Linaia-Agon and works by Julius Eastman at the Church of the Advent Hope, 111 E 87th St, $29

4/27, 7:30 PM  conversational pianist Jeffrey Siegel plays works by Chopin and Grieg at Scandinavia House, $25

4/27, 10 PM lo-fi newschool psychedelic band Gringo Star  at TV Eye, $15

4/28, 7 PM piano trio Longleash performs music by James Díaz, Igor Santos, Vicente Hansen Altria, Linda Catlin Smith, and Jimena Maldonado at the Americas Society, 680 Park Ave, free .

4/28, 7 PM Yoko Reikano Kimura on shamisen, Sumie Kaneko on koto and James Nyoraku Schlefer on shakuhachi play classic and new music for Japanese instruments at Bargemusic, $35

4/28, 7:30 PM  fearlessly political jazz poet/vocalist Moor Mother at Merkin Concert Hall, $25

4/28, 8:30 PM Cape Verde morna torch singer Fantcha at Drom, $20 adv tix rec

4/28, 10 PM  edgy lead guitarist Damian Quinones and his psychedelic latin soul band  at Freddy’s

4/28, 10:30 PM  fiery, latin-inspired trombonist Mariel Bildstein at the Django, $25

4/29, 4 PM darkly torchy southwestern gothic/Europolitan songwriter/guitarist Miwa Gemini, with taiko drummer/pianist Midori Larsen and Shoko Morikawa at Freddy’s

4/29, 7:30 PM carnatic singer Sangeetha Swaminathan with Sriram Raman on mridangam, Siddharth Ashokkumar on violin and Kabilan Jaganathan on kanjira at the Chhandayan Center for Indian Music, 4 W 43rd Street #618, $25

4/29, 7:30 PM the Modus Operandi Orchestra play Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture and Symphony No. 7 plus Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 and other works with soprano Laura Leon at St. Mary Church, 1008 49th Ave, Long Island City, $25

4/29, 7:30 PM picturesque jazz pianist Michael Weiss  and his trio at the Django, $25

4/29, 8 PM Changing Modes – NYC’s funnest, most unpredictable, sharply lyrical new wave art-rock band – at Connolly’s

4/30, 3:15 PM organist Clayton Roberts at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

4/30, 4 PM the Argus Quartet and Steven Beck, piano play the NY premieres of Michael Shapiro’s Yiddish Quartet and Piano Quintet at Bargemusic, $35

4/30, 7 PM spine-tingling, darkly mystical art-rock/avant-garde/chamber pop songwriter Carol Lipnik  with Gordon Beeferman on piano at Pangea, $25

4/30, 7:30 PM  purist vocal jazz stylist Melissa Stylianou leads a trio with Ike Sturm on bass and Gene Bertoncini on guitar at Mezzrow, $25

4/30, 9 PM thrash metal band Wizard Rifle and then the sludgy immersive riff-heavy Bongzilla at St. Vitus, $27

5/1, starting at noon, New Yorkers come out to protest the New York City Parks Department crackdown against independent vendors. Protests at Union Square Park & Washington Square Park. Why is the city persecuting vendors? Vendors add individual character to neighborhoods, they don’t work for Jeff Bezos, and they’re a cash business.

5/4, 8 PM Max Lifchitz conducts the North/South Chamber Orchestra playing his own works plus pieces by Brian Banks, Carlos Chavez, Manuel Enriquez, Eduardo Mata & Silvestre Revueltas  at the National Opera Center, 330 7th Ave,. free

5/4, 8 PM eclectic violinist Dana Lyn’s protean, psychedelic Animal Revenge at Greenwich House Music School, $20

5/8, 7:30 PM the Jupiter Quartet and East Coast Chamber Orchestra play works by Schubert, Jessie Montgomery, Adolphus Hailstork at Music Mondays, Advent Church, northwest corner of 93rd and Broadway, free

5/15, 6 PM Ensemble Pi play works inspired by banned books by Lenny Bruce, Art Spiegelman and others, from  composers Richard Brooks, Louis Goldford, Laura Jobin-Acosta, Laura Kaminsky, Tamar Muskal, and Damian Norfleet at the NYPL for the Performing Arts, 111 Amsterdam Ave (64/65), free, res req

5/17, 7:30 PM  the amazing, haunting, otherworldly NY Andalus Ensemble – who play ancient Middle Eastern and North African Jewish sounds from as far back as a thousand years ago  – at La Nacional, 239 W 14th St, $28

A Colorful, Expressive, Minutely Jeweled New Album From Pianist Kariné Poghosyan

Pianist Kariné Poghosyan has received plenty of ink on this page, both for her spectacular technical prowess as well as her sensitivity to content. Her latest album, simply titled Folk Themes and streaming at youtube, is a characteristically eclectic and insightful playlist.

She opens with Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s six-part Valse Suite. It’s almost comical to look back to 2019, a time when the African-British composer’s incredibly forward-looking, individualistic work had been largely consigned to the organ demimonde. Let’s hope future generations associate him with the Romantic tradition – Dvorak is a good comparison – rather than the odious CRT fad which ironically may be the reason behind his well-deserved if unlikely resurrection.

Poghosyan begins with a spacious and playful approach to the opening A minor movement  with her usual stunning, crystalline articulacy and a wide dynamic range. Did a later composer steal the Andante in Ab for the jazz ballad These Foolish Things? From Poghosyan’s blend of wistfulness and sheer force, that seems possible.

There’s Rachmaninovian gravitas and surprise in the third quasi-waltz in G minor, while the fourth in D minor gets a rewardingly pouncing interpretation befitting its occasional Near Eastern allusions and blend of sternness and vivacity. No. 5 in Eb is more reflective and Chopinesque; the final piece, in C minor gets restrained savagery in the chordal chromatics and an even greater, fond restraint in the pensive moments. It’s about time these little gems made their way back into the canon: we’re lucky we have Poghosyan reveling in their detail.

Next on the bill are four Grieg Lyric Pieces. To the Spring follows a matter-of-factly triumphant tangent, while March of the Gnomes reveals how much unabashed fun the creepy little guys can have, at least from Poghosyan’s perspective. She mines The Minuet “Vanished Days” for equal parts drama and cheery reflection, then gives the Wedding Day at Troldhaugen a welcome, fleet-footed, verdant atmosphere: these circumstances are anything but pompous.

Poghosyan has always advocated for composers from her Armenian heritage, and includes a couple of alternately stark and lively, chromatically bristling miniatures from Komitas Vardapet’s Six Dances for Piano. She saves the fireworks for last with four big crowd-pleasers by Liszt. The counterintuitive goofiness and carefree, dancing flourishes in the Hungarian Rhapsody No.12 are a revelation but no big surprise considering Poghosyan’s meticulous, line-by-line interpretive skill.

There’s also a lingering delight in her leaps and bounds through Rhapsody No.6: the descending cascades about four minutes in are sublime. And she finds the inner swing in a brisk, animatedly conversational take of Rhapsody No.7. She closes the record with the Rhapsodie Espagnole, ranging between a wide-eyed soberness and fiery, clustered phrasing. It’s been a fun ride keeping up with Poghosyan and her penchant for inhabiting everything she sinks her fast fingers into.

Mark Pacoe Commands the Power of the Organ at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Among the many reasons for guarded optimism that this city is slowly healing from the traumas inflicted over the past three years is the sudden resurgence of concert traditions that were put on ice in March of 2020. One that was badly missed was the semi-regular series of organ and choral concerts in the magnificent, reverb-heavy sonics at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Mark Pacoe, who was one of the few and the brave to still be playing for audiences as late as the winter of 2020, delivered an eclectically welcome program there on the mighty Kilgen organ on Sunday afternoon

He opened with the Prelude from 20th century composer Paul Creston’s Suite for Organ, a steady, bright, unabashedly Romantic processional with a catchy, anthemic pedal melody amid a torrential swirl, to a matter-of-fact all-stops-out conclusion.

Next on the bill was a 2021 piece, Jason Roberts‘ Prelude & Fugue on the iconic Umm Kulthumm anthem Eta Omri, Pacoe quickly rising from an enigmatic introduction to a pouncing chase sequence punctuated by disquieting lulls. It’s not particularly Middle Eastern-tinged, but it’s an increasingly harried showstopper, quite possibly a reflection on our times.

Ian Farrington‘s variations on Amazing Grace, from 2017, were somewhat quieter but similarly animated, with frequent, jaunty blues riffage. Pacoe closed on a redemptively familiar note with the final two movements from Jean Langlais’ Suite Française. Pacoe played the Voix Céleste with a restless, relentless airiness, enhanced by a pace that seemed on the brisk side. That continued in the finale as he punched in with a redemptive, precise, gusty power.

The next free organ concert at St. Pat’s is on April 16 at 3:15 PM (these shows start right on time) with Ken Corneille playing his own songs plus works by 18th century French composer Médéric Corneille, and contemporary American composer and improviser McNeil Robinson

Novus NY Deliver an Auspicious Performance of New and 20th Century Classical Works

Back in the spring of 2017, there was a fantastic series of concerts of new classical music staged by Trinity Church at their smaller and older sister edifice, St. Paul’s Chapel a couple of blocks to the north. This blog covered several of those performances. Why would events from so far in the past be newsworthy now?

Considering that we lost three years of our lives in the time since, everything in the mirror seems closer than it is. But in keeping with what seems to be a very auspicious trend, there’s a similar and arguably even more ambitious festival going on at the chapel, with lunchtime shows continuing through May 4. At 1 PM, there’s jazz on Mondays, organ music on Tuesdays, Bach choral and instrumental works on Wednesdays and contemporary classical on Thursdays. This past Thursday, a subset of Novus NY treated a tiny audience to a diverse, sometimes spellbinding program that bodes well for what’s in store for the rest of the spring.

Flutist and ensemble leader Melissa Baker explained to the crowd that this year’s theme is empathy, something that the powers that be in this city did their best to crush beginning in March of 2020. It wasn’t clear how this was reflected in the music on the bill, which ranged from wary and harrowing to thoughtfully drifting.

The ensemble opened with the world premiere of Brad Balliett‘s Quintet For Piano and Winds. Gershwinesque swing with dissociative microtones from the lower reeds – the composer himself on bassoon, Benjamin Fingland on clarinet and Stuart Breczinski on oboe – quickly gave way to a tense muddle and then a rise from spacious floating motives to some jaunty pageantry where Baker and horn player Laura Weiner could flurry a little. There was a welcome payoff at the end of a long, anthemically swaying crescendo where pianist Daniel Schlosberg relished the chance to pounce on some icy, glittering, microtonally-tuned upper-register chords and nonchalantly breathtaking downward cascades. From there he continued with an disquieting, emphatic attack, the winds wafting a distant unease.

The quintet marched through persistently troubled trills to a lull punctuated by icepick piano accents and then a rather stern drive out that left no easy answers. What a breathtaking piece of music! As enjoyable as the rest of the program was, it was anticlimactic.

But there were plenty of rewarding moments. Two more contiguous partitas provided opportunities for the group to flex very diverse skillsets. In a small handful of Valerie Coleman‘s Portraits of Langston suite, for flute, clarinet and piano, Baker and Fingland playing dynamically shifting blues-inflected phrases over Schlosberg’s assertive chords and accents. The slow tectonic shifts and gentle Scheherezade whirls of Joan Tower’s Island Prelude made a moody contrast, at least until the wind-and-horn quartet kicked in with a series of animated flights and pulses.

And Louise Farrenc’s expansive, warmly Beethovenesque Sextet in C minor, Op. 40, with Schlosberg’s invitingly consonant melody rippling through nocturnal swells and the winds’ countermelodies, wound up the concert with a cocooning elegance.