mercredi 29 février 2012

Mason Bates Interview

... can be found here.

Do take the time to hear him. I have alreay mentioned my impressions on his works, Mason Bates is probably the most significant american composer of his generation.

What is striking is how he explains why and how his work is the modern continuity of former creations. John Adams's autobiography makes a very similar point in his evolution.

This is a remarquable interview of a real personality of today. I wish now that we will soon be able to hear his works in Europe very soon.

jeudi 16 février 2012

A Meistersinger by Masters

I was in Zurich where I attended a presentation by futur intendant of the Zurich Opera A Homoki as well as a superb Meistersinger which once again puts Bayreuth productions in perspective and shame.

A full review is here.

dimanche 5 février 2012

Lesson from the past from France's wonderful Video Archive Ina

YouTune is not the only place where it is possible to find some treasures from the past. I recommend French-speaking readers to go to the wonderful archive site of France's Insitut National de L'audiovisuel.

I will come back with more documents as I explore what they have but have already found an excerpt of the Cosi Fan Tutte done in 1983 with Daniel Barenboim conducting his Orchestre de Paris. Staging was done by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. Cast included (by memory) Julia Varady, J Rodgers, D Rendall and the Don Alfonso of Carlos Feller was a mastery of casting.

This was for many and for me a revelatory performance at a time where the Opera de Paris was going from scandal to scandal. (Have a look at the paragraph "Les éphémères" in the Opera de Paris Wikipedia page). This performance reminded or taught many in France of what homogeneous Opera performance where all contribute and participate to a single unified concept can be. And it took the leadership of Hugues Gall who brought his professionalism from Geneva Grand Théatre to the "Grande Boutique".

There is another treasure which is an interview of Patrice Chéreau commenting on the sacking of Daniel Barenboim by Pierre Bergé.

I already spoke about this which was a shocking event when I was younger and lived in Paris in an earlier post called: La mémoire courte or Short memory. Chéreau has a great point which is to say that there should be no reason for every new incoming political group to systematically reverse every decision done by their predecessor. He then refers to the two ministers of culture of the time, François Léotard and Jack Lang. You cannot run either a country or a company an Opera House or ... if you switch courses systematically.

What Chéreau is saying echoes what my old country is going through right now with the upcoming presidential elections. The purpose of this blog is not to take a position the two candidates but to highlight that it is a political tradition to take the systematic counter position that the opposition is taking. May it be in economy or in arts, there is no need to describe the disastrous impact of such dogmatism. And do I need to add that I am sorry for my old country bad habits ...

jeudi 2 février 2012

I have bought Ives's Violin Sonatas

So, summary of last episode ... I could not download via the DG, Amazon, Itunes site the tracks of Ives' Violin Sonatas by H Hahn and Valentina Lisita.

I gave it another try a couple of days via my Ipad through Itunes ... and in a bizarre twist of the cyber world, got my order accepted.

Thanks to iCloud, the content got synchronized  to my Ipod and my PC and I am listening to Ives's works as we speak.

I had send a mail at the customer care mail of Universal and got the following response from the support team:


Hello Antoine.

Thanks for your e-mail regarding your attempt to download Charles Ives' 'Violin Sonatas.'

On occasion, and due to licensing laws, some records are not available in certain territories as is the case with the record you are attempting to download.

I hope this provides the clarification you were looking for.


Name Withheld

Universal Music Direct Support تم


I have to add that the timeliness of the response was spotless. I have one concern though, the subject of the mail was: RE: . Universal Music Issue Resolved: (UMDS-70447) Product enquiry which means that the Support group decided themselves that the Issue was resolved. Given my experience, I thought I had been able to buy the tracks thanks to them ... so was surprised by the content.


My response:

Dear ...

Thanks for your reply.

I am a classical music reviewer at concertonet but have also a blog. I wrote on it  about my experience at I included how I tried with no success to get the tracks first with you and then on Amazon and Itunes.

Also, I did a last try yesterday to buy the tracks with my Ipad with exactly the same credentials as on my PC on the same country and ... my purchase could go through via Itunes. The tracks are now synchronized thanks to iCloud on Itunes on my PC and my Ipod as well. Enclosed is a screen shot:

If this is OK with you, I will narrate this unusual story on my blog as a follow-up of the earlier story.

Antoine Leboyer


I will let you know if an answer comes. But I am so surprised why there would be such restrictions ? Any ideas anyone ?