It's a gloomy, wet, steel-gray evening in Manhattan. For some reason, that made it a perfect day to listen to La Cieca's wonderful Birgit Nilsson podcasts, as well as the searing renditions of Hindemith, Mendelssohn, Dvorak and Shostakovich violin concerti found in a Brilliant Classics box set of radio recordings by David Oistrakh. (I picked this up last night at the Virgin Megastore for the princely sum of $42.99 for 10 discs; the link above takes you to ArkivMusic.com, where the price is slightly higher but still a screaming deal.)
I'd originally planned to catch the first night of an impressive, three-concert Ligeti series presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, tonight at Alice Tully Hall. But honestly, I'm feeling under the weather. And since I'm appearing on 9am panels at the Chamber Music America national conference both tomorrow and Sunday, I think I'll take a powder. I'll catch up with Ligeti on Sunday evening, instead.
Still, here are a few things I'd like to mention before I burrow into my warren for the night:
+ Happy 38th birthday (yesterday) to Alex Ross, whose erudition, curiosity and good humor are a continual source of refreshment and inspiration.
+ Album, the young Mexican band whose praises I sang here (scroll to near the bottom), will be releasing its second album, Microbricolages, some time in February. On Monday, January 16, the band will be streaming the new record all day long from its website.
+ Besides maintaining a fine blog, jazz composer-bandleader Darcy James Argue also steers a crack ensemble, the Secret Society, which includes many of New York City's finest improvisers (including two of my friendly neighbors, Ingrid Jensen and Jon Wikan). Argue will lead that band on Friday, January 20, at the Bowery Poetry Club. The show starts at 10pm; if I think I can get down there in time following the Bongani Ndodana concert at Miller Theatre (which is at 8pm), I plan to be there. Regardless, I'm digging the copious MP3s on Argue's site, and you will, too.
+ One night earlier, Ingrid, Jon and their posse will be playing the 55 Bar on Thursday, January 19 at 10pm. They're celebrating an excellent new CD, At Sea, on the innovative ArtistShare label. (I'll have more to say on this disc in the next issue of TONY, but wanted to give you lots of time to put the date in your calendar.)