Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, since 2007. All written content © 2015 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Owner of a Lonely Hearts Club Band

Is Yes' 90125 a "concept album"?
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Yes, circa 1983 in the video for "Leave It" from the album 90125.
L-R: Trevor Rabin, Jon Anderson, Alan White, Tony Kaye, Chris Squire.
Image © 1983 Atlantic/Atco Records.
The international community of Yes fans is mourning the passing of bassist and band founder Chris Squire, who succumbed to leukemia at his Arizona home on June 28. In the wake of his passing, the home stereo at Superconductor's Brooklyn headquarters has been playing a lot of Yes, from the airy harmonies of Close to the Edge to the wild experimentation of Tales from Topographic Oceans. Today, the record was the band's 1981 comeback album 90125. This prompted the question: is 90125 a concept album that tells a specific story?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

DVD Review: Miracles Out of Nowhere

The Royal Opera of Covent Garden mounts Parsifal.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The wounded and the penitent: Gerald Finely as Amfortas and Angela Denoke as
Kundry in a scene from Act II of Parsifal at Covent Garden.
Photo by Clive Barda © 2013 Royal Opera House of Covent Garden

Parsifal is the final completed stage work of Richard Wagner. For better or for worse, it is also the work that  lends itself most easily to radical interpretation. This latest DVD issue of the opera (released earlier this year on OpusArte) comes from the Royal Opera House of Covent Garden, and shows director Stephen Langridge's vision of the opera. He puts a secular spin on this story, re-imagining the Grail legend as a story of innocence lost and miracles achieved, although not always in a way that one would expect.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Of Salt Spray and Space Warps

Superconductor remembers the music of composer James Horner.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The U.S.S. Enterprise (top) fires on the U.S.S. Reliant in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Image © 1982 Paramount Pictures,
The composer James Horner died yesterday when his single-engine plane crashed in California. Mr. Horner was an acclaimed film composer with a wide range of credits, from Aliens to his award-winning Celtic-influenced scores for Titanic and Braveheart. But what he will always be associated with (in the mind of this writer at least) is his two symphonic scores for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

The Season in Reviews: Fall 2014-Spring 2015

The best concerts we saw this year on Superconductor.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Pierre-Laurent Aimard brought exceptional Bach and Boulez to Carnegie Hall this season.
Photo © 2015 Universal Music Group/Deutsche Grammophon.
The 2014-15 season is in the books. Here's a rundown of the ten best concert performances seen this year, drawn from the exhaustive and intensive archives of Superconductor. Relive the best performances of the year...or else, find out what you missed. All quotes are from Superconductor and the reviews are in rough chronological order.


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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.