Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats."
Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, since 2007. All written content © 2014 by Paul Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Mastersingers of New York

or "The Big Score."
by Paul J. Pelkonen
My new (well, gently used!) score of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
Photo by the author.
Twenty years ago, I first encountered Wagner's Die Meistersinger. I had just graduated college. One day, Mom and I went to lunch in Greenwich Village, and visited Academy Records, which was still located on a shelf behind the register at Academy Books. My graduation present: that first recording of Wagner's Ring cycle (the Boulez, later traded in for the Haitink and still later for the Solti.) Since Mom was feeling generous that day, she also let me have an opera I knew next to nothing about at the time: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Of Milestones and Practical Matters

or, the status of Superconductor at a million-and-a-half clicks.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Image from Monopoly © Parker Brothers.
It's been a pretty amazing run since a journalist sitting in a New Jersey hotel room on New Year's Eve 2009 decided to take this blog to a "semi-daily" format and run it like a regular (or decidedly irregular) classical music publication. Today, we broke 1,500,000 page views on Blogger. And this month, over 57,000 browsers have clicked and read our content, nearly double what our readership was just one year ago.

Successful? Sure. By the standards of this 21st century Internet economy, not bad. But it hasn't been easy. And frankly, we need your help.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Concert Review: The Struggle and the Reward

Alan Gilbert takes on the Bruckner Eighth.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Collaborators: Yefim Bronfman (at keyboard) and conductor Alan Gilbert.
Photo by Chris Lee © 2014 the New York Philharmonic.
The last completed work of a major composer has a special place in the music repertory. Last Friday night at the New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert led a program featuring the penultimate utterances of Béla Bartók and Anton Bruckner: the former's Piano Concerto No. 3 and the latter's Symphony No. 8.  If there is a common ground between these works, both came as the composers neared the end of their respective lives, battling illness and a lack of understanding from their respective musical communities.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Concert Review: Of Man...and Beast

Cameron Carpenter plays Town Hall.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Organ master Cameron Carpenter and his large touring friend.
Photo © 2013 Sony Classical
The organ is among the most versatile keyboard instruments, capable of simulating the sound of a whole symphony orchestra or forcing church congregations to their collective knees. On Thursday night, Cameron Carpenter brought his International Touring Organ to Town Hall, in a concert that pushed the boundaries of the repertory for his instrument.


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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.