About Superconductor

Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2016 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Concert Review: The Original King of Comedy

Herbert Blomstedt conducts the New York Philharmonic.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Herbert Blomstedt at the helm of the New York Philharmonic.
Photo by Chris Lee © 2016 New York Philharmonic.
The two symphonies that Beethoven wrote while convalescing at a spa in 1812 occupy a cherished place in the orchestral repertory. No. 7 and No. 8 have consecutive opus numbers, (No. 92 and 93, respectively) and represent a composer determined to grasp the idea of joy with both hands even when facing serious health problems and considerable personal hardship.

Concert Review: They're Only Northern Songs

Paavo Järvi leads the NHK Symphony Orchestra.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
(A version of this article was originally published in Japanese translation by the Association of Japanese Symphony Orchestras, reused with permission)
Paavo Järvi (right) leads the NHK Symphony Orchestra.
Photo © 2017 NHK Symphony Orchestra
The Baltic Sea in the northeast corner of Europe is flanked by the countries of Estonia and Finland, some fair distance from Japan and its capital city of Tokyo. On Sunday, February 12, the Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi brought the sounds of the Baltic to NHK Hall in Shibuya, the bustling shopping district that is home to the NHK ((Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai) Japan's broadcasting corporation.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Twelve Days Under the Rising Sun

An Overview of Hearing Japanese Orchestras
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Image from JapanLover.Me
The 2017 Hearing Japanese Orchestras project provided the opportunity for four Western critics, (myself included) to encounter the sound of five very different ensembles in very different cities. It was also a culturally immersive experience, my first visit to Japan and an opportunity to hear familiar and unfamiliar music presented at a generally high level.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Superconductor Audio Guide: Elektra

Richard Strauss' fourth opera is black and white...and red all over.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The bloody axe used to kill Agamemnon is a central plot point of Strauss' Elektra.
Richard Strauss chose to follow up the whirlwind success of Salome with Elektra, an opera that shares several points of similarity. Both works have a heroine who descends into insanity,  horrific offstage murder (two this time) and take place in a single, intense act that lasts about an hour and a half. However, Elektra much more than Strauss repeating himself: it was a great leap forward.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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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.