Moonlit Handel: This Week’s 8 Best Classical Music Moments

In addition to reviews, features and news during the week, our critics and reporters collect the best of what they’ve heard: notes that sent shivers down their spines, memorable voices, quotations that cut to the heart of the story.

Read the rest of our classical music coverage here.


Our interview with Mr. Norman, and excerpts from “The Companion Guide to Rome,” performed by the Variation Trio.Credit

ANDREW NORMAN, MAY 1

Stuttering Bow, Crumbling Fresco

If only Andrew Norman could always introduce his own music. The young composer shared his dynamic trio “The Companion Guide to Rome” (2010) with us in a Facebook Live interview and concert featuring the violinist Jennifer Koh’s Variation Trio. “Susanna,” the third movement, depicts a crumbling fresco through a viola’s shakes and stutters — rendered as barcode-like illustrations in the sheet music. The music is evocative in its own right, but listen to it with Mr. Norman’s words in mind: “You can almost not pick out what the details are. It’s just a few little bits of image that are caught in space.” JOSHUA BARONE


NEW YORK CITY OPERA, MAY 4

Cue the Castanet

For the second production in its Ópera en Español series, the resurrected company has chosen “Los Elementos,” by a Spanish Baroque composer, Antonio de Literes, who by his own admission was heavily influenced by the Italian style. During the first performance at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse, you waited through the parade of Elements — Earth, Air, Water — for something with real Spanish flavor. Then came the first aria of Fire, superbly sung by Kelsey Robertson, and lo, a castanet. Things picked up from there, and by the finale you were fully immersed in Spanish song and rhythms. JAMES R. OESTREICH


BLUE HERON, APRIL 28

Unfamiliar and Luscious

One of the most valuable recording projects of recent years, in early music at least, has been the vocal ensemble Blue Heron’s survey of English choral music from the reign of Henry VIII, archived…

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