Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

Recordings of the Week

June 24, 2007

On Halloween 1988, I drove two hours from Miami University in Oxford, OH to Columbus, OH with friends to see Sonic Youth play during their tour to support Daydream Nation. It remains one of the most memorable concert experiences I've ever had. Loud and driving, symphonic and poignant, this recording is filled with the sense of danger and rebellion that is the hallmark of the greatest rock records. From the Gerhard Richter painting - Kerze (1983) - on the cover to the final chord, it is near perfection. Two decades of rock albums from Nirvana to Redd Kross to Pavement to everyone else would aspire to capture one iota of this post-punk masterpiece. Unfortunately, nothing would ever really sound cool again after this - or at least not to me. Geffen has just released a remastered edition in anticipation of Sonic Youth's upcoming tour which will reprise those landmark performances form the late Eighties. Not to be missed.

The new Emmanuelle Haïm recording of Handel's Il trionfo del Tempo e del disinganno was released recently on Virgin Classics. Period performance technique, lively playing, and Natalie Dessay - what's not to like?

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