Arsenio Orteza

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There-and-back-again journeys

Music | Three albums offer harpsichord and organ renditions of the Goldberg Variations
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 8/16/18, 11:13 am

“It does seem,” wrote the late musicologist Peter Williams of J.S. Bach’s compositional strategies, “to be the nature of the Goldberg [Variations] to inspire a range of hypotheses.”

It also seems to be the nature of the Goldberg Variations to inspire a range of interpretations. Last year, the Italian pianist Beatrice Rana won acclaim for her piano rendition, and, indeed, despite (or maybe because of) Glenn Gould’s landmark recordings of 1955 and 1981, the piano remains the instrument on which the composition is most frequently performed.

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Noteworthy new releases

by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 8/02/18, 12:16 pm

Good Thing 

Leon Bridges

Bridges’ sophomore effort begins with “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand,” which sounds enough like his retro Southern-soul debut to placate continuity lovers. With the second song, though (“Bad Bad News”), the album shifts into something else—the Sound of Philadelphia, say, slowed down and reimagined as old jack swing except when it’s sped up to approximate Quincy Jones–era Michael Jackson. And if the lyrics aren’t always deeper than those of Bruno Mars, they have more integrity. The only song with bedroom eyes is called “Mrs.” for a reason.

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Photo illustration by Krieg Barrie

‘Usurped arts’

Music | Two new albums express Christian belief—if you listen closely
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 8/01/18, 09:50 am

Play the latest albums by the Innocence Mission and Wovenhand’s David Eugene Edwards for someone who doesn’t speak English—someone, in other words, oblivious to what’s being sung—and he’ll probably tell you that the two have little in common.

One of them, after all, is loud, dark, and turbulent; the other quiet, luminous, and peaceful.

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