Arsenio Orteza

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Recent Classical releases

by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 4/12/18, 10:55 am

Portrait of a Lady with a Harp: Music for Queen Christina of Sweden

Mara Galassi

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Library of Congress

Refined sensuosity

Music | A flood of Debussy releases reveals a composer outside of his time
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 4/12/18, 10:45 am

March 25 marked the centennial of the death of the greatest French composer of all time, Claude Debussy. Whether he’ll ever earn the title of “Greatest Composer of All Time, Period,” however, is unlikely, if only because he ignored many of the conventions used to compare and contrast great composers in the first place.

In terms of structure, tonality, texture, and sonority (almost everything, in other words, that makes music music), as well as in terms of his openness to non-European and extra-musical influences, Debussy followed his own rules.

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Photo illustration: Krieg Barrie; Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images (Swift); Lionel Hahn/Abaca/Sipa via AP (Timberlake)

Missing their points

Music | Artists don’t seem to realize how much profanity weakens their albums
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 3/29/18, 03:32 pm

In a recent column responding to a profanity-laced post–Super Bowl speech by the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jason Kelce, the Catholic pundit Matthew Archbold wondered whether “the f-word is even a thing anymore.”

Had he thrown in the S-word, Archbold could’ve also been pondering the latest albums (listed in ascending order of quality and socially redeeming value) by Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, MGMT, the Divine Comedy, and Belle and Sebastian.

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