A fresh take on the Dreigroschenoper at the Berliner Ensemble? Yes, please! Director Barrie Kosky “adds and subtracts, breathing new life into a work that desperately needed it.”  (The New York Times, 8/5/21; The New York Times,  8/15/21)

“Why would any self-respecting woman perform Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben?” Carolyn Sampson makes a well-considered case. (The Guardian, 4/13/21)

“My obsession with Rammstein annoyed and worried my parents in equal measure,” writes Keza MacDonald, “and over the next few years gifted me with a German vocabulary that my high-school teacher memorably described as ‘extraordinary, if unrepeatable.'” (The Guardian, 3/1/21)

“A debate about racism, musicology, free speech and the music theorist Heinrich Schenker” is roiling academia and making international news. (The New York Times, 2/14/21)

The 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth is safely behind us—time for a less reverential look at “how our Beethoven obsession took hold.”  (The New Yorker, 1/19/21)

“With a warehouse that produced 50 to 65 grand pianos a year, Nannette Streicher’s firm was considered by many to be the finest in Vienna.”  (The New York Times, 11/6/20)

“Like operagoers across the generations, filmmakers have had trouble deciding whether Wagner is an exhaustible store of wonder or a bottomless well of hate. But that uncertainty also mirrors the film industry’s own ambiguous role as an incubator of heroic fantasies, which can serve a wide range of political ends.”  (The New Yorker, 8/24/20)

Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, the last known living member of the women’s orchestra at Auschwitz, will deliver a (virtual) speech at the Salzburg music festival, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.  (The New York Times, 8/13/20)

“You’ve heard of Shakespeare in the Park. How about Wagner in the Parking Lot?” Germany’s opera companies get creative to meet the demands of social distancing.  (The New York Times, 7/15/20)

“The lesson of [Marian] Anderson’s time in Europe is stunning in its simplicity and, for that reason, has been easy to dismiss. She showed up. . . And she delivered what was becoming increasingly difficult to showcase amid so much racial violence: a brilliant demonstration of her full humanity at a time when white supremacists wanted to deny it.”  (The New Yorker, 7/15/20)

In praise of the Schlager: “Germany’s most embarrassing musical genre,” and a “bright, shiny thread . . . in the fabric of pop music.”  (The Guardian, 7/8/20)

“German theaters have the artistic drive as well as the means, thanks to generous government subsidies, to insist that the show go on.” (The New York Times, 5/19/20; The Guardian, 5/29/20; The New York Times, 7/2/20)

In memoriam: photographer Astrid Kirchherr (1938-2020). “In a dingy, disreputable Hamburg bar, amid the noise and squalor, she detected something beautiful.”  (The New York Times, 5/16/20; The Guardian, 5/19/20)

In memoriam: Florian Schneider (1947-2020), co-founder of Kraftwerk. “Few people could have claimed to have exerted as much musical influence while remaining so enigmatic.”  (The Guardian, 5/6/20; Rolling Stone, 5/6/20; The Quietus, 5/7/20)

“The Berlin Philharmonic tests a musical path out of lockdown,” with a livestreamed concert featuring soprano Christiane Karg and a much reduced, socially distanced ensemble.  (The New York Times, 5/1/20)

“With Brahms, everything passes through layers of reflection. He is the great poet of the ambiguous, in-between, nameless emotions . . . In a repertory full of arrested adolescents, he is the most adult of composers.”  (The New Yorker, 4/16/20)

The Ensemble Avantgarde has released a new collection of chamber music by composer Paul Dessau.  (The New York Times, 4/8/20)

“While there are no over-the-top costumes, sweaty high-fives between strangers or sex by the dancefloor, there are a few perks to virtual clubbing: no long queues or bouncers denying entry.”  (The Guardian, 4/3/20)

In memoriam: Hellmut Stern, violinist and longtime concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He returned to his home city after years in exile, setting “a unique example of reconciliation and forgiveness.”  (The New York Times, 3/31/20)

The cultural venues may be closed, but Covid-19 has opened up their performances to wider (online) audiences than ever before.  (The Guardian, 3/16/20)

John Eliot Gardiner explains how he rediscovered Beethoven’s radicalism with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique.  (The New York Times, 2/14/20)

Jaromir Weinberger’s Frühlingsstürme, “the last operetta of the Weimar Republic,” is back on stage at the Komische Oper.  (The New York Times, 1/26/20)

“The cruel isolation of deafness created the possibility of writing music that slipped the bonds of earth to touch the face of God. That Beethoven grasped his opportunity is an achievement almost beyond comprehension.”  (The Spectator, 1/11/20)

“When he conducts, Kirill Petrenko presents a paradox: How can an artist so mysteriously shy and monastic offstage manage to steal the spotlight whenever he’s on?”  Here’s a check-in with the celebrated conductor, “deep into his inaugural season” with the Berlin Philharmonic.  (The New York Times, 1/24/20)