There’s a new recording of a Paul Dessau opera that was absent from stages for far too long: “Involving more than 30 solo singing roles, a nine-part chorus and a huge orchestra, as well as dancers and actors, Lanzelot was one of the most ambitious operas ever mounted in the GDR.”  (The Guardian, 1/12/23)

“For devotees of fiendish musical modernism, Bernd Alois Zimmermann was one of the 20th century’s most notorious—and at times elusive—composers.” A new 3-CD set reveals something surprising: “a Zimmermann who smiles.”  (The New York Times, 12/27/22)

“Part of the fascination of listening to [Bruno] Walter’s conducting now . . . lies in hearing him reinvent the traditions he was said to embody.” A 77-disc box set follows his interpretations of the symphonic classics over decades.  (The New York Times, 11/2/22)

Underappreciated composer Othmar Schoeck “seemed most himself when he was ambling through the German Romantic twilight, his seductive melodic inventions tinged vaguely by irony, by aerial quotation marks. His music is suffused with a sense of having arrived too late in the day.”  (The New Yorker, 10/6/22)

It’s taken a millennium and a particularly scandal-ridden 20th century—but the elite Regensburger Domspatzen choir and school is now accepting girls.  (NPR, 9/15/22)

Karl Bartos recalls his innovative musical career in The Sound of the Machine: My Life in Kraftwerk and Beyond, translated into English by Katy Derbyshire.  (The Guardian, 8/3/22; Clash, 8/8/22)

“Performing classical music, or listening to it, has never been an apolitical act. But the idea that it might be flourished in the wake of World War II, thanks in part to the process of denazification, the Allied initiative to purge German-speaking Europe of Nazi political, social and cultural influence.”  (The New York Times, 4/15/22)

Perennial questions about music and politics gain new urgency: “What is the point at which cultural exchange—always a blur between being a humanizing balm and a tool of propaganda, a coopting of music’s supposed neutrality—becomes unbearable? What is sufficient distance from authoritarian leadership?”  (The New York Times, 3/2/22; The New Yorker, 3/3/22)

Eugen Engel was murdered at Sobibor in 1943. His opera Grete Minde, recently discovered in a San Francisco basement, has just had its world premiere at the Theater Magdeburg.  (J, 2/7/22; The Guardian, 2/14/22)

Heroism, love, and freedom in the face of injustice: Already inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Heartbeat Opera’s updated Fidelio “is now permeated with it, and the adaptation is even more powerful.”  (The New York Times, 2/14/22)

Meet conductor Hans Rosbaud: “His public stature has never approached the private respect in which musicians held him, in part because of his advocacy for music that has never really caught on.”  (The New York Times, 1/13/22)