Sofia subway

Sofia subway

View from an ice cave in a glacier in Iceland. May 2004

View from an ice cave in a glacier in Iceland. May 2004

Transfiguration Church with Belfry

Transfiguration Church with Belfry

Pastoral summer landscape.

Pastoral summer landscape.


Gergiev and Vienna do Scheherezade in Salzburg

The curated video playlist's third entry highlights a great conductor and a classic story

It’s time for another video installment. This is video number three. Since Beethoven’s Fifth is the starting point for the playlist, how do a Russian composer and a Russian conductor fit in? Via the orchestra, ...

"For a remember of Sarajevo"

Bosnia's formerly war-torn capital is an Eastern Europe gem.

It was 38 degrees Celsius (100F) when we arrived in Sarajevo. The soaring minarets that mark the Islamic world were ubiquitous. It also happened to be a national religious holiday in Bosnia – Ramadan Bajram ...

Music video number ein

Beethoven's Fifth is the start of a curated approach to classical music videos on the internet

This is the first of a series of curated YouTube videos. As videos are featured they will be added to a playlist here. The first piece to be featured is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. Don’t ...

Zen Buddhism on the conductor's platform

Sergiu Celibidache conducted according to the principle of ichigo ichie

Alexander Scriabin was the composer who wanted to compose us all into nirvana. Sergiu Celibidache was the conductor who wanted to conduct us into enlightenment. Celibidache brought Zen Buddhism to the conductor’s podium along with ...

Take up the cause of Schmidt

Austria's local hero Franz Schmidt get a rare performance at this year's Proms

The BBC Proms is taking up the cause of Franz Schmidt in a concert on September 10 at London’s Royal Albert Hall. A performance of Schmidt’s Symphony No. 2 will be given by the Vienna ...

Wave of the baton creates political intrigue

Daniel Barenboim's global approach has displeased major powers

Politics in classical music is not new. Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Shostakovich, and countless other composers were politically active and, at times, censored. Almost every mid-20th-century conductor, singer, and instrumental soloist was politicized by World War ...

Who says you can't do Paris in two days?

Tips on covering the Paris essentials, plus a couple less-touristed options.

Arriving in Paris without your luggage might seem like a huge damper for the start of a mini–Euro trip. But with the sights and sounds of the City of Lights, all thoughts of my lost ...

Lost to history but preserved in legend

Beethoven's Coriolan is the esoteric pick of the week

Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture is not an esoteric piece of music. The overture is quite popular, in and of itself. The overture is not a freestanding piece, though. It was written as incidental music for a ...

Art meets nature in the Canaries

Lanzarote offers an off-beat artsy vibe, stunning beaches and volcanic wonders.

The island of Lanzarote, part of Spain’s Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa, is for many budget tourists synonymous with cookie-cutter resort towns and all-inclusive holiday packages. The truth is that the island’s ...

Elegant and unimportant

Faure's Pavane not that revolutionary

Let’s get a little crazy and combine a summer piece of music with the esoteric pick of the week. The power of this concept is overwhelming me. It’s the perfect summer storm. Faure composed his ...

Absorbed in history-rich Berlin

The city's chock-full of culture, monuments and off-the-beaten-path finds.

Berlin was always on our list of places to go someday, but the timing just never seemed right for one reason or another. As it turned out, May 2015 was the 70th anniversary of the ...

Juan’s foreign affairs, cont’d

Fresh from an April junket with his wife in the Bavarian Alps paid for by nonprofit foundations backed by German industrialists, House Democrat Juan Vargas embarked alone on another free foreign journey in May, thanks ...

France's Haute-Savoie: not the Riviera

Ditching the Mediterranean for a different beauty in the French Alps.

On a steep narrow country road 3,700 feet above sea level, my travel partner accelerated the engine, heading toward the sound of alpine bells. As herdsmen rallied the cows to graze on the undulating pastures ...

In search of Romeo and Juliet

The course of true history never did run smooth

Lamb’s Players fine production of West Side Story raises a question. The musical based Tony and Maria on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. But where did the Bard’s star-crossed lovers come from? And were they real? ...

How to start with Mozart and end up with nihilism

The arbitrary fame of the Haffners leads Garrett to wonder what really matters

Mozart’s Haffner Symphony is a fairly famous piece of music, but who the hell was Haffner? Haffer got not just the symphony but also a 55-minute-long serenade. That’s about 90 minutes of music by Mozart ...

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