A Touch of Madness: This Week’s Eight Best Classical Music Moments on YouTube

that decisive moment

The pianist Vikingur Olafsson, whose interpretations of Philip Glass’s music render the score sculptural.CreditVincent Tullo for The New York Times

In addition to writing reviews, features and news during the week, our critics and reporters collect the best of what they’ve heard: notes that sent shivers down their spines, memorable voices, quotations that cut to the heart of the story. This week, we’re offering a glimpse into the research we’ve done on YouTube for articles.

Read the rest of our classical music coverage here.


Philip Glass, Sculptor

While preparing for an interview with the Icelandic pianist Vikingur Olafsson, who is making his New York recital debut this week at the Mostly Mozart Festival, I fell down a rabbit hole of both his thoughtful playing and the works of Philip Glass. Mr. Olafsson referred to Mr. Glass as “the Mondrian of music,” and added, “He’s taking primary colors and really exploring what that means.” I would take the visual art comparison even further: In Mr. Olafsson’s hands, Mr. Glass’s music is sculptural. Repeated phrases are never clones, in large part because Mr. Olafsson seems to see the score in three dimensions. It is as if he were circling the notes, examining and re-examining them in search for new meaning and hidden surprises. JOSHUA BARONE

Read our interview with Mr. Olafsson, and watch him perform on Facebook Live.


The Brilliance of Barbara Cook

Barbara Cook, the Broadway star who became a peerless concert and cabaret singer, died this week at 89. Ms. Cook taught us what really matters in singing. Listen, for example, to “I Got Lost in His Arms” from Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun.” In the show, feisty Annie Oakley describes the moment she realizes she was in love. The way Ms. Cook sings it here, you realize that getting “lost” in this man’s arms is exciting, yes, but also terrifying. Ms. Cook makes the next line,…

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