I have too many minor regrets—crappy or uneven concerts, bad pieces, poorly attended gigs—to list them all. Yet I saw and heard enough worthwhile music to still believe Duke Ellington's adage that "good music is just around the corner."
I regret the passing of mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, whose dusky, enchanting voice graces two recent discs of music composed by her husband Peter Lieberson, Rilke Songs (Bridge Records) and Neruda Songs (Nonesuch). Written for piano and voice, Rilke Songs are masterpieces of vocal intensity and economy. Within the grandly orchestral Neruda Songs, the New Yorker's Alex Ross cannily espies "a sensual touch of flamenco singing or the blues." Although Lieberson brocades his wife's voice with tingling harp arpeggios, luminous strings, and other expertly wrought textures, all that sumptuous sound always serves the words ("the sea, the ship, the day were all exiled together") and the singer.
My resolutions: I will write more about netlabels and other hidden corners of web-only audio. Enough good music lurks online for the compact disc to revert to its original incarnation in the early 1980s: a souvenir, special-occasion art object that inspires concentrated, readerly listening. I should also profile the Creel Pone label, which has fastidiously—and perhaps not quite legally—reissued scarce avant LPs on CD-R, including sought-after rarities by Josef Anton Riedl, Tod Dockstader, Herbert Eimert, and Ruth White.
Finally, I hope to unearth an unusual tidbit or two: Has anyone pinpointed where John Cage lived in Seattle during the late 1930s? And where did Steve Reich stay while he studied gamelan at the UW in 1973? I chatted with Reich a couple years ago at the Seattle premiere of Different Trains and I rue not asking where he lived or whether he collaborated with anyone while living here.