Intoned Absurdity: This Week’s 8 Best Classical Music Moments

In addition to 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.

Read the rest of our classical music coverage here.


The violinist, the New York Philharmonic’s artist in residence, plays from and discusses Brahms’s Violin Concerto.Credit

LEONIDAS KAVAKOS, MAY 18 

Reaching for the Sky

The New York Philharmonic’s artist in residence this season, the violinist Leonidas Kavakos, plays Brahms’s Violin Concerto this weekend. In a Facebook Live concert and interview, he walked us through the first movement: a theme delivered in unison by the orchestra, then developed in typical sonata form in a 24-minute journey full of drama, contemplation and beauty. After the cadenza — a long, virtuosic solo passage written by the great 19th-century violinist Joseph Joachim — there is what Mr. Kavakos calls “a magical moment.” The violin, with a soulful vibrato, reaches higher and higher until it settles on heavenly C-sharp. Brahms, Mr. Kavakos said, “sends the violin up to the sky as the voice of an angel.” JOSHUA BARONE 

Our review of Mr. Kavakos at the Philharmonic will be online Sunday evening and in Monday’s print newspaper.


NATE WOOLEY AND KEN VANDERMARK, MAY 16

Abrasive Yet Sensual

In a somehow both low-key and ferocious evening at Issue Project Room, Mr. Wooley, on trumpet, and Mr. Vandermark, on saxophone and clarinet, made music of casual extremity. When they came together for duos after separate solo sets, Mr. Wooley produced an eerie, memorable moment: Picking up a sheet of metal as he produced a low moan on his trumpet, he scratched it against his instrument. It was a mix of nails on a chalkboard and a whale’s keening call — abrasive yet sensual ZACHARY WOOLFE


METROPOLITAN OPERA, MAY 16

A Met Role, By the Skin of His Teeth

It may well have been the weirdest audition in Met history: The…

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