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Boston-area arts letters


Applause for Abbado

David Weininger’s appreciation of conductor Claudio Abbado (“Abbado’s Vision,” SundayArts, Jan. 26) neglected to include that not only did Abbado found the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, but also the European Community Youth Orchestra, the Mahler Youth Orchestra, and music festivals — all young musicians handpicked by him — many years before the El Sistema became known.

No other conductor in history has that to his credit, not to mention that he was the conductor of La Scala opera house for 20 years and the Vienna State Opera prior to the Berlin appointment, renowned for his sensitive and brilliant work in rarely heard as well as popular operas.


I also would like to add — having had the great privilege of knowing him personally — that he was only reticent and shy when people were swooning over him; on the contrary, he was a funny, very warm, and outgoing man who took his musicians out to dinner after concerts and treated them like equals (we all called him Claudio and never “Maestro,” which he hated).

It was the music he made that was sacred, that he treated with awe and introspection, and that he would not perform until he knew the work by heart so he could focus on communicating with the musicians instead of the score. One of his musicians asked him at a dinner when they would do Bruckner together, and his reply was: “I have to study a lot first.”

He left behind a treasure of recordings and videos, generations of adoring fans, and an irreplaceable gap in the musical world.



Left out in the cold

What a sorry sight. On Jan. 20, my daughter took Dad, a graduate of the Museum School, to see the Impressionist show free of charge on that last day of the show.

At a little after 10 a.m., it was virtually impossible to enter the museum. It was surrounded on all sides by folks waiting for hours on this cold morning. It was not a healthy jaunt for a senior to stand in the January weather far longer than desired.


This 85-year-old and our daughter had to return home without seeing the much-desired show.



The singer, not the song

I agree with Marc Hirsh that Tom Brosseau’s new release, “Grass Punks,” is more of an unfinished work than anything else (album reviews, g, Jan. 20). Tom falls short for me in the voice department and more.

The song “Gregory Page From San Diego” was what I was most interested in, as a longtime fan of the amazing singer-songwriter Gregory Page. I was expecting something more than a song title and a story that didn’t fit. If you don’t know Gregory Page, please check him out. He is quite unique and has been at it a long time.



Short shrift to jazz

“Of local interest, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, who teaches at Berklee College of Music, won for best jazz instrumental album, marking her second Grammy win in as many years. She noted in her acceptance speech that she was the first woman to win that award.”

This should have been the first paragraph of James Reed’s Grammy Awards story (“Rise of the Robots,” g, Jan. 27), not the last, and without the first three words. And no, I don’t know Carrington. There are a lot of jazz lovers in New England, and not just at Berklee, but the Globe doesn’t cover it.



Posted at BostonGlobe.com

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