by Sedgwick Clark

I am relieved to say that the concert “season,” such as it used to be, is officially over. Nothing like three mostly concertless months to revivify one’s passion for the art. There are a few scattered enticements here and there, as well as three Mostly Moz concerts on the horizon—a preconcert recital of works by Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky with the amazing 18-year-old pianist Conrad Tao, hearing Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director-designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin for the first time in concert, Louis Langrée leading works by Lutosławski, Bartók, and, of all composers, Mozart. But that’s it so far. I hope to catch up on some recent CDs and will report accordingly.

I’ve also been surprised by the number of people who keep asking me when I’m going to post photos from my Africa jaunt in May. The wildlife and terrain were certainly photogenic, and I even took some video—nothing dramatic, of course, but it’s kind of amazing to be a few feet from a grazing rhinoceros family and have a cheetah nuzzle your leg like a house cat. I hope to get them organized for next week.

Son of The Mentalist

A new TNT series called Perception made its debut on Monday evening (7/9). It’s about a schizophrenic professor of neurology who has hallucinations, solves murders, and is addicted to doing crossword puzzles while listening to the Scherzo of Mahler’s First Symphony. At one point he peevishly ejects his cassette and says to his student assistant, “That’s the von Karajan recording—I wanted the Solti.” Reality check: There is no Karajan recording of the Mahler First. (The conductor decided not to record the First, according to British record executive Peter Alward, quoted in Richard Osborne’s authoritative Karajan biography, because it was “too Jewish.”) So is the script writer pulling our leg or is he hallucinating? At the fadeout, the professor is having a hallucinogenic conversation with a sympathetic former girlfriend; she disappears as his student assistant walks up, hands him a cassette, and he begins to listen with a smile on his face. Must be the Solti Mahler First.

Lacombe’s Tenure Extended in New Jersey

The New Jersey Symphony has extended the tenure of Jacques Lacombe, its music director since October 2010, through the 2015-16 season. His programs are often imaginative, and the orchestra is playing well, with especially fine string tone. I’ve heard concerts in Newark and the impressive Spring for Music appearance in May at Carnegie Hall in which he partnered the Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin in Busoni’s monumental Piano Concerto. He seems like a musician committed to growing with the orchestra rather than using the position as a personal stepping stone. Let’s hope they perform at Carnegie again soon.

Looking forward

My week’s scheduled concerts:

7/16 at 6:30, Le Poisson Rouge. Harumi Rhodes (violin) and Friends. Works by Debussy, Ravel, Messiaen, and Takemitsu.

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