Top of Mind: Week Ending 12/7/2018


  • Jamaica, Queens. I had a meeting here yesterday that was cancelled the moment I stepped off the train, leaving me with an hour to kill. So I treated myself to a little walking tour of downtown Jamaica. Some highlights: the King Manor, the Grace Episcopal Church Complex, and the Tabernacle of Prayer for All People building on Jamaica Avenue, which is one of the five Wonder Theaters in New York City built in 1929 by Loew’s Theatres. The Google Streetview of this building doesn’t quite do it justice–it has this ornate baroque facade and a vintage ticket booth at the entry way. Jamaica also was home a several jazz greats.


  • The Sonata in B-flat major, D. 960, by Franz Schubert. Despite nearly 30 years of listening to classical music I never came to know this piece until this year, and now it’s as if it contains all the secrets of the universe. I’ve listened to a few different recordings, including ones by Wilhelm Kempff and Maria João Pires, both of which I enjoyed very much. But I keep coming back to Richter, whose slow, meditative take on the sonata finds entire worlds in each moment. There are several excellent live recordings of Richter playing this piece on Youtube, but I keep coming back to the 1972 studio recording. In my Googling I came across a 1994 piece about this sonata in the New York Times by Alex Ross, who mentions that Mahler played this piece as a student. That makes a strange kind of sense.

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