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At 6 minutes 48 seconds
The New York Philharmonic’s contemporary-music series, Contact!, presented works by a few composers I already admired (including Sarah Kirkland Snider and Anna Thorvaldsdottir) this week. Fernanda Aoki Navarro, however, was new to me. When introducing her intriguing 2012 piece “Parthenogenesis,” she described an interest in letting complex material loose, right from the outset of a piece. Later, when searching online for more of her work, I came across a 2014 Talea Ensemble performance of “Otherness.” Its opening underlines the composer’s taste for in media res introductions. But its finale fosters a more delirious swirl, as percussive writing for strings slams against quickly snaking figures for bass clarinet, bass flute and piano. SETH COLTER WALLS
Read our review of the Contact! program.
AT 3 MINUTES 28 SECONDS
The soprano Ailyn Pérez is starring as the Countess in Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” at the Metropolitan Opera. In a Facebook Live concert, she sang the aria “Dove sono,” which at Wednesday’s performance of the opera was greeted with cheers and calls for an encore. The aria is sobering — a reminder that behind the opera’s comedy is a woman who loved and married a man she didn’t know was a lecherous boor. In this recital video from 2009, Ms. Pérez doesn’t yet have her current mastery of the role, but you can hear the heartbreak in how mournfully she sings the return of the opening lines: “Where have they gone, the beautiful moments of sweetness and pleasure?” JOSHUA BARONE
Watch Ailyn Pérez on Facebook Live with the soprano Nadine Sierra.
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A Propitious Fall
The splendid a cappella octet Roomful of Teeth ended a compelling evening of vocal gymnastics with, as encore, a relatively simple song, Alev Lenz’s “Fall Into Me,” in a haunting version featuring the soprano Martha Cluver. Ms. Cluver caught much of the dusky atmosphere conjured by Ms. Lenz herself in this clip, and added smoky touches of her own, with fine support from the rest of the ensemble. For me, at least, a happy discovery. JAMES R. OESTREICH
AT 12 MINUTES 45 SECONDS
Caroline Shaw’s “Partita for 8 Voices,” which at age 30 made her the youngest winner of the Pulitzer Prize, came to Zankel Hall on Thursday in a joyful performance by her a cappella ensemble, Roomful of Teeth. The piece is a showcase of the group’s vocal acrobatics and ethnomusicological fascinations, such as the Inuit throat singing that opens the rhapsodic Courante. In that movement, the melody of the folk hymn “The Shining Shore” appears as a musical non sequitur. Ms. Shaw, who grew up singing in community choirs, told me in an interview last fall that hymns are near and dear to her, and in her mind as she composes. Her respect for “The Shining Shore” is on full display when its melody first enters the “Partita” as pure, heavenly and unabashedly beautiful. JOSHUA BARONE
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While the Boston Symphony’s administrators try to deal with the profoundly troubling revelations about its association with conductors accused of sexual misconduct, its players continue to excel. Under the twinkle-toed leadership of François-Xavier Roth, their most recent program included a vigorous Beethoven Fifth and some exceedingly pleasant Mozart, with the sensitive and sublime Benjamin Grosvenor at the piano. The real treat, though, was Mr. Roth’s intelligent way of putting the Beethoven in the context of a contemporary, Étienne Méhul, a French composer who was on rather better terms with Napoleon than dear Ludwig. Méhul’s overture to “Les Amazones,” which had its premiere in front of the emperor in 1811, sneakily hides a second introduction that’s sung out on the cellos, and has an endearing sense of humor. DAVID ALLEN
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Operatic Gender Fluidity
“Tonight I’m wearing a dress,” the mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard said at the Park Avenue Armory during a recent recital. She isn’t always: The previous night, singing Cherubino — a signature role — in “Le Nozze di Figaro” at the Met, she dons a soldier’s uniform. Here she is singing “Voi che sapete” in a winning 2016 performance at the Met. I love the way she conveys the fidgety nervousness of an adolescent boy about to sing a love song he wrote to the countess he pines over. At the Armory, singing Bernstein songs, Ms. Leonard again played with gender fluidity, bringing affecting freshness to “Something’s Coming” and “Maria,” two songs intended for Tony in “West Side Story.” ANTHONY TOMMASINI
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On Thursday the dynamic conductor Susanna Malkki led the New York Philharmonic in “Helix,” a teeming de facto overture by the orchestra’s composer in residence, Esa-Pekka Salonen. Mr. Salonen has also written some knockout piano pieces. I’ll never forget hearing the New York debut of the brilliant Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen in 2004, when he performed Mr. Salonen’s staggeringly difficult, wildly inventive “Dichotomie.” Here’s a stunning, tantalizing excerpt from a fearless performance by the pianist Aura Go at the Helsinki Music Center. Catch the extended passage full of crazed glissandos, for which the pianist repeatedly uses a cloth to literally sweep the keyboard. ANTHONY TOMMASINI
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The descending figures in Paganini’s Caprice No. 17 have always reminded the violinist Augustin Hadelich of a cat’s meow. So he has made the caprice into a most unusual animated cat video — think “The Aristocats” meets “Intermezzo” — to accompany his new album, “Paganini: 24 Caprices.” And not to worry: Mr. Hadelich offered an assurance, via email, that he does not use catgut. “No — nobody uses catgut anymore (gut strings these days are not made out of catgut),” he wrote. “But actually, my strings are synthetic (Evah Pirazzi brand) and the E string is metal (Pirastro Gold Wondertone brand).” MICHAEL COOPER