Isidor Saslav, the talented violinist, former concertmaster, and lover of life, people, and above all children, died peacefully on Saturday, January 26, 2013. He was such a kind man, a modest and simple man, and a loving man.
Isidor Saslav was not just an artist, he was an exceptional human being. Here, at Swans, we revered him and loved him. And we are distraught.
This page will soon be updated, but we wanted to make sure that all his articles would be available as soon as possible. On February 11, 2013, we published a special edition, a tribute dedicated to him.
Rest in peace, dearest Isidor. You were loved, and still are.
Isidor Saslav contributed his work to Swans starting in March 2007, until his death in 2013.
All culture and communication depend on the interplay between expectation and observation, the waves of fulfilment, disappointment, right guesses, and wrong moves that make up our daily life.
—E. H. Gombrich
Pipe Dreams Come To East Texas (January 2013): The East Texas Pipe Organ Festival, celebrating the world's third-oldest musical instrument, was an unusual and rewarding time.
2012 Year End Report (December 2012): A look at a few notable events and noteworthy deaths in 2012.
Report from Canada's Shaw Festival -- 2012 (December 2012): Isidor Saslav reports from Canada's Shaw Festival -- North America's greatest theater company.
Saint-Saëns At Bard (November 2012): A review from the Bard Collage 2012 Summerscape Music Festival and Saint-Saëns, whose beautiful music never changed.
Maometto II At The Santa Fe Opera (October 2012): The author attended the Santa Fe Opera's 2012 performance of one of the greatest serious operas of the whole 19th century, Rossini's Maometto II.
King Roger At Santa Fe (October 2012): A review of the Santa Fe Opera's 2012 performance of Karol Szymanowski's King Roger.
The Man Who Would Not Be King (September 2012): After 50 years of waiting, Isidor Saslav was treated to a performance of Le roi malgré lui at the Bard College Summerscape Music Festival.
Summer Operas -- From Lully To Chabrier (September 2012): The 2012 Glimmerglass Opera festival featured a real and wonderful performance of Jean Baptiste Lully's opera Armide.
Kurt Weill's Last Opera (August 2012): The deep, dramatic, and beautiful music of Kurt Weill.
My Offerings For Your Pleasure (July 2012): Isidor Saslav's recommendations for this 2012 Swans special edition about books, music, and films.
Florence Foster Jenkins Lives Again (June 2012): A review of Stephen Temperley's play Souvenir as recently presented by the East Texas Music and Theatre Company.
The Enchanted Island At The Met (February 2012): A 300-year-old tradition of opera revived at the Met: the pastiche.
A Few Thoughts And Two Books (December 2011): Two books that set history straight and shaped the author's year: Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States and Thomas DiLorenzo's Lincoln Unmasked.
Requiem For An Iconic School (September 2011): Detroit continues the process of destroying itself. [ed. Isidor Saslav grew up in Detroit.]
"Chaconne, Anyone?" Arnold Steinhardt Performs In Indianapolis (July 2011): The author examines the history of chaconne and recounts his attendance of first violinist Arnold Steinhardt's performance as part of the Laureate Series of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis (IVCI) at the Indianapolis Historical Society on June 7, 2011. Chaconne à son goût.
April Concerts And Operas In London (May 2011): Isidor Saslav reviews his recent musical and operatic tour through London, including a memorial concert for his friend, English bassoonist William Waterhouse.
Celebrating Shaw's Chicago Century (April 2011): Shavian expert Isidor Saslav describes how it was through Chicago that George Bernard Shaw conquered America.
Nixon In China In Longview (February 2011): Classical music: John Adams's operas: Finding the right moments.
Puccini's Female California Orpheus (January 2011): Classical music: Shaw's Blanco Posnet meets Puccini's Dick Johnson.
"Celebration" In Los Angeles (January 2011): Classical music: The extraordinary Gustavo Dudamel and the sensational Juan Diego Florez.
Current Offerings At Some European Opera Houses (August 2010): Druids in spacesuits -- no kidding.
Der Ferne Klang At Bard (August 2010): Since Hitler's accession in 1933 and the half-Jewish composer Franz Schreker's death in 1934, not a note of his was to be heard on any operatic stage for half a century until pioneers like Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College and the Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra, began a Schreker renaissance to bring back a composer who at the beginning of the 20th century was considered the rival of Giacomo Puccini and Richard Strauss.
Ruminations On "Rusalka," The "Ring," "Cyrano," And Shreker - Part III (April 2010): Part Three of a potpourri of operatic observations. Still another 20th-century opera composer coming back to life.
Ruminations On "Rusalka," The "Ring," "Cyrano," And Shreker - Part II (March 2010): Part Two of a potpourri of operatic observations. Another rarity at the Met.
Ruminations On "Rusalka," The "Ring," "Cyrano," And Shreker - Part I (March 2010): Part One of a potpourri of operatic observations.
Lunch With Louis Auchincloss (February 2010): Following the deaths of three great historians/fictionalists -- Louis Auchincloss, J.D. Salinger, and Howard Zinn -- the author recounts his 40-year admiration of and ultimate meeting with Auchincloss -- a lifelong book collector's ambition fulfilled.
Josef Gingold Turns 100 (December 2009): A violin legend and his memorials.
The Great Meyerbeer-Mendelssohn Mystery (September 2009): As part of Bard College's 2009 Summerscape Festival, Leon Botstein revives two operatic gems of converted Judaic culture -- Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots, and Mendelssohn's St. Paul -- in the context of the anti-Semitic Richard Wagner.
Shaw In Chicago Again (August 2009): Is 2009 the year for another smash hit musical of a George Bernard Shaw play?
How I found Shaw (March 2009): The political and literary conversion of a teenager: How Isidor Saslav discovered George Bernard Shaw and became a lifelong collector of everything Shavian he could get unearth.
Conductors' Guild Convention In New York 2009 (February 2009): Former concertmaster Isidor Saslav reports on the Conductors' Guild Convention in New York and his attendance of an open rehearsal of the New York Philharmonic, an odd mixture of classical, impressionistic, and bang-on-the-can schools.
The Jewish Role In History Re-evaluated (January 2009): Beyond the Hamas charter, Jews were indeed instrumental in taking down an awful regime in past times, Czarist Russia.
How Many World Premieres Can A Musical Work Receive? (January 2009): A Second (and Corrected) World Premiere of a 94-year-old Chamber Music Masterpiece.
Pictures At Another Exhibition (May 2008): Pictures at another exhibition: visual art can imitate music as well as vice versa.
Jay Greenberg: A Korngold For Our Times (May 2008): Jay Greenberg, 17-year-old Korngold of our times, has a world premiere in Tyler, Texas.
Galway In Texas (March 2008): The Texas Music Educators' Association, world's largest, joins with flutist Sir James Galway, world's greatest.
Five Films, Three Operas, And A Mystery Symphony In New York (December 2007): Torture, terrorism, war: not just 21st century events. Recent Spanish films, operas by Gluck,Verdi, and Prokofieff, and a censored symphony by Shostakovich: all these recent NY events show us that these things have been going on in the world and depicted in art for a long time.
Remembering Mstislav Rostropovich (May 2007): Isidor Saslav and his friend Arthur Lieb offer their personal reminiscences of the "Magnificent Maestro," the renowned Russian cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich who died in Moscow on April 27, 2007 at age 80.
More Revivals Of Seldom Heard Operas In New York (May 2007): The author, a fine connoisseur of the world of music, reviews hidden jewels of the operatic repertoire revived by the New York Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Opera over the years.
The Day Of The 'Cello (April 2007): Recent concerts in the deep American South highlighted that most glamorous of string instruments, the cello. One festival featured all of Beethoven's works for cello and piano in two concerts, à la Bayreuth. The other brought together no fewer than 6 cellists to play together a work by a composer more famous for his operas, Jacques Offenbach.
Concerts And An Opera In New York (March 2007): Review of American Symphony, NY Philharmonic, and Metropolitan Opera. American premieres of violin concertos.