03. July 2008 · Comments Off on Happy Birthday, Leoš Janácek · Categories: Birthdays!

Born July 3, 1854

03. July 2008 · 2 comments · Categories: Links, News

I’ve written about this before: “classical” artists seem to want to cross over to pop. And pop artists want to cross over to classical. I have my theories. But I won’t go into it yet again. (You can thank me now. You can thank me later.)

After his amazing solo album, Eraser, Thom Yorke decided to turn his efforts in a classical work! With his Radiohead friend, Johny Greenwood, Thom Yorke will work with other 11 musicians (including Gorillaz and Beta Band members) to contribute for a clasical music remix album named “Cordical Songs“.

(Read here.)

I wonder if they’d like to hire a somewhat older oboist. Hmmm.

03. July 2008 · Comments Off on Elaine Douvas · Categories: Concert Announcements

Ms. Douvas will be playing a recital at Hidden Valley Music in Carmel Valley on Monday, July 7, at 8:00 PM.

This takes place during her 2008 master class there, but you don’t have to be attending the master class to attend the concert. Cost is a mere $20.

Found here.

03. July 2008 · Comments Off on Well. Okay. · Categories: Links, Quotes

Not only have I finally got a record deal, but they understand my eclectic taste in music. Who needs yet another version of Nessun Dorma?

-Andrew Bain (Newly signed to Sony, read here.)

So instead we will hear an operatic version of “Purple Rain”. I guess we need that?

Okay. Maybe it’ll be wonderful. I guess I’ll have to hold off on mocking this until I hear it, right? So I’ll wait. Promise.

03. July 2008 · Comments Off on Do You Want Cheese On That? · Categories: Links, Other People's Words, Ramble

Franck is a good example of a once popular composer who has been all but expunged from the repertory. Perceived wisdom has it that his music – like Rachmaninov’s before him – is too indulgent and lacks subtlety: in a word it is too “cheesy”.

Do audiences agree? I don’t think so. But it is conductors who rule the roost and conductors who select the music we hear. And, being human (although Nigel Kennedy may disagree with me about that), they are hardly averse to choosing works that show off their podium skills.

Which is why Delius’s music barely gets a look in nowadays. Half a century ago conductors such as Beecham, Barbirolli and Sargent had the confidence to slip in such tasty Delian morsels as A Song Before Sunrise or Summer Night on the River without worrying that the music ends quietly and there is no burst of applause at the finish.

But, in case you are thinking that it’s only the romantics who suffer from classical music’s mood swings, consider the plight of those 20th-century titians Honegger and Hindemith.

Perhaps their contrapuntal complexities do not suit every palette, but their music hardly deserves such total neglect. Honegger once observed that “the first requirement for a composer is to be dead”, but his idea of a good career move has singularly failed to bring his own music to life.

-Julian Lloyd Weber (RTWT)

For what it’s worth, the only thing I know by Franck is his d minor symphony, which I can gladly do without. I love playing the Honegger work Concerto de Camera for flute, English horn and strings. And Hindemith has always been fun to play, even though I think the way he ends his oboe sonata sort of falls flat.

But never mind what I think. Listen to the works and see what your ears tell you.

03. July 2008 · Comments Off on Wesla Whitfield · Categories: Other People's Words

Ms. Whitfield sang with San Jose Symphony many years ago. I really enjoyed her.

Next came four seasons with the San Francisco Opera chorus where she learned some valuable lessons.

Lesson 1: “I learned that whenever something went wrong you had to hide right away because (opera director) Kurt Adler was coming and he would yell at the first person he saw.”

“It was fabulous,” she added in the next breath. “I was a professional musician and it was exciting.”

Lesson 2: “The most difficult part of being in the opera chorus was you spent every moment downstairs in the dressing room with a room full of women who all wanted to be soloists and we, the kids in their 20s, were not beloved by those women. I learned how to get on … It was great training for show business, it really was.”

I read it here