24. May 2010 · Comments Off · Categories: Repair Quickly!

Claudio Abbado’s grand return as conductor of the orchestra of La Scala, ending a 24-year dry spell, has been canceled. Mr. Abbado entered a Berlin hospital last week with exhaustion and has pulled out of all performances for the next several weeks, La Scala said on Monday.

Read more here.

24. May 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

Click on this link. Every time I click on it I get a big smile on my face. Or else I get teary. Kind of depends upon my mood.

Jillian is an oboist and we “met” via our blogs. Her husband, Dave, plays sax but I don’t hold it against him. Well, not too much anyway. They have two beautiful boys. I’m thinking the boys might want to move out here and do my yard work for me when they get a bit older. Dave & Jillian can join them if they’d like. ;-)

24. May 2010 · 4 comments · Categories: Videos

I had heard, as has nearly everyone who has ever played the Barber Violin Concerto, that the person it was originally written for claimed that last movement was “too difficult”. Now I read this, over at David Thomas’s blog:

I can assure you that Mr. Briselli never found the third movement too difficult nor claimed it was too difficult. As Barbara Heyman (Barber’s biographer) noted, Briselli performed some of the most difficult violin repertoire to significant critical acclaim. Broder’s report of “unplayability” was simply a contrived excuse for Briselli’s rejection of the finale. Having spent the down-payment, Barber needed a way to salvage the commission. Barber and his backers consequently staged the “test” of the third movement’s playability without Briselli’s knowledge.

Interesting to read the whole thing.

Here’s the last movement:

Mostly I just love the second movement!

24. May 2010 · Comments Off · Categories: Read Online

50-year-old accountant James makes his TV debut on tomorrow night’s Britain’s Got Talent.

The clarinet player tells presenters Ant & Dec that he is a single man with no children and has never been married. Sounds a bit like male version of Susan Boyle.

On his talent he says:

“When I play the clarinet I get a warm feeling inside, it has a unique sound which provides a lot of pleasure for me. In the evening I play my clarinet and it takes away the stress of the day’s activities.

Read here.

24. May 2010 · Comments Off · Categories: News

Although the participants did not play instruments and considered themselves unmusical, their brains showed clear electric activity in response to musical changes (unexpected chords and changes in tonal key), which indicated that the brain was understanding the “musical grammar”. This response was enhanced, however, when the sonatas were played by musicians rather than a computer.

Read more here.

24. May 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: TQOD

Hot chocolate & pokemon while snuggled in my cocoon. Outside, someone is trying (and failing) to tune an oboe

24. May 2010 · Comments Off · Categories: Quotes

A lot of times musicians are treated really badly in this business. They’re generally not invited to premières, or even to cast-and-crew parties. And you don’t see their names in the end credits. It’s pretty much the only job on the crew where you gotta practice twenty or thirty years to be able to do what they do. Yet so many other people get to see their names up there, including, you know, the guy who brings the doughnuts. Not to diminish the guy who brings the doughnuts! We like him, too! But the musicians are a huge part of what makes a movie work. I always tell them, “Listen, I can put all these black markings on this page, but without you guys all I’ve done is mess up a piece of nice white paper.” So I try to make them feel appreciated. And we try to have fun doing what we do. I want this to be as fun as when I was ten years old, when “Star Wars” had come out and I was playing those LPs all the time and I’d decided I wanted to make movies for a living.

-Michael Giacchino

Read here, at Alex Ross’s blog Unquiet Thoughts.

24. May 2010 · Comments Off · Categories: Havin' Fun, Links

Music critic injured during Rachmaninoff performance

A music critic for the Orange County Register in California felt the life being sucked out of him during a concert last week but was able to continue working to the end of the event.

Timothy Mangan, the newspaper’s music critic since the latter part of the 20th century, sensed that he was “losing his will to live” during a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances by the local orchestra on Thursday.

“I just couldn’t take it anymore,” Mangan told reporters in the locker room afterward. “It was an odd feeling — hard to describe, exactly.”

But the veteran scribe didn’t panic.

“These things happen at this time of year,” he said. “It’s been a long season and we’re all playing hurt. I just have to man up and carry on. It’s all about executing.”

Many thanks to Timothy Mangan for this … I loved it!

24. May 2010 · 3 comments · Categories: Videos

In 1944, a version of the anthem reharmonized and orchestrated by Stravinsky (a dutifully patriotic act by the Russian emigre composer) got banned in Boston. Stravinsky’s modernist retouchings ran afoul of Massachusetts law, and after the first performance, which left the audience “stunned into bewildered silence,” Boston cops showed up at a later concert to make sure he didn’t repeat the offense.

“Let him change it just once and we’ll grab him,” a Capt. Thomas Harvey told a Boston newspaper. According to musicologist Michael Steinberg, at some point Boston cops seized the music.

Read here.

I also saw this link that says

On April 15, 1940, Stravinsky’s unconventional major seventh chord in his arrangement of the Star-Spangled Banner led to his arrest by the Boston police for violating a federal law that prohibited the reharmonization of the National Anthem.
(Thanks to Raycurt Johnson for the photo and info)

So is this the horribly offensive version? I wonder: