Classical music gets a bum rap these days. It’s perceived as the thing only your grandparents listen to yet its the backbone to almost every great move ever made. B-Classic, a Belgian music festival which promotes classical music is out with a new video that asks us to envision classical music differently.

We all know a great video can vastly increase the appeal of a piece of music. MTV knew that and built a business on it. Now that’s YouTube’s job. But we digress.

Check out this video in which cheerleaders and hot pants-clad hotties shake their booties to Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 Allegro con fuoco as if they were in a hip hop video.

I read it here.

I watched a few seconds worth of the thing. The “dancing” was so wrong for the music I couldn’t continue. I won’t post the video here, because for me it just seems trashy. I don’t put things up here that I find questionable or trashy

Yes. I’m old.

Walker Harnden of Pittsboro has just whistled his way into the record books.

Harnden, a 19-year-old sophomore oboe major at The UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, recently whistled the highest note anyone is known to have ever whistled.

Twelve weeks later, his achievement was certified and posted by The Guinness Book of World Records:

“The highest note whistled is a B7 (3951 Hz) which was achieved by Walker Harnden (USA) at the Hoad Recital Hall, University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, North Carolina, USA, on 7 November 2013.

The “B7” note is the B just below the high C on a piano – or, to put it another way, the second-highest note on a piano.

The previous record for highest note whistled was held by Jennifer Davies of Canada, who whistled the second E above middle C at the Impossibility Games in Dachau, Germany on Nov. 6, 2006.

She still holds the record, from that same event, for lowest note whistled: the F below middle C.

Harnden says he’s leaving that one alone.

“She has me beat there by a whole step,” he said, “and I don’t want to take away all of her glory.”

RTWT (Because yes, there’s more!)

We oboists can be multi-talented, you know? (But don’t ask me to whistle! I can whistle while inhaling, but I can’t do it blowing out. How weird AM I, anyway?!)

Did I laugh out loud. Yes. I did.

I have GOT to believe this is a joke.

Selling my child´s oboe

It is a shame but it was not worth it to give my child a used oboe. We haven’t been too impressed. Somehow, I had more hope in his talent. Hence, we decided to sell the oboe. There is nothing special about the oboe and I consider a price reasonable between $58 and $86.

…when the soloists were asked to guess whether the violins they were playing were old or new, the soloists got it wrong 33 times and right 31 times.

RTWT

Following Postponement of Closure, San Diego Opera Receives $1 Million Gift From Board Member

he San Diego Opera has received a $1 million gift from a board member that is intended to assist the the company in developing a new business model, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The money was given “to encourage us to rescind the dissolution vote as soon as possible,” board member Carol Lazier said in a release sent by the company April 4.

I read that here.

… the oboe is the instrument used to tune the rest of the orchestra. It requires plenty of intestinal fortitude and you have to be able to keep the stream of hot air very steady.

Yep. I read it online so it must be true! ;-)

Now that conductor Osmo Vanska has revealed he’s in negotiations for a possible return to his old job of Minnesota Orchestra music director, it’s a good time to address the issue of why this one particular leader is so important to this one particular orchestra. Arts organizations change leaders all the time. Why would Vanska’s departure take on the tone of tragedy for so many?

Words can’t answer that question nearly as eloquently as the music performed at Orchestra Hall midday Thursday, when Vanska was reunited with his old orchestra. The program consisted of the two symphonies by Jean Sibelius that were on the recording recently given the Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance. And Vanska and the orchestra showed they have a relationship that’s extremely rare in any art form. The musicians so clearly have a deep faith in Vanska’s vision for the music, and are not only willing to work as hard as they must to achieve it, but embrace the opportunity passionately.

Read more here.

… one that I could not possibly enter.

In a collaboration with technology companies Telefónica and Wayra, the Lang Lang International Foundation, the Lang Lang Challenge will accept proposals from digital developers for an app with a classical music focus.

A panel of judges will evaluate all entries on the basis of their innovation, the app’s ability to teach users about an aspect of classical music, according to the press release, “in the most attractive way possible”, and the app’s potential to be shared around.

Read more here.

Go ahead … check out this chart. Read it and weep. Or don’t. (It depends upon which instrument you play!)

Maybe sometime later I’ll come clean about MY reeds.

Maybe.

This is making the rounds …

Helen Keller wrote the following letter to the New York Symphony Orchestra in March 1924. Here’s how she describes listening to Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony” over the radio:

“Dear Friends:

I have the joy of being able to tell you that, though deaf and blind, I spent a glorious hour last night listening over the radio to Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony.” I do not mean to say that I “heard” the music in the sense that other people heard it; and I do not know whether I can make you understand how it was possible for me to derive pleasure from the symphony. It was a great surprise to myself. I had been reading in my magazine for the blind of the happiness that the radio was bringing to the sightless everywhere. I was delighted to know that the blind had gained a new source of enjoyment; but I did not dream that I could have any part in their joy. Last night, when the family was listening to your wonderful rendering of the immortal symphony someone suggested that I put my hand on the receiver and see if I could get any of the vibrations. He unscrewed the cap, and I lightly touched the sensitive diaphragm. What was my amazement to discover that I could feel, not only the vibration, but also the impassioned rhythm, the throb and the urge of the music! The intertwined and intermingling vibrations from different instruments enchanted me. I could actually distinguish the cornets, the roil of the drums, deep-toned violas and violins singing in exquisite unison. How the lovely speech of the violins flowed and plowed over the deepest tones of the other instruments! When the human voices leaped up thrilling from the surge of harmony, I recognized them instantly as voices more ecstatic, upcurving swift and flame-like, until my heart almost stood still. The women’s voices seemed an embodiment of all the angelic voices rushing in a harmonious flood of beautiful and inspiring sound. The great chorus throbbed against my fingers with poignant pause and flow. Then all the instruments and voices together burst forth – an ocean of heavenly vibration – and died away like winds when the atom is spent, ending in a delicate shower of sweet notes.

Of course this was not “hearing,” but I do know that the tones and harmonies conveyed to me moods of great beauty and majesty. I also sense, or thought I did, the tender sounds of nature that sing into my hand-swaying reeds and winds and the murmur of streams. I have never been so enraptured before by a multitude of tone-vibrations.

As I listened, with darkness and melody, shadow and sound filling all the room, I could not help remembering that the great composer who poured forth such a flood of sweetness into the world was deaf like myself. I marveled at the power of his quenchless spirit by which out of his pain he wrought such joy for others – and there I sat, feeling with my hand the magnificent symphony which broke like a sea upon the silent shores of his soul and mine.” The Auricle, Vol. II, No. 6, March 1924. American Foundation for the Blind, Helen Keller Archives.

I saw it as well as on Facebook.