17. December 2009 · Comments Off on In Defense of The Nutcracker · Categories: Nutcracker

But let’s not castigate “The Nutcracker” just because it is the cash cow of American ballet. And let’s not make the mistake of assuming the tweeness of bad “Nutcracker” productions means that the ballet is itself twee.

Just listen to the ballet’s overture. In good productions the view of childhood that starts here, in the miniature orchestration and quick pulse of Tchaikovsky’s introduction, is enchantingly serious. Gradually the music will build in scale until you reach the colossal, slow, full-orchestral grandeur of the Sugarplum adagio in Act II: no ballet score has a greater span, and this shows how passionately Tchaikovsky was depicting the inner life of a child.


For those of you who don’t hear it constantly, here is the overture:

If you want more check out YouTube. I’m sure you’ll find a lot of it there.

17. December 2009 · Comments Off on Blogging Light These Days · Categories: Ramble

Not much to blog these days. It’s just, as I’m sure you’ll all agree, a busy kind of time. My brain tends to go blank this time of year. Go figure.

I did manage to paint a bedroom. Well, all except the woodwork. As I told Dan, “I don’t do woodwork.” I’ve actually never done woodwork, and I don’t plan on starting. It’s something we’ll have to hire out for sometime, as our woodwork is in horrible condition. But for now this will do; walls and ceiling are freshly painted, and the room is vastly improved. I’m happy that I had time to do it.

How, you might wonder, could I find time to paint during Nutcracker season?

This is an odd year — we had Monday through Thursday off! I am still hoping to get a few letters written and cookies made. Perhaps I’ll manage tomorrow, before we begin the run of four Nutcrackers for the weekend. (Four more next week as well. I’m skipping the final two that fall after Christmas.)

Meanwhile, check out the Lupophone. Really!

17. December 2009 · Comments Off on Nineteenth Day of Advent · Categories: Advent

17. December 2009 · Comments Off on Too Funny! · Categories: Links, Unbelievable

Jazzman Larry Ochs has seen many things during 40 years playing his saxophone around the world but, until this week, nobody had ever called the police on him.

That changed on Monday night however, when’s Spain’s pistol-carrying Civil Guard police force descended on the Sigüenza Jazz festival to investigate allegations that Ochs’s music was not, well, jazz.

Police decided to investigate after an angry jazz buff complained that the Larry Ochs Sax and Drumming Core group was on the wrong side of a line dividing jazz from contemporary music.

The jazz purist claimed his doctor had warned it was “psychologically inadvisable” for him to listen to anything that could be mistaken for mere contemporary music.

RTWT (Thanks PC Muñoz, for posting this on Facebook!)