Saturday, December 29, 2007
Here's something very interesting, before Facebook was a social network, the website url was a business, About Face. Here though is their first college site. Wild and wacky. Thank you Wayback Machine!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
At the edge of Hollywood Bowl village near Hogwoods, Grant-Lee Phillips plays a hurdy gurdy. None of the students pay attention, jinx him, and even Serious Gerard Schwarz in canine form, barks at him. But he continues to perform, and our Harry Partch decides he too, might do well with some improv. The parallel fifths and awful quodlibets pair well with the poor online sales of Phillips, and concludes the cycle with an eerily unfinished feel perfectly in character with the lonely wandering of the musician.
Der Leiermann seht die beiden Loreleiamfernsehermensch (The Organ Grinder who watched Gilmore Girls
Over beyond the Hollywood Bowl village
Stands an organ-grinder,
And with numb fingers
He plays as best he can.
Barefoot on the ice,
He totters here and there,
And his little plate
Is always empty.
No one listens to him,
No one notices him,
And Serious growls
Around the young man.
And he just lets it happen,
As it will,
Plays, and his hurdy-gurdy
Is never still.
Shall I go with you?
Will you play your organ
To my baton with a tail feather from Drumandbuglecorps's firebird, Igor?
For another fine edition of Danse Macabre
Monday, December 24, 2007
The number of interviews I've already done for the next season of Composing Thoughts, starting March 23rd, 2008.
Vistor #25,911 (please no Guiliani jokes please about 911)
Dec 24 2007 8:51:31 am Hastings on Hudson, NY from http://www.therestisnoise.com/2004/11/music_blogs.html
The number of personalities interviewed in 2007
Daron Aric Hagen
Steven Stucky (seen right)
Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)
Augusta Read Thomas
Musicians (38, 41 if you count multiple interviews)
Helene Grimaud (below left)
student Alexander Englert
Claremont Trio (twice!)
Joshua Bell (twice!)
Fry Street String Quartet
Ernesto Tamayo (twice! on air and onstage!)
Lincoln & Shari Mayorga
Other personalities (5)
poet Deborah Larsen
Sensei Tony Stultz
6. What was your most memorable performance?
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Steve, Izzy, Jann and I started with drinks and snacks at Steve's apartment and then went to dinner. The wines were notable, especially the Newton 2002 Chardonnay, and the red Sassicaia from Esa-Pekka. Unfortunately the Barolo was past its due, but was great in its day.
Food and service were excellent, and afterwards we had some single malts and Preferidos from La Aurora.
Read about my previous adventure at Zaza's here.
Yesterday I had a good morning doing a few errands and then took a casual drive up to Ithaca. I didn't take the highway this time, rather a leisurely roadtrip straight north through PA and NY. I'll follow a similar route home.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
You also may remember me hearing ads about Cyrano on the radio while in awful traffic in October. So I was excited when the strike ended and Cyrano would be running again. But then I was panicked, because it became THE show to see, and very popular. I was lucky to find a ticket though, and actually plan to go again with some friends before it closes.
You see, live theater is just like live music, very special - very breathing - and something that should be savored. Cyrano is no exception, especially with this cast.
I originally was excited because Jennifer Garner was Roxanne. And getting her autograph and speaking with her briefly outside the stagedoor left me so euphoric that I ended up driving back to Harrisburg because I knew I couldn't sleep - I was very hyped and wired and happy, and drove back that night instead of staying at a friend's apartment.
Truth be told, Kevin Kline is the true star of Cyrano, not that Jennifer wasn't good, because she was stunning. The play though is after all called Kevin's character Cyrano. I should say that the whole cast is special and just right. But Kline delivers the lines with depth, humor, sadness and a plethora of emotions. And his staging is magnificent: swashbuckling, pratfalling from the moon, and heartbreaking in his death.
Garner portrays innocence, beauty, strength, and love with her smile, voice and natural abilities. Signing my playbill, I asked how she was doing. She replied, "I'm wiped! That final scene is so much!" I replied it was emotional and I cried. [uh, that is during the last scene, not while she was signing my program. ;) ] She is perhaps more beautiful in person than she is on screen if that can be believed, and her voice is such a hoot. I had been in the second row of fans, and she had been by once on our side and three of us moved up to the barrier to get autographs, as she was signing at the end (pictured on the right), she was about to go to the other side, the new folks at the barrier called out "Jen!" I said pleadingly, "One more?" She replied, "Oh, did I miss some?" She was sweet and came back over. She then went over to the other side for her fans and I went to drive back home.
At intermission, I had asked one of the ushers about autographs, and he directed me where to go, and I also asked if the cast was good about signing, and he smiled and nodded. I marvel at Jennifer who has family, just performed a 2 hour play, and then spends time talking and signing programs for fans on a cool NYC winter night - what a sweetheart.
Anyway, the production is stellar and I recommend it highly.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
10. Orchestra of St. Luke's Chamber Players @ Chelsea Art Museum.
An amazing festival from Joan Tower with the composers in attendance and the audience on their feet applauding, in a captivating space - who could ask for anything more?!
9. Joshua Bell and Jeremy Denk @ Verizon Hall.
Wonderful, dazzling recital with new music by Edgar Meyer.
8. Claremont Trio @ Gettysburg College.
All out playing by a vibrant ensemble!
7. Soprano Vira Slywotzky and composer Yehudi Wyner @ Songs of Innocence and Experience in Christ & St. Stephens Church.
Charm, humor and great communication set this performance in my mind.
6. Blair McMillen @ Italian Academy, Columbia University.
Technique was an afterthought, and musicality at the forefront with impeccable virtuosity in a completely modern program. Almost every composer on the program was in attendance, and in awe!
5. Kiri TeKanawa Farewell Recital @ Verizon Hall.
Hearing Kiri live, and in some of the most beautiful Strauss songs ever is hard to beat. Her encores were to die for!
4. Maria Bachmann & Jon Klibonoff play the Red Violin cd release party @ Merkin Hall.
Awesome playing, stellar interpretations and live composers, h00t!
3. Cellist Elinor Frey @ Casanovia Counterpoint premiering Steven Stucky's Dialoghi.
Charming, riveting solo work with touching, expressive lines.
2. Christian Tetzlaff, James Levine and the Boston Symphony @ Symphony Hall.
1. Helene Grimaud and NY Philharmonic members @ the Metropolitan Museum.
Stunning, passionate performances with flair, playing Brahms and Schumann chamber works.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Tubist Phillip Black (left) portrays the Polish Composer Krzysztof Penderecki (above) in the new music movie about the decision to title an avant garde work with the help of a woman, played by Roxanna Panufnik (right), who previously scored music for Ed Harris (below) as a deaf musician/emotional abstract artist who drips paint and violently attacks Viggo Mortensen.
The story is loosely based and orchestrated with basses. Think of Walk Hard meets the Schoenberg Code.
Copying Penderecki also stars Tom Hanks as Arnold Schoenberg's ghost, who warns Penderecki about the highest possible note.
F Murray Abraham portrays a Polish communist leader attempting to poison Penderecki and take his Threnody as his own.
Nastassia Kinski is Penderecki's young lover who's father objects to their relationship.
Judy Davis also appears as the cigar smoking poetess who is inspired by Penderecki's music. Jonathan Pryce and Sarah Wynter are a troubled Vienese couple who influence Penderecki, but not as much as Bruckner does. Robert Powell has a smaller role as Pryce's twin brother and Georgina Hale plays Sarah Wynter's twin sister - both rather dreamy and metaphorical.
Stranger yet is an appearance of Wierd Al as a tv programmer who invites Penderecki to a new show on Channel 62, Polish Idol, where each week contestants play and sing cluster chords.
Catch Copying Penderecki at a computer near you!
You also might enjoy this Harry Potter/Partch spoof...
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
When the Friday Informer does return, no doubt she'll include Dr. Dick's latest writing on Bach, fugues and cars - too clever and funny!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Peter Lea-Cox, an English organist, will give a recital, beginning at 7:30 on Friday, October 10, 2008 at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Harrisburg, PA. Margaret and I have heard one of his recitals. He opened with English Baroque music, including Handel, Greene, Thomas Arne, etc., then transitioned smoothly into elegant English Romantic Period music, such as Elgar, Howells, Finzi, Stanton, Ireland, and the like.
Margaret and I thoroughly enjoyed his recital on a small but (as always) distinguished Taylor and Boody tracker pipe organ. He's so ingenious with registrations, that he made this small instrument sound like a considerably larger instrument with more tonal resources than the instrument actually has. He is professionally deeply interested in English Baroque music, and plays it extraordinarily well.
We really would like to get a big turnout for his recital. So, tell your friends and invite them to put it on their MS Outlook calendars, and then as the date approaches, give them a bit of friendly harrassment to remind them.
Hotel chain offers free rooms for Marys and Josephs at Christmas
A hotel chain Tuesday said it was offering couples called Joseph and Mary in Britain, Ireland and Spain free accommodation this Christmas on proof of marriage and name.
Hotel chain Travelodge said husbands and wives matching their criteria would get a night's stay on the house, but with more home comforts than the humble stable of the Christian Nativity story.
The offer, appropriately, runs between Christmas Eve (December 24) to Twelfth Night (January 5, 2008).
"The phrase 'no room at the inn' is something that resonates with us in the hotel business," said Travelodge operations director Jason Cotta.
"Therefore this year we have decided to evoke the true spirit of Christmas and invite Mary and Joseph couples as our guests."
A Travelodge spokeswoman told AFP couples will have to be married and provide proof of identity and register their names at a special e-mail address.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
Stockhausen always made a strong impression on me, and I'm sorry to hear of his passing. My friends and I in college would listen to Gesang de Jungelinge over and over. Most recently I downloaded Gruppen from the DG Webshop and enjoyed the Harmonia Mundi release of Stimmung out this fall. Several of the days from Licht are also among my favorites despite the odd views of the man, Stockhausen's music was excellent and creative.
News of his death via The Rest is Noise.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
These La Flor Domincanas were beautiful, a perferido classic shape (like you see in cartoons, that look a little like a flying saucer) called Mystico. They were tasty and delightfully mild. As the night progressed we finished our soup and had a fruit and cheese plate, again, a delightful accompaniment with the cigars.
As I ordered some coffee, and I admit, lit another cigar, I asked for the check. Our waitress came by and took my credit card. As she left and went to the register, we heard, "OMG! John Clare. Like classical music, John Clare. I listen, OMG! I'm waiting on John Clare!"
Ernesto immediately started laughing, he always likes to introduce me as the famous radio host and here he was, hearing a waitress exclaim it to the entire restaurant. I smiled back and turned to her. "Yeah, that's me."
It was her turn to blush as she realized we all heard it. Later she was telling friends of hers at another table and motioning to us. It was a hoot. We talked about some shows, fundraising and how we both are enjoying WXPN increasing their signal in the midstate - good music and competition are good things I believe.
It was fun to have a "spotlight" moment - actually earlier Tuesday a very good patron of WITF came by the Public Media Center and waved to me in the booth (read Dr. Dick's adventures in MCR from Tuesday here) and I went out and spoke to her. The sweetest thing she told me and one of our Development staff was how much she enjoyed seeing me at all the area concerts - which I said I'd see her at more soon.
All in all, a really nice day today, and made me remember similar moments in Philadelphia and a couple at Carnegie Hall!
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Last night was the Local 213 Apreciation/Holiday dinner - a fun time was had by all.
I'm very happy that the snow/sleet/ice that was predicted was just rain, making the trip down much easier today. I had time to go to Trader Joe's and get some of my favorites and some presents for friends/family.
(Photos of John in Baltimore enjoying a cigar near the city monument and by a instrumental music store.)
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I spent some more time with DG Webshop last night, from downloading albums to searching the site. It's easy, logical and great quality. Downloads were speedy, whether it was a single track, album covers (I captured an Anne-Sophie Mutter cover electronically that I already have on cd), or the java-based useful and easy download manager for whole albums.
Especially nice is a comprehensive tour schedule, and extensive artist information and links. All in all, DG Webshop is well thought out. It is exciting to have such a classical music resource. Get thee to http://www.dgwebshop.com/ - I'll quote a friend who sent me a news item about it yesterday who knew I would be interested, "I always knew DG was a cool company."
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Deutsche Grammophon will launch its DG Web Shop tomorrow, November 28th, enabling consumers in 40 countries to download music at the highest technical and artistic standards. This global penetration includes markets where the major e-business retailers, such as iTunes, are not yet available: Southeast Asia including China, India, Latin America, South Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe including Russia.
Michael Lang, President of Deutsche Grammophon, stated: “Our company was founded over 110 years ago, and since then, it has stood for innovation and quality. During the development of our new web shop, we remained true to these principles as we continue to expand the digital music marketplace with our range of download services.”
Almost 2,500 DG albums will be available for download in maximum MP3 quality at a transfer bit-rate of 320 kilobits per second (kbps) – an audio-level that experts agree is indistinguishable from CD quality audio; and which exceeds the usual industry download-standard of 128-192 kbps (as well as EMI’s 256 kbps on iTunes).
I'm stunned at some of the available tracks out of print, including one of my favorite Orpheus Chamber Orchestra recordings of Mozart.
The press stuff is way fun too:
Sunday, November 25, 2007
It's got to be yes or no
It's either you stay or go
You can't leave me on the shelf
You gotta commit yourself
It's either you will, or you won't fall
In love with me
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Coming this week, a posting of Ernesto Tamayo in the studio @ WITF. Catch him next weekend in Baltimore @ An Die Musik.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I'll contribute my rather classical selections:
Gorecki's Third Symphony - this "Sorrowful Symphony" is linked with several special moments - which when hearing always brings back memories
Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony - the horn solo in the second movement is another powerful memory inducer
Lisa Ekdahl Now or Never - a jazz song that kills me everytime
Saint-Saens Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix - conducting it didn't make it any easier
Dvorak Cello Concerto - 3rd horn call in the first movement breaks my heart like the first time an orchestral player did the same
Schubert Cello Quintet - reading this chamber work didn't help the sorrow from seeing my lover playing it in the group
Conus Violin Concerto - ah, summer love lasts only so long
Bartok Violin Duos - more summer fun in Carolina
Bach-Busoni Chaconne - I can't hear it without having one performance in mind that melted me to the quick
Vivaldi Bassoon Concerto in A minor - I always remember the loss of a friend, from breast cancer, who coached this piece
Verdi Requiem - while also not a break up, I always think about losing my grandfather as his death coincided with a performance
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Make it a new music "Black Angels" Friday - buy the Miro Quartet version here, or the Kronos recording here.
Also, check out the interview I did with George at his house in Media, PA here on the Composing Thoughts website.