Thursday, December 29, 2005
"Although it was done for Bach and Beethoven, Radio 3 has decided not to broadcast the entire works of Mozart in his 250th anniversary year, because it could come across as "too chocolate-boxy." More.
On the face of it, that seems to be no reason at all. And the only one buying it might just be Rupert Christiansen. Tim Luckhurst's scathing reply stands:
"George Orwell's use of the BBC as a template for totalitarian casuistry can look obsolete nowadays. But the corporation can usually be relied upon to throw up an executive to revive the stereotype. Step forward Roger Wright, Controller of Radio 3. His objection to proposals to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart combines pomposity with a startling contempt for self-interest. " Read the rest here.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
In the news today are reports of an investigation into the pricing of online music.
"Subpoenas issued to Warner Music Group, BMG, EMI Group, and Universal Music came to light over the holidays as all four received requests for information in the form of subpoenas in connection with an industry-wide investigation of the pricing of music downloads." More here.
As Podcasting News recalls, "State attorney generals have previously investigated the major labels over price-fixing issues. In 2003, companies settled a price-fixing suit involving CD sales spearheaded by a group of state attorneys general. The companies agreed to millions in cash payments and millions more in donations of CDs to libraries and schools." More.
Some related odds and ends thoughts here.
"2 Pianos 4 Hands "is the riotous tale of two boys in Canada sharing the same goal: concert pianist stardom," according to Marquis Entertainment, which handles licensing (and sometime produces) this title (and other shows). "They work fervently towards their dream amidst pushy parents, eccentric teachers, hours of repetitive practice, stage fright, the agony of competitions and the dream of greatness. As they mature, they become more aware of the gap between the very good and the great — and come to the humbling realization that greatness may be out of reach."
Sunday, December 25, 2005
And while you're at it check out the "Six Million Dollar Man Christmas Album" and other oddities of the period. It's here.
"My stint as a Baghdad church musician -- 10 weeks, until relieved by the chaplain's assistant -- was not distinguished. If I found 15 minutes during the week to peruse the music, then I'd lucked out. Free time was that scarce. Yet playing on Sunday proved to be no burden -- quite the opposite. Plunking on Beethoven, picking through "Holy Holy Holy" became the week's subtle, unexpected center, a moment of rough but sincere melody in trying, troubling circumstances. It was an unexpected gift." Read the rest here.
Friday, December 23, 2005
"A three channel video projection depicting three professional pianists attempting to perform a piece of music that they have never seen before. Each pianist is shown in a separate projection, and each starts the piece at the same time. They then continue playing at their natural speed. The work, Robert Schumann’s piano concerto in A minor, is challenging, and the pianists make mistakes. After a mistake, the pianist’s screen goes dark for five seconds, and their music stops, while the other pianists continue uninterrupted. Then the projection resumes, and the pianist continues playing. The more challenging the piece becomes, the more mistakes the players make, and the more the three projections turn off. In this piece, the editing itself becomes the taskmaster; the act of cutting determines a player’s presence as performer." More Here.
Described by one reviewer this way: " What begins as familiar music ends up as disjointed dissonance -- but with each pianist laboring honestly to create artistic perfection." Link.
I've really been intrigued by this idea since reading about it.
"Orrett Rhoden has been stirring those kinds of reactions and impressions from playing the piano since his childhood, being recognised as a prodigy certainly by the age of eight." Read the rest here.
Seo & Kato Piano Duo - 1st Prize
Varshavsky-Shapiro Piano Duo - 2nd Prize
De Stefano Piano Duo - 3rd Prize
Be sure to check out the competition website for vid clips. The De Stefano Clip leaves me wanting to hear more. Pity the clips are so short.
Thanks to the Dranoff Competition for making these available online.
Congratulations to the winners! !
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Four movies you could watch over and over: Waiting for Guffman, Duck Soup, Annie Hall, Female Troubles
Four TV shows you love to watch: The Colbert Report, Malcolm in the Middle, The Simpsons, Strangers with Candy, Smallville.
Four places you've been on vacation: Mexico, Canada, Bahamas, Adirondacks
Four websites you visit daily: TalkingPointsMemo, The Onion, Salon, Google (or pick any four from the WTB Blog Roll).
Four of your favorite foods: Thai, Mexican, Korean, Vietnamese
Four places you'd rather be: Spain, Iceland, New Zealand, Mexico.
That's it and now it's your turn! Tag.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
" Abbott invoked the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The attorney general alleges the company's "MediaMax" technology for copy protection violates the state's spyware and deceptive trade practices laws in that consumers who use these CDs are offered a license agreement. But even if consumers reject that agreement, Abbott says, files are secretly installed on their computers, posing additional security risks"
Read the rest here.
Best quick take: "Digital media represent a truly revolutionary change in the nature of "content." Attempts by companies to legislate their old business models into the new era will lead to odd and foolish consequences — including, just possibly, this one." More.
"Snoopy’s death has made CB (Charlie Brown) question everything in the world, and that spurs his wandering through Peanuts-ville – he wants to know what the others think of it, whether they believe in heaven for dogs and so on. The crazy twists and turns their lives have taken quickly overpower CB’s quest, though, and the plot soon switches to being more about discrimination against gays than about understanding death. This is because Beethoven (i.e., Schroeder) is, on just one tragic piece of evidence, presumed to be gay, and tortured by the others for it. Logan Marshall-Green is perfect in the part, from the moment he’s glimpsed on stage, hunched over the piano just like his cartoon counterpart."
Move over Peppermint Patti, indeed. Read the rest here.
De Stefano Piano Duo
Seo & Kato Piano Duo
Varshavsky-Shapiro Piano Duo
They will compete in the finals to be held tomorrow evening. Best of luck to all.
Some additional prizes were given out to non-finalists:
Piano Duo Yoshie & Takashi recieved the award for "Best Performance" of the commissioned work for the competition, a work by composer Marcel Bergman. And Duo Scarbo got a nod receiving the "Audience Prize". Congratulations!
Check out the Dranoff website for the competition. There you will find photos and videos (in .wmv format) online of the following duos
Quite good all around.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Monday, December 19, 2005
Read it here.
"Robert Schumann cured himself of a severe episode of mental illness by studying Bach's counterpoint, setting himself a task of composing six fugues on the composer's name. Neuro-musicologist Arthur Harvey, of the University of Hawaii, claims: "Bach's music consistently makes the brain work in a balanced way better than any other." link.
""Of all the music we tested in medical school with patients, colleagues and others, Bach's music consistently made the brain work in a balanced way better than any other genre," said Arthur Harvey, who is also an internationally known neuromusicologist." link
More about the CD and pianist Orgel can be found here. A brief interview with Orgel about the recording can be found here.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
And while you might not be able to download any Bach, you can download about 13 minutes of delicious improvising courtesy of the aforementioned Music in A Suburban Scene. It's quite a spray of notes. Check it out, here.
You find on the blog a schedule, notes from those involved, a treasure trove of links, and more.
You'll find it here.
No word on free downloads as with the Beethoven Experiment. I suppose that's no doubt good news for the recording industry. Speaking of which here are some quotes and thoughts on the latest regarding the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) flap over royalties:
A quote from Music Managers Forum (MMF)"... “This is a battle between the suits and the talent, and we are on the side of the talent. It’s the talent which creates the wealth in the first place - performers who are often writers. The music industry hasn’t handled the online market very well, and now they’ve got into bed with the online providers and are attempting to squeeze the income of the artists.” Read the rest here.
Musicians hit back in downloads dispute
"The group also challenged the record labels to reveal just how much money they currently receive from digital downloads. The Music Alliance has said that if the BPI gets what it wants, then BPI members would receive 40p - 50p per download whereas composers and song writers will get just a few pennies. "We have now submitted our reasons for why the record industry should adopt fresh economic thinking in a digital age to sustain the composing community upon which they rely." said Adam Singer, head of the Music Alliance." More.
Much food for thought all around.
"Pianist Melvyn Tan, the man at the centre of the recent controversy over National Service evasion, said he would defer his public appearance at the Esplanade and not be a judge in a local competition." Details
And this: "Pianist Melvyn Tan, a native of Singapore, has canceled a planned concert there amid accusations that he received special treatment after dodging the draft, Malaysia's Bernama news agency reports."
Every Merchant Ivory movie? Okie Dokie.
Friday, December 16, 2005
A couple of thoughts this morning on classical music on the nation's airwaves. I often wonder if the "classical music is dying" routine doesn't amount to a certain self-fulfilling prophecy. But first this.
Playbill Arts recently ran a bit on classical music on the radio titled " Who Knew? Classical Music Can Be Good for Ratings" on the effect of dropping classical programming at WETA in Washington D.C.. . The last paragraph caught my eye:
"a greater range of ages are now tuning in, citing ratings showing that the percentage of WETA's audience in the 65-74 age bracket has dropped from 16 percent to 11 percent in the past year, while those aged 25-34 rose from 10 percent to 13 percent."
Is that really good news? What's gained might be a loss. I wonder.
And in Boston the three B.'s (Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms) are likely to be knocked off the airwaves by country music. WCRB has been sold. Two stories to read this earlier one, speculating on the likely purchase coming down to two buyers Greater Media and Clear Channel:
"...that leaves Greater Media and Clear Channel. Interesting that McCord once ran Greater Media.Both operators have their reasons to buy, but neither of them necessarily include a proclivity for Schumann and Schubert."
And it's now reported that:
"...it certainly seems that we’re going to hear country on (WCRB),” said Scott Fybush, editor of the online newsletter NorthEast Radio Watch. “That’s the most logical thing for them to do.”
I'm inclinced to agree with the head of Marlin Broadcasting: " “To be a genuine world-class city, not to have a full-time commercial classic music station is kind of embarrassing.."
It isn't just "kind of" it is.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Also noteworthy are his transcriptions of the music of Dukas ("The Sorcerer's Apprentice") and Shostakovich ("Russian Dance of the Golden Age"). More here and here.
Monday, December 12, 2005
I freely admit classical music isn't high on my all-time greatest hits for the gym. but check out this list of classical music recommendations for gym rats. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Sweatin' to the Oldies". Choice quote: "All four concertos as well as the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini are packed with surging emotions that will push you into your aerobic zone." More.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
UPDATE: Thinking about the good old days, reminds me to point readers to the
The 1982 Atari Club Christmas Catalog. Step away from the Xbox and remember when. It's all right here.
"According to study results, patrons spent 5 percent more when listening to pop tunes, and when classical music was played, they spent 10 percent more.
Classical music is apparently not only an effect way to chase off teenagers, but a good way to encourage diners to spend more money. Read all about it right here.
Maybe not. This is the kind of news that makes one wonder whether to laugh or cry.According to news reports, "It seems that the victories obtained in the war against illegal file-sharing have given the music industry enough confidence in order to move to other types of so-called infringement of copyright cases....a crackdown on sites that offer free lyrics, scores or guitar licks."
Perhaps we should just start shutting down the libraries while we're at it. Read the rest here. And more.
A great profile of jazz master Dave Brubeck can be read here. A few days back I caught part of an intervew with Terry Gross on NPR's "Fresh Air". Check it out along with some of the other jazz links at the bottom of the website. Find it here.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
And, hey, volunteers are needed for the next installment of the glorious Carnival.
Give it a whirl, folks. Check in with TexasBestGrok for the details. C'mon it's easier than growing sea monkey and way more fun.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
"Ji Yeon Shin and Tatiana Mitchko Tessman both won the Gold Medal Siskron-Rice Award of $2,000." Read the rest.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
"A collection of enchanting silent films, "A Christmas Past" offers a nostalgic peek into the Yuletide pleasures of the early 1900s. Evoking the Victorian charm of Currier and Ives prints, these picturesque comedies and tender dramas were produced as cinematic Christmas cards offered to moviegoers of the silent film era."
"A Trap for Santa" (1909)
"A Winter Straw Ride" (1906)
"A Christmas Accident" (1912)
"The Adventures of the Wrong Santa Claus" (1914)
"Santa Claus Vs. Cupid" (1915)
"A Christmas Carol" (1910)
"The Night Before Christmas (1905, 9 min.)
"A Holiday Pageant At Home" (1901, 5 min.)
"Santa Claus" (1925)
The music by Al Kryszak is particularly effective. Check it out here.
"Composers and songwriters are arguing in the UK copyright tribunal that they should receive 7p to 9p from every track downloaded from the internet, instead of the current 5p. The demand, issued by the Music Alliance, which works on behalf of composers, is being made to counter steps by the record companies' association, the British Phonographic Industry, to cut their earnings to 2p per download."
"steps by the record companies association, the British Phonographic Industry, to cut their earnings to 2p per download
Read the rest here
From the wags over at "The Onion".
"The Recording Industry Association of America announced Tuesday that it will be taking legal action against anyone discovered telling friends, acquaintances, or associates about new songs, artists, or albums." Read the delicious rest of it here.