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Showing posts from 2008

Year in Review

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This year has been very successful in terms of this blog. I've read a great deal from the internet, the library and beyond, listened to numerous artists I didn't know existed and revisited a number of works I previously enjoyed rekindling my enthusiasm for them and posted about much of what I've learned along the way. News(86) and Opera(71) are my biggest topics, but since a lot of what I was writing about was news of the day, I'm not surprised that one tops the list. Opera is very near and dear to me, so again, not a surprise it came in at number two. Reviews(67) are kinda like news. Composition(65) came in number fourth; again no surprise as I am a composer, so of course composition would be a topic I return to often.Perhaps the biggest surprise for me is the 7000+ readers so far this year, 1000+ of those in December. I'm averaging over 50 readers a day, with numerous days seeing over 100 visitors to the site - most of those from the US (also a good sign). So…

New Music: Blending styles, audiences and technologies

Allan Kozinn of the New York Times wrote an article, "For New Music, Cross-Pollination and Big Crowds" which is about "young composers who are equally at home in classical music, rock, jazz and world music and whose work speaks to audiences with similarly unbounded interests." This is the same sort of sentiment I've often touted on this blog, new music needs to look at those composers who are blending styles of rock and jazz into classical mediums, pulling rhythms or flavors from world music and elements from minimalism or atonality into something new, fresh and listenable. That last bit is probably most key, the music is enjoyable to listen to.In another article from the New York Times, this one by Anthony Tommasini, "Classical Music That Dared to Be Different" it speaks about pieces performed this year that broke boundaries. One of the most prominent in my opinion was the internet broadcast of the New York Philharmonic's performance in North…

Broadway: "Rock of Ages"

I'm not a fan of musicals made from a collection of songs with a loose storyline putting it all together. But I do like entertainment, of all sorts. Perhaps it's just that I'm not a fan or ABBA music, which is why I never found the attraction to "Mamma Mia" - and yet, I really love the music of Journey, Bon Jovi, Styx, Reo Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Asia, Whitesnake... It was a great time for me and some really great music. So, to hear the musical "Rock of Ages" is finally making it's way to Broadway with rights to the film already secured by New Line Cinema has me pretty excited.The review of the Off Broadway production are promising with the Associated Press, "a nonstop party laden with sexy choreography, energetic performances and an on stage band that totally rocks the house." The Star Ledger proclaims, "tons of retro fun for anybody loving those bygone times of big hair and even bigger power chords," wh…

Call for Scores: Get your music reviewed

This Call for Scores is not so much a contest as a review of works by current composers. As a composer, I enjoy looking at the works of other composers, so I will be using this to learn about what other composers are doing as well as honing my music analysis skills. The other intent is to provide public exposure to works that have yet to be performed and yet are of a quality to warrant attention.As the Internet can be a great source of disseminating information, the reviews of the best works will be posted here, with samples of the scores and music in order to give quality works a chance to be heard. Not all scores received will necessarily get a public review, as each review will be returned to the person submitting the score for approval. If the person submitting the score does not want their review posted on this blog, it will not be posted.Purpose: To post reviews of quality scores to allow wider exposure to music which might otherwise be unknown to the general public. Requirement…

Update: "Three Decembers"

Not all reviewers gave the new opera "Three Decembers" a luke warm reception. Eman Isadiar of the Epoch Times said, "Heggie’s music is richly textured and primarily tonal with occasional forays into far-off, sophisticated harmonies. While innovative and moving, Jake Heggie’s music alone is not why Three Decembers is a remarkable contemporary opera, nor is the brilliance of Frederica von Stade as its central figure. Even a fine librettist such as Gene Scheer with his heart-piercing words cannot be credited as the opera’s single most important component, nor can the poignant storyline of the original play by Terrence McNally."It is when all of the above line up in perfect order—much like a rare astronomical convergence—that a great work of art is born. Ladies and gentlemen, Three Decembers is that work of art." However, Jason Victor Serinus from the Bay Area Reporter was not as favorable. He really wanted to love it. The first third of the article is all ab…

Academy Awards: Eligible Songs

This is NOT the list of songs nominated, but rather the list of songs OPEN for nomination. Eleven songs from High School Musical, but only three from "Repo!" For a film that is suppose to have the most songs ever in a film, it doesn't have many eligible. The full list of eligible songs, listed alphabetically by film, is below.“By the Boab Tree” from “Australia”
“Barking at the Moon” from “Bolt”
“I Thought I Lost You” from “Bolt”
“Once in a Lifetime” from “Cadillac Records”
“The Call” from “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”
“It Ain’t Right” from “Dark Streets”
“Too Much Juice” from “Dark Streets”
“Dracula’s Lament” from “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”
“Drive” from “Fuel”
“Gran Torino” from “Gran Torino”
“Rock Me Sexy Jesus” from “Hamlet 2”
“The Boys Are Back” from “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”
“Can I Have This Dance” from “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”
“High School Musical” from “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”
“I Want It All” from “High School Musi…

Oscar Composers: Their thoughts

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Clockwise from top: Danny Elfman, A.R. Rahman, Howard Shore, Alexandre Desplat and Jan Kaczmarek (Photo by Dan Busta/DanBusta.com)An interesting article/interview with five leading Hollywood composers was published by the Hollywood Reporter. Kevin Cassidy sat down with A.R. Rahman (Fox Searchlight's "Slumdog Millionaire"), Howard Shore (Miramax's "Doubt"), Danny Elfman (Focus Features' "Milk"), Alexandre Desplat (Paramount's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") and Jan Kaczmarek (Overture's "The Visitor"). One of the first questions was about a film or music that influences their work. It is interesting hearing Danny Elfman speak about Bernard Herrmann as an influence. I know the film he mentions "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951) and while it's a classic film, since Elfman is my age it seem odd that it's an older film that he stated as his influence. Certainly, John Williams was the composer…

New Opera: "Later the Same Evening"

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Edward Hopper’s paintings have been transformed into a new one-act opera, "Later the Same Evening." Images of loneliness and solitude are brought to live by a score by John Musto, receiving its New York premiere last week at the Manhattan School of Music.According to Vivien Schweitzer of the New York Times, "Mr. Musto’s musical-theater-like score, which features recurring marimba riffs, chromatic interludes, fugal passages and hints of blues and jazz..." Again the lines between opera and musical theater blur.
photo by Carol Rosegg

New Opera: "The Making of Americans"

Perhaps a bit out of the way of main stream premieres, "The Making of Americans" saw its debut at the McGuire Theater in Minneapolis last weekend. The Star Tribune posted a review of the performance.Adapted by director Jay Scheib from Gertrude Stein's novel of the same name, "Americans" has commendable music by composer Anthony Gatto. His score is alternately playful and lush, with both plinks and plonks as well as flourishes that suggest Verdi and Puccini. It is rendered with technical precision and spirit by an orchestra made up of the members of Jack Quartet and the new-music ensemble Zeitgeist.While Rohan Preston seemed to like the music, it was less kind to the libretto, 'In the last scene of the opera "The Making of Americans," Tanya Selvaratnam, who plays sometime narrator Mary Maxworthing, intones: "Repeating is the whole of living." She then echoes the same sentence, with slight variation, ad nauseam, while a stage full of sing…

Update: "Repo: The Genetic Opera"

It still hasn't arrived in the UK, but obviously the press machine for this film is working overtime. Yet another review appeared today, this time by William David Lee of DVDTown.com. I don't know whether this means the film is being released onto DVD before it makes a world tour, and if so, it doesn't bode well for the quality."Repo!" holds the record for the most songs in one film at 64. Not all the numbers could be considered full-fledged songs. A few are essentially bits of conversation sung. None of the songs are really all that memorable other than the ones previously mentioned. A lot of the music is just disharmonious noise on top of noise.Again, not a favorable review. Although perhaps the worst comment was meant as a compliment, "The production design looks remarkably good for a low-budget film."

Recording Live Concerts

Recording a live concert is always problematic. Where do the microphones/cameras go and how does that affect the audience during the performance? There is also the issue of overdubs and retakes. Audiences have come to expect pristine recordings from classical ensembles, and this is because in the studio mistakes can be corrected by re-recording sections or even individual notes, or using electronics to adjust the end result. However, for budding performers (or composers) getting a concert recording my be the only option as studios and musicians can be cost prohibitive. There is an article on Livemint.com about a small studio dedicated to recording Carnatic music live. One of the aspects it talks about is just this concept of cost verses getting the recording out to the public to be heard. One of the engineers, Charubala Natarajan says, There are really so many artistes out there, who are so good, but they aren’t being released commercially." The problem is cost of getting …

New Opera: "Three Decembers"

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"Three Decembers", a new chamber opera by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer, opened a three-performance run on Thursday in UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall. This is the second opera by this pair, the first "Dead Man Walking" (2000) received rave reviews. Their most recent venture isn't doing as well.Jeff Dunn, from San Francisco's Classical Voice says, "I longed for some decent melody. Almost all the melodic elements are merely accompaniment figures to pleasing though unmemorable arioso vocal lines. The only melody of significance, a cross between Faure’s Pavane and Pachelbel’s Canon, leaves little for the audience to whistle home about. This is a shame, because the libretto offers several opportunities for music to push rather than coddle its performers."Josh Kosman, of the San Francisco Chronical, enjoyed the music but not the libretto, "Most striking is his (Heggie's) command of the rhythms of spoken English, and his …

New Opera: "Leave Me Alone!"

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Two Cleveland natives have written a new opera, Leave Me Alone! which premieres Saturday, January 31, 2009, at 8 p.m. in Finney Chapel (Cleveland). The performance will also be streamed live to an international audience online at www.LeaveMeAloneOpera.com. Iconic underground comic book author Harvey Pekar wrote the libretto for jazz saxophonist Dan Plonsey. The live Internet performance of this opera has me most intrigued. "Doctor Horrible" was an Internet broadcast of a musical (in three episodes) that was a cult hit, but part of that is due to Josh Weeden, who has a huge following from his "Buffy the Vampire" and "Serenity" ("Fire Fly") series'. If this opera can achieve the same kind of notoriety, than composers may get the opportunity to present new works without the long protracted process required by opera houses today. So, mark the date on your calendar and listen in (or if you're anywhere near Cleveland, go to see if live!). T…

Memorable-Complex music

In the previous post I comment on the need for Contemporary Classical music to incorporate memorable melodies. However, this doesn't mean the melodies need to be boring - and the key to keeping them from being boring is how they develop.Classical Indian music is based on ragas (motives or melodies). However, a piece of music can last for hours with a skilled musician subtly developing the raga from one to state to another. If the raga (or melody) never changed, it wouldn't be long before the piece would become monotonous and boring. However, because the raga is changing, developing, moving as the piece progresses, there is a sense of interest in the music - and yet, the melody (raga) is still the key element to the music.In an article by Anil Srinivasan of The Indian Times, he discusses the use of classical Indian music in films. "Film songs, especially the melody-intensive ones, have a pleasing effect on the ear (karnatak). These numbers usually have a classical base, em…

Does Good Music have a catchy tune?

There is a lot of discussion as to what makes good music? Does good music have a catchy tune, or does a catchy tune make it boring and therefore excludes it from being good music? In a recent essay in the Wall Street Journal by Daniel J. Levitin, he discusses Christmas music and the nature of catchy tunes on our psyche. While his focus is the repetitive, boring nature of memorable Christmas tune, he also brings up interesting points about what makes tunes memorable and how we react to them. "The fact that music does get stuck in our heads -- the Germans call these Ohrwurms, or "ear worms" -- is a key to understanding how human nature evolved. Evolution selected music as an information-bearing medium precisely because it has this stick-in-your-head quality; all of us are descended from ancestors who used music to encapsulate important information... Early Homo sapiens realized that setting words to music made it easier to remember them; the internal constraints of musi…

Update: Christmas Music

Not surprised, but here is another list of suggested listenings for the Christmas Season by Sarah Bryan Miller of SLT today. From her list I was most interested in the recording of "Amahl and the Night Visitors" by the Nashville Symphony Chorus and Orchestra. I love this opera by Gian Carlo Menotti, and the fact there is a bonus track makes it all that more enticing.Jeremy Eichler's list isn't a Christmas album list, but a list of what you might want for Christmas. An interesting note is the Hilary Hahn's Schoenberg and Sibelius Violin Concertos (Deutsche Grammophon), which is the second list to include this album and of the Grammy Best Classical Album nominees, the only one listed. Lully: Psyché is included in Eichler's list and nominated for Best Opera Recording. Mr Eichler must like violin concertos too as three of his ten choices are violin concertos.

Strauss' "Intermezzo": a look at Modern Marriage

Vienna recently presented a new production of Strauss' "Intermezzo." George Jahn of the Associated Press, wrote a review discussing the contemporary feeling to an opera written over a hundred years ago. "...for today's audiences, the story line is a treat, because it is a true slice of life from the composer's marriage to soprano Pauline de Ahna, a drama queen who — at least to outsiders — appeared to make Strauss' life a living hell. Contemporaries describe her as demanding, unfair, ill-mannered and materialistic, ready to scold and belittle her husband at a moment's notice. But for the easygoing Strauss, she appeared to be just right." Manuel Brug from Welt Online felt the relatively unknown Swiss singer Carola Glazier was able to radiate the humour and nuances of the role of the wife, Christine, whose part needs to be "A bizarre woman with a very good soul, within reason she needs to be incomprehensible, moody, churlish and and neverthel…

Creating a Composition Environment with a Community

An article in the Missourian by Ricky O'Bannon talks about how David Ackerman and Jeanne Sinquefield hope to make Missouri a cultural hub for music composition. While they understand they may not become a Paris, Vienna or New York City overnight, they want to encourage composers to start thinking of Columbia Missouri as place where composition in encouraged and flourishes. I sincerely hope they succeed.Of the numerous ideas and plans in progress, so far they are encouraging MU students to write new works and promoting performances of these works by the MU students and faculty. The idea is to eventually create ensembles dedicated to just performing new works. All of these are very worthwhile projects and should be encouraged at all universities across the US (correction, world).However, becoming a hub for new compositions requires a collection of like minded composers, new composers, looking to create something new, different, looking at music in a different way. And then havi…

Christmas Music

Anyone who knows me knows the largest portion of my CD collection is of Christmas music. Every year my wife, son or daughter purchases a new album or two to add to the collection. To date my favorite is Vanessa Williams' Star Bright. However, this year I was gifted with A Charlie Brown's Christmas by Vince Guaraldi, destined to be a classic.There are LOTS more recordings out there and John Fleming, the Times Performing Critic has produced a collection of some of his recommendations.

Saving Money or Shooting ourselves in the Foot

Miami Ballet is turning to recorded music for the second half of their season to save money. Yet, university programs, such as Boston University, are turning out some truly top rate classical musicians. I have applied to several places to continue my education in music composition(Juilliard and Yale - with strong consideration given to Manhattan School of Music and the Eastman Conservatory). The purpose is to ultimately work in the field, to compose music for a living. While I may turn to teaching future students, the goal is to make my living through the music I write, whether it be for film, opera, ballet, orchestral or chamber performances. In order for me to succeed, I need performers who are willing to perform this music. For that to happen these performers need to be able to live, to work, to earn money as musicians. And one way for them to do that is to play in ensembles (orchestras) that provide live music for performances, like ballet.Broadway musicians shut down a numbe…

Creating New Markets

It seems Classical Music is growing in popularity in Kenya according to Cathy Majtenyi of Voice of America News. With the explosion of classical music in China and Venezuela, it only seems natural to explore the African continent to find new listeners. The key is not just utilizing the internet to reach a broader based of listeners, but to educate the young. According to the above article, much of the growing popularity in Kenya has to do with teaching the youth of Kenya to play instruments. While this program isn't really comparible to il Sistema in Venezuela, it does show how teaching youth can translate into listeners as adults. We, as the Classical Music establishment, need to focus more of our attention on getting youth around the world educated in music. It only helps to secure our own future.

Update: Grammy Nominations

After several lengthy discussions it seems as if I may have been a bit hasty with my impression of Walden's symphony. Sound bites are hardly enough to really hear a piece, and on a review of the sound bites there are elements which are well crafted, so I need to reserve further judgment until I can hear the whole piece.That said, it is a GOOD thing that a film composer is being given a nod as a classical composer AND that a new work is in the awards for Grammy Classical Performances. Both of these bode well for the future of classical music... so for nothing else, THANK YOU, Chris Walden for providing a piece worthy of this sort of recognition - paving the way for the rest of us.

Grammy Nominations

Classical Music doesn't get a lot of press out of the Grammy's. You never see a classical artist leading the list for most nominations. However, it is worth noting the artists up for best classical album this year. "Maria," Cecilia Bartoli, Christopher Raeburn, producer (Adam Fischer, Orchestra La Scintilla)
"Tarik O'Regan: Threshold Of Night," Craig Hella Johnson, conductor, Blanton Alspaugh, producer (Company Of Strings; Company Of Voices & Conspirare)
"Schoenberg/Sibelius: Violin Concertos," Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor, Hilary Hahn, Sid McLauchlan and Arend Prohmann, producers (Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra)
"Spotless Rose: Hymns To The Virgin Mary," Charles Bruffy, conductor, Phoenix Chorale, Blanton Alspaugh, producer
"Weill: Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny" James Conlon, conductor, Anthony Dean Griffey, Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald, Fred Vogler, producer (Donnie Ray Albert, John Easterlin, Steven H…

New Tricks for Old Music

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Photo by Mitch Jenkins The Emerson String Quartet is a very successful group, performing over 80 concerts a year and producing over 40 CD's of music. As a performer, the concerts aren't enough to pay the bills, so selling CD's is a necessary addition to helping the ends meet. With all the glamour and publicity the pop groups get, classical musicians have to find new and unique ways to get their music heard and their CD's sold. Slinky silk dresses works for some, but since the Emerson String Quartet is an all male group - putting them in slinky dresses probably wouldn't help sales much. So, they've opted for other means. One such is to include a bonus track which is only available via iTunes (ah, the power of the download market). They have also leveraged YouTube with a number of videos available. Perhaps my favourite is the multi-video collect of the recording of the Mendelssohn Octet. The artistry in recording the eight parts with four musicians is fascin…

Christmas Cheer in Classical Music

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I love Christmas. For me it is a season of hope and joy, and although there may be lots of reasons to not be cheerful this year (what with the economy, constant war and strife around the world...) the message of Christmas is one of hope. So, when I think of Christmas music I tend to turn to pieces like Vivaldi's Gloria or Corelli's Concerto grosso in G minor (Christmas Concerto). These are (IMHO) the epitomi of hope and joy and it is impossible (for me) to listen to the music and not smile from ear to ear.I am also a fan of John Adams, with a healthy respect for his music from his Violin Concerto to Doctor Atomic. However...The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra will present Adams's "El Niño (A Nativity Oratorio)" on the 13th & 14th of December. Not knowing this piece I went to have a listen (compliments of Amazon). The initial piece I sing of a Maiden has some really interesting rhythms, and very much in the Adam's minimalist style. As the oratorio prog…

The Violin, Emotion, Romantic, Melodies and Massenet

In the New York Times today there is an article about Jules Massenet's opera “Thaïs” opening on Monday. Peter G. Davis, the author of the article, starts by saying, this new production "will rekindle arguments over Massenet’s artistic worth and whether he has anything useful to say to contemporary audiences."Search of YouTube for Massenet's Meditation, which is from this opera, and you'll find dozens of violinists who have recorded this piece. I'm not talking CD or vinyl, which may be been recorded years ago and just re-released, but YouTube videos which means the artists are current (last 3 years). Listening to the "Meditation" (again) and I wonder why there was every a question, I wonder how Massenet ever fell out of popularity. The above article talks about the journey of "Thais" as an opera, falling out of favor and the slow journey back. In part the fall was perhaps due to Massenet's own life and controversy, and in part to the…

The Sound of a Silent Film: Music by Matalon

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Composing for film is a relatively new art form. The Argentinian composer Matalon has taken to turning this artform to older silent films which were originally designed to be watch with music, albeit there used to be an organist playing along with the film live. His latest project has been Fritz Lang's 1927 silent film Metropolis, the forerunner to all science fiction films and still one of the great films of all time. According to MetroActive, Metropolis with the Santa Rosa Symphony will show this Saturday (Dec. 6) at 8pm at Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University, California.There is a nice quote in the article. Matalon said in an interview, "There are few reference points when you're writing film music. If you're doing an opera, you'll end up thinking of how operas have been written for four centuries, but in film composing there are very few traditions. Silent-film accompaniments were usually improvised, not counting the work by Shostakovich and Prokofiev. T…

A Paucity of Words

Recently I had a chance to review the libretto for the Opera Dr. Atomic. I can't say I am impressed. In fact, most of the lyrics sound like pish…. This one for example –[Voice 1] Well how do you feel?
[Voice 2] Well, pretty excited.Did the composer just need one more syllable? Even stilted use of a word would be better. (Now? Pretty excited. or I'm pretty excited. or even a verbalization would have sounded more natural - hmm... pretty excited.)But things get WORSE with this one…... only my fingers in your hair, only, my eyes splitting the skull to tickle your brain with love ...You have got to be kidding me! How could you sing a line like this with a straight face? How could you listen to it and not want to burst out laughing?Or this sparkling example of hackneyed romance:If you could know all that I see!
all that I feel!
all that I hear in your hair!Does the character have synesthesia?These lyrics sound like they were written for a Saturday Night Live sketch that is a parod…

Downloading Classical Music

In the news yesterday, it seems the Boston Symphony Orchestra is creating a site where users can download recordings by this orchestra - in an attempt to make up for the lack of a record contract. The article goes on to say both the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra already have their own sites. BSO has been on iTunes, but there is little revenue in that (at least not for BSO - Apple is making a killing), so they are creating their own site. A bit more research and I find that classical music downloads sites are exploding everywhere. Here are just a few: www.classical.com/
www.classicsonline.com/
www.classiccat.net/
www.classicfm.co.uk/downloads
www.eclassical.com/
www.chandos.net/
www.naxos.com/
www2.deutschegrammophon.com/
www.lastfm.com/
www.classicsandjazz.co.uk/Again, this is just scratching the surface. What it does show is there is not only a market for classical music but potentially real choices for both artists and consumers. Since most of these sites also re…

A nice music blog, albeit very few entries

http://classicalmusicblog.com/ is a nice little blog with three articles, one on Beethoven's "moonlight Sonata", one on Phrygian progression and one on Niccolò Paganini (1782 – 1840) Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 6 (with a nice review of Hilary Hahn's performance of it). It's just a shame Roni hasn't posted more.Roni Alec Liebenson is a composer who studied for his MA at Academy of Gnesin in Moscow (at least he started his studies in 2000, according to his website). Based on "What I Am Working On", his compositional style is very classical in nature with a heavy influence by Mozart (with notations of 'alla Mozart' or 'Classsique' on his works page).

New Composer: Domenic Di Cello - Out of Castles

Out of Castles was an album by Domenic DiCello released in 2006, so it isn't necessarily new, but I just discovered a review of it on top40-charts.com in their classical section calling it "Modern Day Classical Music With Flavor." To call it music with flavor is like saying a new vanilla ice cream is modern food with flavor. Yes, it's all original music by Domenic DiCello, and it is lovely, but it's hardly anything new and exciting.Before I get too overly harsh with my own review, I should say top40-charts thought "there's something exciting coming out of Albuquerque, New Mexico." Quoted in this review are the comments by Terah Tucker, "From the first few notes of the first song on the album, I was sold. Domenic not only composes beautiful music, his execution of the pieces is superb. His technical ability is amazing, and the feeling he brings to each performance is truly a joy to listen to. Every song has it's own personality, and there…

Brett Dean wins Grawemeyer music prize

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The Grawemeyer Awards announced yesterday "The Lost Art of Letter Writing", a four movement violin concerto by Australian composer Brett Dean, won the 2009 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. “It’s a wonderful solo vehicle that also contains terrific writing for orchestra,” said Marc Satterwhite, a UofL music professor who directs the award. “The piece combines the brilliant surface one might expect from a Romantic era violin concerto with enormous emotional range and depth.”Each movement in the half-hour concerto begins with an excerpt from a 19th-century letter, with a violin evoking the mood of each letter as it plays the alternate roles of writer and recipient. Authors of the letters include composers Johannes Brahms and Hugo Wolf, artist Vincent Van Gogh and Australian outlaw Ned Kelly.You can listen to a sample of it here, by Frank Peter Zimmermann and the Münchner Philharmoniker. Dean conducted and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Ams…

Update: China and Classical Music

It seems to be the topic of the moment. Rod Dreher weighs on the same thing I talked about yesterday, the Future of Classical Music.

YouTube: Classical Music Explosion

The internet has been good to Classical music, create a new source for sales, downloading classical music has actually helped CD sales as well. Now, YouTube joins the fight to keep Classical music in the forefront with a competition to discover new classical musicians. According to the BBC, YouTube is running a contest revolving around a piece - commissioned by You Tube - scored by classical composer Tan Dun. WebUser is calling it an online orchestra, as "YouTube is calling on musicians to submit audition videos as it starts to build the world's first online orchestra. The winners, who will be chosen by the YouTube community, will be flown to Carnegie Hall in New York to play at a three-day classical music summit." The New York Times is covering this event as well with "The project, called the YouTube Symphony Orchestra (www.youtube.com/symphony), was announced on Monday in London and New York. Boiled down, it has two essential parts. The composer Tan Dun has wr…

The future of Classical Music: China or Venezuela

Nearly every week there is an article about Gustavo Dudamel, which eventually leads back to Venezuela's il Sistema, the programme devoted to teaching young kids to play classical music rather than belong to gangs and such. Today, there was an interesting article in Asia Times by Spengler about China and how much it is spending to raise a nation of classical musicians. 'Thirty-six million Chinese children study piano today, compared to only 6 million in the United States,' is just one of the many tidbits from this article.It goes on to talk about how influential music is in other disciplines, like medicine and law. There are bit tossed in about how studying music raised the IQ level of children, and how much Chinese parents are willing to sacrifice inorder for their kids to get a musical education. All of this culminating what will someday be a musical force, with more and more musicians reaching virtuoso calibre from Chinese origin. And yet, right now, most of these stu…

Opera Humor: Priceless videos of those who think they can sing

I didn't find these videos. Opera Chic found a couple of priceless videos. Here's one of Katherine Jenkins. And here is one of Cecilia Bartoli - oh, and a dog. Thanks, Opera Chic

Marketing Music: Where do we draw the line

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Musicians need to be able to make a living and in order to do so we need to be able to sell tickets. Symphony orchestras are painfully aware of their success of failure dependent on how full their halls are during performances. While ticket sales do not make the lion share of their balance sheet, sponsors, patrons and angels are not likely to fund an orchestra that only half fills auditoriums. So, music is looking at new ways in which to market old music.At Boston.com Jeremy Eichler wrote an article about the Russian Composer, Gennady Rozhdestvensky (pictured left), who pulled out of conducting four concerts for the Boston Symphony Orchestra because he was not properly listed in the marketing material. 'Rozhdestvensky discovered that his name had been omitted altogether from a list of "Distinguished Conductors" in the BSO's season brochure. He was also upset that the week's cello soloist, Lynn Harrell, had been featured in a large photo and given top billing on a…