Showing posts from October, 2008

Singing songs about sex

Sex sells... it's been a topic of this blog on several occasions and, oddly enough, when ever I write about it the number of hits I get dramatically increases. No, that's not the reason I'm writing about it now. Now it's a topic of both song cycles and opera - although Richard Strauss' opera Salome has the famous dance of the seven veils, so sex has been selling songs in opera for a long time. Here are a couple of events in the news. From the Moscow Times : Michael Nyman is a British composer of some renoun, prehaps best known for his film music, particularly in The Piano (1993). He is traveling to Russia to perform works from his recent CD releases, "Mozart 252" and "8 Lust Songs: I sonetti lussuriosi," this coming Saturday at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. 8 Lust Songs is a song cycle based on "16th-century Italian pornographic texts by a fantastic writer named Pietro Aretino," said Nyman, "These are very sexual, very s

First Glimpse: Violin Concerto No 1

The first movement is nearly done... Here is an mp3 file to listen to, and for those of you looking for a score a pdf version is here . As always, comments are very welcome... The third movement is well on it's way. The second movement is the one that needs the most work. I don't have a violinist in mind as yet. So, if you know anyone who is looking for something virtuosic to play...

Fifth Symphonies...

Ok, I'm a long ways away from writing my 5th symphony. The premiere of my 1st symphony was just back in June and now I'm working on my 1st Violin Concerto, so I have a feeling symphony No 5 is a long ways off. However, reading an article by Steve Smith article about Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s new Symphony No. 5 performed by the Juilliard Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Monday, I realised that looking toward the 5th may have interesting connotations. Mr Smith references a post by Bob Shingleton in An Overgrown Path and the significance of composers fifth symphonies. Shingleton writes, "If you want to capture the essence of a composer's style you will find it remarkably often in their Fifth Symphony. Think of Beethoven, Bruckner, Sibelius, Shostakovich, Vaughan Williams, Mahler, Martinů, Prokofiev, Nielsen and Tchaikovsky. Their Fifth Symphonies are not, necessarily, their greatest works, but somehow they capture the unique voice of those composers." I am familiar wit

The Role of Music in Opera

There are numerous books on the topic, and every composer, librettist, director, singer and audience member has their opinion as to what role the music should play in an opera. In a play without music, the words ought to support the meaning behind a character's actions. However, in the case of action movies, often times the action is what tells the story and there aren't words, just images to forward the plot. We might hear music to accompany action, build tension, but the action tells the story. Musicals tend to speak until the emotion of the moment just "has" to break out in song - unless it's something like "Mama Mia" where the dialog is the rails we travel on between songs; the songs themselves, written before the concept of the musical, are the focus of the production, while the story is secondary. Operas are a different beast. The music provides emotion to the words spoken, but it also plays the role of ambience when there is only action. In &quo

When sexy isn't enough...

Humour is good for the soul, and this story left me chuckling this morning. It has to do with Escala, the all girl string quartet I posted about last Saturday. They were suppose to be releasing an album soon, but it's been postponed; they aren't ready yet. What's funny about this are some of the comments in the article. A spokesperson said ""The girls did not want to rush the process and realised that it was going to be impossible to get it out at the standard they wanted in time for Christmas." Well, good for them in wanting the album to be good. However, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, the principal of the Royal Academy of Music in London, where two of the band members studied, said: "Often with bands like Escala, the marketing people are very good at creating an image, but then find they haven't got the material to take it further. "You can't hurry the process with classical music. They are clearly well trained and attractive enough not

Next??? - sexy string quartet, please stand up...

Escala is coming... They performed on Britain's Got Talent but didn't quit win. However, Simon Cowell has taken them on board with intentions of making them world famous. According to their old blog , they are currently traveling - around the world arriving in Bali on the 6th of October. Are they new??? Well, yes, they are a new group. But the concept of four leggy women playing string quartet music isn't new. Bond, four girls from Australia (not to be confused with Bond Girls, scantly dress women who appear in James Bond films - although any of these women could step into that role) debuted their first album in 2001. Siren are four women who are graduates of the Royal Academy and Royal College of Music in London, serious musicians with their world tour back in 2006. Eclipse is a group of four men who graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Royal College of Music in 2005 and have been touring ever since. This isn't to say the women of

Opera or Musical: Varjak Paw, a new???... opera?

According to the Leamington Observer , Julian Philips has written his first opera, Varjak Paw . However, if you go to the Warwick Arts Centre , where the opera is to be first performed they are calling it a musical. With music by Julian Philips and lyrics Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Varjak Paw is based on the best-selling books by S F Said. Mr Philips says he is writting a "rather dizzying mixture of opera, musical theatre, cabaret and Arabic music." I don't mean to contradict his own impression of his work, but I always though cabaret classified as musical theatre, for that matter so does opera, although I will accept that most people think musiCALS when they think musical theatre and an opera is different than an musical. With an illustrious classical background with numerous awards for his vocal music, an orchestral commission by the Britten Symphonia and most recently the full length ballet Les Liaisons Dangereuses commissioned by English National Ballet and choreogr

Orchestrating Pop Music with Classical Instruments

In some respects the two styles of music are not so different (depending, of course) on what you consider 'pop' and what you consider classical. But, there are elements of each that can be found in the other. One of the reasons so many classical vocalists stray into singing pop songs (I'll include Broadway tunes in with that category as most don't consider the songs from Broadway in the Classical Genre) is because their well trained voices can add power and emotion to the music and yet, singing these pieces isn't unfamiliar from what they sing normally. It can also be a lot of fun, letting your hair down sort of thing. Numerous orchestras perform 'pop' concerts, and there are even famous 'pop' orchestras. Jeff Tyzik of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra understands that "One loud snare-drum hit is louder than an entire string section. So it's technically impossible to balance an orchestra and a heavy-metal band." However, there a

New Opera - a Writer's Perspective

Following up on Chip's post about this Anthony Tommasini article , I would like to weigh in on the text of a new opera. As an art form opera has achieved a mythic reputation, shrouded in the aura of the 'Great Repertoire' and fraught with pitfalls for the daring new writer. Writing for the operatic stage today is similar to the pursuit of the ' Great American Novel ', a literate version of tilting at windmills. In my approach to writing It Must Be Fate I am endeavoring to remember Me Tommasini's admonition: Could it not be argued that the epic comes out of the personal? So I am concentrating on the individuals and what exactly makes their story worth the telling. If each character's storyline is compelling, demanding the audience's attention and empathy, then the music will have space for the epic expression that is so much a part of opera. But more than simple plot, or character arc, I am concerned with why these characters must sing. If what t

New Opera Press Release: Matreya Rock Opera

According to Newswire , there is a reading of a new Rock Opera at The Mint, Los Angeles, Sunday November 2. Matreya Rock Opera The Reading of an Original Rock Opera by Jayne DeMente & Gilli Moon presented by Women's Heritage Project & Warrior Girl Music SUNDAY NOVEMBER 2 1pm (ends at 3pm) @ THE MINT 6010 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles CA Between LaCienega & Fairfax Blvd.'s $35 (non-profit tax donation) includes special “Mint” Beverage! in cabaret style, the Mint kitchen will be open to order from menu. Due to limited seating, reservations are preferred. Group table seating needs RSVP - For information & rsvp's, phone Jaynemarie DeMente, 323.463.2264 or 310.880.7139. We Take Most Major Credit Cards - Our Apologies but No Refunds. According to Gilli Moon's blog , she's writing the music/score for this "musical", so I'm not sure what you're likely to see. If you'd like to hear some of Gilli's music prior to the performance

Ocean of Rain, another new opera attempts to swim upstream

In June, a new chamber opera by Yannis Kyriakides entitled An Ocean of Rain opened the Aldeburgh Festival. The reviews were not favorable, not the reviewers weren't willing to give the piece a chance, but that rather hoped for something more. As Geoff Brown of the TimesOnline put it, the music consisted of "quirky on-stage acoustic musicians (the Dutch group Ensemble MAE) with jagged and bleating vocal writing, a sensitive wraparound electronic blanket and a heroine who never sings a note." Rachel Sloane of EADT was more enthusiatic finding it "Beautifully sung in the main" but "usually an orchestra accompanies and supports singers but, in An Ocean of Rain, the two scores ran parallel rather than in harmony." Rupert Christiansen of the Telegraph was the harshest critic, "...his electronic a limp and exiguous affair, static in mood and entirely lacking in tension or development. The over-use of high soprano voices set my teeth

What a New Opera Needs...

I have often quoted Anthony Tommasini when reviewing an opera. He writes for the New York Times and frequently has intelligent insight into a production he's reviewing. Earlier (on my birthday no less), Mr Tommasini wrote an article about new opera, not a specific review, but rather a look at the recent success (or lack there of) of new operas. I find it most interesting that where he feels new operas have failed in recent years is the music. Both "The Fly" and "The Bonesetter's Daughter" are sited for problems with their scores. The composers of each is lauded for other projects, and given credit for being good composers, but both failed to make the transition from a good story to a good opera. As the composer for "It Must Be Fate," getting the music right is a big concern for me. One of my prime concerns is taking the story of the three women of Fate, and moving it out of the ancient world into a modern "Sex in the City" context.

Taking Classical music to the public, and money to the bank

Katherine Jenkins just signed a $11.8 million contract with Warner Music. This is for a five album deal and she's headed to Los Angeles to start on the first one soon. Her point, "My main aim is to try and take classical music to a wider audience." With the distribution power of Warner Music (and their need to get back some of their cash) expect to see her recordings everywhere. According to her website, Katherine tries to emulate both Marilyn Monroe and Madonna. She's a Classical Crossover artist, singing opera arias, sacred music and other classical pieces, but with a look and feel that appeals to typical pop audiences. Her first album, Premiere , was the fastest selling album ever by a Mezzo-Soprano, selling 30k copies in the first week. This isn't Katherine's first multi-million dollar deal, either. She had a contract for $2 million back in 2000, with the final album of that contract due out today - Sacred Arias . This new album will only add to the a

New Requiem reaches Highs in Scottish Premiere

Last Night in Edinburgh Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) gave a World Premiere concert of Karin Rehnqvist 's Requiem aeternam . It was an night of new music, premieres and requiems reaching for meaning in despair. The concert began with the Scottish Premiere of the Pastoral Symphony by Brett Dean. While Dean suggests countless works since Beethoven's own Pastoral Symphony have found inspiration from nature, Dean's own symphony focuses on the "growing sense of loss;" what will the world be like when we have destroyed nature completely. The piece was orchestrated for an nonette, with wind, percussion, percussion and percussion. There was a great deal of tonal color throughout, starting with an imperceptible murmur on the strings, but eventually the piece gets so busy it's hard to tell the direction from the noise. It flowed with peaks and valley's, but never allowed us anything to grasp, to hold, to enjoy. Olari Elts, the conductor, did an amazing

More on "Doctor Atomic"

previous post There are new reviews so I thought I'd provide some tidbits: Jeremy Eichler of the Boston Globe: "the subject drew out some of his most compelling and imaginative music to date...The score of "Doctor Atomic" weds a cool Stravinskian precision and rhythmic vitality with a kind of seething Wagnerian dread. Rapid caffeinated figures dart around the orchestra like hyperactive electrons. Strange, darkly glowing woodwind chords hover like a vapor. Low brass notes rattle ominously as if marking the edge of an abyss. At various points, loudspeakers positioned throughout the hall project prerecorded sounds - truck engines, snatches of period pop music, and, in the end, a long, loud digitally distorted timpani roll whose vibrations rise from the floor like an earth tremor." Vibhuti Patel of Newsweek: "Adams's music is not unrelentingly modern—it is lyrical, romantic, Wagnerian by turns, and it matches the enormity of his myth. The choral singin

Karin Rehnqvist: New Work Premiere

Karin Rehnqvist has a new work, Requiem aeternam receiving its World Premiere tonight at Glasgow City Halls and then tomorrow night at Edinburgh's Queens Hall (both performances at 7:30). This piece was co-commissioned by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with funding from the Scottish Government. It is a kind of requiem, though reflecting hope and consolation as much as the darker aspects of loss. Other pieces to be performed at this concert are the miniatures by the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu ( Tree Line and Requiem ) and Australian Brett Dean’s Pastoral Symphony . The concert is exciting on many levels, one: the chance to hear a new work is always of interest, particularly when the new work is with voice and orchestra. With my interest in opera, hearing new works and the way the deal with the voice is always educational. Two: Dean's Pastoral Symphony will give me a chance to compare his chamber symphony to my own work premiered

Selling Opera or selling out?

Several years ago San Franciso Opera did a summer series, the Divas. It was a summer with Carmen , il coronation poppea and one more I can't remember. What I do remember is the picture on the poster was an artistic rendering of the three female characters, which had practically nothing to do with the actual performance and everything to do with creating the idea of 3 sexy women of opera. It doesn't really matter; it got me (and my family) in the door to see two of the three (yes, I took my kids ages 14 & 16) OperaChic has some startling images by fashion photographer André Rival of Nadja Auermann, the former German supermodel in a variety of poses portraying opera divas to be used in the Deutsche Oper Berlin ad campaign for their 2008/9 season. More of these photos can be found on the Deutsche Oper Berlin press page . But then again, when has the poster ever really represented images of the production we're hoping to see? It's a poster. It's suppose

Sex and Opera, oh and a story too

A new opera is coming to LA, "Lovelace: The Rock Opera" detailing the life and times of legendary adult film superstar Linda Lovelace, but the opera is much more about Linda's life and struggles than it is about her role in the iconic film that changed the film industry forever. Linda Boreman was better known by her stage name, Linda Lovelace from the 1972 porn film "Deep Throat." She later denounced the porn industry claiming she was forced by her sadistic husband. The opera was co-written by Anna Waronker (from That Dog) and Charlotte Caffey (from The Go-Go’s), with the originally the concept of Jeffery Leonard Bowman, who also worked on the project for years before it was presented to the Hayworth Theater. Although Caffey tends to focus on writing pop music, having written the hits “We Got The Beat”, “Vacation”, and “Head Over Heels” in her Grammy nominated band The Go-Go’s and co-wrote Keith Urban’s first #1 hit, is classically educated. Together Waronker

Film Music in the Concert Hall

Yes, there is yet another post about some orchestra (Chicago Symphony) performing film music in the concert hall. So, what's news about this you ask? First of all, Chicago Symphony Orchestra is in its fifth season of performing these works, which means it's not only popular, but becoming a regular feature of their concert season. This year, as the concert will be on Halloween, the symphony are showing one of the 1930s Universal Studios classics, "The Bride of Frankenstein," with live accompaniment by guest conductor Richard Kaufman and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. So, not only will this be a wonderful concert, but a classic film and the chance to see the film with live music a rare occurance in our modern world. Secondly, on the Saturday prior to their standard Friday night concert (Oct 31) they will perform additional works aimed at a younger audience, with works like Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" with selections from the scores of &qu

"Doctor Atomic" Explodes on Stage

"Doctor Atomic" opened at the Met on Monday to rave reviews. John Adams opera premiered in San Francisco back in 2005, but the original production by Peter Sellars, who was also responsible for the libretto was not the one to open in New York. British film director Penny Woolcock was given control over the Met's production and seems to have brought out more nuances and depth than the previous production. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times writes, "The impressive baritone Gerald Finley, who created the daunting lead role unforgettably, brings his portrayal to the Met, grown even richer, more vocally visceral and emotionally nuanced...But the big news may be the work of the conductor Alan Gilbert, in his overdue Met debut. The performance he draws from the Met orchestra and chorus is a revelation. This score continues to impress me as Mr. Adams’s most complex and masterly music. Whole stretches of the orchestral writing tremble with grainy colors, misty sono

Antigone Resurrected then Buried in an Opera

Sophocles' Antigone has been resurrected into opera at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. The Burial at Thebes , with libretto by Seamus Heaney and music by Dominique Le Gendre, transforms Sophocles' play onto the intimate Globe stage pouring emotion and a great deal of text over the audience in one of the classics of literature. Even before the production began, thumbing through the programme I noticed the libretto was extensive. Every detail of Sophocles' original was in place, and many of the long exclamatory speeches were retained, although re-written in Heaney's award winning poetic style. Keeping all these words in play and still allowing the emotion of the music to present itself is a huge task and in many ways Le Gendre succeeded. The prelude to the performance brought the cast on stage, and presented characters at a party. The music was slightly indicative of the events, but it was pre-show music so I didn't necessarily expect anything too stri

Music Videos worth watching (and they're free)

YouTube has been a boon for music artists (as well as video artists). Numerous performers and composers have works on YouTube, some videos of just the music, other videos with discussions on the process. I find this particular illuminating when composers get the chance to talk about their works. However, I came across a real find the other day - Beyond the Score , a collection of videos by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra exploring more than just the music.

Composers and Agents

As per previous posts I've been pondering if it's time to find an agent. After asking number composers who are working in the field (many who have agents), I have been given some very sage advice by James Guymon . "My best advice is that the right time to have an agent is when they come after you. If you are making money, they will come find you and try to take at least 10% of it. You can then determine whether they will pay for themselves or not. But agents really don't go get work for composers - they negotiate the deals and create a sense of importance on the part of the composer, who can't be contacted directly, that translates into the mindset necessary to ask for and receive higher fees. "But even with an agent, my experience has been that composers are the ones primarily responsible for researching potential gigs, working their own contacts, and then letting the agent now what leads have been qualified and how to proceed with the actual contact. So

A New Conductor to Watch: Robin Ticciati

Scottish Chamber Orchestra just announce the appointment of Robin Ticciati as its Principal Conductor. Tim Cornwell does a nice job of covering the story, so no need for me to duplicate it here - just follow the above link. The Guardian wrote about him over a year ago when he became the music director of Glyndebourne on Tour. With Gustavo Dudamel getting the top post in LA, there seems to be several new conductors making waves!!! Both have lots of hair....

Looking Forward in Classical Music

In juxtaposition of yesterday's article about the blend of pop and classical music, there is a post on TimesOnline by Igor Toronyi-Lalic about an emerging new form of music, Spectralism. The article is about the music of Gerard Grisey, whose Les Espaces Acoustiques are to be performed by London Sinfonietta. According to Toronyi-Lalic, "Spectralists were trying to access a sonic rainbow, one that lurked naturally within each and every sound. Just like the spectrum of colours that makes up white light, a spectrum of faint noises makes up each and every sound." The process takes a computer to analyse sound waves, but this is only a means to an end. A new form of musical notation was created to deal with the nuances a live musician needs to achieve, when the music isn't performed by a computer. So, while many of the pieces performed live may sound not dissimilar to other minimalist music, the construction (and ultimately the result) is really quite different. (

Blurring the lines between classical-pop

I'm not talking about classical pop music, the kind of pop music that will stand the test of time, or pop(ular) classical music, which is the kind of classical music which typically plays on ClassicalFM radio when they need to "soothe" the audience with candy-floss like classical music, which can be any number of pieces from Mozart to the Romantic Masters like Schubert, Chopin or Liszt. Classical-pop is a new form of music which attempts to use pop songs or idioms and play them in a classical format - so, in many respects, very much like the pop(ular) classical music I just described as candy-floss like and yet, perhaps more recognisable (read: familiar) with a modern pop acquainted audience. According to Tony Sauro of, there is a quintet which plays John Denver music, using classical instruments and classical techniques. Ok, it's not the kind of music I would have chosen, but the point of the group is bring familiar music to people to a style of perf

A Real Film/Opera Composer

Ok, my previous post about "A Real Film Composer" is slightly overshadowed by another article in the Vacaville Reporter today about another Film Composer who is certainly one of the great all time composers, Erich Wolfgang Korngold. As the article states, he is the founder of the "Hollywood Sound." He did more than just write for film, though. He also wrote operas; Die Tote Stadt is being performed by San Francisco Opera on October 12. Scott Cantrell of The Dallas Morning News says, "No opera has music more gorgeous – more brilliantly colored, more lusciously textured, more passionately yearning – than Die tote Stadt ...Well, the title, "The Dead City," may be a little off-putting. And Erich Wolfgang Korngold's youthful masterpiece needs two lead singers, a soprano and a tenor, who can sing – and sing and sing – over high-cholesterol orchestrations that make Wagner sound like Mozart." Pretty high praise for any relatively unknown com

A Real Film Composer

Few films today are without music, and most of the time this music is programmed to the final product, the film is shot, edited and finalised before the composer does his/her part. So, the music is slotted in at all the right moments (if the composer does their job right). However, before movies had sound, there were composers of a different sort, local organists that would play along with a film to add mood music as the film displayed on the screen. This sort of "in the moment" performance isn't one we tend to give much credence to any more, as it's been nearly a hundred years since we've needed this skill to accompany our films. Fortunately, the skill hasn't been lost. In an article by Peter Hummers , of the Sentinel Staff, he writes about Dorothy Papadakos, a noted organist, who enjoys film-score improvisation. The beauty about this sort of performance is the live aspect of it; the performer is right there watching the film with us. As the mood shifts,

Pop-Classical fusion: Trend or Gimmick

There's an interesting article in the Ottawa Citizen about the various styles of conductors in the region. John Keillor writes, "the Victoria Symphony's conductor Tania Miller eyes that line between pop and classical." He then goes on to talk about Kent Nagano, of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the more avant-garde music in their programmes. Ottawa's Musical director Pinchas Zukerman is more of a classical persuasion, cautious of gimmicks sticking with pieces from Mozart to Brahms. Ok, there are differing attitudes in Classical music; that's already known. What I found interesting about the article were the comments by the conductors. Ms Miller is quoted to say, "Music has to reflect current culture, and open itself to popular trends." Keillor suggest her "approach isn't much different from the public recital tradition of the 19th century, when concerts were often more like variety shows, shamelessly attempting to draw the biggest c

Fresh Flesh in Opera

Several Days ago I questioned whether opera was going for gore . Prior to that I'd spoken about the move in opera to show more sexually appealing vocalists. And then way back in August I posted about the use of sex with string players (and other performers). It seems these aren't the only trends, and I'm not the only one noticing. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times finds singers disrobing more frequently in operas in order for productions to gather new audiences. He does a wonderful job of exploring some of the recent productions which have shown a near to full nudity, and then exploring the reasons behinding these performances, the impact on the audience and the effect to the artform as a whole. Toward the end there is even a cautionary concern for what may be going too far, or nudity foresaking the music (which isn't a crime, but probably ought to be). Mr Tommasini's article is well written. While I've had similar thoughts, I wish I'd put

New York City Opera, Looking Forward or Looking Back???

News reports that New York City Opera is performing a concert entitled Looking Forward in music while it temporarily relocates while it's home is refurbished. Playbill Arts ran an post on 3 October listing pieces to be performed including "excerpts from Benjamin Britten's Les Illuminations with tenor soloist Brian Anderson (November 2, 16, March 7, April 11) and soprano Lielle Berman (October 4); Olivier Messiaen's Trois petites liturgies de la Présence Divine with pianist Aleck Karis, ondes Martenot soloist Jean Laurendeau and the New York City Opera Women's Chorus; Lukas Foss's Time Cycle sung by sopranos Jennifer Zetlan (October 4, November 2, March 7, April 11) and Lielle Berman (November 16); and Claude Debussy's Danse sacrée et danse profane featuring harpist Jessica Zhou. The program, performed by the New York City Opera Orchestra, will also include Igor Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite , Edgard Varèse's Intégrales , and Steve Reich's C

Acting and Opera

Often times when reviews are done for opera it's the voice the review comments on. However, opera is also a dramatic performance, so there needs to be some attention paid to the presentation. As per a previous post, some of this attention comes in the way of casting making sure the person playing the part has some of the physical characteristics. But acting is more than just looking the part. Diana Damrau (pictured) obviously went well beyond just looks in her performance of Lucia in the Met's production of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor”. According to Anthony Tommasini "As Ms. Damrau played the daunting mad scene, the unhinged young woman, having stabbed to death the man she was forced to marry — the well-meaning Lord Arturo — was not vacant-eyed and spectral, like many Lucias. Instead she was fidgety and manic, all spastic bodily gestures as she lurched about the ballroom of Lammermoor Castle before the horrified wedding guests. She was like Vivien Leigh’s broke

Religious Music Unwelcome in China

Classical music is booming in China, but some works, namely the religious ones difficult to get performance rights. This is odd as they have a number of world class classical musicians on the world stage and thousands (perhaps millions) of players from amateur to professional studying classical music. Richard Spencer , of the Telegraph, wrote from Beijing on 30 September about the difficulties some organisation were having when attempting to perform religious music, such as Handel's Messiah or Mozart's Requiem. WorldNetDaily seems to confirm this with their own report , which also links to another report about the expulsion of Christian Missionaries prior to the Olympics. This is not necessarily news, as China has long had a struggle with religious idiologies since Mao Zedung came to power in 1949. Before this point, there was tension between the east and west with the opium wars of back in 1839-1942, and earlier dating back to the cultural clashes brought about by the tra