Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Classical Sucess Story?

If a classical composer has the first ten top-selling single slots at iTunes he must be a big success, right? Ok, now can you name him? John Adams? Nope. John Luther Adams? Nope. Esa-Pekka Salonen? Double nope. The name you are looking for is Ludovico Einaudi. What? Huh? Who?

Well, I guess we have to listen, don't we? Here is his big selling album, Islands:

The first tune, I Giorni, which means "the days" is nearly seven minutes long and I didn't feel a burning need to listen any further. I think that Einaudi's music is the perfect analogue to the paintings of Thomas Kinkaid:

This is actually the perfect occasion to demonstrate an aesthetic principle. What do you think that might be? What is the fundamental difference between Einaudi and Kinkaid and, for example, these two artworks:

(Yes, I know I just posted this piece, but it is an excellent example for my purposes.)

The examples by Einaudi and Kinkaid are, above all, soothing, are they not? Pretty and soothing. So what's wrong with that? It's a bit complicated, sure, but the main problem is that something purporting to be an artwork has to be more than soothing. It may have soothing elements or sections, as the piano piece does at the beginning with those two chords. But if it never gets beyond soothing, if there is nothing that contrasts with soothing, then it is not an artwork, it is simply wallpaper. Art must contain tensions. There has to be some elements that challenge us. Art is not supposed to have the same effect as a good tranquilizer.

Incidentally, this is why art requires leisure to exist. If your existence is one of constantly being harried from one demand to another, it is doubtful if you will be able to engage with and appreciate much art. What you really need is just to be soothed. Which probably explains the success of Einaudi and Kinkaid. A lot of people lead very harried lives!

But if you have some leisure time, a curious mind and some sensitivity to aesthetics, then what you really want to have a look at is the real thing. Actual Art. Which is not pretty, nor soothing. At least, not mostly.

So the problem here is really mis-categorization on the part of iTunes. Einaudi is not a classical composer. He is new age, easy listening, which should be a separate category.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Messiaen and Program Music

I haven't quite done with Messiaen and likely won't be for quite a while. Apart from the sheer aesthetic quality and originality of his music, he provokes some interesting philosophical questions. One of these is the relationship between some of his music and the idea of program music.

Program music has been defined by Beardsley as "music with a program" which seems logical enough. He argues for not limiting that definition any further for several good reasons. So, to take an example, is Messiaen's Catalogue d'oiseaux program music? It is not usually considered such but rather as incorporating stylized birdsong into pieces for solo piano. That has a suggestion of musique concrète or iconicity, but little more. Iconicity is a similarity or analogy between a sign and what it represents. In Messiaen's music incorporating birdsong, the assumption is that the music strongly resembles the birdsong. Well, let's have a look, shall we?

Here is a clip of a Calandra Lark singing an extended song: this starts at the 1'19 mark:

I choose this because the shortest piece in the Catalogue d'oiseaux is "L'Alouette calandrelle" which I think is the same bird. Here is another clip of the "Alouette calandre":

Now for the composition by Messiaen, based on this birdsong:

At the beginning you hear two chords interspersed with what sounds like birdsong. I think that comparing those quick, higher-pitched passages with the clips of the birds does show a considerable resemblance. So we have a case of iconicity similar to the passage in Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 where he reproduces the calls of three different birds, labeled in the score.

But now let's look at what Messiaen says about this piece, taken from the liner notes to the Warner Classics box "Messiaen Edition":
Provence in July. The short-toed lark. Two o'clock in the afternoon. Les Baux, les Alpilles. And rocks, broom and cypresses. The monotonous percussion of the cicadas. Staccato alarm of the kestrel. The Route d'Entresson. The crested lark in two-part counterpoint with the short-toed lark. Four o'clock in the afternoon. La Crau. A desert of stones, intense brightness and torrid heat. Alone, the little short phrase of the short-toed lark peoples the silence. About six o'clock in the evening. A skylark soars into the sky and delivers its joyous strophe. Amphimacer of the quail. A reminiscence of the short-toed lark.
The amphimacer is an ancient Greek metrical foot consisting of three syllables: long, short, long.

Based on Messiaen's notes, the piano piece is more than just variations on a stylized birdsong. It is a chronology of part of a day (something that Messiaen does in other pieces in the series) and purports to represent several different places in Provence as well as the songs of five different birds, not to mention the cicada. This begins more and more to resemble a program, though not a traditional narrative. You might call it a characteristic landscape or "soundscape".

The question is, how should we take the composer's notes and how do they affect our reception of the music? Are they a "program" or merely hints as to the mood of the music. Beardsley argues that Beethoven's notes about the Symphony No. 6 are not a program as such, but more metaphorical suggestions to the conductor: "make this passage sound like the running quality of a brook." In order to be genuine program music, the program and the music should fuse together to form one aesthetic object such as Berlioz created with his Symphonie fantastique.

The problems with program music are manifest: if the music itself does not have a real structural coherence, then tacking on a program will not give it one. If the narrative structure of the program and that of the music are both complex, then it will be very difficult, for both composer and listener, to relate the two. If the program is sufficiently vague consisting of little more than a suggestive title such as "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" then it might be able to be dispensed with entirely as it will have little effect on how we hear the music.

So how should we take the "programs" Messiaen has attached to his Catalogue d'oiseax? Can we dispense with them entirely and simply listen to the music as abstract instrumental compositions for piano? Would our aesthetic pleasure be significantly reduced? What if Messiaen had never mentioned that the pieces incorporate birdsong? Would a gifted ornithologist been able to, years later, present the public with his striking theory that Messiaen had used actual (stylized) birdsong in his piano pieces?

I'm not sure where I fall on these questions, but I am more and more interested in engaging with these pieces simply as pieces of music and not as soundscapes or narratives. I want to see how they work if we ignore all the verbiage and just listen. Here is another performance of "L'Alouette calandrelle". What do you think?

The performer offers this guide to the various sections:
0:06 - Short-toed Lark
0:30 - Chorus of Cicadas
0:38 - Lesser Kestrel
0:43 - Quail
1:14 - Crested Lark in counterpoint with the Short-toed Lark.
3:49 - The Skylark

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Piano Reductions of Orchestral Scores

The question came up in a recent comment thread of just what a piano reduction of an orchestral score is, and what it is good for. But first, let's back up a bit. As the orchestra developed from its beginnings around 1600, it has grown larger and larger and incorporated more and more instruments. The orchestra required to play the Turangalîla Symphony by Messiaen is more than one hundred people, including about ten just to play the percussion instruments.

This is not a problem for audiences or performers: hey, more work for musicians! But it is a problem for music students. A music student, especially one in either a theory or composition stream, has to study a lot of music. These students tend to be pianists simply because the piano is a remarkably capable and flexible instrument. In fact, given some limitations, the piano can even play quite a few orchestral scores by "reducing" them to what the fingers can encompass. In this way a student can study an orchestral score by playing it on piano. Of course, just playing it is not analysis, but playing the score can aid analysis. Listening to a recording while following in the score can also be useful, but it is less useful than reading it on piano. Why? Because playing the notes is far more engaged than just hearing the notes and seeing the notes. Actually understanding the notes is an even deeper engagement.

But enough idle chatter: let's see how this actually works. Here is a very simple example, the opening of the Symphony No. 6 by Beethoven. This is the first page of the first edition:

This is a transposing orchestral score and I need to explain exactly what that means. This symphony is in the key of F major and the key signature for that is one flat, B. If you look at the extreme left side of the staves you will see first the clef, treble, alto and bass, then the key signature. But here is something odd: while most of the instruments, including all the strings, the flute, the oboe and bassoon, have indeed one flat, others do not. The horns, at the top ("corni"), for example have no sharps or flats, while the "clarinetti" have one sharp. What's up with that? This is the transposing part of the score. Some wind instruments are transposing instruments, meaning that when they play a note in their part, it sounds differently than it is written. Horns in F, for example, when they see a C, sound an F. That's what "horns in F" means. Their C major actually sounds as F major, so their key signature is not one flat, but no flats, the same as C. The "clarinetti in B" are actually in B flat because of a peculiarity in the way German refers to notes. In German, B flat is "B" and B natural is "H". It's a long, complicated story! But using clarinets in B flat means that when they see a C, it comes out a B flat. So if you want them to play a C, you have to write a D. Clear?

At this point in history, an orchestral score was pretty much a collection of all the parts, with the notes transposed accordingly. Nowadays, a score might also be a "concert" score, i.e. non-transposing, with all the parts sounding as written. This is easier for the conductor (and music students). Music software can convert from one to the other at the touch of a button. Most scores are still, as this one is, transposing scores, so you have to take that into account when you are reading.

What else? Oh yes, there are, on this page, three different clefs. These are those fancy thingys at the very beginning of each stave. The treble clef is a stylized "G", showing what line the note G is found: the second from the bottom, where the clef curls around. The bass clef is a stylized "F" and the two dots bracket the line for the note F. The only other clef on this page is the alto clef, used by the violas. It is a "C" clef, meaning that the middle of the ornate bracket shows where the note C is. C clefs can also be found on other places on the staff.

Another aspect is the layout of the instruments. All the strings are grouped at the bottom from low to high. Above them are all the wind instruments with the horns at the top. In current scores it is a bit different: the brass, including horns, trumpets and so on, are in the middle of the score with the percussion, tympani and so on, just below. So the modern score, from top to bottom, is organized: woodwinds (high to low), brass, percussion and strings.

Apart from the notes, there is also a tempo indication "Allegro ma non troppo" (fast, but not too fast) and a metronome mark showing that the pulse is 66 beats per minute, with the half note receiving the beat.

Whew, that was a lot of explanation for just a few seconds of music!

Now, what would a reduction of this look like? Pretty simple, as the winds don't play on this page. Here is how Franz Liszt played it on piano:

Click to enlarge
But what about when the music gets more complicated, with more instruments? Here is just from a few pages later, when the winds come in with that same theme:

And here is how Liszt played it:

He has preserved all the important lines while leaving out less important ones like the repeated high-C eighth notes in the oboe (fourth line down in the score). He even keeps the cello tremolando in the left hand, combining it with the theme.

These are simple examples, the kind of thing that you would do in first-year score reading. An advanced challenge would be Stravinsky's Rite of Spring where the complex rhythms and bewildering array of clefs and transposing winds make reading a transposing score horribly complex. Tenor clef? Bass clarinet in B flat? Clarinet in A? Horn in F? Piccolo clarinet in D? But good music students in theory and composition do manage to meet these challenges. What helps is that you are reading the score, not performing it, so you don't have to play it up to speed! Slowly, slowly does it.

Let's have a listen to the opening movement of the Symphony No. 6 by Beethoven. From Australia, this is the Peter Seymour Orchestra PSO led by John Ockwell:

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Look at Our Sessions

We finished our recording sessions on the weekend of my Songs From the Poets, a set of twelve songs I wrote a few years ago, but have been waiting to get a good recording of. Now we have a couple of days of editing and fine-tuning to do in order to get to the final version. All together, to record the twelve songs, it took about twelve hours of studio time. A lot of that was spent on working out placement of the microphones and musicians and even more on editing together different takes. Some songs were recorded in one or two takes.

Here are a few photos from the sessions to whet your appetite for the music. The singer is Hannah Pagenkopf from Calgary, Alberta. The recording engineer is Ken Basman from Toronto, Ontario and I was born in Alberta, lived a long time on Vancouver Island, British Columbia and quite a while in Montreal, Quebec. Both Ken and I have lived in Mexico for quite a while as well.

You can see larger versions of all the photos by clicking on them.

The studio

Soprano extraordinaire, Hannah Pagenkopf

Hard-working guitarist, me
Not a lot of shots of Ken Basman, but here he is with Hannah in the control room

Listening to some takes

It's an all-Canadian effort as even my guitar was built by a Canadian builder, Vancouver's Robert Holroyd.

So there you have it! As a little musical envoi, here is a performance of me playing one of the favorite pieces of guitar music, Asturias (Leyenda) by Isaac Albéniz:


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Schubert: Trio No. 2 in E flat major, D. 929

At some point I am going to do a series of posts on Schubert who I am exploring in some depth right now. On the New York Times list of the Ten Greatest Composers, he comes fourth, right after Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. He was the shortest lived of any of those, dying at only thirty-one, but still managing to write an enormous body of wonderful music. I'm just going to pick out one tiny example today, the Andante from his second and last piano trio. This was one of the last pieces he composed and certainly one of the last he had an opportunity to hear. It was given in a private performance in November 1827 with Ignaz Schuppanzigh on violin, the first violin in the quartet that premiered most of Beethoven's quartets.

One of Schubert's great gifts as a composer was the ability to write beautiful, haunting melodies. Of all the great composers he was the most gifted song writer (he wrote some six hundred!). I suspect that the melody of the Andante will seem familiar as it has been used in a host of movie soundtracks including Barry Lyndon by Stanley Kubrick. Here is that melody:

Click to enlarge

One characteristic structural device that Schubert uses, though he was certainly not the only one, is the restatement of the theme, originally in minor, in major. The drifting between major and minor is a typical feature of Schubert's harmony. Here is a performance of the Andante:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

On Recording

I am in the middle of a recording project this week and had some interesting experiences connected with it. As I think I have indicated in a lot of places, though not in so many words, I am a musical empiricist. No matter what ideology you have based your music on, or express in it, if I don't think it works as music, I am going to say so. Same with writing about music. I was critical of Suzanne Cusick's essay the other day because it was NOT empirically based on music or individual circumstances, but was instead a vaporous expression of her ideology. So, in the recording studio the other night, I had to deal with my own ideology!

Yes, we all have a little ideology running through our veins, even if we try to avoid it. Some people pretty much live their lives with ideology, but that's their problem. In principle, I am opposed to ideology. So what is the difference between principle and ideology? Some cynical folks might say that it is just a matter of perspective: I have principles, but the other idiots just have ideology. Not true. Here is an example of a principle: the proof of the pudding is in the eating. That is a nice empirical principle expressed in a folk adage. And a very useful and true one. Here is an example of an ideology: the environment is fragile and constantly being threatened by human action, the most salient example being anthropogenic climate change (global warming). The difference between the two is that the folk adage tells you to refer directly to empirical facts, while the global warming one simply assumes its conclusion.

Here is a list of characteristics of ideology taken from the Wikipedia article:
David W. Minar describes six different ways in which the word "ideology" has been used:
  1. As a collection of certain ideas with certain kinds of content, usually normative;
  2. As the form or internal logical structure that ideas have within a set;
  3. By the role in which ideas play in human-social interaction;
  4. By the role that ideas play in the structure of an organization;
  5. As meaning, whose purpose is persuasion; and
  6. As the locus of social interaction.
The purpose of an ideology is to control public opinion as is revealed in numbers 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6. It helps the persuasiveness if there is an internal logic of course. But there is something huge that is missing: empirical truth. Ideology does not have to be (and almost never is) true, it just has to be useful. It is always helpful, in evaluating an ideology to ask, first of all, if it is true, and second, who benefits from it. Examining the structure of the climate change ideology would be a very useful exercise.

But this is getting away from the real topic: music recording. The project is to record my twelve songs, written for voice and guitar. To this end we have brought down a very fine singer from Canada and booked time in a local studio. The owner/engineer of the studio is also a Canadian. I have worked with him a few times before and he is very good at what he does and has excellent equipment. Also very good ears!

The first day we ran into some real problems: the voice, in the upper register, was so powerful that it was coming through the guitar mikes as strongly as the guitar was! Let me back up a bit here and describe the setup. We were both in the recording space, a room about 20 feet by 10 feet with sound baffles. The singer, a soprano, was on a $4000 Neumann microphone and the guitar was being recorded with a pair of smaller mikes (I didn't notice what they were exactly) set at 90º to one another. This is pretty standard for guitar. But the blend was not good and the resulting sound was problematic. We tried separating the voice and guitar as much as possible and adding some sound isolating baffles, but there was only slight improvement and the sightlines were poor.

This is where my ideology kicked in. Nearly all my recording in Canada was done in CBC studios in Montreal and Vancouver. They achieved excellent results by putting everyone in the same recording space and positioning microphones appropriately. Also, if you look at photos of classical musicians recording, it is also done the same way: everyone in the same room with a small number of microphones acting as a kind of imaginary ideal listener:

The engineer wanted to go more the way that popular recordings are made: each instrument on a separate channel, which meant that we had to be in different rooms, with headphones and seeing one another through a window. I thought this was a terrible idea for ensemble and sound: classical musicians don't record this way. So I put my foot down and insisted that we try again, but using a different microphone placement. The results were ... terrible! The voice sounded like an amateur recording in someone's living room and the guitar sounded like it was in a barrel.

At this point the engineer begged us to at least try his approach. He did a couple of things. The guitar (played by me, by the way) was going to stay on the stereo 90º mikes, but for the voice, now in a separate room, he swapped out the $4000 Neumann for a small mike worth about $600! The reason being that the Neumann was just over-sensitive to the voice in a high register and he had had excellent results before with the smaller mike for voice. And so it was. When we tried a take with the new setup, we instantly adjusted to the separation and the voice and guitar, recorded separately, each sounded just as they should. An enormous added benefit was that if either the voice or the guitar made a small flub, that passage could be re-recorded separately. It's called "punching in" and saves an enormous amount of time and wear and tear on the musicians.

So I instantly tossed out my obsolescent ideology about how classical musicians are "supposed" to record. Turns out that the best way, at least in our situation, was to go with what the pop guys do: each track separately. Here is a video of a voice and guitar recording in the conventional way for classical musicians:

Wow, looks like two Neumanns plus two, maybe AKG? mikes on the guitar and a couple more Neumanns (with "pop" screens) on the voice. In a nice resonant studio. And maybe they did do it just this way. But, you know, I kind of wonder. The voice and guitar are too perfectly balanced. Anytime that the tenor sings a fairly high passage he is going to be about twice as loud as the guitar. So how do you balance that as his voice is going to be feeding strongly into the guitar mikes as well? I also know another recording by this same (very fine) guitarist, Xuefei Yang, the Concierto de Aranjuez with orchestra, and a notable feature of that recording is how overbalanced the guitar is versus the orchestra meaning that they used some kind of recording wizardry to change the natural balance. So it might have been the case with this recording that they did the tracks separated and then shot the video later, lip-syncing with the pre-recorded tracks. Or not, I'm not certain! Here is something we can compare. This is a video of Ian Bostridge and Xuefei Yang performing the same song at the 2013 Gramophone awards live, i.e. without any recording wizardry. Notice how the guitar is often covered by the voice, rendering what it is doing nearly inaudible?

So the bottom line is: what are the results? If you are not getting the right sound, then don't be afraid to try any solution, even if it is outside your ideological envelope. And listen to your engineer!

The mark of an ideology, as opposed to a principle, is that it does not conform to the facts in the real world, but rather to an idealized goal. Best to pay attention to the facts.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Miscellanea

I wish I could think of a way of doing a similar representation of contemporary music:

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One of the Hot New Things in music is supposedly the group with the misspelled name Chvrches:

Like most pop music it consists of All The Usual Clichés and Formulas. Apparently pop musicians are no longer capable of imagining music that does not have a rigid backbeat, dreary melodies and the Procrustean bed of strict four-bar phrases.

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I'm going to take what might seem a surprising position on this issue: "A Facelift for Shakespeare." So much vocabulary has shifted since Shakespeare wrote, four hundred years ago, that about 10% of his language is simply incomprehensible to us. The solution is to replace that 10% with words we will understand. Now, of course, there can be serious objections. A lot of Shakespeare depends on very subtle wordplay. For example, nearly everything that the Nurse says in Romeo and Juliet is an obscene pun. But we miss virtually all of it! So an effort to make more of Shakespeare immediately comprehensible to us makes sense to me. As long as we can still get the original to refer to, of course.

Here is an example from the article:
Besides, this Duncan 
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been 
So clear in his great office, that his virtues 
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against 
The deep damnation of his taking-off.
This sounds like the English we speak, but what does it mean to “bear one’s faculties”? Or to be “clear” in one’s office? And why would there be damnation in Duncan’s “taking off”? Taking off where? To lunch?
Here is that same brief passage as rendered by a teacher named Conrad Spoke, who produced what he calls a “revolutionary 10% translation” in the interest of “allowing every student to make contact with the original text”:
Besides, this Duncan 
Hath borne authority so meek, hath been 
So pure in his great office, that his virtues 
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against 
The deep damnation of his knocking-off.

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Brian Eno is asking us to rethink culture: "Arts seen as a luxury in the UK, says Brian Eno." Eno is responding to comments made by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan:
She said that as little as a decade ago, young people were being told that maths and sciences were the subjects you did if you wanted to go into a specific career, such as medicine, pharmacy or engineering.
''If you wanted to do something different, or even if you didn't know what you wanted to do, then the arts and humanities were what you chose, because they were useful, you were told, for all kinds of jobs.
''Of course we know now that that couldn't be further from the truth. That the subjects that keep young people's options open and unlock the door to all sorts of careers are the STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and maths," she said.
There are some half-truths in this, of course, but it is often the case that a narrow focus on just these kinds of "practical" subjects can lead to being over-specialized. You could find yourself working in an entirely different field from what you trained for and lacking general critical skills. Brian Eno's thoughts, as reported, at least, seem remarkably shallow however:
In his lecture, Eno said arts and culture are worth pursuing for reasons that are not just economic, arguing that they should play a central role in people's lives in a world of rapid change.
Eno said: "I think we need to rethink how we talk about culture, rethink what we think it does for us, and what it actually is. We have a complete confusion about that. It's very interesting."
Oh, right, that's just the kind of thing that will get people rethinking....not! Here is the problem: yes, the arts and culture are crucial to any civilized society because they are central to the very idea of civilization. They perform a host of functions such as maintaining civilizational confidence, cultivating creativity, offering models and mirrors of society, defining humanity and inhumanity, playing out moral dilemmas and many, many other things, none of which are part of STEM subjects. The arts are qualitative studies while the STEM subjects are quantitative. But the arts and culture are being systematically undermined and diminished by critical and cultural theory that attacks the author, the masterwork, the very idea of aesthetic quality itself, and replaces it all with crude identity politics. There is not a lot of art and culture left in the subjects with those labels in the universities. But if they went back to their real job, the transmission of the great artistic traditions of Western Civilization, then, yes, that study would be extremely valuable.

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And to cheer us all up, here is the Wiener Cello Ensemble with Ravel's Bolero. Too bad they could only afford one cello!

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I can't find anything in this piece in The American Interest to disagree with--and isn't that reason enough for you to follow the link? Walter Russell Mead writes that:
We want to make the case for “classic opera” and convince readers that learning to appreciate opera is a vital part of a liberal education and an invaluable part of the good life. We also want to do what we can to encourage new work that holds promise, and see if our criticism in some small way can’t do what criticism really ought to be about: assisting and supporting the artists who seek to enrich human civilization with sublime new work that illuminates the human heart, rattles the cage of the human condition, and glimpses eternal truths and lasting values in the passions and struggles of both the great and the small in the lives of their times.
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I also pretty much agree with this piece about enjoying art free of political and ideological biases:
to fully appreciate art one must be able to set aside their political and ideological notions. When you think of art not as an expression of culture or an examination of human nature but as a means to an ideological end, you risk creating a cultural experience in which you have closed yourself off to a broad swathe of the human experience.
 On the other hand, you needn't neglect having aesthetic principles--it's art after all.

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There is a review in the Guardian of a complete recording of the Sibelius symphonies by Simon Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic. It's a mixed review:
The Fifth, in particular, seems perfunctory and glib here, by turns too ponderous, too lightweight and superficial. The way in which the first movement transforms itself into a scherzo – one of the great moments in the history of the symphony – is alarmingly glossed over, and the finale never hits the majestic stride it should. There’s something unresolved about this account of the Sixth as well, the opening string paragraphs self-consciously moulded, but Rattle’s account of the Seventh (thankfully not elided with the Sixth as it was in the concert hall) is much more convincing, rugged, uncompromising and all of a piece musically.
I've never quite seen what the fuss about Rattle was all about, myself.

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Something we have all been wondering about, I'm sure, is who were the "12 Beautiful Women Who Had a Huge Influence on the Stones’ Music." One was Marsha Hunt who was supposedly the inspiration for the song "Brown Sugar":

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I suppose that gives us our envoi for the day, "Brown Sugar" by the Rolling Stones:

Oh heck, let's have a double. Here is the Symphony No. 5 by Sibelius because you can't have enough Sibelius. This is Lenny conducting the Vienna Phillies in the non-perfunctory version: