Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday Miscellanea

You can't go far wrong by just being bold as one twenty-one year old shows us. Here is the story of how Al Kooper got his start in the business--by sitting in on an iconic recording session and just going for it. Wow, how many people do you know that would have this level of self-confidence?



[I somehow don't think this would work with, say, a recording session for a Beethoven late quartet...]

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Don't we all long for the day when a person would be much more embarrassed to be caught listening to Ke$ha or Kanye West than to be caught viewing Japanese pornography?


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The best portrait we have of J. S. Bach, after being in the US for many years, is returning to Leipzig where it will be part of the Bach Archive:


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Pablo Villegas is apparently the Next Big Thing in the classical guitar world. He has just signed to be represented in the US by CAMI Music. Here he is playing the Prelude No. 1 by Villa-Lobos:


Is it just me, but doesn't that sound rather like a pretty good graduate student in guitar performance, but rather heavy-handed? Quite a few little flubs and some unfortunate buzzes...

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Julia Wolfe has been awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music for the piece Anthracite Fields. Only excerpts from that piece are on YouTube, but here is an earlier work for string orchestra, Fuel:


I need to listen more, but my first impression was that that sounds a bit like an Anger Translator version of John Adams? If you don't catch the reference, one schtick at the recent White House Correspondents dinner was President Obama stating something in his no-drama, cool mode and then having it immediately repeated by his Anger Translator, Luther:


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I'm not quite sure exactly what we should learn from this, but some interesting research has been done, using Spotify, on people's listening habits as they age:
What I found was that, on average…
  • … while teens’ music taste is dominated by incredibly popular music, this proportion drops steadily through peoples’ 20s, before their tastes “mature” in their early 30s.
  • … men and women listen similarly in their their teens, but after that, men’s mainstream music listening decreases much faster than it does for women.
  • … at any age, people with children (inferred from listening habits) listen to a smaller amounts of currently-popular music than the average listener of that age.
What I'm not sure of is what this might imply as regards classical music?

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Over at Sinfini Music they are introducing us to the latest crossover artist, Chilly Gonzales. His piece Green's Leaves (hmm, that reminds me of something...) sounds rather like a Paul McCartney/George Martin arrangement. Think of a sunnier She's Leaving Home or Eleanor Rigby. With 37% less inspiration:


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I attended a youth symphony concert last night that I may well do a post on. In the meantime, let me put up one piece that they performed that was the outstanding composition of the concert, Arvo Pärt's Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten. This is the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner:


2 comments:

Marc Puckett said...

Thanks for your Friday Miscellanea! I look forward to them beginning Thursday mornings. Yesterday, however, was mostly occupied in making sure nothing interfered with being able to get to Olivier Latry's recital last night on the Brumbaugh organ at Central Lutheran here. [ http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brombaugh ]. Regina instrumentorum, indeed. Have never heard anyone of Latry's stature perform; a poignant souvenir of Jehan Alain, too.

You saw that Bach portrait article at the Guardian? Tom Service so irritated me with his implications that the picture had somehow been stolen from the Leipzigers that I wasn't paying enough attention to his mention of JEG's book, Music in the Castle of Heaven. Damian Thompson at the Spectator (currently), in the course of gossiping about JEG, did also praise MCH to the skies, so have added that to my reading list.

(This is the G. article: [ http://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2015/apr/29/bach-portrait-leipzig-john-eliot-gardiner ].)

Bryan Townsend said...

Yes, it was the Guardian article that alerted me to the story, but I didn't read it with too much attention. John Eliot Gardiner's book on Bach has certainly gotten a lot of praise, but I haven't read it yet. The last book on Bach I read was by Christoph Wolff.