Way, way back around 1970, one of the last things I did as an electric guitarist was record a few of my own songs double-tracked with me on vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar and bass and a couple of friends on drums and organ. The only song we recorded that was by someone else was "The Thrill Is Gone." Sadly, that tape disappeared years ago. I've got a couple of B. B. King's CDs sitting on my shelf including one collaboration with another guitar hero, Eric Clapton:
Now that's some fine and manly blues.
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Some manuscripts by Pierre Boulez, including Structures, his first venture into "total serialism", are about to come up for auction at Sotheby's. An example:
Tom Service blathers on about it in the Guardian.
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There is room for something a bit silly in the miscellanea today--like this little piece titled "Why Is the Timpani Player Smelling His Drums."
It took me a while to understand what this audience member was asking. But looking back at the timpani, I saw exactly what she was asking. The timpanist was putting his ear close to the drum heads, tapping lightly and trying to retune the drum while the orchestra was playing. But looking at it through an audience perspective, it did look like he was smelling his drums. His face (especially his nose) was right next to the drum head.
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There is a big kerfuffle going on now about the Berlin Philharmonic's search for a new music director. Norman Lebrecht in particular has been turning his feigned astonishment up to eleven and even Alex Ross is fulminating about it. The Telegraph has a more moderate comment on what is going on. The Berlin Philharmonic is one of those rare ensembles that elects their music director and there is apparently some internal difference of opinion.
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Alex Ross' piece in particular raised some broader issues so I am going to curtail this post and start a new one to talk about those issues. I leave you with the Berlin Philharmonic under their superstar conductor Herbert von Karajan playing the Symphony No. 3 of Beethoven: