Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Miscellanea

I guess we could file this in the category of "things you don't need to see or hear:" Lang Lang and Lindsey Stirling play the Spiderman theme.


Mind you, it does combine a pointless arrangement of a lackluster movie theme with a pseudo-film-noir video in a crossover illustrating the descent of Lang Lang's career into irrelevance, so there's that. (Was that too catty?)

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DownBeat magazine (which was the first music magazine I read on a regular basis, in the late 60s) has a piece on the Monterey Jazz Festival. There is a photo of Clint Eastwood introducing Quincy Jones:


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Norman Lebrecht is often good for a chuckle. Take for instance his feigned shock at finding out that much of the repertoire played by US orchestras consists of music by just four dead, white males:
A survey by New York singers’ agent Doug Schwalbe reveals that the leading North American orchestras are still desperately dependent on a tiny handful of dead white males.
Doug looks at performances by seven orchestras – NY Phil, LA Phil, Boston, San Fran, Toronto, Philadelphia and Dallas – since 2011.
He reports that Beethoven and Mozart accounted for over 15% of  the 9,676 pieces performed.
That proportion rises to 24% when he adds Tchaikovsky and Brahms.
And you wonder why people have stopped going.
Actually, people are still going to concerts and they particularly like Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Brahms. That's why their music is put in the program. There, that wasn't so hard to understand, was it?

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Here is the very first example of computer-generated music from the University of Manchester in 1951, courtesy of Slipped Disc:

http://blogs.bl.uk/files/first-recorded-computer-music---copeland-long-restoration.mp3

What puzzles me is how you get a computer to play that badly out of tune?

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No week would be complete without a performance of the theme from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain:


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Yes, I know that I tend to lean to the sardonic, but here is a nice, sweet essay about a mother and daughter sharing the sweet magic of the Beatles. And what's wrong with that?
On a road trip together this summer, I played her some Beatle beauties: Norwegian Wood, A Day in the Life, Across the Universe. For me it was like those defining days of teaching her to ride a bike or swim. As we plunged through the monstrous Toronto rush hour, she played Yesterday 17 times in a row. There was a perfect connection between us. Yesterday is her first true experience of the melancholy arts.
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I see a theme developing here. This is a mandolin orchestra from Vishnyeva in what is now Belarus. That young fellow sitting in the middle of the front row is Shimon Peres who didn't continue in his career as a mandolinist but instead became Prime Minister and President of some Middle-Eastern country.


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I didn't know that Donizetti's opera L'elisir d'amore had a shower scene, but it does in this new production by the Valencia opera:


And, wait, is that Kim Kardashian?

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Here is quite a good article on a new book about Venezuela's El Sistema music education program by Anne Midgette in the Washington Post:
“Playing for Their Lives” is so besotted with El Sistema that it verges on cult literature. This is not to deny the achievements of the many people devoting time and energy to helping kids in programs around the world. But the authors, though they traveled to many of these programs, barely even try to give their efforts an objective framework. The outside sourcing is slender and seems not to have extended to corroborative interviews to back up what the subjects say. Over and over again, the book reports on people’s aspirations and the programs’ potential to do good, as if these results had already been realized. “El Sistema is a significant and genuine worldwide movement,” they write. “By the time you read that sentence, it will be true.” And their adulation of the El Sistema founder Abreu approaches hagiography. “Like Mahatma Gandhi, like Martin Luther King, Jr.,” they write, “he has shown the world new ways to think about social transformation.”
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For our envoi today, what better piece than that excellent song by Paul McCartney, "Got to Get You Into My Life" which is the last cut on Revolver. Apparently I can't post the original, so get out your Revolver CD and turn it up! The best I can find on YouTube is this live performance:


3 comments:

Marc Puckett said...

I spent a pleasant half hour with the UOGB last night when I ought to have been sleeping-- they must have a fairly long history since there seem to be any number of different members. Was specially impressed by the whistler ("that guy on the end is playing a big friggen ukulele"), ha. The site says they began in 1985.

Marc Puckett said...

"Here in Valencia, Mr. Michieletto puts the action in a beach bar, Adina's Bar, and in modern times. The start of the show is promising. Too promising as it turns out." My emphasis, from José Maria Irurzun's review, 2011, of the Damiano Michieletto production at Valencia, which is what's being reprised there this month at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (so it's 'new' only in that it's the new season and, well, there's the new director, the 'pioneer of women's progress as conductors &c' [ABC] Canadian Keri-Lynn Wilson). I think that's Mattia Oliveri as Belcore but from that angle, ahem, I can't tell if the Adina is Ilona Mataradze or Karen Gardeazabal-- opening night of the season is tonight, so that publicity still might be either one of 'em (ABC says they are 'alternating'). No idea if the beach-front shower is Michieletto's invention, or due to someone at Madrid, or Wilson. Kim will have to wait her turn.

Bryan Townsend said...

I'm just amazed at the stuff they manage to put onstage: a whole lap pool and a live bull for Moses und Aron, a shower in L'elisir de amore, a horse in a production of Fidelio I saw. I guess part of the thrill is the unexpected.