Friday, March 2, 2018

Friday Miscellanea

It's Friday again, so it must be time for a collection of short items. Much as I try for light, comic relief on Friday's, I don't always find too much material. But I think the first item qualifies as 50% comic relief, 50% tiresome virtue signaling. Proms among music festivals pledging 50/50 gender split in lineups:
Forty-five international music festivals, including the Proms, Liverpool Sound City, the Aldeburgh opera festival and Kendal Calling, have pledged a 50/50 gender split in their lineups. 
Vanessa Reed, CEO of PRS Foundation, said: “The push for gender parity across society continues and with increased public awareness of inequalities across the creative industries, we have an opportunity to respond and commit to tangible change in music … I hope that this will be the start of a more balanced industry which will result in benefits for everyone.”
Well, honestly, I think they have a ways to go. One of the most shocking and unbalanced disparities in the music world is that between the gifted and accomplished and the bumbling incompetents. For too long it is the virtuosic elite that have dominated music festivals at the expense of the mediocre and unmusical. This has to stop, in the name of fairness and equity. Let's work for tangible change now!

Also, has anyone really taken a hard look at how lookism has twisted the world of soloists? Is it fair to put a musician of ordinary or even off-putting appearance up against the likes of Yuja Wang. Is it, I ask you?!?


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And now, chosen for its pure amusement value, a quiz that purports to reveal What Philosophical School of Thought do you fall in?

I turn out to be a Platonist, but I suspect that is mostly because they did not organize the quiz so that Aristotelian was one of the categories.

I think we need a quiz to determine what music theory school of thought you fall in. Schenkerian or neo-Riemannian?

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Lemme see now, it's 2018 so it must be time to celebrate the birth of Karl Marx that lovable ideologue whose ideas inspired the murder of, oh, around 100 million people in the 20th century. Bad ideas never die, they just keep getting commemorated. The Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, in an effort to gain street cred by showing how edgy they are, is calling for new compositions to, uh, celebrate the bicentenary. Closing date for submissions is June 29 in case you have a cantata based on  the Communist Manifesto kicking around in your desk drawer.
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group has joined forces with the Karl Marx Ausstellungsgesellschaft Trier, Kammermusikalische Vereinigung Trier and Hessicher Rundfunk to launch an international call for scores. Composers are invited to submit scores that reflect on Marx’s findings, and overriding concerns for the advancement of society that continue to influence social, political and artistic thought today.
 Findings?

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Now for some genuine, useful activism: let's boycott British Airways in support of the Kronos Quartet who were treated very shabbily indeed.
One of the world’s most travelled chamber ensembles has informed us that they will not fly BA again to concerts in the UK and Europe after being denied boarding for two violins and a viola at Abu Dhabi.
The Quartet adds: ‘We will also recommend our collaborators not fly on your airline as well.’
BA’s first response: ‘Hi, I’m sorry you weren’t able to to take your violins/violas in the cabin on this occasion. While our airport staff will make every effort to find space in the cabin for musical instruments that are within the dimensions of 80 x 30 x 25cm, I’m afraid this can’t be guaranteed. ^B’
Kronos say: ‘Our cases are well w/in the dimensions (they fly w/ us 60x a year and have for over 40 years). There was room, the flight was not overbooked. We were told we would have to book extra seats (like we do for the cello), but when we said we’d do that, we were told we couldn’t.’
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Apparently we need to beware of counterfeit strings being sold on Amazon
I had ordered a 3 pack of EJ16 guitar strings, and unlike the packaging from my last string order, this time it was three sets of EJ16s in three cardboard packages, within a shrink-wrapped envelope. And proudly on the front of the shrink wrap is a sticker proclaiming the strings as "Made In China." And, in the lower right hand of the cardboard packaging, it states "USA MADE." 
Called Amazon, they're sending replacements. Spoke with George at D'Addario, and he was apologetic and frustrated. I am not the first person to have had this problem with Amazon selling counterfeit strings. 
I have not had a problem with this as the Pro Arté strings I have ordered from Amazon have, so far, been the real deal.

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The Spectator has a very interesting piece on Claude Debussy--this year is the centenary of his death. They argue that he is one of the most original composers of all time, with pretty good reason:
Hardly anything in Debussy’s work is obviously indebted to a predecessor. The hunt for influences on him is a favourite game of musicologists because it is so perverse; once you have mentioned Mussorgsky in the first orchestral nocturne and Wagner’s Parsifal in Jeux, there is surprisingly little else to add. Indeed, there is a good case for calling Debussy the most perfectly original composer of the past 200 years.

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Our envoi for today is calling out for something by Debussy, one of the first composers I fell in love with when I discovered classical music. Impressionist or just impressive? You be the judge. This is Sviatoslav Richter with Book I of the Preludes for piano:


7 comments:

Jives said...

I got high-end viola strings from Amazon a while ago, and I'm pretty sure they were counterfeit. The c-string was slightly lumpy in places and the D went false in about 3 weeks. I only order from Shar now.

David said...

Lookism? I think I might have an antidote: I bet if you close your eyes at a G. Sokolov recital you will find the experience much more enjoyable and fulfilling than watching a Wang recital from the rear of the orchestra (or any where in the hall, I expect).

Bryan Townsend said...

Wait, are we talking about musically more enjoyable?

Marc said...

I've got a recording of a solemn performance of the Dies irae that would be peculiarly appropriate for that Marx fellow's bicentenary.

Bryan Townsend said...

Very appropriate!

David said...

Yep. Musically. Sans doute.

Bryan Townsend said...

D'accord!