Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Can't find a Big Topic for today, so you will have to be content with small ones.

First up is a new music blog that I just ran across. It's a venerable ten years old, but the authorTim Rutherford-Johnson seems a bit pessimistic about the future of music blogging. Another music blogger, Elaine Fine, sees a significant drop in visitors to her blog: "the number of people who come to my blog has dwindled down to less than half over the last six months". I have to say that that is not my experience as my page views have grown consistently since I started. I'm just a newcomer as this blog only dates from early June 2011 (corrected), but as long as my readership continues to grow, I'll be happy. What does bother me a bit is that it seems that a certain percentage--how much I'm not sure--seems to be robot visitors from diet and other unconnected sites. Now why is that? My pageview chart:

That drop off at the end is just because we are in the middle of the month. Basically, my page views have grown from 300 in the first month I was blogging to over ten thousand over the last month. Utterly minuscule compared to a blogger like Instapundit! My most-visited post, this one, is solely because of an Instalaunch. UPDATE: I thought there was something odd about that chart. My first post was June 2011, not June 2009 as the chart appears to indicate. But the upslope is correct!

Blogger Alex Ross some time ago discovered Thomas Mann's list of favorite records. Thomas Mann is particularly interesting to musicians because of his novel Doctor Faustus which explores the life of an early 20th century composer, based, in some technical details, on the music of Arnold Schoenberg. There is no Bach on Mann's list, but there is Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Wagner and Johann Strauss. Johann Strauss over Bach? Well, nobody's perfect!

Surely this is an unfortunate title for an album containing music by the Elizabethan composer John Bull:

Basically Bull,

or the adventurous keyboard works

of the vexatious Elizabethan composer John Bull and his contemporaries, the virginalists who invented virtuoso keyboard music, as performed on a Steinway and recorded one cold winter's day in Virginia...

That's the whole title and suddenly I'm liking it a lot more, though I still have my doubts about "Basically Bull". The album title recalls some of the more colorful titles of music written around then and later. My favorite title has long been "Plainte faite à Londres pour passer la Melancholie laquelle se joue lentement avec discrétion" by J. J. Froberger. This album contains that 16th century hit, "A Sad Pavan for these distracted times" and "Bull's Goodnight". Incidentally, the album itself is quite nice, if you don't mind your virginal music played on a piano. Here is what a virginal actually sounds like:

That is an "In Nomine" by Bull that is possibly the earliest composition to be written in an irregular time signature: 11/4!

Let's finish up with what the online classical music magazine Sinfini is up to. Remember, their motto is "cutting through classical" which I find a bit ominous. This doesn't inspire a lot of confidence:

Those are two rising stars of, apparently, the classical music scene(???) playing a Czardas by Monti. Well, sure, I'm all in favor of having a good time, but I don't quite see that as "classical music". I think that pretty much every composer from Josquin to Bach to Beethoven to Bartók to Stravinsky would call that "folk music". N'est-ce pas?

And honestly, apart from helping Sinfini music magazine's pageviews, how does this help classical music? Doesn't it actually hurt classical music because it gives a distorted idea of what it actually is?

No comments: