Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Miscellanea

Let's see, what do we have today? Tom Service has a new symphony guide post up, this week on the Symphony No. 4 by Brahms. I am just about through listening to the Bruckner symphonies and after that I am going to do the Mahler ones, just to refresh my memory. And then I will do the Brahms ones. After all that I am going to do a post on the 19th century symphony...

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Norman Lebrecht has the scoop on Lang Lang's latest collaboration. But at this point, I'm sure we are all wondering if we even care...

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Here is a fascinating piece about the history of copyright law in the US and how one bad Supreme Court ruling led to the odd laws governing covers of popular songs.
It’s all in the eye (or ear) of the beholder. But the important point is that because of Aeolian’s dominance of a now-defunct technology, we have a musical culture in America in which musicians are free to tweak songs they like—and they do so with great enthusiasm. Bob Dylan wrote “All Along the Watchtower”; Jimi Hendrix turned it into something quite different and, arguably, made a great song even greater. Another 1960s classic, Van Morrison’s “Gloria,” has been covered by performers including Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, David Bowie, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Rickie Lee Jones, AC/DC, and (in perhaps the song’s most memorable and inventive reinterpretation) Patti Smith. “Gloria” is an enduring song in part because so many legendary musicians have tweaked it. Cat Power, John Lennon, Willie Nelson, Paul Anka, and many other famous artists have issued albums of nothing but cover songs. All this legal copying has made our musical culture immeasurably richer.
Well, except for those William Shatner covers:

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The Wall Street Journal has a piece on conductor/composer Andre Previn who says he has always been lucky. Well, he has been married to both Mia Farrow and Anne-Sophie Mutter and had a brilliant career both as a conductor and, to a slightly lesser extent, as a composer.
Though Mr. Previn was nominated for 11 Oscars and won four, he maintains that he doesn't miss working in Hollywood. "The kind of film I'd be interested in scoring exists so little now," he said, "and they're always done by my friend Johnny Williams. Besides, it takes too long."
If there is an unfulfilled musical achievement, it concerns dance. "I'd like to write a big ballet," Mr. Previn confided, "a big, evening-filling ballet. And there has been some talk between Peter Martins"—the artistic head of New York City Ballet—"and myself. I have ideas for it. A year ago, I did a short ballet based on my clarinet sonata for them, and that was fun." (The work will be performed by NYCB on Friday and again on Wednesday.)
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Let's end with a piece of music. Andre Previn always was what now we call a "crossover" artist. Here he is doing a tune with Doris Day. Recorded in 1961:

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