Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday Miscellanea

Yes, that's right, I didn't get my Friday Miscellanea up this week, so you get it today.

First up, an excellent little piece by Alex Ross talking about the extended Esa-Pekka Salonen ad for Apple that I posted about the other day. Here's a little sample:

How odd to see a commercial that doesn't actually insult the intelligence...

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Anthony Tommasini walks us through a survey of dissonance in music in a lengthy piece in the New York Times. It is larded with video clip examples, but, alas, they all come with an annoying and unskippable commercial so I didn't watch most of them. Dissonance was like a banner held high by composers for over a hundred years, from the late 19th century through the late 20th century. But as some have noticed, these days we are seeing the return of consonance! Now there's a twist:

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We have seen a lot of stories lately about how musicians have suffered mistreatment at the hands of airlines and customs bureaucrats, but this is one of the few stories where the musicians pushed back.

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And to really get your blood boiling, here is an article in Forbes that gives us some of the background to that inexplicable SWAT raid in the Gibson guitar factory a few years ago.
While 30 men in SWAT attire dispatched from Homeland Security and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cart away about half a million dollars of wood and guitars, seven armed agents interrogate an employee without benefit of a lawyer. The next day Juszkiewicz receives a letter warning that he cannot touch any guitar left in the plant, under threat of being charged with a separate federal offense for each “violation,” punishable by a jail term.
Read the whole thing!

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 How about some humor? The two great piano comedians are Victor Borge and, and, wait for it, Dudley Moore. Don't believe me? Here is the star of Arthur and 10 showing us his piano chops:

That's a pretty good imitation of a Beethoven sonata, but there is just something familiar about that theme... Hmm, where have we heard that before? Oh yes:

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And finally, courtesy of the inimitable Norman Lebrecht comes this lesson in how to conduct an orchestra using only your lips, eyebrows and eyeballs:

And that's all for today. Was there ever a conductor like Leonard Bernstein?

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