This is something that should be taking place in most communities, but isn't. The trend in recent years has been for arts coverage to be eliminated almost entirely in most of the mass media. I was looking at a couple of Canadian newspapers recently and the featured articles in the "arts" section were about food, food and a children's book. Typical coverage is about films and film festivals, pop music and the occasional book review. What's missing? Actual performing arts by regional groups like the ballet, symphony and theater companies--just the people mentioned in the article linked to above.In the weeks ahead, our “Arts” section, appearing in Sunday’s print edition and showcased on courierjournal.com, will spotlight other influential performers, organizations, companies, troupes and theaters. You’ll instantly recognize many of the names. But in some weeks, we will introduce you to up-and-coming or new-to-Louisville arts-related groups that contribute to our cultural mix.Louisville’s arts scene also means big bucks. It’s estimated our A&E “industry” has an economic ripple effect in the region of more than $450 million, providing jobs to thousands — from bartenders and waiters to parking garage operators, musicians and the performers themselves.As we continue to make improvements in our print editions and digital offerings, know that we’re re-committing to a celebration of Louisville’s arts and cultural scenes.
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Here is an article suggesting that the whole story of the "riot" at the premiere of the Rite of Spring in 1913 was a myth:
Musicologist and program annotator Linda Shaver-Gleason has researched the Rite riot, relying primarily on Tamara Levitz’s chapter “Racism at The Rite” in the book The Rite of Spring at 100. Shaver-Gleason shared her thoughts on Not Another Music History Cliché, her project devoted to debunking classical music myths. “It’s definitely one of the big ones,” she told WQXR. “Especially when you have a music appreciation class. ‘This stuff is so exciting it caused a riot!’”Dr. Tamara Levitz was my thesis advisor at McGill when I was studying musicology there and she is a dedicated researcher with a specialty in Stravinsky. This article, by focussing on specific terms, tries to underplay what was indeed an "event". As Richard Taruskin writes:
As those who know the story will recall, the protagonist of The-Rite-as-event was the audience, whose outraged and outrageous resistance to the work took everyone else by surprise, even if (as always) various parties claimed later to have foreseen or even engineered it (Jean Cocteau supposedly writing that the audience had played the part written for it; or Diaghilev saying, according to Stravinsky, that it was “exactly what I wanted”). 12 There are any number of reports and memoirs by eyewitnesses, including eyewitness who were not there. 13 The first night of The Rite, when, as Stravinsky laconically reported in a letter home, “delo dokhodilo do draki” (things got as far as fighting), 14 lives in history as a supreme succès de scandale, but it was in fact a fiasco, a rejection that would not be redeemed for many years. It left everyone, whatever their later contentions, with a sense of failure and letdown and loss.Taruskin, Richard. Russian Music at Home and Abroad: New Essays (Kindle Locations 11961-11970). University of California Press. Kindle Edition.
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Here is a review of a new collection of essays on music by philosopher Roger Scruton:
There are many ways to write a philosophy of music—but two in particular stand out. One way is to approach music with the curious ear of the ethnomusicologist open to all the varieties of music around the world. This critic sees them as embedded in specific forms of life—and only really comprehensible when viewed within them—and so is careful not to treat any musical culture as a yardstick against which to measure the others.
The other way, now seriously out of fashion, is to regard western forms of music, especially the classical tradition, as central to what music is, or ought to be, or could be. The problem with this approach is that other forms of music are inevitably found wanting when compared with these majestic works. All that matters, for this kind of critic, is the inner state of the solitary listener, communing with a long-dead composer genius.
It will come as no surprise to learn that Roger Scruton’s new book Music as an Art falls into the latter category. Scruton is a doughty defender of western classical music, a stance which is of a piece with his doughty defence of conservative values in general. His rage against musical modernism is very like his rage against architectural modernism. It’s rooted in his belief that evolution is always better than revolution, and that the wisdom of ages is better than the fashion of the moment. For Scruton it is our task to conserve the culture bequeathed to us and pass it on to the next generations. We owe a debt to the dead as much as to the unborn.
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The new provincial government in Ontario is cutting funding for a Sistema-type music program:
The Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport have reneged on a promise of $500,000 in funding for an after-school music program for at-risk children. The half million dollars in additional funding was promised to Sistema Toronto by the previous Liberal government in May, before the provincial election. The announcement reversing the funding was made late last week.Hilary Johnson, Sistema Toronto’s Managing Director, decried the move in a media interview. She emphasized Sistema’s value in a statement to a reporter for the Toronto Star, “After-school programming is huge in helping kids stay out of trouble,” she said. According to Johnson, most of the children in the program come from new immigrant families, and many are in foster care.
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Also from Ludwig van Toronto comes this article on how classical musicians can avoid bad interviews:
Actually, this sounds like it was an interview much more interesting than most. I have a problem with the way classical music is promoted. Just look at the abysmal biographies that accompany most program notes: dreary lists of competitions won and other milestones. Nothing to distinguish this artist from a host of others and nothing whatsoever about the aesthetic quality of the performer. Being boring and playing it safe is the problem with classical music, not the solution!Possibly the most awkward interview in classical music history took place back in 2011. Actor Alec Baldwin is the Radio Host of the New York Philharmonic, and he interviewed conductor Alan Gilbert during the intermission of a concert during the NYP season. The interview began innocently enough with a friendly talk about Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. Then, however, Baldwin threw in a question about contemporary music, suggesting that modern composers were intentionally obtuse, and that the music was difficult to enjoy.Gilbert bristled. “I completely disagree, actually. With both parts of your question.”Cue awkward silence. Baldwin made a joke about the NYP staff’s research skills. Gilbert then threw the question back at Baldwin, and a clearly unprepared Baldwin gave a lengthy answer where he acknowledged, “an admitted prejudice where I think classical music has to be written in the 18th century. And certainly the 19th century. And some people in the 20th century.” More bristling.It was not one of the award-winning veteran actor/writer’s better moments in the public eye. It’s also a classic cautionary tale that illustrates the fundamental principle of a successful interview: don’t go in unprepared. And second — avoid blurting out something you’ll regret later.
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This is really bizarre: Instagram is preventing livestream performances of classical music:
This can't be a copyright issue because the composers she mentions are all in the public domain. Coming after all the recent biases against conservative news and commentary by the Internet giants Facebook, Google and Apple, one wonders if there needs to be some kind of oversight? Read the comments for further details, plus some confusion!
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You know that plan I reported on for broadcasting atonal music in public spaces to drive away drug dealers? According to Slipped Disc, it ain't gonna happen:
As usual, the comments are a treat.The plan to blast advanced modernism at Hermannstrasse station in order to drive away layabouts has been blown off track after 300 people attended a new music festival there this weekend.Overnight, Berlin drug dealers were heard whistling Webern’s opus 27 as they measured out a toke and iTunes almost crashed over demand for Schoenberg’s fourth string quartet.As if…. What killed the scheme was a protest from objection from the all-powerful German Music Council which said in a statement: ‘This attempt of instrumentalizing music in public space is unspeakable.’So we guess it won’t happen.
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Also via Slipped Disc is this video of Leonard Bernstein losing his baton in the finale of the Symphony No. 2 of Sibelius. Go ahead to the 6:28 mark to see what happens:
Actually, some orchestras have a contingency plan for this. One place I lived the principal cellist, who sat immediately on the right hand of the conductor, had to bring a replacement baton with him to very performance which he placed on his stand with the grip facing out. If the conductor lost his baton he just had to reach down for the replacement.
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It feels as if we need more music in our post today! For an envoi let's listen to this Rondeau from Les Indes Galantes by Rameau.
That'll set you up for the day!