Perceptions about music, perceptions that affect music, perceptions colored by music, perceptions expressed by music.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
1. "Birdhouse In Your Soul" by They Might Be Giants on Flood.
2. "Consecration of the House" Overture by Ludwig von Beethoven, performed by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic.
3. "Dovehouse Pavan" by Alfonso Ferrabosco, performed by the American Brass Quintet on Music of Renaissance, Baroque.
4. "Oh How I Wish That I Was In My House" from The Greater Good by Stephen Hartke, performed by Christine Abraham and the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra with Stewart Robinson.
5. "Hawkins' Barrel House" by Coleman Hawkins on Classic Tenors.
6. "The House I Live In" by Earl Robinson, performed by Paul Robeson Jr. on Songs of Free Men.
7. "The House On the Hill" by Aaron Copland, performed by Camerata Singers and Timothy Mount.
8. "If I Leave the House" by D'arc on Woman On Fire.
9. "In the Jailhouse Now" by Jimmie Rogers, performed by the Soggy Bottom Boys on the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
10. "Invading Elliott's House" by John Williams on the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial soundtrack.
11. "Jailhouse Rock" by Lieber and Stoller, performed by Elvis Presley.
12. "Life In a Glasshouse" by Radiohead on Amnesiac.
13. "Master Of the House" from Les Miserables by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Herbert Kretzmer, performed by the Broadway Cast.
14. "Pent-Up House" by Sonny Rollins, performed by the Guy Baker Ensemble on The Talented Mr. Ripley soundtrack.
15. "The Housewife's Lament" by Frederic Rzewski on Rzewski Plays Rzewski.
16. "Swing House" by Gerry Mulligan, performed by Stan Kenton on New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm.
17. "This Is No Longer Your House" by James Horner from the House of Sand and Fog soundtrack.
18. "Warehouse" by the Dave Matthews Band on Under the Table and Dreaming.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The danger of knowing too little
*Fortunately not directed at me, as the last time I conducted an ensemble was 15 years ago, and that was all college students. And I've only had to deal with helicopter parents three times.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The new sketchbook
Friday, February 19, 2010
1) "All Along the Watchtower" by Bob Dylan, performed by a) Jimi Hendrix, b) U2.
2) Monster on a Leash by Tower of Power.
3) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers soundtrack by Howard Shore.
4) "Black Topaz" by Joan Tower, performed by Laura Flax, Patricia Spencer, Jonathan haas, Deborah Moore, Stephen Gosling, Mike Powell, Chris Gekker.
5) "Eiffel Tower Polka" by Francis Poulenc, performed by Wynton Marsalis.
6) "Petroushskates" by Joan Tower, performed by eighth blackbird.
7) "Snow Dreams" by Joan Tower, performed by Carol Wincenc, flute, Sharon Isbin, guitar.
8) "Stepping Stones" by Joan Tower, performed by Edmund Niemann, Nurit Tilles.
9) Concerto for Orchestra by Joan Tower, performed by Leonard Slatkin and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
10) "Made In America" by Joan Tower, performed by Slatkin and the NSO.
11) "Tambor" by Joan Tower, performed by Slatkin and the NSO.
12) "Tres Lent (In Memoriam Olivier Messiaen)" by Joan Tower, performed by André Emelianoff, Joan Tower.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tower in the Ivory Tower
Tomorrow I am moderating a public discussion with Joan Tower, as I do every year with the guest composer. I always take the opportunity to ask some questions of my own before calling on the audience. I plan to ask her about her views on the current state of the classical music industry, teaching composition, and why combining text with music is so unappealing for her. Let me know if there are any burning questions you would ask Joan Tower if you were here. And for my DePauw readers, please come and ask questions tomorrow. 11:30 in Thompson Recital Hall.
Friday, February 12, 2010
This leads to the question, why teach it then? The quick answer is that enough Common Practice Period music is still performed that the students need to understand how it works, and how subsequent styles differ from it. But as we travel further and further away from the 18th century, I wonder how much class time we theorists will be able to devote to the stylistic nuances of that time period, at the sacrifice of 20th and 21st century stylistic practices.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Guest Post: Rossini's Turco vs Italiana
Rossini’s Turk in Italy had a rough start. Just the year before, Rossini had a huge hit with an opera called The Italian Girl in Algiers. The set-up was simple enough: culture clash and comedy ensue when an Italian bombshell is washed up on the southern shores of the Mediterranean. Italian Girl was written for Venice and was a wild success. When Rossini decided to turn this plot device on its head and write a new opera about a Turkish prince who finds himself in Naples, he was obviously planning on cashing in on the popularity of its prequel.
Well, audiences in Milan (where Turk was premiered) didn’t agree. They must’ve felt as if they’d been fed an imitation of the original opera seen in Venice, and they were (as Italian audiences tend to be) pretty vocal about it. It’s a shame, for Turk is in no way inferior when experienced on its own. Nevertheless, it has spent most of its life eclipsed by the popularity of Italian Girl.
I love drawing little diagrams that describe the relationships between operatic characters. (I do the same things for books of fiction with insane multi-generational character lists.) Selim is the Turk, and he’s only one of the three men involved with the lovely Fiorilla. (One of those three is Fiorilla’s husband…)
Stendhal tells a great story about the Turk performances at La Scala with the legendary buffo singer Luigi Pacini, who created the role of Geronio, Fiorilla’s cuckolded husband. It seems that there was a certain celebrity (a Duke, I think) whose wife was famously cheating on him. Pacini thought that it would be entertaining to incorporate some of the Duke’s recognizable gestures and mannerisms into his characterization of Geronio. According to Stendhal, the audience was quick to catch on, and the poor guy (who was watching from his box seat, with his cheating wife) was made a laughing-stock.
We probably won’t get involved in celebrity gossip during our production, but a good time will be had nevertheless. One of the great things about Turk is that there’s a character (the poet Prosdocimo) who breaks down the fourth wall and provides an entertaining bridge between audience and players. Add Rossini’s trademark vocal fireworks and high-energy ensembles, and you’ve got a wonderful night in the theatre.
Friday, February 05, 2010
Dipping a toe in the TAFTO
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Best of the Rest: 2-2-10
Since I haven't done this in a while, the Best of the Rest are blogs that are not in the top 25-50 classical blog lists, but that I feel deserve some extra exposure.
1. Theme and Variations: Robert teaches us about the composer/violinist Charles-Auguste de Beriot.
2. 2'23": Philip Gentry explains that Lady GaGa is at the front edge of a new movement in virtuosic provocation, in The Law of GaGa.
3. Hearing the Movies: Jim Buhler extols the Wikipedia article on Illustrated Songs, and provides a video example from 1909.
4. Classical Convert: Things I Learned from the Cleveland Orchestra strike.
5. Feast of Music: Peter Matthews explains why the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is one of the best orchestras, pound-for-pound, in America.