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{ Category Archives } Music

The Father of Us All

Never mind the overblown dust-up about Joshua Bell in the Metro station. The big classical music news of the moment is The Classic FM Hall of Fame 2007, this year’s list of the top 300 classical works. Thanks to the astonishing reach of Topix.net’s Classical Music news feed, I’ve just become aware of a UPI […]

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Motion and Emotion

One of the more impressive classical music-focussed blogs that I follow is On An Overgrown Path. A recent entry about Byzantine mosaics and frescoes in the Chora Church in Istanbul has, in addition to some gorgeous pictures, a link to a video of oud player Rahim AlHaj on YouTube. At the end he says the […]

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Surfacing

Despite appearances, this blog is not dead. I spent most of March finalizing a score to submit to New England Conservatory for my doctorate. They’ve been expecting it for about 7 years, so push finally came to shove. One of the last things I managed to do before the dissertation score took over my life […]

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Hansel and Gretel in Greensboro

As a jaded, pessimistic, and inertia-bound person, a wonderful thing about having children is that I end up doing fun things I would otherwise avoid. Going to Greensboro, NC to hear Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel on Friday was a case in point. Even without my daughter there were good reasons to go, but it’s […]

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Looking for scandal but finding something much better

This morning Alex Ross posted a short summary of the Hattogate scandal with links to some key sites that get to the heart of the matter. The one I found interesting enough to follow up is to Pristine Classical’s Hatto Hoax page. Andrew Rose, the engineer who runs the site, specializes in audio restoration—and it […]

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Die misunderstood composer!

This morning on NPR I heard Scott Simon and Marin Alsop talking about Mahler’s Fifth (you can listen too). Simon began by noting that Mahler was disappointed with the reception it got, and is supposed to have said that he wished he could have waited 50 years and then conducted the premier, when the piece […]

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The badness of the best and worst

I’ve just been talking to a colleague in another department about a statistical analysis of Beatles chord progressions that he’s doing. I could go on and on about the pitfalls of that, but I won’t. He’s doing it to illustrate a statistical technique, so he’s not pretending to be coming up with the grand theory […]

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Something so right, but what?

We had an amusing little discussion/debate in my songwriting class today. I brought in 2 recordings of Paul Simon’s song “Something So Right”—the original (from There Goes Rhymin’ Simon) and Annie Lennox’s (from Medusa). Lennox’s rearrangement is fairly radical—she exchanges the roles of the bridge and chorus in the original. I like to spend some […]

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The Ciompi Quartet with guest Branford Marsalis

Tonight, in the same hall Zorn played last night, it was the Ciompi Quartet with Branford Marsalis. I was looking forward to hearing my friend marc faris’s new composition Mountain Music which, as it turned out, is a beautifully restrained piece, distinctive, personal, and surprising. And yet, through no fault of the music or musicians, I was discontent. I was hoping for something grittier, and I end up thinking about other times I’ve heard Branford play or speak.

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John Zorn’s Acoustic Masada at Page Auditorium

What a set! The four players—Zorn (alto sax), Dave Douglas (trumpet), Greg Cohen (bass) and Joey Baron (drums)—came onstage briskly, got in position with a minimum of fuss as Zorn shouted something I didn’t catch, and immediately launched into a frenetic free-form piece, Zorn playing with one hand and jabbing behind his back with the other to direct the drummer. Grunge jazz, in the best sense of the word, all the way down to Zorn’s camo pants.

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