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Don’t panic (in large, friendly letters)

I know, I know. I am way overdue for a post here. But listen, I had one all planned out for this morning! Only when I got into work my computer wouldn’t connect to the network, and then it turned out that no one’s computer would connect to the network, and then it turned out the server had crashed. Benevolent Dictator Jamie has one of those nifty portable wireless thingees, but that was still one internet-ready computer for two digital marketers, which was one too few. I got sent home early. And then I had homework.

So here I am, staring intently at Google analytics and pondering the new Twitter discount. What Twitter discount, you say? I’m glad you asked! There’s a new discount code over at the BSO’s Twitter feed, but you’ll have to click to find out what it is because it wouldn’t be fair to everyone else if I just gave it to you. Here at Ain’t Baroque we are all about justice. So I will only say it would be worth your while to take a peek.

I’m assembling a holiday gift list for music people, so if you have any suggestions, don’t hesitate to send ’em in!


Viola, turkey, viola, turkey, viola, turkey…

Happy Thanksgiving, my American friends! Happy Thursday, international set!

Fear not, I recognize the importance of the day. It is Viola Joke Day. Holiday or no, I would never abandon you in your time of need.

On the contrary, I choose this day to break out a whopper. Here we have a viola joke so immense, so expansive, that I can’t in good conscience reproduce it here in its entirety. Behind the cut is the intro and the link to the full joke. It’s called Die Sauerbratschen, or “The Magic Viola.” Once more with feeling, Mr. Mozart.

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For fun

Normally I wait to post video as a pick-me-up on Mondays, but since it’s a holiday week and the focus has shifted toward relaxation, try this on for size.

See? Music IS good for you! I feel like John Cage would be all over this as a new form of chance composition. Way more fun than dice.

It’s for the children

Yesterday I put up a bunch of new homepage banners to advertise the BSO’s upcoming concerts, and let me just say I am every so pleased with my photoshopping job on the Polar Express one; do you see any evidence of a Caldecott medal on that sucker? NO YOU DO NOT.

I also put up banners for Too Hot To Handel and the Holiday Spectacular, but it’s the Polar Express concert that has me intrigued. I’m a huge Chris Van Allsburg fan (I have his Narnia covers and everything!) and I’m positive I must have read this at some point, but I don’t remember much of it (could someone please set The Mysteries of Harris Burdick to music? Because I’d be all over that). Apparently it’s about a kid who believes in Santa. Well heck, I do that. Where’s MY magical train?

I didn’t even know it came in a musical flavor. But it would appear it does, and you can see it at the Meyerhoff on Saturday, December 5th, at 11 am, because this is For the Children. Good thing I’m only eight on the inside.

I’m pretty sad there are no audio sample or program notes for this one, as I really want to know more about it. From what I can gather, though, the illustrations are going to be projected onto a screen, and they’re going to read the book and then intersperse it with music. Or else they sing it? There’s a children’s choir, that much I know for certain, and then a holiday sing-a-long at the end. Or something. Look, I’m confused.

As far as I can tell, though, tickets are only $12-20, and I’ve honestly never been to a BSO concert that wasn’t awesome (except that Rodeo one at age 10, but that wasn’t the orchestra’s fault), so especially if you have kids I’d definitely check it out; purchase tickets here. All the children’s concerts are preceding by the BSO KidZone, which includes activities like an instrument petting zoo and crafts, so don’t forget to get there early!

Important info for those who wish to subscribe

I’ve gotten a fair number of new subscribers this past week and for that I thank you! However, there may be a step of which you are unaware which is preventing you from experiencing the joy that is receiving posts in your email inbox, and that is this:

Once you have signed up, you should receive an email from Feedburner asking you to confirm your subscription. If you do not do so, you will not be subscribed.

So if you attempted to sign up recently but haven’t gotten anything Ain’t Baroque in your email, please try again or go back through your email and find that all-important confirmation email from Feedburner.

And if you haven’t subscribed yet, please do so! I really need your support to make my thesis portfolio a success. 🙂 Besides, all that clicking and typing you have to do is so tiring, isn’t it? So much easier to have it come directly to you. Subscribe now!

If you’re not loose at the knee, you might as well not be here

Cheer up; it’s a short week! And to help you along in your quest to get that time spent as quickly as possible, I offer you the following bit of brilliance from House before he was House and his former partner in comedy, Stephen Fry.

Something to refer back to next time you can’t remember the key thing about waltzes.

(Also, I would just like to note that my friend Bekah and I once counted off a piano trio rehearsal with “AND and and AND and and AND and and AND!” and it actually worked.)

How to Annoy Your Coworkers Today

Today is my dear friend Diana’s birthday, and I am taking her out for cupcakes this evening. She likes to tell me about a friend of hers from undergrad who used to HATE IT if you didn’t cadence. If you were to sing a scale up to the seventh and just hang there, he would glare and then compulsively finish it for you. Poor kid must’ve despised Debussy.

In honor of Diana’s birthday, I would like everyone to walk up to the coworker they love (or hate!) the most, sing a scale, and then stick a mental fermata on the seventh note. Hold as long as you can and then stand there and smile cheerfully until some response is garnered.  Let me know how it goes!

I found it!

I know I promised this yesterday… Wait, did I promise it for today? Then I’m right on time! But it might have been yesterday, in which case I apologize. Either way I’m covered.

Anyway, my point is that I finally figured out where the Messiah contest from The Baltimore Sun lives! Click here to enter to win two tickets to the upcoming BSO Messiah concert at the Meyerhoff on Friday, December 4th. If you can’t go, you can always give them to a friend as an early holiday gift. Nobody doesn’t like Handel, and that’s a true story.

And hey, since I’m helping you out with all these awesome contests and potential freebies, why not do me a solid and subscribe to the blog? The posts go straight to your inbox and you’re relieved of the burden of studiously checking up on the page; meanwhile, I have concrete proof that I’m being seen, which will look extra pretty when it comes to time to analyze for my thesis. You don’t want to ruin my thesis, do you? I thought not. Subscribe now!


Marin Alsop is funny! Who knew?

Okay, maybe you did, but I didn’t until last night’s concert during her opening spiel about the use of the dies irae in all three of the night’s pieces. “If you’re unable to sleep tonight because of the dies irae… well, don’t call me, but I’m sorry.” And she made a crack about Superman.

Speaking of Superman, Daugherty’s “Red Cape Tango” was surprisingly good. It was a trifle repetitive, as the dies irae melody was pretty much the only melody through the whole ten or so minutes, but its reimagining with the traditional tango rhythm in the bass section was deliciously wry.

As for Liszt’s Totentanz, I can’t say I was particularly drawn in, but Thibaudet’s mastery of the wickedly hard runs (anything Liszt for piano is going to be wickedly hard) was mind boggling. As my friend Bekah said, “If I could play even one of those phrases I’d be insanely proud of myself.” Was it Liszt who supposedly sold his soul to the devil for instrumental prowess? No, wait, that was Paganini, I think. But Liszt might as well have too.

I was saddened when Benevolent Dictator Jamie informed me that we’d be setting up for college night during Symphonie fantastique, but cheered up considerably when I discovered that the acoustics are so bloody good in the concert hall that you can hear everything even when you’re outside of it. Certainly it’s not the same as being right there inside the swell of music, but good enough to hear the funny little high bits on the oboe during “The Witches’ Sabbath” I like so much.

College night itself… well, the weather killed us. It was so rainy and dreary and generally blah that everyone just wanted to go home and be depressed over their homework. But we coerced a decent crowd into staying, and some musicians were there too, which helped liven things up; one violinist especially was the life of the party, so he needs to come every time.

Also there were mozarella and tomato sandwiches on focaccia, which frankly were a reason to live. If for no other cause than those, you should be sorry if you weren’t there. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when the next one is coming up.

Barlioz would be a good name for a pub

Benevolent Dictator Jamie bought me a mug with reindeer on it. It is ENORMOUS, and holds a proportionately enormous amount of hot cocoa with marshmallows. This pleases me.

Y’know what else pleases me? College Night is tonight! I’m gearing myself up for Symphonie fantastique. It’s not every day the pizzicato is representative of a head falling from the guillotine, you know? (Incidentally, were you aware that the real title is An episode in the life of an artist and that Symphonie fantastique is a subtitle? I wasn’t!)

I think there are still a couple tickets left if you’d like to share in my fabulously morbid experience. You can purchase them here, and then afterwards enjoy the free college night food that B. D. Jamie and I will be setting up in the Grand Tier while you’re taking your bathroom break.

Y’know what else pleases me? The microwave in the break room makes flawless popcorn.