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Second star to the right and straight on till morning!

And now for the BEST PART!

My dear friend Elizabeth and I are going to Walt Disney World tomorrow morning and will not return until Monday night. Naturally this means I will be much too busy exploding in a fit of ecstasy to update the blog (also of note: I won’t have access to a computer). I will, however, have my iPhone, and therefore be tweeting away about the musical goodness that WDW has to offer.

What’s that you say? You say that WDW can’t possibly have any real, worthwhile musical goodness and I’m making stuff up? Let me check my photos from past trips…

Mmmmmmmmhmm. And how about this? Continue reading


Zing, zing, zing went my heartstrings

Before we get to Miss Garland, I just want to encourage you once again to email me or comment with your general questions for artists. I say artists and not musicians because Ain’t Baroque is branching out a bit in the cultural world; indeed, my first interview is next Wednesday with a videographer for CityDance. So tell me what you want to know or I’ll be forced to guess, and I’m a terrible guesser.

Right, so as I was saying. This week’s BSO Pops concert is a performance of Linda Eder’s Judy Garland Songbook, appropriately featuring a Broadway veteran named Linda Eder performing some Judy Garland favorites.

Kids, I know Judy Garland. Not personally, of course, seeing as how she died in her forties, but I know her music and her movies and her story because my grandmother is borderline obsessed with all things Garland. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen The Wizard of Oz, and I’m intimately familiar with her songs, movies, her variety show, her children, her marriages, the weirdness behind her relationship with MGM, and did YOU know her real name was Frances Gumm? I bet you didn’t. I didn’t have to look that up.

In fact, I had intended to take my grandmother to see this concert, except a few weeks ago she developed an electrolyte imbalance and had to be hospitalized; she only just came home a few days ago and is not quite in the proper shape for outings just yet. Ah well.

But you should go. There’s a showing tonight at 8 pm at Strathmore, and then at the Meyerhoff there are performances at January 29, 30, and 31 at 8 pm, 8pm, and 3 pm respectively. I’d buy ’em fast, because ePatrons were just sent a discount code and will be snapping ’em up quick (see what you miss by not being an ePatron?).

To whet your appetite, have a video of “The Trolley Song” from Meet Me in St. Louis, the movie that delivered us “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” the most morbid little girl ever seen on film, and one of my dad’s favorite movie quotes ever:

“Papa, if losing a case depresses you so, why don’t you quit practicing law and go into another line of business?”

“That’s a good idea. Starting tomorrow, I intend to play first base for the Baltimore Orioles!”


Variation on a theme

Q. How many violists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Continue reading

Rustier and rustier

I promised when I had more info about the Rusty Musicians concerts I’d let you know. Well, I do, and now I am! This comes straight from the email sent out to the participants, and it doesn’t get any further down the horse’s throat than that.

  • First to reiterate: the concerts are on Tuesday, February 2 and Thursday, February 4, both at 6:00 pm at Strathmore.
  • In addition to the Tchaikovsky, the program features Elgar’s Nimrod.
  • Apparently there are going to be four concerts over a four hour period per night, from 6-10 pm, with four different sets of Rusty Musicians cycling through for eight total over the two concerts. Including both rehearsal and performance time, the experience will be about 40 minutes long.
  • Quote the web page, “Patrons are welcome to come and go as they please while being courteous to the performers.” So I guess that means your family can come in just for your particular time slot and leave after it’s over, or stay if they wish. Or that’s how I interpret it and it seems right. Participants receive one free ticket for themselves if they’d like to see another time slot perform.
  • Maestra Alsop would like to assure the participants that while she does want you to practice, this is meant to be a “low stress” environment, and no one’s going to kill you if you screw up a run or two. OR SO SHE SAYS. (Look, all I’m saying is, if Alsop was looking at ME down the other end of a conductor’s baton, I’d straighten up and fly right real quick. But that’s just me.)
  • Participants have been sent a link to access audio files of Alsop’s previous Tchaikovsky and Elgar recordings, so they can listen to them as part of their preparations.
  • No photography or audio/video recording will be permitted. Sorry.
  • Another email will be sent out later in the week with information such as check in locations and times and waivers and things of that nature. I won’t be posting this information because I figure the people who need it will have it, but if anyone is in a panic leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll see what I can do.

This ends your Rusty Musician coverage for the time being. Now run and play.

(If you’re not sure where to run, why not try the BSO’s Twitter page? They’ve got that Porgy and Bess discount code…)

“Too much Mozart makes you short-tempered.”

Today is Mozart’s birthday. To that I say: love your operas, Wolfie! And to that I also say: hit it, Norman Lebrecht!

There has never been so fertile a melodic mind as Mozart’s. He was so full of catchy tunes that he shovelled them into his music as a kid spoons sugar into his breakfast bowl when mum’s not watching. Genius that he was, Mozart lacked the good sense or taste to ration his originality, seldom letting the mind settle on a theme while it is amplified and developed. Like a tiger butterfly, he flits off to the next bud, then the next, leaving the avid lepidopterist seething at his fickle fertility.

The article is entitled “Why I’m Sick of Mozart,” and you can read the rest here. My ballet friend Lucy’s dad, a militant modernist with a penchant for Webern and Boulez, gave it to me soon after it was published, and even now it never fails to make me giggle. We kid ’cause we love, Wolfie! Love your operas anyway, not your chamber mu – look, I’ll just be quiet now. Enjoy your birthday.

The aftermath of purging files

Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?

Don’t worry, all I mean is that I ran across my old quote collection from five, six, even seven years ago (of course I’m dorky enough to have had a quote collection) and while sifting through it I figured you might enjoy some of the music related ones. So here you go.


  1. “When I was young, I used to have successes with women because I was young. Now I have successes with women because I am old. Middle age was the hardest part.” Artur Rubinstein
  2. “Sometimes when I sit down to practice and there is no one else in the room, I have to stifle an impulse to ring for the elevator man and offer him money to come in and hear me.” Artur Rubinstein
  3. “Berlioz says nothing in his music, but he says it magnificently.” James Gibbons Huneker
  4. “When I was young, I was told: ‘You’ll see, when you’re fifty.’ I am fifty and I haven’t seen a thing.” Erik Satie
  5. “When a piece gets difficult, make faces.” Vladimir Horowitz
  6. “My music is best understood by children and animals.” Igor Stravinsky
  7. “The Prelude to [Wagner’s] ‘Tristan und Isolde’ reminds one of the old Italian painting of a martyr whose intestines are slowly unwound from his body on a reel.” Eduard Hanslick
  8. “The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.” Pablo Casals
  9. “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” Dr. Albert Schweitzer

I chose to sift out the non-music arts quotes, but if you guys feel like seeing how the other half lives, let me know. Salvador Dali alone is worth the price of admission (“Take me! I am the hallucinogenic!”).

A hard case to follow.

I’ve been going through Twitter looking for people to follow as part of my new Campaign Initiative, and I ran across the user violin case. Turns out you can follow Hilary Hahn‘s violin case on Twitter. Who knew? Dig the user icon.

Hey, y’know who else you can follow on Twitter? Me! Crazy but true.

Bess for less

Much like Sara Lee, nobody doesn’t like Gershwin. Which is why I think everyone will be excited to note that there are $20 tickets in the offing for the BSO’s Porgy and Bess concert. These tickets are available for February 5 and 6, both at 8 pm and both at the Meyerhoff (the Strathmore performance has been canceled and replaced with an additional Rusty Musicians performance). Along with the Porgy and Bess concert suite, the BSO will perform Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet overture and a Vaughn Williams fantasia.

You want $20 tickets? I thought so! But I can’t give them to you. The only way to obtain this fabulous discount is to trot on over to the BSO’s Twitter page and see what you can dig up. You’re welcome.

Forgive me a fit of nostalgia

The BSO has an upcoming family concert entitled Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage. Now, everyone knows I am not Mozart’s biggest fan, but this one has me super excited because it’s part of the Classical Kids franchise.

I am always amazed when I discover classical musicians who are unfamiliar with these titles, and yet I encounter so many. Although clearly they’ve branched out, they at least originated as sorts of “radio plays” that taught the stories of great classical composers. Guys, I grew up on Classical Kids. Seriously. My parents used to play them on long car rides to make me sit quietly, and on I think it was Saturday mornings (or maybe Sunday?) the old classical music station WGMS would air one.

Okay, they were heinously apocryphal – although the details of the composers life were accurate, the stories themselves were works of fiction – but you couldn’t ask for a better way to be introduced to scads of classical music all at once. I would not know Mozart’s The Magic Flute a quarter so well as I do now if not for the Classical Kids version, even if it was translated into English and even if they did add some time-traveling kid and a tiny dragon. The point is, the music was stamped into my brain, and I’m fairly certain that’s precisely the point of the whole program.

I don’t know how many new titles have been developed since I was little, but the ones I remember featured the aforementioned version of The Magic Flute, Renaissance music, Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Tchaikovsky, and of course, my old friend Beethoven.

Indeed, Beethoven Lives Upstairs was unanimously voted by my family as the best (it was even made into a TV movie). And so, when I heard about the BSO’s Classical Kids concert, I was plunged into a fit of nostalgia and immediately hightailed it to iTunes to download away. It was there, thankfully, and I’m quite giddily looking forward to listening to it at the gym tonight (this may be one of the music-geekiest things I have ever typed). The only thing that makes me sad is that none of the other tracks appear to be available. Maybe I can locate them by some other means.

Regardless, they obviously work. The Classical Kids programs, I mean. I remember being engaged in the story and the music, but I never felt talked down to, as I feel bad children’s music programming sometimes does. Even my parents enjoyed them.

So if you have a small and impressionable child, I encourage you to take them to see Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage. It’s on Saturday, January 30, at 11 am at the Meyerhoff, and as always the BSO Family Fun Zone starts up at 10 am. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Hmmm. I may have to perform some more in depth reviews of my old favorites. I’ll see how my beloved Beethoven story has held up over time.

P. S. Classical Kids people, you don’t have a Wikipedia page that I could find. What’s up with that?

The south of France! His satin pants!

Good morning! Oh, don’t yawn at me like that. I have just the Monday video to perk you up.

Using classical music as a soundtrack to cartoons is a long and storied tradition, opera parodies doubly so. While it was far more prevalent in old shorts like Bugs Bunny or Disney bits, the tradition is not entirely dead today. There a few examples, but today I’d like to highlight a particular magical moment that my brother and I enjoyed so much in our Nickelodeon days. It’s from the Hey, Arnold! segment “What’s Opera, Arnold?” and I think you’ll agree that Bizet and Wagner together never made more sense.