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Please call him by his proper name, Itzhak mothereffin’ Perlman

What I’m about to do to you is cruel. It’s cruel because I’m going to tell you all about this week’s Itzhak mothereffin’ Perlman concert, but unless you already have tickets you can’t go because it’s sold out. Actually, I think there are a few tickets left, but only the really, really ritzy expensive ones. Not that I wouldn’t endorse emptying your bank account to see Itzhak mothereffin’ Perlman in concert, mind you. If that interests you, click here to check for ticket availability.

Moving right along. The concert includes a Bach piece and Beethoven’s fifth, but never mind that (I know! I said never mind to Beethoven! Crazy talk!). Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, people.

I know, I know. There are some snobby musicologists out there with much disdain for Tchaikovsky. I myself feel no particular need to hear his rendition of Romeo and Juliet ever again; honestly, he should’ve checked his crystal ball, acknowledged Prokofiev’s upcoming superior version, and not even bothered. But his Serenade for Strings is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. So I was very disturbed to read this in the program notes:

The love stemmed from Tchaikovsky’s passion for Mozart, his favorite composer. “I don’t just like Mozart, I idolize him,” he wrote his devoted patroness Nadezhda von Meck. The Serenade pays homage to the enchanting world of Mozart’s serenades and divertimentos, such as Eine kleine Nachtmusik.

Bleh. Thank God for redemption: “But while Tchaikovsky borrowed certain Mozartean stylistic conventions, his all-string orchestra is much larger than the dozen or so players used for Mozart’s serenades, and the heart of the work is purely his own.”

Mozart as the inspiration, bah. I think they made that up just to torment me.

I think I dig your problem – it’s rubber and it quacks

I, for one, could use a feel-good video today. And so I turn to that classical music standby, Sesame Street. Were you aware that you gotta put down the duckie if you wanna play the saxophone?

Wait, you protest, that was a swingy number! How is that related to classical music? Silly rabbit, watch it again and see how many musicians you can spot. How about Wynton Marsalis, Joe Williams, Paul Simon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Celia Cruz, Pete Seeger, and the man this family-friendly blog will respectfully refer to as Itzhak mothereffing Perlman?

Also, um, a guy with a clarinet?

A real kneeslapper to be sure

Q. Why shouldn’t you drive off a cliff in a Smart car with three violas in it?

A call to (bow) arms

Look, I don’t know you. I don’t know your life. I can’t tell you what to do. Except I can: if you’re remotely north-ish on the east coast, STAY IN-BLOODY-SIDE.

I mean, you probably already knew that. But maybe you’re going so stir crazy by now that you’re thinking hey, it can’t be that bad out there. You are wrong. I have personally spoken to drivers who have made the attempt and one informs me he has never had a more horrifying drive in his life. And that was last night. It’s snowing even harder now.

If you need food, walk, but I’d aim for a gas station; you seem to have a better shot at one of them being open than any of the grocery stores. Besides, the latter may not have any food anyway – I went yesterday afternoon and it was like a vegan’s dream: very little meat selection, almost no milk, definitely NO eggs.

But don’t fret! I have a nice, safe indoor activity for you. I call it The Great Viola Joke Challenge, mostly because anything fancier sounds dumb and convolutes my meaning. All you have to do is comment or email me with your name and your viola joke, and the best ones will be posted on Thursdays. Right now there is no prize beyond recognition and the glory of being the best at kicking a man when he’s already down, but isn’t that enough?

So yeah. Don’t go anywhere. Hunker down on the couch with every blanket you own and send me some viola jokes. Lord knows I’ll be here waiting.

Oh, by the bye! If you’re concerned about BSO concerts happening or not happening, the web site has a little pop up on the main page that will let you know what’s up.

it’s a small world after all

As promised, I now offer my music- and culture-related photos from my Disney trip. The larger majority of them were taken by me, although a few were taken by my dear friend and traveling companion, Elizabeth.

Speaking of Elizabeth, clearly she is supportive of the BSO.

Here we have African dancers and drummers at the Animal Kingdom. At certain points of the day they would pull people from the audience to dance with them. I escaped this fate, although we were drawn into clapping, and clapping on the beat, thank you very much.

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“Our society is changing dramatically to become more participatory”

And here I thought I wouldn’t have cause to post about the whole Rusty Musicians thing anymore. My mistake. The Washington Post had an article in the Thursday Style section all about it.

The discussion board on Violinist.com has been abuzz with the debate of just how fast Alsop’s tempo would be at the start of the Tchaikovsky movement, which is a knuckle-bender even for professional string players. (Alsop finally called up her label and asked them to make a download of her performance of the piece available to participants.) Ellen Pendleton Troyer, a violinist with the BSO, was impressed with the results. “My stand partner was nailing everything,” she said.

Y’know, for accomplished artistes, that’s high praise. You can read the entire article here, although you’ll have to sign up for an account. I’m pretty sure they’re free.

Oh, and here’s a video:

In a lower register because I think it’s funnier that way


(Ugh, that was awful. In my defense, I have spent much of my day attempting to clear my car out of the snow and it’s tiring work.)

The cat’s the only cat who knows how to swing

I don’t know about you, but in my childish days of primary and secondary academia, nothing brought greater joy to my heart than the words “All Howard County public and private schools are closed today.” Therefore, although snow does not necessarily get me out of anything anymore, it still fills my heart with exceeding great joy. One of those psychological things, I guess.

You know what else fills me with exceeding great joy? Musical LOLcats.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

You’re welcome.

I know why you’re really here…

For the viola joke, right? I thought so.
Q. Why do violists get antsy when they see the Kama Sutra?

Come laugh at me!

Here’s another post inviting your mockery. Enjoy.

So yesterday I was listening to WBJC and a soft, serene sort of piece came on. “Borodin,” I pronounced it. And I was right. I felt deliciously vindicated.

Today on the drive home I vascillated wildly between Respighi and Gershwin (I know, right? It was the instrumentation and dreamy quality that threw me, I think; don’t ask me how my brain works because I don’t even know) before discovering it was Vaughan Williams.

Consider me officially knocked down a few pegs.