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Nothing more terrifying than a flute

Funny Pictures - Tiger and Flute
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Can’t be TOO law-abiding

Q. Why’d the violist refuse to play on his A string?

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No more calls; we have our winners

Last week I asked you to submit nominations for a Medal of Violar recipient. This week I award two — one reader-nominated and one me-nominated. Because I can.

The reader-nominated winner is Daniel’s cat Gir, because when I suggested you nominated your pets I was mostly joking and he went there anyway. Well done, sir, well done. Says Daniel: “My cat, Gir, likes to sing along with Amanda and myself when certain songs are playing.  For example, we can be playing Rockband 3 and she’ll walk onto our laps and meow and paw us in the face.” Congratulations, Gir! Maybe Daniel will engrave you a new tag to commemorate the occasion.

The me-nominated winner is Mr. Stephen P. Brown, conductor extraordinaire who can always be counted on to chime in on discussion posts with a well-thought-out reply. He last popped up responding to my post about my dislike of children’s classical music programming, but he has made many excellent comments. Thanks for your readership and replies, Mr. Brown (Can Moo. Can You? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)!

Congratulations! Of sorts! Your names will be added to the wall later today. Thanks to all my readership — keep reading, submitting, and commenting, and you, too, may one day be the ashamed proud recipient of a Medal of Violar. And then you can buy yourself a mug! I like to encourage people to dream big, y’know.

One bride for sale or exchange

I would like to open with the admission that I once impressed the hell out of my music history professor because not only had I heard of Dvorak, I knew who Smetana was. To paraphrase the man who has practically become the Ain’t Baroque mascot, Eddie Izzard: two Czech composers in one head? No one can live at that speed! I really should have gone to a different college.

If you, too, have a bride for sale or exchange, perhaps you might consider this week’s BSO concert. Officially it’s called “Brahms’ Second Symphony,” but who cares* about the little b (b minor?)? Smetana’s The Bartered Bride is the thing to hear, although I wouldn’t discourage your ears from taking in Bruch’s second violin concerto; I’m fond of it myself.

I’m also extremely fond of Vienna — it was my favorite part of my trip through Germany and Austria way back in 2004 — and it just so happens that the conductor’s podium will be occupied by Cornelius Meister, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. In a word: yes.

Concerts are on Thursday, April 28 at 8 pm (Wine Night!) and Friday, April 29 at 8 pm at the Meyerhoff, and then one at Strathmore at 8 pm on Saturday, April 30. If you see a little old man wearing an awesome patterned bow tie, you should tell him all about your knowledge of Czech composers.

* Rhetorical question.

A great big squash just sat upon my hat!

And now it’s time for Classy Songs with Larry.

Fun fact: this  piece of music once cost Richard Strauss a Whole Bunch of Money. “Funiculi, Funicula” was written by Luigi Denza in 1880, but when Strauss heard it, he assumed it had to be an old, traditional Italian folk tune. So he went ahead and wrote it into his Aus Italien and, naturally, Denza sued. And won royalties! But apparently Schoenberg got to use it for a string quartet scot-free; how’s that for favoritism?

Yeah, just ask the Queen of the Night

funny pictures - Iz bery hard to reach   teh high notes.
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In case of emergency

Special thanks to Twitter follower ViolinStudent for providing me with the link to a page that has a ton of viola jokes I’ve never read before. It is truly amazing.

Q. Why should everyone keep a viola around the house?

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I can see just fine, thanks!

I said there was no BSO concert this week. I didn’t say there was no BSO-related news.

The BSO Announces Fourth Annual “O, Say Can You Sing?” Competition

Winner to perform national anthem with BSO at Oregon Ridge

“O, Say Can You Sing” the national anthem with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra? Capitalizing on American Idol’s appeal among local tweens and teens, the BSO announces its fourth annual singing competition, “O, Say Can You Sing?” Contestants will vie for the chance to sing the national anthem alongside the BSO in front of thousands at the BSO’s annual Star-Spangled Spectacular concerts held at Baltimore County’s Oregon Ridge Park, July 2-3.

The competition is open to singers age 8 to 18. Sarah Jacobs from the 106.5 FM JoJo, Reagan and the Mix Morning Show will serve as celebrity judge alongside BSO staff members and local singing experts. Auditions will take place by appointment only on Thursday, June 2 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

Each year, more than 60 contestants audition for the chance to sing the national anthem alongside the BSO. Last year, Baltimore School for the Arts student Scott AuCoin and former Miss Maryland Outstanding Teen Stephanie Meadowcroft snagged the coveted positions. These gifted youngsters not only performed with the BSO, but were also featured on several local TV and radio programs.

Click here for registration and audition instructions.


PLEASE NOTE: Audition times will be assigned on a “first come, first served” basis, by appointment only and parental permission (signed waiver form) will be required for all contestants under the age of 18. Contestants must be able to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” in the key of B-flat major (F is starting note) or A-flat major (E-flat is starting note) along with an accompanist provided by the BSO. All entrants must be available for performances on both July 2 and 3, 2011. Registration deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 30.

I encourage all you student-types to go out for this. Heck, put your kid in there — no worries if he can’t sing; humiliation builds character, right? And if you do audition/have your kid/niece/cousin/whatever audition let me know! I want to a) get an interview and b) know who to root for.

Oh, and regarding the Medial of Violar contest from yesterday, you have until Monday, April 25 to get your entries in.

An honor, I guess?

It’s a holiday week, there’s no BSO concert, and I feel like being generous. I want to give someone a Medal of Violar.

I’ve made some attempts in the past that were not well received, I think because I was asking the potential recipients to do some work. 😛 Well, you’re still going to have to do some work, for yourself or on behalf of somebody else, but it should be fairly simple. Tell me who deserves a Medal of Violar, and why.

The best answer as I see it wins. You have to make a legitimate case — you’re not going to sell me on your dog unless you can explain to me how musically enriching and into this blog he is — but you can nominate anyone you like. If you CAN sell me on your dog in that regard, he’s eligible! And I’d be impressed. Does he want to be my mascot?

Entries may be accepted in comments, via email (although I’ll be publishing the winner and potentially finalists, so if you go email don’t think you’re keeping it between us), through a tweet, or on Facebook.

The winner goes on the wall! And can buy themselves a mug. Or something. Honor and glory await!

Composer Cagematch!: Grieg vs. Sibelius

Ouch. I mean… ouch.

Team Nikolai pretty much creamed Team Modest, practically from the beginning. No back and forth, no nothing. I don’t even know what to say about it, except perhaps that you guys don’t seem to be very tolerant of those who dissipate their talents with alcohol. I’ll thank you to remember that when Mozart shows up.

So, Rimsky-Korsakov into the winners pile, Mussourgsky into the losers. Now let’s head even further north to ferret out some of the few Scandinavians anyone’s heard of. (I kid, I kid. Mostly.) You know the boys I mean.

In this corner, he once studied with a man whose name really was Ole Bull! It’s


And in this corner, he vants to be alone! It’s


On the one hand, Peer Gynt. The piano concerto. On the other hand, Finlandia. The violin concerto. But then, let us not discount the fact the Edvard is rockin’ the Einstein moptop. Of course, that’s a pretty sweet bouffant, Jean.