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The hillllllls are aliiiiiiiiive

But I’m not telling you with WHAT.

Alternately: in my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be.

Alternately: You’ve got to be taught, before it’s too late, before you are six or seven or eight, to hate all of those who your relatives hate; you’ve got to be carefully taught.

Alternately: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plaaaaaaaain!

But mostly: High on a hill was a lonely goatherd, LADYODLELADYODLELAY-HEE-HOO!

Not that you could tell or anything, but this week’s BSO concert is a Pops affair entitled “Rodgers and Hammerstein and the Movies,” featuring music and movie clips. I think this largely speaks for itself (not that I let it), but I do want to issue a warning:

There are people out there who harbor an irrational hatred for The Sound of Music. These are mostly boys. Girls, these boys are soulless jerks. Don’t date them.

But maybe they deserve a chance. If you want to give them one, try showing them this:

And when you’re done, see it at Strathmore on Thursday, May 19 at 8 pm, or at the Meyerhoff on Friday, May 20 at 8 pm, Saturday, May 21 at 8 pm, or Sunday, May 22 at 3 pm. And enjoy being a girl.

Sunset Suite #12

I ❤ The Phantom Tollbooth. And I even love the movie version. Despite the fact that I’ve never done drugs.

In the book there was a symphony orchestra for Chroma to conduct through the sunset, but still, pretty good. I just wish they hadn’t cut The Valley of Sound (I may have a fix for this later this summer!).

Ah, yes, the famous Scottish catpipes

funny pictures - Richard couldn't afford a bagpipe,  but that  didn't stop a man with a  dream.
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Ignorance is bliss

The following joke was submitted by the valiant Michael Tuchman.

A violist leaves home for his new job as violist in a big city symphony.  After a  few weeks, his mom calls him.

“So, you do like your new living situation?”

“Sure, but the neighbors are a bit difficult.”

“How so?”

“My neighbor on the left side bangs his head on the wall all night, and the neighbor on the left just paces the floor and screams and won’t stop.”

“My, that sounds awful.  How do you cope?”

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Listening tests: a forbidden love

Raise your hand if you secretly kinda like listening tests!

No? Just me then?

Oh, come on. It’s like a game! A GAME THAT REQUIRES YOU TO STUDY, hence the “secretly kinda,” but all the same. (This is probably unnecessary, but just in case you don’t know: a listening test is when your professor or what have you gives you a set of pieces to which you must listen, and then for the test he plays a series of very short clips that you must duly identify. The specifics of how many clips and how long they are vary, but my music history professor Dr. Parcell always gave us ten ten-second long clips out of anywhere from eleven the first semester to… I think we topped out at twenty-four.)

My music history teacher had each select of pieces for the semester’s listening test on separate CDs, and I used to slap the whole thing on my iPod and work out to it. This was a good, but not fool-proof, way to study. Take, for example, the very first semester of History of Western Music Part I, which covered Gregorian chants. Okay, seriously now, have you ever tried to differentiate between sections of a high mass with only a ten-second clip? Well, given my audience, maybe you have, so you know: it’s HARD.

There were usually a couple gimmes on a given test: the spoken dialogue from The Beggar’s Opera was a dead giveaway, EIIIIIIINN!!! from Carl Maria von Weber’s The Freeshooter cannot be misheard, I know Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring like the back of my pagan-ritual-hand (left). But some of them were harder, like when we had several different piano sonatas at once. I like piano sonatas, sure, but if the professor decides to pluck a nondescript bit five minutes into the piece it can be a rough one. I once got a clip right only because it sounded minor-y and another girl in my class had mentioned just before the test that a certain piano concerto in a major key had a minor-y sound at one point.

Of course, there are Don’t Panic secrets when you hear a clip and have NO FREAKING CLUE what it is. Narrow it down, Parcell always said. Write down all the pieces you’ve been studying and then go through them. What are you hearing? A string quartet? Well, how many are on your list? If you’re lucky, just the one. If not — well, is it major or minor? Does it sound like one of the composers in question? Alternatively you can try bursting into tears and making your paper too soggy to grade, but I [brag]never got more than one wrong on a given listening test, so hah![/brag]

Whaddya say, Ain’t Barrocos? (I decided I like that one best.) Did/do you share my triumphant fun in the personal little game show that is a listening test? (Ooooh, someone should make a listening test game show!) Or are they the bane of your existence? What’s the roughest clip you’ve ever heard, or given? And what are your tricks for figuring it out when you just don’t know?

A beautiful mind? Not according to Ain’t Baroquers…

Or Ain’t Baroquians or Ain’t Barrocos or whatever you want to call yourselves. The point is: irony alert!

There are two separate BSO concerts this week; one is called is called “Robert Schumann: A Romantic Original,” and the other is “Schumann: A Beautiful Mind.” Well, he may have a beautiful mind, but so far everyone thinks Brahms’ brain is prettier; Schumann is getting KILLED in the current Composer Cagematch! (Incidentally, you have until midnight Saturday to vote in that sucker.)

But never mind. Let’s not add insult to salt in the injury. What makes Schumann a Romantic Original? His Manfred Overture and his first two symphonies, plus a lecture from a Johns Hopkins University psychologist about Schumann’s particular nutter butter tendencies beforehand (that goes down an hour before the concert). See it on Thursday, May 12 at 8 pm (Wine Night!) and Sunday, May 15 at 3 pm, both at the Meyerhoff.

Alternatively, if you’d rather explore what makes Schumann’s mind so beautiful, Marin Alsop and Schumann scholar Dr. Richard Kolgan have prepped a presentation all about it, including bits of music and discussion of Schumann’s possible bipolar disorder. Fun! See that at Strathmore on Friday, May 13 at 8:15 pm or at the Meyerhoff on Saturday, May 14 at 7:00 pm.

Either way, I’m glad someone likes Schumann. You guys certainly don’t. Updated to add: In my defense, when I wrote this it was 14-2 in favor of Brahms.

Updated again to add:

12-Hour Sale, $25* Tickets!

The madness begins TONIGHT (Wednesday, May 11) at 6 p.m. and ends TOMORROW  (Thursday, May 12) at 6 a.m.

Login to BSOmusic.org using Promo Code 17121 during these 12 hours to purchase your discounted tickets to Schumann’s Beautiful Mind. You must login before adding tickets to your cart to view discounted ticket price. This offer is for online purchases only.

But wait, there’s more!

After last week’s “Violamatic” video, many readers stepped up with additions to the genre of kitchen music, and I would be remiss if I didn’t bring them to greater attention.

You may wish to sample the delightful sounds of your mom’s kitchen:

Or you may want to dump your Violamatic for a more versatile tool:

Thanks to Stephen P. Brown and Chris McGovern for their contributions! (Michael Monroe, I’m saving yours for Thursday’s viola joke.)

Continuing a theme

This week’s viola joke was a video, so why not video LOL?

This exists, right? I didn’t imagine it?

What’s the accepted internet phrase again? Oh yes, that’s right: what this is I don’t even

This is not “Italian” Symphony weather

It’s May FLOWERS, Mother Nature, May FLOWERS. April showers were last month. Try to get it right.

Whatever. It’s gray and rainy and colder than it has any right to be this far into spring and I raise objections. Maybe this week’s BSO concert can cheer me up.

Let’s see… “Mendelssohn and Mahler.” Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony — why, yes, that’ll do very nicely! There are those of you who will dub it overplayed fluff, and you are the people who will never be invited to my parties, ever. Is Mahler’s Das Lied von Der Erde earthy enough for you? (Ha! See what I did there?)

I don’t know, guys. My brain’s a bit off. Um… “Italian” Symphony = good. Go see it. At the Meyerhoff on Friday, May 6 at 8 pm, at Strathmore on Saturday, May 7 at 8 pm, and then again at the Meyerhoff on Sunday, May 8 at 3 pm.

Oh, also — the annual Decorators’ Show House is up and running May 7 through 30, with ticket sales benefiting the BSO. It’s taking place in the Symphonic Suites right by the Meyerhoff, where I would be living if I had the giant sums of cash that I ought to have. The apartments have been decorated by local artisans and everything you see can be purchased. Check the web page for hours of operation and more information. Just as an idle question, is this a BSO-unique thing, or does it happen at orchestras all over? Kthxbai.