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I’m not really here

I scheduled this post through the Magic of Techology! I said, post, publish at 8 am tomorrow, and post said, you’re the boss. And now here we are.

But here I’m not; I’m actually taking a day trip down to Busch Gardens Williamsburg to pet Clydesdales and hopefully not chicken out on riding Griffon (90 degree drop eeeee). I will, as is traditional, be tweeting my musical discoveries all day, and there should be bunches — remember my mom and Water Music? Look for the hashtag #baroquebusch.

While you’re waiting to read said tweets, enjoy this viola joke:

Q. What’s black and brown and looks good on a violist?

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Composer Cagematch!: Interlude

Hi! I know we’re due for a match this week, but I’ve pushed it to next week; let’s talk shop, shall we?

Let’s talk Composer Cagematch! Philosophy. What is a Composer Cagematch!, exactly? Is it a fight between equals in popularity? In style? In country and time period? Is it a fight between equals at all?

I ask — and hope to elicit some healthy discussion and maybe even dig up a shred of clarity — because of this excellent comment from Classical Music Broadcast on the most recent match:

Jenn, I know you think all I do is whine about bad matchmaking…

This is like putting a middleweight in a super heavyweight match, where Gustav is wearing 4 oz, and Rick-ard is wearing eights.

Wagner wrote operas, so that automatically gives him a weight and reach advantage.

RW wrote the Ring cycle – so Mahler loses points on his ground game, but gains on his standup (6th Symphony and a BIG freaking hammer, anyone?)

Cara Fleck – great point regarding the harps – Wagner buried his and Gustav let his shimmer elegantly.

From round one, this match will go to the cards. Gustav got my vote, because I think Wagner should go mano-a-mano against another opera composer.

I would have liked to see a Mahler/Beethoven matchup.

Jenn, I don’t think Beethoven/Wolfie is a solid, because early Beethoven *is* a lot of Mozart recycled. The 1st & 2nd are flat-out tributes. Even the 4th has a lot of Mozart in it.

and I love both of those guys, so thats no insult to Ludwig.

Points well taken (except of course that Beethoven is clearly > Mozart, natch). Perhaps I have not always been the finest matchmaker. My own mother was horrified by my Dvorak-Copland fight — and even more dismayed when Copland took it by a point. But isn’t that interesting? That Copland bested Dvorak? They aren’t from the same time period or even the same country. So why did I match them? Because Dvorak tried to tell Americans how to compose, and Copland was an American who composed. To me it was a good hook. How did the voters choose between them, then?

Well, what sort of contest are we running here? Is it a question of popularity? Is Copland more popular than Dvorak? Is Mahler more popular than Wagner? Have you all been choosing based on artistic merit? One person commented that he had voted for Prokofiev over Stravinsky ultimately because the former appeared more often on his iPod. The reason I think Beethoven/Mozart is a valid match has less to do with music and more to do with musicology  — as a general rule, the top 3 composers on virtually every ranking list ever come down to Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart — but the order changes. I want to know less “Who’s the better composer?” and more “Who do you love?” I don’t believe the one necessarily implies the other.

So that’s how I’ve been approaching it. Now I want to open the forum up to you, the voters. Tell me about your voting philosophies. What works for you about the Cagematch!es? What doesn’t? Who should fight next? And can someone please start Claymationing these for me?

Have you ever noticed that the national anthem is one big question?

Well? Can you see?

Never mind; I’ll tell you what you can hear this weekend, courtesy of the ever-stalwart BSO and their “Star-Spangled Spectacular.” On Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3 at Oregon Ridge, it’s a Standard Patriotic Concert, featuring Tchaikovsky’s The 1812 Overture (which I still love so shut it) and Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever (I was once spoiled by James Galway playing the piccolo part; it will never be the same to me again). Seating? Bring a blanket and camp out on the lawn. Rustic! Fireworks to follow.

If you prefer the authenticity of watching your Fourth of July concert on the actual Fourth of July, get thee to Germantown for Germantown Glory (note: this is not, in fact, a town belonging to me). Gloryous activities start at 6 pm, but the important part — the concert — begins at 8 pm. The program is described as “a musical salute to America” which I am reading as “more or less the same thing.” Again, fireworks to follow — and as far as I can tell from the press release, the whole thing’s free.

Okay, great! Once again I have taken care of your holiday plans. You’re welcome.

Every truly cultured music student knows

… that, as you may explain to your students, fair music teachers: you must do your scales and your arpeggios. And don’t forget to admonish them to feel the music ringing from their chest and not their nose.

I love that the little gray kitten’s name is Berlioz.

I could use some sleephony myself

cute puppy pictures - Itz a solo!
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One wheel always sticks

Q. What’s the difference between a shopping cart and a violist?

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A tiny bite of music

Let’s talk about obsession repetition.

Specifically, let’s talk about the final movement of Beethoven’s Symphony, unarguably his best (and by “unarguably his best,” I mean “don’t try to argue with me; it’s his best”). Let’s talk about that last little bit in the horn section, two sets of horns in harmony. Here, skip to 8:25 and you’ll hear exactly the part I mean; it repeats, more or less, at 8:38.

This is my favorite part. Of the whole movement, of the whole symphony. Like ten seconds worth of music. Don’t get me wrong — I love the whole piece — but I can and have listened to that little section eight, ten times in a row. One little bit.

I don’t think she rewinds specifically for the spot, but my mom has a similar fondness for a mini-glissando in the fourth movement of Shostakovich’s piano trio no. 2. Listen to it at 8:14.

Just one little bit. A tiny bite. And it’s a favorite part, something you’re waiting for the whole piece even as you enjoy every other note.

A familial tic, or have you experienced a similar phenomenon? Say you can only listen to a max 15 seconds of music the rest of your life. Sure, it would suck, but would would you choose to make the madness more bearable?

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (with apologies to Cory Doctorow)

It’s time once again for the favorite of posts: my trip photo recap! Hotcha!

And this was a bit of a historic event, because it was my 10th lifetime trip to Walt Disney World (assuming you don’t count last January when I went to Downtown Disney for a few hours, which I don’t). Why Jenn, you say, aren’t you tired of it by now? To which I reply: WHY AM I NOT THERE RIGHT NOW?!?! I just collapsed over my keyboard sobbing. Way to go.

Let’s relive it through some of my musical WDW experiences while I attempt to stem this tide of bitter tears, shall we?

As always, I tweeted about the trip as I went along. The hashtag was #baroquewdw, but I won’t bother linking it because Twitter will deny you. I’m afraid you’ll have to dig back through my Twitter feed if you want to find them. Oh, and to see larger versions of the below photos and some bonus photos not included in this post, check out the latest AB Facebook album.

Lunch our first day was at the Biergarten in Epcot’s Germany pavilion. It is, as you might have guessed, an Oktoberfest-type joint, with a buffet that offers such Teutonic fare as schnitzel, spaetzel, Bavarian cheesecake, and ALL the sausage. And of course there’s beer.

Oops, that’s not musical; how did that get in there? (WHY AM I NOT IN EPCOT RIGHT NOW, DRINKING GERMAN BEER?!?!)

I’ll tell you what is musical: a traditional German oompah band! Yes!

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Oh oh oh oh, string quartet o’ mine!

Next time I do karaoke, I’m doing it to this song.

Put your conductor in an Elizabethan collar today!

funny pictures - orchestrah  BEGIN
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