archives :||

Archive for

No wonder so many composers were alcoholics

And so we continue the theme of composers with distilled beverages in their names. Sibelius, however, has eschewed the blatant sponsorship of Chopin and Verdi, and has instead chosen to allude to himself with subtlety.


At least now the lawyers have some company

Q. What do you call 100 violists at the bottom of the ocean?

Continue reading

Composer Cagematch!: Schoenberg vs. Berg

Let it not be said I am not a blogger of the people — last Cagematch! pitted Monteverdi vs. (Just) Verdi against each other at a reader request. I was skeptical, but I really needed some Italians, so I went with it and was pleasantly surprised: although Verdi did, as I predicted, win by a tidy margin, Monteverdi garnered a respectable number of votes. Well done all ’round.

Their names, however, caused a bit of a stir; one Twitter follow asked, what’s next? Schoenberg vs. Berg*? And I said, hold on, that’s just crazy enough to work! And so things just got frosty in the Second Viennese School, because in this corner, adamant that not just anyone can compose because it’s twelve-tone and there are rules, dammit, it’s


And in this corner, getting a late start with music but not with the ladies, it’s


I’ve heard from those who have considered this potential match-up that this will be a really hard decision. So it should be fun! Consider: Transfigured Night. But remember: Wozzeck. Emancipate the dissonance! Without scissors!

* Also suggested: Offenbach vs. Bach. I’m not doing this one because it would be mean.

** Did anyone else just get the urge to scream “ALLLLLBAAAAAAN!” chipmunks-style?

I got rhythm, Titus!

Quite the array of BSO concerts this week. You’re going to want to go grab your teenagers, or borrow a neighbor’s. Go ahead; I’ll wait.

Got ’em? Great! I had you get them early because the first concert on the docket this week is “All Gershwin,” and parents, if you haven’t beat a love of Gershwin into your kids with a sock filled with nickles, you’re not raising ’em right. Anything Gershwin is of course solid gold, but as a bonus the program features the incomparable Rhapsody in Blue. See it on Thursday, July 28 at 8 pm at Strathmore and on Friday, July 29 at 7:30 pm at the Meyerhoff.

But then on Saturday, July 30 at 7:30 pm at the Meyerhoff, an abrupt left turn. Take it away, BSO web site:

Join the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for an exhilarating experience that combines music by Japanese video game composer Nobuo Uematsu, with graphics from the wildly popular Final Fantasy series.

Grammy Award winning conductor Arnie Roth leads the BSO and The Handel Choir of Baltimore while stunning video graphics from the popular game series are projected above the stage. The concert will feature music from Final Fantasy I through XIV, including select music by FINAL FANTASY XIII composer Masashi Hamauzu and new scores by Nobuo Uematsu from the latest release, FINAL FANTASY XIV.

$100 and $150 premium seating includes a post-concert meet and greet with Arnie Roth and Nobuo Uematsu.

I had you grab a teenager 50% to get them to come, 50% to explain to you what’s going on. No, no, I kid. I bet you’ve got mad Xbox skillz. Wanna play multiplayer Red Dead Redemption later?

And now I bring this post to its logical conclusion. Wait for it… wait for it…

Who could ask for anything more?

Morning — now in color!

When Disney premiered this Silly Symphony, it was a massive, technicolor deal — as in, first winner of the Animated Short Subjects Oscar. Enjoy!

Watch your step

Yay, I finally have an excuse to post this one!

funny pictures - I don't like  "Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips."
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Farewell, Not Quite Classical Week. We had a good time. Till we meet again, my friend.


I bet violists are really grateful for Not Quite Classical Week; it takes the pressure off.

Q. How many folk musicians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Continue reading

The playlist less traveled

Today’s Not Quite Classical Week post goes waaaaay far off the beaten path. In fact, it’s not classical at all. Its only classical connect is that it has been assembled by me, a classical music lover, under the impression that I am not the only such who likes to delve into other genres, specifically rock. I think this is true of all of us, no? Well, not my mother. But the rest of us.

And so here’s a very, very small playlist of rock music I think has enough musical quality and integrity that you, a classical music snob, might trust this classical music snob enough to try. It’s a scant few bands with a small selection of recommendations each. Give ’em a try — I mean, even if you hate them, at least you’ll have that deeply satisfying feeling of turning up your nose at them, right?

As Darkwing Duck says: let’s get dangerous.

Band: Jukebox the Ghost. Songs: Lighting Myself on Fire,” “Under My Skin,” “Victoria,” “The Stars.” I think: These guys, to me, are a sort of modern Beatles, if you’ll forgive such sacrilege — they’re quirky, they’re gifted, they have interesting instrumentation and orchestration, and the lead singer has a light, pleasant voice.

Band: Jump, Little Children (sometimes called just Jump, but that’s dumb so I’m sticking with the original). Songs: “Habit,” “Cathedrals,” “Dark and Lonely Man.” I think: An alt rock band with a cellist. YES.

Band: Dispatch. Songs: The General,” “Two Coins.” I think: The have a gentle, acoustic-y thing going on with subjects that go beyond your standard sex, drugs, and rock and roll trifecta.

Band: Counting Crows. Songs: “Le ballet d’or,” “Holiday in Spain,” “Raining in Baltimore,” “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby,” “Angels of the Silences,” “Mr. Jones.” I think: “Mr. Jones” is MY SONG. Let’s be honest here — the lead singer doesn’t have the most traditionally lovely voice. But he has a rawness that sort of fits the brilliant lyrics. What I really like about Counting Crows is the way they make their instruments work all the way through their songs — no 1, 4, 1, 4 here.

Band: The White Stripes. Songs:Conquest,” “Ball and Biscuit,” “Catch Hell Blues.” I think: Okay, if you didn’t like the lead singer above, you’re really not gonna like Jack White’s voice. He has some… unique views on intonation. But my God, if you need some good guitar licks in your life, look no further. And if you want to slap some trumpets on top of that, “Conquest” can help.

Band: The National. Songs: Slow Show,” “Fake Empire.” I think: I LOVE that the lead singer has a deep voice; tenors, you have beautiful voices, but there are just too many of you. This is my alt rock Howard Keel, and the percussion is tops.

Band: Guster. Songs:Airport Song,” “Demons.” I think: They may never top their album Goldfly, but if you’d like to hear some percussion on drums NOT in a set, they’re a good bet.

This is not a definitive listing by any means. It’s not a guarantee. But as one classical music lover to another, here are some non-classical songs I like — maybe you will too! Feel free to share your own.

Super Jurassic Star-Terrestrial Jones

Can we get a mashup? I mean, aside from this one?

Oh, John Williams. You get a beating around here. Who could forget this ballin’ article? Heck, the fact that the BSO’s concert this week is “Music of John Williams” inspired Not Quite Classical Week.

But I’ll tell you, the stuff you borrow is the good stuff. Your borrowing taste is good. And I’ve been known to hum the theme to Jurassic Park now and again. I will forever prefer Goldsmith’s Trek to your Wars, but all the same, Johnny Doubleya, let’s call a truce, shall we? I mean, for now. At least till this concert series is over.

If you want to prove to JDubs that you don’t hold a grudge, or never had one in the first place, the BSO offers a program of All Williams, All the Time. Andrew Grams shall conduct in three places: at Strathmore on Thursday, July 21 at 8 pm, at the Meyerhoff on Friday, July 22 at 7:30 pm, and on Saturday, July 23 at 8 pm it’ll all go down at Oregon Ridge, so bring your picnic blanket.

Okay, JW. We’re cool. For now.

Doesn’t seem very traditional to me

This week’s BSO concert is a tribute to John Williams. As such, I deem it Not Quite Classical Music Week. And as such, here’s something so Not Quite Classical, it’s not quite a Broadway musical. Like this one! That Gwen Stefani is a roof fiddlin’ card.