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Equipped inventory

Doncha just hate it when rare lute drops, but you have to roll for it and lose?

funny pictures history - Got Lute?
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And the surgeon is his mother

Q. Two violists are sitting in a car. Who’s driving? Continue reading

Concert Roundup: Signature Edition

Actually, there’s nothing particularly signature about this concert roundup. I was just having trouble thinking up a title and it says “Signature Edition” on my copy of Dragon Age 2 (because I pre-ordered it and got the Black Emporium for free, that’s why).

  • Aha! The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is trying to placate me. Why else would they title their concert “Beethoven and Dvorak“? Ludwig’s fourth piano concerto features, plus Antonin’s Carnival Overture (fun!), Kodaly‘s Dances of Galanta (Hungary represent!) and Janacek (I’ll give you three guesses as to which piece and the first two don’t count because it’s Taras Bulba, duh). March 16 & 18 at the Meyerhoff and March 17 at Strathmore. [ See it! ]
  • Oh, hey! The National Symphony Orchestra wants to please me, too. They’re performing a concert opera version of Beethoven’s Fidelio! Don’t worry, there’ll be subtitles; you can read while you’re also trying to see things, right? March 15 – 17. [ See it! ]
  • During matinees, however, the NSO is All Strauss, all the time. Ya got your overtures, ya got your waltzes, ya got your polkas; you couldn’t pay me to go.* But my dad just LOVES that beautiful blue Danube, so maybe you do too. March 16. [ See it! ]
  • A smattering of upcoming Strathmore performances: a rock violinist, a NOT rock violinist, DC a capella groups, a classical pianist. [ See the schedule! ]

* This is a lie. Make me an offer.

Composer Cagematch! Round 3: Verdi vs. Gershwin

Well. No one can say that wasn’t definitive.

In a contest that probably surprised precisely no one including those that voted for the other guy, Stravinsky took the first match of round 3 away from Bartok. Not that there wasn’t a lot of love for Bela! There was! Just not… y’know… enough. Whereas practically everyone on earth seems to be doodling “Mrs. Igor Stravinsky” in their notebook during study hall (do the kids still have study hall?), his vague rat-face notwithstanding. (Sorry, Igor, but I’m sure you know what you look like; and anyway, you WON, so chillax.) (Do the kids still say chillax?)

Hopefully this one will give you a bit more pause. Wait for it…

Wait for iiiiiiiiit…*

………….. In this corner, he CAN Handel it! It’s


And in this corner, he gave Chopin the chop! It’s


USA vs Italia, people!

UPDATE! I have exciting news! This CC! just got more interesting, because our own medalist of Violar Mr. Stephen P. Brown (Can Moo. Can You?) is offering one lucky winner 20% off the online viewing fee of the Tapestry Tampa Bay concert on March 23! All you need to do to win is comment on this post with the reasoning behind your vote (those who have already commented are automatically entered). One name will be selected at random as the winner, who will be announced along with the weekly viola joke on March 22. Ready? COMMENT!

* This can be a HIMYM reference OR a Psych reference. Dos deuces!


All we need is a Dali rendering of a cockroach and we’ve got ourselves one heck of a multimedia presentation.

Telling criminals to give it a rest

But wait — doesn’t a bit of the old Ludwig Van cause violence?

funny puns - The Sub Can't Even Handel Me Right Now
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I’m pretty sure the Geneva Convention would take issue

Q. What’s the difference between listening to a viola solo and being tortured? Continue reading

Or Concert Roundup

The letters of the day are “O” and “R.”

  • This week the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra plays Elgar that ISN’T a march from Pomp and Circumstance. Crazy, right? But apparently he also wrote a Serenade for Strings. And if you can’t get behind that, how about the second Bach violin concerto? Or a Mendelssohn octet? March 8 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • Or if you prefer, you can catch the BSO outside their gilded cage in the wilds of Frederick on March 10, with the exact same program only for some reason it’s got its own completely separate link. What a bunch of weirdos. [ See it! ]
  • Or! Have kids? I’m sorry; I would’ve counseled against it if you’d asked me beforehand. Ah, well, fait accompli. You’re probably desperate for a means to distract them on weekends; the BSO can help with that too. Their matinee children’s program “Sea Songs” promises shipwrecks, pirates, and Rimsky-Korsakov. March 10 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • Current Cagematch! competitor Bartok in the house! The National Symphony Orchestra’s house, that is. It’s an all Bartok program, with The Miraculous Mandarin and Bluebeard‘s Castle. March 8 – 10; free discussion after the March 8 performance. [ See it! ]
  • Or! On March 9, the NSO offers a rather more varied program. You still get a bunch of Bartok, but you can intersperse it with Kodaly, Liszt, and all the Brahms you can dance, provide your dance is Hungarian. [ See it! ]
  • A smattering of upcoming Strathmore concerts: a jazz quintet, Ugandan song and dance, classical guitar, and Army and Marine bands. [ See the calendar! ]

The Best

Two weeks ago I made a list of composers I considered to be the greatest, in terms of talent, innovation, and output. I tried to make this as objective as possible while still noting that my own preferences and the limits of my knowledge base must unavoidably come into play.

This week? IT’S SUBJECTIVE TIME. Which, indeed, is kind of like Miller Time — alcohol free, yes, but with just as much opportunity to shout your opinions while gesticulating wildly and possibly falling out of your chair.

All of this is just to say that here I would like to present my list not of the greatest composers of all time but the ones I like BEST. Basically the idea here is a collection of the composers that, when the radio deejay says, “next is a piece by ________”, make me say “YAY!!!” Here goes:

  1. BEETHOVEN (duh)
  2. Bach
  3. Khachaturian (and I stand by my decision)
  4. Stravinsky
  5. Schubert
  6. Holst
  7. Prokofiev
  8. Shostakovich
  9. Ravel
  10. Tchaikovsky

There is of course a fair amount of overlap, but I bet some of them surprise you. Before you pull out your extra-sharp pitchfork, rest assured — I’m not suggesting Khachaturian ranks above Stravinsky in… well, in ANY category, really. Stravinsky is definitely the better composer. But Khachaturian makes me super happy! So high up the list he stays. Ya get me?

The nice thing about this list is, it’s even more changeable than a best-of list, undulating and evolving with your changing moods and interests; I expect Handel could sneak on to mine any moment now.

Now about you — who are you feeling right now?

“I now think of myself as an amateur Pavorotti”

I searched YouTube for “Frasier opera” in the hopes of locating some clips of that episode with Patrick Stewart when multiple people may or may not be gay and/or on the opera board and they talk smack about Philip Glass. What I found instead was this.

One question still remains: does he know the Mistake Guy?