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Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp!

Oh! Sorry! I didn’t mean for you to run so fast. I may have been a bit overly dramatic there; I hope you didn’t call any emergency services.

Anyway, back when I had that poll, it seemed the consensus was that Composer Cagematch!es should continue, in a soon-ish sort of time frame. That’s a-okay by me – I find them super-fun – but I need your help. Who should fight next? Here are some suggestions:

  • Schubert
  • Borodin
  • Webern
  • Delibes
  • Sir Arthur Sullivan
  • Piazzolla
  • Respighi
  • Vivaldi

But who should they fight? Who else should participate? Should we even consider folding in composers who have already fought? Help me out!

Oh, also! If you’re of an artistic mind, would you be interested in drawing a CC! graphic? I need something for the top of these pages but I can’t seem to get the boxing gloves right. It’s an affliction.

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The king sure can pick ’em

You know who we haven’t heard from in awhile? Why, the King’s Singers, of course. What do you have to say for yourselves, boys?

Next he’ll play drums on your trash cans

You know, normally I’m not big on the harp,* but I’m inclined to make an exception for this guy.

funny pictures - Animal Gifs: *Glorious Harp Music*
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

* Except when CFleck plays it, natch.

This is why there’s only one violist in a string quartet

Q. What’s the definition of a minor second interval? Continue reading

Concert Roundup of Zelda

In the summer, no one wants to hold their concerts in their own darned concert halls, apparently.

  • The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra embraces the free and easy ways of summer and goes full-on pop-rock to close out the summer season this weekend. On July 26, the BSO tackles the music of Michael Jackson; on July 27, they’re joined by a rock band to pay tribute to Led Zeppelin. Both concerts will be performed at their Pier Six venue. [ See MJ! ] [ See LZ! ]
  • Meanwhile, the National Symphony Orchestra hightails it over to Wolf Trap for their own light and fun concert. Guess what they’re playing on July 26! Guess! They’re playing the music of the video game series Legend of Zelda! Awesome. [ See it! ]
  • Or! The NSO also has a couple more classically-minded concerts up its sleeve, both also at Wolf Trap. First, on July 27, they’ll play Holst‘s The Planets accompanied by HD film of a recent NASA exploration of the solar system. And if that’s not serious enough for you, on July 28 they’ll do a straight-ahead performance of – wait for it – Beethoven’s ninth symphony. Well I dare say. Also Bruch‘s Scottish Fantasy, but whatever; BEETHOVEN! [ See The Planets! ] [ See BEETHOVEN’S NINTH! ]
  • This week at Strathmore: a free outdoor concert tonight, a bilingual band for kids tomorrow. [ See the calendar! ]

The story is really about the cello

You may have noticed the great pleasure I take in finding classical music references in books, especially when they’re not ostensibly about classical music. You probably haven’t noticed my undying devotion to author Peter S. Beagle (don’t feel bad; you didn’t notice because I don’t believe I’ve mentioned it before). He is most well-known for the masterpiece that is The Last Unicorn, but it is his first novel that is my favorite – A Fine and Private Place. It contains this passage:

He decided to tell them about the girl. If he could remember. He would have to speak carefully.

“Once I went somewhere with a girl, when I was a long time younger. It was in the evening. I don’t remember where we went, but I know that other people were there too. And somehow we were alone, this girl and I, in a very big room with a high roof and no chairs. We could hear the other people in the next room.”

You sound like an old man telling the only dirty story he knows. Put in the cello quickly, because the story is really about the cello and not about you.

“There was a cello leaning against the wall. It looked old, and one of the strings was missing. But we went over to it, and we touched it and picked out tunes on the three strings. Once in a while we would look at each other and smile, and once our hands touched when we were both playing the cello at the same time. We stayed there for a long while, telling each other jokes in an Irish brogue, and plucking the strings of the cello. Then some other people began to come into the room, and we went outside on a terrace….

“In the moment that the girl and I stood in the room, playing the cello and making jokes, we loved each other as much as we ever could have. When we went out into the garden it was not the same thing. And after a while we went away from each other, because both of us knew that it could never be as good again as it had been in the room with the cello. We had spent all our love in those few minutes, and what came after that was only remembering and trying to make it the way it was before.”

No doubt you now feel the urge to read this book immediately. Succumb and thank me later.

What in the style of who now?

First I said, wait, what? And then I said, I simply must post this. And then I said, this is too weird to post. And then I said, the hell with it, I’ll let the readers decide. Hilariously awesome or disturbing and unsettling?

In which the Pied Piper meets his match

This one goes out to my very dear friend Bekah. Also, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. It seems to be coming true, guys. Get ready.

funny pictures - Daily Squee: Musical Rat
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Mutually exclusive

Q. What should you say to your child if he tells you he wants to be a violist when he grows up? Continue reading

What’s the good word on teaching?

You may recall last year my post about what makes for a good music teacher, and then my much longer post about what makes a bad music teacher. Of course the latter was longer; there’s always more to complain about than praise, isn’t there? Well, let’s try to right the universe as best we can with a little positivity. Who out there is a GOOD music teacher, and why?

Sure, to an extent this is sort of a call for recommendations, and if someone out there is looking for a music/instrument instructor and can find someone here, awesome. What fascinates me personally, however, is the method behind it. I liked my cello teacher, Ben Myers, because he was supremely talented while still being super laid-back about the whole process. On the other hand, I also liked my high school violin teacher, Mrs. Lawrence, whom I would not describe as laid-back but who was so encouraging that my friend Megan and I once played a duet badly on purpose to see if she’d still begin her critique with “that was good!” (She did. We laughed and then explained. She was relieved.)

So: if there is no single characteristic that defines a good music teacher, what should you look for? And don’t just say “it depends on who you are” because that’s a cop out. And music teachers, how do you select and develop your method? On a related note, those of you with kids or students for whom you found teachers, how did you go about selecting the proper instructor?

Oh, two unrelated things to mention: don’t forget about the free outdoor concert at Strathmore tonight at 7 pm! And also, I received an email informing me that voting is now open for the Paris Opera Awards. If you have an opinion on opera and performers, make it heard here.