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Bernstein

This tag is associated with 18 posts

Concert Roundup, Partially Rewound

Because I’m only 33% kind.

  • Hey, remember that time I wasn’t paying attention and posted a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert a week early? Of course you do; it was last weekTchaikovsky and stuff. April 13 & 15 at the Meyerhoff; April 14 at Strathmore. [ See it! ]
  • The National Symphony Orchestra hauls out some big guns this week — not only does their concert guest star Sweet Honey in the Rock, but they’re also premiering a co-commission by Bill Banfield. There are a couple other works on the program, by Bernstein, Ellington, Tchaikovsky, and more, although I don’t know how liberally they’re seasoned with Honey (rim shot). April 13 & 14.  [ See it! ]
  • This week at Strathmore, you can catch a Brazilian dance, song, and martial arts group in a pseudo Carnaval, try to see Joshua Bell and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields but probably not because I think there are like two tickets left, mix it up with electric violinist Chelsey Green and the Green Project, investigate what CityDance is up to, take in a lecture on jazz percussion, soak in all the bluegrass your ears can handle with a tribute to Bill Monroe, and get your Spanish guitar on with Paco de Lucia. [ See the calendar! ]
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Concert Roundup (Really)

Wanna hear something crazy? There’s actually a concert you can attend this week! Yes! The National Symphony Orchestra is here and it wants to help. On December 31, no less, as your New Year’s celebration. The lineup for this one is ridiculous. Let me take a deep breath now:

  • Enesco
  • Sousa
  • Rossini
  • Falla
  • Rodrigo
  • Bernstein
  • Strauss (the younger) (so it says on the website) (it makes me giggle)
  • Mascagni (remember this?)
  • Tchaikovsky
  • Strauss (the elder) (tee)
  • Elgar

And then you’ll take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne. Or however it goes. And then there’s a party afterward with swing dancing! [ See it! ]

Or, if you prefer your music to be of the more interactive persuasion, you can play it yourself. Of course, you’ll have to wait till summer, but preparation should begin now — the BSO Academy is currently accepting applications. Get your application in before February first and spend of a week’s worth of your summer learning how to play your instrument from members of the BSO themselves, followed by a concert featuring you! [ Apply! ]

Creepy pants all the time get some

Hello and welcome once again to that great holiday, National Letdown Day. Oh, it is a great day indeed, a day when we all look back at the Christmas of yesterday (literally) and think, “That’s all?” And, too, it is my birthday, which is why I have spent most of my afternoon contemplating how every year of life I enjoy it less. National Letdown Day, ladies and gentlemen — it’s all downhill from here!

And so I think it fitting that we all celebrate with this Stravinsky rendition of “Happy Birthday” so abstract as to be practically unrecognizable. Thanks for the submission, Eric!

And just for the hell of it, here’s the Copland version, mostly for Ozawa-san (what was Seiji Ozawa doing conducting “Happy Birthday”? Did Sesame Street stop returning his calls? For shame, PBS!).

And here’s my favorite Strong Bad email, because it’s MY birthday, dammit.

Composer Cagematch!: Handel vs. Haydn

Well, someone finally did it. A composer finally garnered only ONE vote in his match. And it was Leonard Bernstein. I never would have expected that!

Gershwin CRUSHED Bernstein an embarrassing degree, which is why I think so few people bothered to vote — why weigh in on a sure thing? So rather than belabor this point, let’s just say Gershwin won and move along. (Crazy thing is, I think Bernstein really is beloved, just not… as much… I’m not really helping, am I?)

Anyway, I’m not sure if there’s any logic to this particular match up. I don’t know when or why it came to me. They don’t quite make sense as adversaries. Maybe it’s about how they were both brilliant but had the misfortune to be born at the same time as a great genius. Maybe it’s the simple fact that both should have strong enough followings for a decent fight this time. Maybe I’m easily wooed by alliteration. Just remember — it’s not about who’s the better composer, it’s about who you love.

And so in this corner, HALLELUJAH! It’s

GEEEEEEEOOOOOORG FRIIIIIIEDRIIIIIIIIICH HAAAAAAAANDEEEEEEEEL

And in this corner, SURPRISE! It’s


PAAAAAPAAAAAA
JOOOOOOOSEEEEEEEEF HAAAAAAAAAAYDNNNNNNN

Best of luck in this one, guys. You’ve got some serious oratorios to think about, not to mention ALL the symphonies. If all else fails, you can always vote based on your preference of Brits vs. Hungarians.

Composer Cagematch!: Bernstein vs. Gershwin

I’m not surprised that Schoenberg won his bout. I mean, he’s kind of a big deal. I had a fantastic time touring the Schoenberg museum, with its little music clips and interviews with Schoenberg’s kids and of course a video demonstration of his chess alternatives (oh, man, I should so make that my Monday video!).

I must say, though, I’m a little disappointed that we won’t be seeing Berg again, because now I have to drop my looks-just-like bomb at his goodbye-party instead of preceding his triumphant return. Ah well. He looks just like Dan Stevens as Matthew from Downton Abbey plus ten years. Twenty years? An older version. Cool. Thanks for playing, Berg.

Okay. And now I’m just gonna do it. They told me not to; they tried to dissuade me with other, more “appropriate” matches, but I don’t care. In style they may not be a perfect setup, but in time and place and Americana they are both quintessential. So:

In this corner, he’s a Jet, and a Jet all the way! It’s


LEEEEEEEEEONAAAAAAAAAARD BEEEEEEEEERSTEEEEEEEEEIN*

And in this corner, he dressed up Jazz and took her to the concert hall! It’s


GEOOOOOOOOOOOOOORGE GERRRRRRRRRRRRSHWIIIIIIIIIIIIIN*

Yeah I went there.

* Interesting fact: neither one used their birth name.

Give money, get music

Oh, this is interesting. Got an email from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra:

Make a gift of $75 or more to get access for two people to the Donor Appreciation Concert on June 18th.  Donors of $250 or more receive four complimentary seats.

Join us at this year’s Donor Appreciation Concert as the BSO shares the stage with members of the BSO Academy Orchestra. As one of our valued Members, you will have the exclusive opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the BSO’s groundbreaking initiatives.  Be one of the few who will have the chance to experience Maestra Marin Alsop leading the Academy’s culminating concert featuring symphonic favorites by Bernstein, Ravel, Mahler, Rimsky-Korsakov and Hindemith. For more information on the concert, click here.

Become a Beethoven level Member ($150) and enhance your concert-going experience with two complimentary drink vouchers.

Ticket sales cover only 40% of our annual operating costs.  Your gift will help us balance our budget and reach our remaining Annual Fund goal of $150,000 by August 31st!

To discover more ways your support will enhance lives in local communities, please visit our “Case for Music.

Make a gift to the BSO today!

I checked out the concert, and they’re offering some Ravel, some Hindemith, a Mahler symphony, AND: Berstein’s Overture to Candide AND: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol! And if  you give them $150 they’ll also give you alcohol? What a deal! Man, I wish I had that kind of money to drop. Does anyone wanna go splitsies with me?

Adventures in hashtaggery

Yesterday evening I made an amazing discovery by way of the lovely @NaxosUSA: the Twitter hashtag #budgetclassical. These tweets are all terrible puns and mockery of classical music titles as they might have been had they been composed on the cheap. Since I spent something like two hours addicted to making and reading these, I’m tossing out the usual LOL Friday image format to bring you all the ones I made up myself. The hashtag is still happening; read ’em here and submit your own! (And when you do, make sure you add @aintbaroque so I can see.)

And now, in reverse posting order, one of my greatest strengths: horrible, horrible puns!

  1. Dies Felinae
  2. Flesh Wound on Tenth Avenue
  3. The Ambivalent Widow
  4. Transgendered Night
  5. Stars and Stripes for a Pretty Long Time
  6. Serenade for String
  7. Escape from the Questionable Massage Parlor
  8. The Wiccans’ Sabbath
  9. About Halfway Down the Steps of Central Asia
  10. March to the Lethal Injection from Symphonie Just Okay
  11. West Side Tweet
  12. Nopetha
  13. Music for the Sparklers in the Backyard
  14. Rhapsody in Teal
  15. What the Wildflowers Refuse to Tell Me
  16. Doctor Subatomic
  17. Saunter of the Valkyries
  18. The Beggar’s Opera (oh, wait…)
  19. Snapping Music
  20. Haydn’s Very Little Warning Symphony
  21. Three Little Swans and a Duck
  22. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2: the “Embryonic Russian”
  23. Ives’ Chuck Rutlage
  24. Khachaturian’s Shuffle of the Rose Maidens
  25. Saint-Saen’s Petting Zoo of the Animals
  26. Mendelssohn’s Sicilian Symphony
  27. The Love for Three Clementines
  28. Polevtsian Marking the Steps
  29. Crash Landing of the Bumblebee
  30. Officer Cadet Kije
  31. Thus Whispered Zarathrustra
  32. Pete & Pete Grimes
  33. The Civil Ceremony of Figaro
  34. Pavane for a Princess Who’s Feeling Under the Weather
  35. Madama Caterpillar
  36. 4’33” of White Noise
  37. Smetana’s The Loaned-Out Bride
  38. Mozart’s The Regular Old Flute
  39. Appalachian Puddle
  40. The Bach Single
  41. The Brandenburg Concerto
  42. Gilbert and Sullivan present Lady-in-Waiting Ida
  43. Die Maus
  44. Die Bieberflote

Wow, I had no idea I did so many. I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed.

Open to interpretation

Found this article on Fast Company and thought it was interesting:

Zenph sound has been working on something that may either offend or amaze musical purists. They’re using artificial intelligence to analyze old recordings that may not be of the best quality, and then build up a model of the exact nuances of the musician’s performance. The model then allows the company to actually recreate the performances as if they were played today, and recorded using today’s high-definition technology.

Essentially, the algorithm captures the individuality in the touch, tempo, and emphasis of the performer, and it’s then delivered to a specially designed robot piano as a high-definition MIDI file. The piano then physically drives the keys in accordance to the MIDI file, creating music almost as if the original artist was at the keyboard. Zenph will be taking the robot pianos on tour which, slightly creepily, will allow audiences to listen to live performances of long-dead performers–Rachmaninov, say, or Thelonious Monk.

Okay. We can easily apply this to composers and musicians (often the same person) and spin off into some hotly-debated concept of, say, creating new works by Bartok. But what this brings to mind for me is the difference between classical music and other genres. To cover my bases, I will say this is not always true, but I think you can leave your pitchforks in the barn if I declare that for the most part classical music is not tied to one performer. It may be commissioned by, premiered by, or even the signature piece of an individual musician or ensemble, but if you want to play some fiendishly hard piano piece by Liszt that he wrote so that he himself could whip it out it to show off, you can do that — and no one’s going to call it a “cover.”

Therefore — if we recreate Candide exactly how Bernstein would have played it himself, is it, in fact, more authentic than if the BSO goes and plays it tomorrow the way Marin Alsop thinks it ought to be interpreted? Why or why not? Don’t forget to show your work!

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