archives :||


This tag is associated with 27 posts

Sometimes a sitar is just a sitar

Ravi Shankar is sick and will not be performing at the Meyerhoff this weekend. But you know who will be? Sigmund Freud!

There are two separate BSO concerts this week. Today, Nov 4, at 8 pm at the Meyerhoff, the BSO will be performing some Beethoven and Mahler pieces, including Mahler’s unfinished tenth symphony and Beethoven’s unfinished tenth symphony as completed by some other guy. Everyone knows how I feel about Beethoven; let us therefore pretend I unloaded upon you a spittle-flecked rant about how this is fundamentally wrong and jump straight to the other concert: MAHLER AND [UND?] FREUD.

Inspired by the BSO’s hit CSI: Beethoven program in 2008, this program reenacts the little known meeting in 1910 between Gustav Mahler and famous psychiatrist Dr. Sigmund Freud, where the two grappled with tensions and conflict that affected Mahler’s entire musical output and later led to marital discord. Join Maestra Alsop and “Dr. Freud” on the couch as they psychoanalyze the essence of Mahler’s relationship with his wife Alma, his music and his crippling fear of death.

Hee hee hee hee hee. Hee. Hee. I like it! (Also, CSI: Beethoven? Why wasn’t I informed?)

There are two performances, one on Friday, November 5 at 8:15 pm at Strathmore, and another on Saturday, November 6 at 7 pm at the Meyerhoff. Students, I am told that if you login to bsomusic.org and use the promo code STUDENT you can get $10 advanced student rush tickets. Great for all you psychology majors out there!

Still not in? Have a video. And I’ve done all I can.

Midori! Get your discount Midori here!

Speaking of hooking you up, did you ever think you could get 40% tickets to hear and see friggin’ MIDORI play live with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra? No? I DIDN’T THINK SO. And that is why you have me – to inform you of these things. Read it and weep (tears of joy):

Special Offer: $25 Tickets

Share this event with your friends and instantly get a Promo Code for $25 Tickets to Midori with the BSO. All you have to do is click the share button.

Easy! Magical, even!

Never mind Midori, even; the program is killer by itself. You’ve got your Glinka, you’ve got your Shostakovich (!!!!!!), but most importantly, YOU HAVE STRAVINSKY’S PETROUCHKA. Ack ack ack ack ack! I LOVE Petrouchka. It’s all at once dark and whimsical, clever and comic and brooding. Very Russian, no?

Thursday, October 21 at 8 pm at Strathmore. Friday, October 22 and Saturday, October 23 at 8 pm at the Meyerhoff. That’s three opportunities. Two locations. $25 tickets. No excuses.

The music in Spain stays mainly in the Meyerhoff

Oh, hey! The BSO season is starting up again! It kicks off with a spectacular gala! And there’s a brand new a discount!!!

Backing up the gravy train: the BSO season begins with a gala celebration concert on September 11 at 8:30 at the Meyerhoff. Thanks to a donation by PNC Bank, tickets in the Grand Tier are now $25. We’re getting all kinds of Spanish up in the ‘Hoff , including but not limited to excerpts from Bizet’s Carmen, a Spanish dance from Manuel de Falla, and my personal favorite, Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by the incomporable Astor Piazzolla. Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg is the guest violinist, and oh, there will be flamenco dancers. I mean, obviously.

(Shhh! Here’s a secret: There’s a special season preview concert on Friday, September 10, at 8 pm at the Meyerhoff, and tickets are only $10! Marin Alsop leads the orchestra in a collection of excerpts from the upcoming season, from Prokofiev to Schumann to Mahler. It’s not widely advertised, but there is a concert page here. It’s like a delicious musical sampler!)

Update! Starting at noon on Saturday, anyone with a current student ID can purchase tickets to the gala concert at the Meyerhoff box office for $10. Oh, I am so there.


Just a few notes to help us maintain order.

  • My email address on here used to be my BSO intern one. If you’ve been using that, stop it – it’s not me anymore. I mean, I guess you can keep using it, but you’re going to make some poor new kid very confused. Maybe torturing newbs is your thing; I don’t know. All I know is, if you want to reach me, you may do so at j.leigh.german@gmail.com. Holla!
  • There is now a “like” feature on WordPress posts. To access it, click on the individual blog post, scroll down to the bottom bit just before the comments, and click the “like” button. It’s got a great big ol’ star on it. You can’t miss it! Then, on the gray bar at the top of your WordPress screen, you can quickly access all of your liked posts via the “You like this” menu. A great way to keep all the most fabulous Ain’t Baroque fabulosity organized in one place.
  • And just so this is a truly music-related post, let me note that if you buy BSO concert tickets between September 1 – 3, you get 10% off. Whee! As far as I can tell, no concerts are exempted, and the Gala Celebration concert is coming up! Astor Piazzolla, guys! You want to be there! I know I do.


Whew. I just spent the last couple hours inputting analytics data. I’m all tapped out on decimal points for the next week or three, thanks.

So let’s leave the logical and soulless world of number-crunching behind and get all misty over the very last concert of the BSO 2009-2010 season. Wherever did the time go?

You know what this calls for? A requiem! And the BSO is here for… itself. And us. The final concert is entitled “Brahms’ German Requiem.” Guess what’s in the program!

Okay, yeah, but before that it’s Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915. It’s based off a poem of the same name by James Agee, and, per the program notes, it has a smell.

Agee’s and Barber’s Knoxville seemed to strike a common chord in many other people who had grown up in that earlier, more tranquil America. Soprano Eleanor Steber of Wheeling, West Virginia, who sang its first performance on April 9, 1948 with the Boston Symphony under conductor Serge Koussevitzky declared: “That was exactly my childhood!” And Leontyne Price, who grew up in Mississippi and later also became a noted interpreter of this piece, said: “As a southerner, it expresses everything I know about my roots and about my mama and father … You can smell the South in it.”

Good times. The Requiem program notes, however, are rather more hard core. There’s a whole guide for how to listen to the music (uh, open ears, hold still, shut up?) plus cheerful anecdotes like this one:

Thus A German Requiem is actually a memorial to two important people in Brahms’ life: his biological mother and his artistic father. And it was an intensely personal and original work. Unlike most musical requiems, it is not based on the liturgical Catholic rite for the dead: a service emphasizing prayers for the souls of the departed. Rather, it is an idiosyncratic Protestant setting, with its text drawn by Brahms himself from the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha of Martin Luther’s German Bible. The emphasis is not on the dead but on finding consolation for the living, as stated in the Requiem’s very first line from St. Matthew’s gospel: “Blessed are they that mourn.”

All right, all right, I’m sad. You didn’t have to wring it out of me.

While I’m sniffling in a corner, peruse the concert dates:

Thursday, June 10 at 8 pm at Strathmore
Friday, June 11 at 8 pm at the Meyerhoff
Saturday, June 12 at 8 pm at the Meyerhoff
Sunday, June 13 at 3 pm at the Meyerhoff

(Psst. I have a discount code for $20 tickets. Email me and I’ll send it to you.)

That’s it for the Blog About Death for the week. Tune in tomorrow for a Blog About Blame! It’s a laugh a minute around here, no?


Bits, bites, notes, items, and things to ponder about life, the universe, and everything.

– This week’s BSO concert is “Cirque de la Symphonie,” March 11-14, and features Poulenc, Bartok (woo!), Satie, and Copland. Oh, and crazy Soleil-esque circus performers in feats of derring-do that will be, and I quote, “on and above the stage.” I can only imagine what that entails, but if the pictures are any indication, there will be acrobatics, incredible strength, and hula hoops. Good times. Click here for Meyerhoff performances and here for the Strathmore one.

– College Nights are no more for this season, but there’s still a student discount being offered for remaining BSO Under the Big Top concerts. Click here to learn more.

– Two potential discounts for the BSO Academy: Rusty Musicians can get $450 off, or if you refer a friend you and the friend both get $250 off. If you didn’t get those emails, contact academy@bsomusic.org for more info.

– Remember when we all pondered how Robert Levin was going to improvise? Anne Midgette of the Washington Post explained how it… Well, I’m more confused now, actually.

And on Thursday, Levin, who has done pioneering work in establishing the way that Mozart’s and Beethoven’s music actually sounded in their day, not only improvised all of the cadenzas (“Pray for me,” he told the audience), but offered, after the intermission, a Fantasy in Beethoven’s style, based on four snippets of music submitted to him by the audience. Given fears that musical illiteracy is rampant among the general population, it was heartening to see that enough audience members were able to write out a few measures of musical notation to partly fill a wicker basket, though one of the snippets Levin chose on Thursday came from the conductor, Nicholas McGegan.

To seek further clarity, read the rest of the article here.

– I’d like to do a roundup post of quirky classical music blogs. If you have one or know of one I should include, let me know.

– Don’t forget to respond to the poll! And visit my Twitter page! And subscribe to Ain’t Baroque by email!

Razzle Dazzle ’em

Happy days are here again in the form of the BSO’s College Night on March 4 at Strathmore and March 5 at the Meyerhoff, both at 8 pm. And what a concert they’ve chosen for this honor – it’s entitled “Mysterioso: Music, Magic, Mayhem & Mirth.”

Bit of a head scratcher, that. You might be confused. Here, let me help you out:

Better? No? Okay, how about some brochure copy?

The BSO Superpops and Jack Everly join in on the fun of the Circus Festival with a concert of music, magic and comedy you won’t want to miss—and won’t soon forget. You’ll be wowed by quick-change artists, David and Dania, who mystify audiences with their stunning costume changes. Anything can happen with the comedic magic act of Les Arnold and Dazzle that will keep you laughing and asking, “How did they do that?” This musical and magical roller-coaster ride is sure to amaze and captivate!

Right. So there’ll be the BSO Super Pops, eighty-seven billion costume changes, a magician, and a lady named Dazzle who suffers from a fear of farm ducks, apparently. Got it.

Oh, and I’ll be there at Strathmore on March 4! At the concert and immediately after it for the College Night shenanigans, which include mingling with BSO musicians, drawings for prizes, and the one thing every college student needs, free food. Don’t hesitate to come up and say hello.

Did I mention tickets for College Night are $10 with your student ID?

At the great gates of the American West

I think we’ve talked briefly about music and context before, but I think the great debate runs parallel to that of the visual arts world: present in bare bones on white walls? Or add elaborate frames and scenes to enhance (or potentially muddle) the artist’s meaning?

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, the BSO has an intriguing upcoming concert entitled “Pictures of Music.” Hindemith’s Symphony Mathis de Maler – art history-riffic! Mussourgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition – who doesn’t love? But the real head-scratcher is the premiere of a BSO co-commission. It’s by Dave Brubeck and his son Chris, and it’s called Ansel Adams: America.

Apparently the Brubecks “have created a multi-media celebration of nature photographer Ansel Adams, combining the symphony orchestra with stunning photography.” More from Chris Brubeck in the program notes:

Because the architecture of some of Adams’ photographs was so like the complex structure of a fugue, I suggested to my father that he write one as the heart of this new composition. Dave’s enthusiasm and creativity inspired him far beyond the fugue. He devised many wonderful themes and ideas that we expanded and polished together. Once the piano score was complete, my wife, Tish and I began to select additional images to be shown throughout the developing score.

Since the pieces were designed to coincide with the photographs, I suppose we can assume they are being experienced as the composer intended. However, the music will inevitably affect the way the viewer sees Adams’ photography. Since Adams is not around to give his stamp of approval, is this permissible? One might argue that it is no different than a choreographer composing a dance to a dead composer’s music, but one could also point out that dance and music have a more traditional marriage than music and still photography. Thoughts?

If you’d like to judge for yourself, there are Ansel Adams: America performances at the Meyerhoff on February 11 and Strathmore on February 12,  both at 8 pm. There’s also a casual matinee on February 13 at 11 am and an Off the Cuff concert at 7 pm (both at the Meyerhoff), but these eliminate the Mussourgsky. Let me know how it goes; I’ll be at my other job, attempting to make up for my lost week at Disney. Yes, my life is so sad.

For something more immediate, I believe the Twitter discount for this week’s Porgy and Bess is still running.

Rustier and rustier

I promised when I had more info about the Rusty Musicians concerts I’d let you know. Well, I do, and now I am! This comes straight from the email sent out to the participants, and it doesn’t get any further down the horse’s throat than that.

  • First to reiterate: the concerts are on Tuesday, February 2 and Thursday, February 4, both at 6:00 pm at Strathmore.
  • In addition to the Tchaikovsky, the program features Elgar’s Nimrod.
  • Apparently there are going to be four concerts over a four hour period per night, from 6-10 pm, with four different sets of Rusty Musicians cycling through for eight total over the two concerts. Including both rehearsal and performance time, the experience will be about 40 minutes long.
  • Quote the web page, “Patrons are welcome to come and go as they please while being courteous to the performers.” So I guess that means your family can come in just for your particular time slot and leave after it’s over, or stay if they wish. Or that’s how I interpret it and it seems right. Participants receive one free ticket for themselves if they’d like to see another time slot perform.
  • Maestra Alsop would like to assure the participants that while she does want you to practice, this is meant to be a “low stress” environment, and no one’s going to kill you if you screw up a run or two. OR SO SHE SAYS. (Look, all I’m saying is, if Alsop was looking at ME down the other end of a conductor’s baton, I’d straighten up and fly right real quick. But that’s just me.)
  • Participants have been sent a link to access audio files of Alsop’s previous Tchaikovsky and Elgar recordings, so they can listen to them as part of their preparations.
  • No photography or audio/video recording will be permitted. Sorry.
  • Another email will be sent out later in the week with information such as check in locations and times and waivers and things of that nature. I won’t be posting this information because I figure the people who need it will have it, but if anyone is in a panic leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll see what I can do.

This ends your Rusty Musician coverage for the time being. Now run and play.

(If you’re not sure where to run, why not try the BSO’s Twitter page? They’ve got that Porgy and Bess discount code…)

Bess for less

Much like Sara Lee, nobody doesn’t like Gershwin. Which is why I think everyone will be excited to note that there are $20 tickets in the offing for the BSO’s Porgy and Bess concert. These tickets are available for February 5 and 6, both at 8 pm and both at the Meyerhoff (the Strathmore performance has been canceled and replaced with an additional Rusty Musicians performance). Along with the Porgy and Bess concert suite, the BSO will perform Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet overture and a Vaughn Williams fantasia.

You want $20 tickets? I thought so! But I can’t give them to you. The only way to obtain this fabulous discount is to trot on over to the BSO’s Twitter page and see what you can dig up. You’re welcome.