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This tag is associated with 33 posts

All right! Who’s ready to win something?

It’s about time we had a contest around these parts, don’t you think?

A few weeks ago I noticed that I was nearing 100 blog followers; I originally conceived this as a push to make that number. But, uh, I already got to 101. So we’re going to do things just a bit differently.

But first! What exquisite prize is up for grabs? Oh, just an ORIGINAL, SIGNED ARTWORK:

EroicatClick to enlarge

This is not a print. This is a hand-drawn, hand-painted piece entitled – wait for it – Eroicat! Why wander around merely saying you love Beethoven when this beautiful, clever bit of art can do it for you? (Yes, that’s a real snippet of Eroica up top.) Suitable for framing, it would look smashing in your music room or studio.

Bone up on your Symphony No. 3, then lean in, because I’m going to tell you how you can lay claim to the crown this amazing painting:

  1. Subscribe to this blog.
  2. ?????
  3. PROFIT!

Okay, that’s not QUITE everything. Here are some additional notes:

  • You have until TOMORROW NIGHT (JUNE 19) AT MIDNIGHT to subscribe to the blog and be eligible for TWO entries (see below).
  • You have until MIDNIGHT ON FRIDAY, JUNE 21 to subscribe to the blog and be eligible for ONE entry.
  • How can you be eligible for two entries? Simple! I think it’s unfair when a contest is only open to new subscribers; if you’ve been a loyal reader for awhile, why should you be punished for being ahead of the game? However, there might be subscribers out there who, for whatever reason, don’t, y’know, actually read the blog. So, if you’re a current subscriber or subscribe by the June 19 midnight deadline above, you can garner TWO contest entries simply by replying to this entry with your email address or WordPress ID for confirmation (so make sure you use the one you’re subscribed under).

Got it? Okay! Don’t have it? Feel free to ask me questions! Contest is open to everyone, everywhere, but any winner outside of the continental U.S. may be asked to pay their own shipping (sorry, guys, but that sucker’s a bit pricey). There’s no age minimum – or maximum, for that matter – but if you’re under 18 make sure you check with your parents that it’s okay to enter and such. All usual additional contest rules apply.

Incidentally, if you’re in love with that kitty image (and why wouldn’t you be?), the artist does sell additional works, both pre-made and commissioned. Check out her tumblr for more info. You can also contact her via email here.


In which I use a lot of shouty capitals


I know, I know; this isn’t the Composer Cagematch! you expected. Suck it up, kid, you can wait until next week – this is WAY better. For me, anyway. Have you guessed yet? I left you clues on Twitter all week and in the post yesterday! Anyone? Anyone?

That’s RIGHT! I’m going back to my very favorite place in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD. I’m going back to WALT DISNEY WORLD! Like that one time! And that other time! And that other time! And that other time!

But this trip comes with a SUPER DUPER EXCITING twist – I’m running the WDW Princess Half Marathon! This is my first ever half marathon, and sure to be the most picturesque; I’ll be running AROUND CINDERELLA’S CASTLE and THROUGH EPCOT! Take that, other half marathons of the world! It’s going to be AWESOME.

My last full 13.1 mile practice run clocked 2:26 and they give you 3:30 to finish, so I’m feeling good about grabbing that finisher’s medal. If you’re curious about my times, I’ve set it up so that my split times will be posted to Twitter. Feel free to cheer me on, as I’ll have my iPhone and may even be able to check Twitter while I go! The race starts Sunday morning around 6AM in the Florida dark. Where, incidentally, there are supposed to be highs in the 80s. AHAHAHAHA, WINTER IN THE MIDATLANTIC! YOU’LL NEVER GET ME ALIVE!

Anyway – as always, I’ll be Tweeting through my entire trip, with special attention paid to musical experiences, of which there are invariably lots. From Broadway-style shows to street musicians to simple background music, Disney invariably delivers, often even on the classical front. So follow me now – you won’t want to miss it!

I leave tomorrow mid-morning and return laaaate Sunday night, so your next regularly scheduled post will be coming atcha on Monday morning. Fear not, however; I’m not abandoning you quite yet. I’ll post your Concert Roundup for the week this afternoon, as I’d hate for you to miss a perfectly good concert while I’M AT WALT DISNEY WORLD YESSSSSSSSSSS!

Ahem. Right. Yes. Meet you back here in a bit. Carry on!

Important Note for Facebook Fans

This post is largely utilitarian in nature and addresses the following topics:

  1. It has come to my attention that Facebook recently changed their setting so that, even if you become a fan of a page or person, not all of their posts will show on your news feed (FB homepage). This means that if you rely on FB to alert you to new AB posts, you may be left in the dark, and your life doesn’t deserve that kind of tragedy. I urge you to head to the Ain’t Baroque Facebook page, like it if you haven’t already, and then – this is the important bit – hover over that same button you just “liked”; a drop down menu will appear. Now select “Show in News Feed”; for bonus points, you can also click “Get Notifications”, which I believe means FB will email you every time I post. Doesn’t that sound fun?

    If you need help, FB has a page on the topic, or you can comment here and I’ll walk you through it as best I can.

  2. I went to a Flogging Molly concert on Tuesday. Before the concert, I tweeted at them that I hope to hear my favorite song (“Another Bag of Bricks”; thank you for asking!). THEY OPENED WITH IT. I am taking the position that this had everything to do with my request and nothing whatsoever to do with coincidence. I will NOT be entertaining alternate theories, understood? Behold the power of social media!


Right then. Carry on!

Third year’s the charm

Good morning, Ain’t Baroque! It’s your birthday! You’re THREE!

I know, I know. You feel so old. Why, one year ago you were only two, and I was still clarifying the bloggy mission. This year, let’s look back at some of your accomplishments, shall we?

Well, as of exactly right now, you’ve received a grand, three-year total of 58,546 hits. You garnered over 30,690 hits over the past year, with the most impressive individual day being January 21 – 4,455 hits. What post got everyone all excited that day? “For all those paralyzed by choice.” Apparently a lot of people need help choosing their instrument – aren’t you proud to have been such a big part of that?

Good job, little Ain’t Baroque! Who knows what you’ll make happen next year! In celebration, let’s gaze upon this picture of Beethoven demanding birthday cake. Some things are worth doing twice.

(I know, I know, greatest image ever. You can find it on cards and mugs and stuff at the AB store.)

What would you like to see happen to AB in the coming year?

How did you find me?

There don’t appear to be any concerts this week (except a couple free ones at Strathmore – check ’em out), so I’m indulging myself in a silly little idea that’s been floating around my brain for awhile.

My server offers some rudimentary analytics; that is to say, statistics on how many people have visited this site per month, the countries they live in, the links they clicked from or to, and, my personal favorite: search terms they used to find the site.

Guys, these can be hilarious.

Some are clearly random and only barely related, and some are related in utterly ridiculous ways. “Alcoholic composers” pops up a lot. “How many violists does it take” has been searched ten times, which begs the question: to do WHAT? “Forest piss” completely baffles me. I mean, I get the relation, but why would you search that? “Beethoven crying” – ahem, but composers do not cry; composers are made of FIRE!

“Saxophone motivational” – what? “Mean Russian” – which one? “Confused about God existence animated” – … was I able to help? “I’m in love with the pianist” – Lucy Van Pelt? Is that you? “Stravinsky hate” – GET OFF OF MY BLOG. “I hate Shostakovich” – SERIOUSLY. I AM CALLING THE INTERNET POLICE RIGHT NOW.

That’s a sampling of some of the fascinating connections you, too, can make, should you decide to start blogging about classical music. In the meantime – how did you find me?

Beethoven does not appreciate lies

I made the above image for my bloggie birthday. It is some of my finest work, I think, and as such I think it deserves a place on merchandise. Perhaps you might be interested in a tote bag for your sheet music? Or a sheet of stickers for your instrument case and music folder? A magnet for your fridge? A mug would make a great present for your music teacher. Think about it. (I can put it on other things too, but I went for the less expensive items.)

Which is a great segue into the main topic of this post; namely, how will Ain’t Baroque grow as it enters its third year of existence? Well, I want to try to expand the store, for starters, in conjunction with my new blog layout, which benefits greatly from pictures. Sometimes I’ll need to create those images myself, and the good ones can go into the store. Let me know if there’s anything in particular — a hoodie, a postcard, a travel mug — that would interest you.

Oh, right, the new layout! I implemented it last night, and so far the reaction has been positive. I still have some work to do, but I’m relatively happy with it. I also purchased the domain name, so aintbaroque.com will work for you.

I’m also looking into expanding content, including podcasts, interviews, guest posts, and potentially even vodcasts (I’m thinking video versions of concert reviews a la the gala could be fun!). Feel free to make suggestions.

Oh, and one last order of business — I would like to award the indomitable Chris McGovern a coveted Medal of Violar for his consistent support and commentary. Mr. McGovern, you are much appreciated. Check your bad self out on the wall of (dis)honor!

So there you are. Where is the cake?

The terrible twos

Today Ain’t Baroque is two years old, and with age comes wisdom, yes? So for the past couple of weeks I’ve been pondering my mission.

As you may have read, this blog was begun as the cornerstone of my thesis for my arts management masters; at the time I was interning for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and I centered a large chunk of my content around the BSO. When the project ended, I found that I enjoyed having this forum, and so I carried on.

Sadly my official association with the BSO came to an end last year, and as such the my direction has had to evolve. I still mention the BSO quite a bit, but I have — out of necessity and desire both — shifted the focus. And I have wondered — what is AB for? *

To educate? No; I like to think that I dispense interesting factoids here and there, but I am not a professional musician, musicologist, or otherwise qualified for such a goal. To promote? Kind of, but I have found that the posts that prove most popular are the ones where I ramble on about my own opinions.

That is my answer, I think — I am here to think about classical music and how it has shaped my life, and in so doing, ask you to do the same. And because my approach is whimsical by nature, well, irreverence it shall be!

I hope you like it. I hope you’ll stay on, and encourage others to join the party. I hope you’ll ponder my queries and add your own stories. Because I love doing this, and I’d love to do more of it — but I can’t without you. I seem to recall saying this before, but I still believe it to be true: a blog cannot exist within a vacuum.

So subscribe! Tweet! Like AB on Facebook! Because one day AB is going to rule the world, and you want to get in good with me while you can, don’t you? 😀

Bee tee dubs, do you like the new layout? Hang tight, because I’ll be posting a State of the Blog address later today.

* Did you know that there’s actually no grammar rule that forbids ending a sentence with a preposition? Thank God, because sometimes the “proper” way sounds twisted and weird.

Concert Roundup: The Reckoning

Hey, guess which blog has its second anniversary tomorrow? No, no, you have to guess.

While you’re thinking, here are this week’s concerts:

  • The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is trying to fake me out by titling this week’s offering “Rachmaninoff’s Third,” but I’m way too sharp for that. Rather than dismiss it at face value, I ripped off the mask and said “AHA! It’s Rimsky-Korsakov‘s Capriccio Espagnol under there!” And, admittedly, Rachmaninoff‘s third symphony. And the first Liszt piano concerto. But everyone knows I have a soft enough spot for Capriccio Espagnol to carry me through. Vasily Petrenko conducts, Barry Douglas pianates, and you can find it October 28 and 30 at the Meyerhoff, October 29 at Strathmore. See it!
  • The National Symphony Orchestra counters with a different handful of the Mighty Handful and offers up Mussourgsky‘s Pictures at an Exhibition. Talk about carrying you through. If you’re not already convinced, the Exhibition is augmented with a Grieg piano concerto and a Berlioz overture. Solid. Lorin Maazel conducts, Simon Trpčeski pianates, and you can find it October 27-29 at the Kennedy Center concert hall. See it!
  • Update to add: @TerpsMusic tells me that there’s a concert at The University of Maryland on October 28 featuring Jonathan Richards, winner of the 2010 UMSO Concerto Competition. He’ll play Shostakovich‘s first violin concerto; the program also includes some Tchaikovsky, Ravel, and Takemitsu. See it!

Time for a tune-up; also Medal of Violar nominations

Hee… tune-up.

AB is approaching its second birthday, and I’m embarking on a series of improvements — including new stuff for the AB store, a site re-design, and other tweaks. I went with the vague “other tweaks” instead of something more precise because I haven’t yet decided what these tweaks will be. You have to tell me what they’ll be.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be putting up some polls now and again asking you to tell me about your AB experience. Please do answer them so that I may continue on my undying quest to make you happier every day. I promise they’ll be easy!

The first one is below, but first: in honor of our second Baroquen year, I will award up to three Medals of Violar on the blog’s birthday. Nominate a friend or yourself! You have until October 22. All you really need to provide is a name, but your nominee will stand a better chance of winning if you offer an explanation. Go!

All right, now for poll no. 1:

An honor, I guess?

It’s a holiday week, there’s no BSO concert, and I feel like being generous. I want to give someone a Medal of Violar.

I’ve made some attempts in the past that were not well received, I think because I was asking the potential recipients to do some work. 😛 Well, you’re still going to have to do some work, for yourself or on behalf of somebody else, but it should be fairly simple. Tell me who deserves a Medal of Violar, and why.

The best answer as I see it wins. You have to make a legitimate case — you’re not going to sell me on your dog unless you can explain to me how musically enriching and into this blog he is — but you can nominate anyone you like. If you CAN sell me on your dog in that regard, he’s eligible! And I’d be impressed. Does he want to be my mascot?

Entries may be accepted in comments, via email (although I’ll be publishing the winner and potentially finalists, so if you go email don’t think you’re keeping it between us), through a tweet, or on Facebook.

The winner goes on the wall! And can buy themselves a mug. Or something. Honor and glory await!