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Composer Cagematch! Round 2: Mahler vs. Brahms

Does anyone have a video clip of that scene from “How I Met Your Mother” where Ted brings in a string quartet of completely blue instruments? I wanted to post that yesterday, but I couldn’t find it and then I said “Hell, it’s a holiday” and wandered off to watch more episodes of “How I Met Your Mother.” I have resisted its siren call for all its years on network television, but it popped up on Netflix and now I’m hooked. Curse you, instant queue! (I love you, instant queue.)

If you can believe it, it is time to discuss a matter even more dire. Kids, let’s talk about how hard it’s getting to pair composers for a cagematch in round 2. To whit: it is getting REALLY HARD.

This is one of the last pairings that make some semblance of sense to me. Enjoy it, because it won’t last.

What of last match, you say? Well, despite strong backing from @CMcGo, Saint-Saens came up just short of catching Grieg. Which is unexpected, to say the least. Was it the French thing? McGo says it was the French thing.

And now, in this corner, not even Kenneth Woods could save Schumann from his wrath! It’s


And in this corner, he sent Wagner packing for Valhalla! It’s



* Ben Meyers? Anyone? Anyone? We already established that Brahms = Jesse Spencer.

Composer Cagematch! Round 2: Saint-Saens vs. Grieg

Have you been paying attention? If you have, you know that I’m leaving for WALT DISNEY WORLD!!!!! tomorrow (the answer to your question is: this is my eleventh time). Two things can of course be taken for granted — I will a) be tweeting about my musical findings all throughout the trip (so follow me now!) and b) I’ll tell you all about it when I get back, which in this case will be on Tuesday, January 10.

But never you fear — I’m leaving you with a babysitter. Two, actually, because with the holidays out of the way [sad face goes here] we can return to our Composer Cagematches!

(Perhaps you are thinking, Jenn, whatever happened to the most recent match? To which I say: shhhhh. We don’t want to make Shostakovich feel worse than he already does and Bartok’s head is big enough. Okay? Okay.)

And so in this corner, he ain’t afraid of no Soviet Republic! It’s


And in this corner, he’s so literal about Herzwunden! It’s


So who would you like to see die — Ase or a swan?

Not Without My Concert Roundup

But first! A personal plea.

The nonprofit arm of my ballet studio, Performing Arts Repertory Company, is in a DC-area fundraising competition. For November 9 only, Give To The Max will track how much money is donated to PARC, as well as how many individuals donate. Depending on our ranking in both categories, we could win additional funds, which would go toward dance scholarships, workshops, and education and outreach programs, among other things. A noble cause — so you want to help, right? Donate now, before you forget — it’s tax-deductible!

I give you this concert recap in thanks for your donation. If you didn’t donate, I hope you feel really guilty right now.

  • The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra likes to be in America — this week’s concert features Copland‘s Appalachian Spring, in addition to Old American Songs. A solid work, one people will come out for, except in this case what I’m sure they’re actually coming for is Gershwin‘s An American in Paris overture. Edward CollinsTragic overture is also in the mix. Marin Alsop to conduct, William Sharp to baritonate; November 10 & 13 at the Meyerhoff.  [See it!]
  • This week at the National Symphony Orchestra it’s The Return of Leonard Slatkin! On the conductor’s docket: Clyne, a Rachmaninoff symphony, and a Saint-Saen cello concerto performed by Gautier Capucon. November 10-12. [See it!]

Updated to add: Got this from Benevolent Dictator Jamie:

Emerson String Quartet
Baird Auditorium
Natural History Museum
November 19 at 6 PM

This concert offers an exclusive opportunity to hear the quartet
perform in an intimate setting with excellent acoustics.

Metro Stop: Federal Triangle
Walk south on 12th Street, and cross Constitution Avenue to the Natural History
Museum on the left. (NOT on the National Mall side.)

Ticket prices for students: $10*
Rush tickets are available for purchase starting at
5:30 p.m. on November 19th at the door
*Valid student ID required when purchasing and redeeming tickets.  Two tickets per student ID, per concert.  No refunds or exchanges available.  Subject to availability.

The 2011 Ain’t Baroque Trick-or-Treat Soundtrack

Last year I posted a spooky playlist for your Halloween pleasure, suitable for trick-or-treating, costume parties, and general pursuits of fright. It went over pretty well, so here it is again — only BETTER, because it’s augmented with additional suggestions. Let me know if you have any to add yourself!

  1. Toccata and Fugue in d minor, by J. S. Bach (natch)
  2. Carnival of the Animals, VII “Aquarium,” by Camille Saint-Saens
  3. Funeral March of a Marionette, by Charles Gounod
  4. “The Ghost’s High Noon” from Ruddigore, by Sir Arthur Sullivan (I’m partial to the King’s Singers version)
  5. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, by Paul Dukas
  6. I. “Gnomus,” from Pictures at an Exhibition, by Modest Mussourgsky
  7. “Grim Grinning Ghosts” as performed by the Swingtips
  8. Night on Bald Mountain, by Modest Mussourgsky (suggested by Ed Blonski)
  9. Le Sacre du Printemps, by Igor Stravinsky
  10. Danse Macabre, by Camille Saint-Saens
  11. “March to the Scaffold” and “Witches’ Sabbath” from Symphonie Fantastique, by Hector Berlioz (suggested by Helikonios)
  12. “In The Hall of the Mountain King” from Peer Gynt, by Edvard Grieg

Image from http://www.doitmyself.org/labels/pumpkin.html

Composer Cagematch! Round 2: Stravinsky vs. Debussy

Let’s just say Saint-Saens beasted my boy Khachaturian and leave it at that, shall we?

And that does it. Sixteen rounds we’ve had. Sixteen winners. I bet they’re feeling pretty proud of themselves. I bit they’re throwing confetti made of bits of discarded sheet music and tossing back the Verdi.

Well, they’d best watch out. IT’S TIME FOR ROUND 2.

And so in this corner, he cracked open the egg containing Prokofiev’s soul!* It’s


And in this corner, he goosed Ravel! It’s


Which do you choose — the innovator or the innovator? Le Sacre du Printemps or Le Mer? The French guy or the guy who liked to hang out in France?

* What do you mean, you don’t get it? Fine. Here.

Composer Cagematch!: You’re Not Going to Like It

It happened again!

Shostakovich was winning. So much was he winning, a Twitter follower who will remain nameless (nohewon’tERIC) declared it to be a fruitless battle and almost didn’t vote for Bartok. Who ended up winning by one point. Hmmm….

Anyway. I’m sensing some voter fatigue out there. Don’t worry, guys, this is your last match in the first round; next time it’ll be winner against winner! In the meantime, allow me to present to you: A Match You Won’t Like. They do not match at all. They are two composers I wanted wanted to feature, and I couldn’t think of a workable match for my love Schubert. Besides, we really need some cultural diversity up in here — do you have any idea how many Russians and Germans are advancing to round two? So suck it up, because in this corner, shhhh! Don’t mention the carnival! It’s


And in this corner, shhh — don’t mention the circus! It’s


I know. I know. They don’t match. Shut up. I like them, and they are from somewhere that isn’t Russia OR Germany. And they wrote some really good music, okay? Have you ever listened to Gayane? How about the Organ Symphony? Just shut up and vote so we can take this baby to round two, would you?

* Ha… girl’s name.

** Kal Penn in forty years? Anyone? No? Just me?

The dying-est swan

You know how there’s this really famous ballet solo to “The Swan” from Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals? Well, this isn’t it.

(By way of explanation: Les Ballets Trockedero.)

You mean his NAME is Music and he WRITES music?!

What are the odds!

Also surprising: Mozart, Saint-Saens, Liszt, and Corigliano apparently all watched Sesame Street.

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.

When the night wind howls and the chimney growls

Standard theremin-heavy creepy music is boring. This Halloween, add atmosphere with a classical playlist instead! Well, I mean, you can use horror movie soundtracks if you want, but keep in mind this will make you exactly like ALL your neighbors. Consider these instead.

  1. Toccata and Fugue in d minor, by J. S. Bach (which goes without saying, but dude, did you know that Bach’s authorship has been challenged?)
  2. Carnival of the Animals, VII “Aquarium,” by Camille Saint-Saens (weird Tim Burtonesque quality is fitting as he used it to open The Nightmare Before Christmas)
  3. Funeral March of a Marionette, by Charles Gounod (if Hitchcock used it…)
  4. “The Ghost’s High Noon” from Ruddigore, by Sir Arthur Sullivan (I’m partial to the King’s Singers version)
  5. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, by Paul Dukas (can’t tell me the opening measures aren’t foreboding)
  6. I. “Gnomus,” from Pictures at an Exhibition, by Modest Mussourgsky
  7. “Grim Grinning Ghosts” as performed by the Swingtips BECAUSE I CAN THE HAUNTED MANSION IS LIKE A RIDE-ON MUSICAL SHUT UP

There. That should terrify the local five year olds well enough. Any other suggestions?

Updated to add:

  • Ed Blonski suggests Mussourgky’s Night on Bald Mountain. To which I say: shoulda thought of that one myself.
  • I DID think of this one myself: Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Your favorite movements or all of them — seriously haunting stuff.
  • I thought of another DUH one: Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens. Duh.