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Composer Cagematch!: Your Victor

To review!

1. Williams vs. Goldsmith
2. Delibes vs. Respighi
3. Vivaldi vs. Schubert
4. Puccini vs. Sullivan
5. Barber vs. Ives
6. Vaughan Williams vs. Hindemith
7. Reich vs. Cage
8. Boulez vs. Webern

1. Webern vs. Hindemith
2. Cage vs. Williams
3. Respighi vs. Puccini
4. Schubert vs. Ives

1. Hindemith vs. Williams
2. Schubert vs. Respighi

1. Hindemith vs. Schubert

Italics denote winner

And now, prepare to be truly shocked and amazed, because the winner is…

Continue reading


Composer Cagematch! FINAL ROUND: Hindemith vs. Schubert

Nature continues to operate under normal parameters, it seems. Continuing the theme of Not Surprised, allow me to report the Schubert beat Respighi. NO! But actually, Ottorino, good show; and man who can garner ANY votes in the face of Franz can hold his head up high.

And now… we come to… THE FINAL ROUND. Ladies and gentlemen…

In this corner, he’s got a C string and he isn’t afraid to use it! It’s


And in this corner, what he can’t do with a trout! It’s


I understand some of you might actual struggle with this one. Innnnnteresting. Now remember: it’s not who’s the objectively better composer. It all comes down to the guy you LOVE.

Composer Cagematch! Round 3: Schubert vs. Respighi

JUST KIDDING. Apparently we’re fresh out of surprises ’round these here blogging parts. John Williams never stood a chance against Hindemith, who took the match with ease. And that is the right and proper order of things. Clearly.

So we can turn away from that fight with light hearts, only to get them all bogged down again with another age old question (except maybe not really, assuming we really are fresh out of surprises). Regardless, in this corner, he has nothing bad to say about Ives because really, good show, mein Herr! And really, if anyone can afford to be generous it’s


And in this corner, he put the rah rah rah in opera! It’s


No, but actually, I like surprises. I do.

Composer Cagematch! Round 3: Hindemith vs. Williams

WOW. What an exciting match! I don’t know if you saw, but for the longest time Ives was winning. Over SCHUBERT. Isn’t that crazy? I mean, Franz pulled it out in the end, but I wasn’t sure anyone could go toe to toe with him. Let’s hear it for one hell of a competitor in Ives!

And so we move on to round three, because in this corner, it’s the violist with the mostest,



And in this corner, modernists? What modernists? It’s



Normally I would say this should be an easy decision, but what with the whole Schubert-Ives thing I don’t even know anymore.

Composer Cagematch! Round 2: Schubert vs. Ives

So… you guys aren’t into the Italian fashion, I take it? I mean, Respighi barely even bothered to take down Puccini. That was a cat-smacks-doped-up-mouse-and-goes-back-to-napping match if every there was one. But results are results, and Respighi heads off to round three.

Which is coming up shortly, because it’s time for the final match of round 2! And so in this corner, he mastered the seasons! It’s



And in this corner, he keeps his tempos quick! It’s



I trust this will be interesting…

Concert Roundup (Snow)flakes Out

Hey, you know how it was supposed to snow today? Well, it IS! Right now! As I type! You could knock me over with one of those long tickly things that birds use for insulation and flight. Nevertheless, music marches on undaunted! At least so far. Check individual symphony websites for inclement weather schedule changes and what have you. Okay, onward!

  • The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra knows how to get on my good side; they’re playing the best. Symphony. Of all time. OF ALL TIME! Yes, it’s Beethoven‘s Seventh, with a side of Debussy‘s Petite Suite and the Strauss (Reek-ard) oboe concerto. But mostly Beethoven. Always mostly Beethoven. March 7 & 8 at the Meyerhoff; March 9 at Strathmore. [ See it! ]
  • The National Symphony Orchestra isn’t going to give this week to the BSO without a fight, though. They promise Mahler (ooh!), Schubert (OOOOH!!!!!!!), and … Mozart (oh). But it’s Mozart’s Requiem, so it’s actually kind of awesome, and among the Schubert lieder they’re busting out? “ERLKONIG!” I LOVE “Erlkonig”! Good times. March 7 – 9. [ See it! ]
  • This week at StrathmoreChinese acrobats, a piano/sax jazz combo, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. [ See the calendar! ]

If you’d like your concert included in next week’s roundup, leave a comment or drop me a line.

Composer Cagematch!: Puccini vs. Sullivan

Okay, guys! Ready to get back in the swing of things? Me neither. But we’re just going to have to suck it up.

First, to review, as our last match was awhile ago. If you recall, it involved Schubert and Vivaldi, and it left the Red Priest in the dust. Dang. Let’s move on quickly before he gets too embarrassed, shall we?

We’ve got a new fight to turn our attention to, anyway, because in this corner, he is the very model of a modern English opera composer! It’s


And in this corner, he lives la vie Boheme! It’s


Well, what’s your pleasure – some happy, light opera, or some good solid verismo? I’m awfully fond of Gilbert and Sullivan, myself, but Puccini has some awfully impressive realistic repertoire. I guess that’s the question: are you an optimist or a realist?

The Happiest Concert Roundup on Earth

Here are your concerts for while I’m away. Be good, Baroccos!

  • This week with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: They won’t stop ’til they’re a star on Broadway! Or at any rate on Ashley Brown‘s Broadway, which includes hits from Chicago, Victor/Victoria, Mary Poppins, Kiss Me Kate, and more. Apropos of Victor/Victoria, I would like take this moment to point out that Julie Andrews is the greatest human being who every lived. Thank you. February 21 at Strathmore; February 22 – 24 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • This week with the National Symphony Orchestra: OH GOD IT’S THE BLEEDING MENDELSSOHN VIOLIN CONCERTO A-FRICKING-GAIN WHY DO THEY ALWAYS DO THIS WHY WHY WHY WHY WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?! Okay. Okay. Deep breaths. Okay. We’re moving on now. Also a piece by Henze. Also Brahms‘ fourth symphony. Also, violinists of the world, may I respectfully suggest that you LEARN ANOTHER CONCERTO? I mean, I like Mendelssohn! Really! I do! But if this keeps up we’re going to have to redefine the meaning of “ubiquitous,” and it’s so hard to keep the dictionary current as it is. Anyway. I’m sure it’ll be great. Just think about it, okay? February 21 – 23. [ See it! ]
  • This week at StrathmoreTraditional chamber repertory from Aviv Quartet, including my beloved Schubert “Death and the Maiden” string quartet; electric rock; jazz singing classes; electric cello with Wytold. [ See the calendar! ]

If you’d like your concert included in next week’s roundup, leave a comment or drop me a line.

Composer Cagematch!: Vivaldi vs. Schubert

Okay, I can live with this.

The victor of the last match, I mean. I can accept that you like Respighi more than Delibes. I’m a little hurt on Leo’s behalf, what with the proper spanking you gave him, but sure, I can see where you’re coming from. It’s okay. Also, continuing my theme of looking at composers and seeing modern celebrities, is anyone else getting Lewis Black off of Respighi?

Now, as far as today’s match goes, I’m not entirely sure it’s a fair one, given the snobbery one of these guys sometimes endures (I’m not going to say who in case there are innocents whose votes may otherwise be corrupted). But these are two of the few true heavyweights who didn’t make it into the inaugural Composer Cagematch! session, so…

In this corner, stop me if you’ve heard this one: a priest walks into a school for orphaned girls… It’s


And in this corner, he’s a lieder leader! It’s


Both prolific. Both beloved. Vivaldi pretty much raised you, right? He’s the savior of Suzuki. And then Schubert’s chamber works taught you how to love. This one’s rough.

Concert Roundup in Many Flavors


  • This week the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra goes old school classic with Beethoven‘s fifth symphony. Once they’ve got you in their net with that, they’ll treat you to his Overture to the Creatures of Prometheus, then hit you with the east coast premier of Christopher Rouse‘s symphony no. 3. November 8 & 11 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • Or if you prefer, you can take in the BSO‘s version of Beethoven‘s fifth in an Off the Cuff format, wherein Maestra Marin Alsop will augment the music with information about its creation, legacy, and its place in pop culture. November 9 at Strathmore; November 10 at the Meyerhoff. [ See it! ]
  • This week at the National Symphony Orchestra, it’s all Lang-Lang, all the time! How would you like your Lang-Lang served? With Mozart and Schubert on November 7? With Beethoven and Strauss on November 8 – 10? How about in a family concert with an assortment of young pianists on November 10? Why, the possibilities are endless! [ Mozart/Schubert ] [ Beethoven/Strauss ] [ Family ]
  • This week at Strathmore: Prokofiev, tenor Nathan Pacheco, and exploration of Bach and his legacy by violinist Jennifer Koh. [ See the calendar! ]

If you’d like your concert included in next week’s roundup, leave a comment or drop me a line.