Guess what?! I didn’t really post this video just now! Guess why?! I’m actually on vacation this week! Guess where?!
I’m not at Walt Disney World, which frankly confuses me. How does one vacation outside of a Disney park? Wait, you mean vacations are supposed to be relaxing? And spreadsheet-free? I don’t… I don’t know how to respond to this…
Well, if loving WDW is wrong, I don’t want to be right, clearly. But I’m giving this whole “Myrtle Beach” thing a shot. I’m really not sure how I’ll handle not having a schedule, but… I get to wear my Esther Williams swimsuits while searching the horizon for shark fins with a heart full of hope, so I guess that’s something? I might even tweet about it!
Anyway, in the spirit of the whole “chill vacation” thing (so you’re saying you’re supposed to chill on vacation? Interesting…) I won’t be keeping up with this blog at all this week. Instead, I’ve scheduled for your viewing pleasure a bunch of videos to keep you occupied in my no doubt agonizing absence. They’re just as good, if not better, I assure you.
To kick things off, here’s a video Medalist of Violar Rebekah sent me recently, accompanied with the title comment as well as other gems like “Maybe this is what the audience felt when hearing The Rite of Spring for the first time” and “I can’t watch it again. It’s too frightening.” Helluva great endorsement, no?
But seriously… are you even allowed to vacation outside of a Disney park? This doesn’t seem right… See you tomorrow for more video fun!
P.S. Check out the BSO, NSO, and Strathmore websites to see what they’re up to this week. Don’t want them to get lonely.
And now for an installment of People You Didn’t Expect to Hear from Here.
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?
Oh, guys. It’s been such a fun journey. Thirty-two composers (edited to add: +2 play-ins) stepped into the ring, and over the year we have slowly whittled it down to two. Before we crown our winner, let’s take a look back over composers past, shall we?
* denotes the winner of the match
ROUND FIVE (PLAY-IN ROUND)
And so we arrive here, at the end. I think we all know whose t-shirt I was wearing, but it wasn’t a question of my sartorial decisions; it all came down to the best man taking the Composer Cagematch! crown. Are you ready? And the winner is…
In the concert hall, how do you tell the seasoned sophisticates from the plebes? Easy! It’s all about knowing when to clap. Everyone knows that you hold your applause to the very end of the piece; that’s just how it’s done.
Last week I attended the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s concert featuring NADJA-SALERNO SONNENBERG, in which she played the Tchaikovsky violin concerto. She received a standing ovation.
After the first movement.
And no one minded, because she bloody well brought the house down, with her swaying and her stomping and her passionate frenzy of notes, but also with her smiles and winks and a playful spirit, just her and her buddy Piotr knocking out a few bars for the joy of it. She got a second, full-audience standing ovation after the third and final movement, because she’s NADJA SALERNO-SONNENBERG and don’t you forget it.
But she’s by no means the only big-name concert violinist out there. I would even wager she’s not among THE most famous. A big deal, certainly, but somewhat less educated people might think first of, say, Pinchas Zuckerman, or for your more modern sensibilities, Hilary Hahn.
Hmmm. That’s odd. I’ve been to live performances by both, and on neither occasion were there multiple, spontaneous standing ovations.(This is the part of the post where I start to duck and move. I’m looking at you, CMcGo, aka Mr. Hahn.)
I talked about this with my mother the other day, and she pointed out that both Hahn and Zuckerman are considered classicists, concerned with perfection and purity of form and note. To which I say: BOOOOOOORING. If you want perfection, program it into a computer. Who decided classical music has to be clean enough for surgery? And who decided that the only acceptable facial expressions are those of intensity or in some cases anger? Why can’t a soloist hunker down into the music and really ENJOY it? And, like, y’know, grin and stuff?
The BSO followed NADJA with a performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and again I say: it was too clean. This is music for pagan ritual; is it wrong to expect some rawness? I want a Rite that bleeds at the edges, but it seemed a study of caution as the watchword. No thank you. Bring back NADJA. Bring back classical music with some individual personality.
So! I now invite your rebuttal. Do you think my acknowledged hero-worship of NADJA colors my opinion of her performance? Do you think Hilary Hahn is a goddess (CMcGo) and intend to murder me for my sins against her? Do you think perfection should be the goal after all? And if you do, answer me this: then why SHOULDN’T we just program our music into a computer and call it a day?
Oh now just what in the hell was that.
Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Brahms over STRAVINSKY? Whatever happened to Team Igor? I feel like I went in for the trust fall and you didn’t catch me, readership. Harrumph.
Well, fine. I have some devilish plans for Johannes in the future. For now, I must collect myself and announce that in this corner, he turned Verdi Blue! It’s
And in this corner, he serenaded Copland right out of the ring! It’s
PIOTR! ILYICH! TCHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIKOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVSKYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Tchaikovsky discovers America, indeed.
And so goes the final match of round 3, as I predicted: with Brahms the winner. But Grieg, sir, let it not be said that you didn’t put up a valiant fight. In deference to your heroic effort, we are throwing Brahms directly back into the ring. Immediately! Without rest! Against one hell of a competitor!
Hold on to your hats and glasses, folks, because in this corner, he sent Grieg on a long walk off a short Peer! It’s
And in this corner, he subjugated Bartok! (‘Cause, y’know, the USSR took over Hungary, and… shut up. The Peer one was good.) It’s
Well? Are you a romantic at heart, or are you ruled by new and modern sensibilities?
Go forth and have more talk of these musical things.
Well. No one can say that wasn’t definitive.
In a contest that probably surprised precisely no one including those that voted for the other guy, Stravinsky took the first match of round 3 away from Bartok. Not that there wasn’t a lot of love for Bela! There was! Just not… y’know… enough. Whereas practically everyone on earth seems to be doodling “Mrs. Igor Stravinsky” in their notebook during study hall (do the kids still have study hall?), his vague rat-face notwithstanding. (Sorry, Igor, but I’m sure you know what you look like; and anyway, you WON, so chillax.) (Do the kids still say chillax?)
Hopefully this one will give you a bit more pause. Wait for it…
Wait for iiiiiiiiit…*
………….. In this corner, he CAN Handel it! It’s
And in this corner, he gave Chopin the chop! It’s
USA vs Italia, people!
UPDATE! I have exciting news! This CC! just got more interesting, because our own medalist of Violar Mr. Stephen P. Brown (Can Moo. Can You?) is offering one lucky winner 20% off the online viewing fee of the Tapestry Tampa Bay concert on March 23! All you need to do to win is comment on this post with the reasoning behind your vote (those who have already commented are automatically entered). One name will be selected at random as the winner, who will be announced along with the weekly viola joke on March 22. Ready? COMMENT!
* This can be a HIMYM reference OR a Psych reference. Dos deuces!