- Forget umpteen performances of Messiah. Here is a Christmas tradition I could get used to -- "In the splendid surroundings of the restored Christ Church the Spitalfields Winter Festival offers a prestigious programme of events – a residency by the Monteverdi Choir, the English Baroque Soloists and John Eliot Gardiner heads this year’s programme – and the new heating system adds a comfortable glow to the proceedings. The residency of Gardiner and his performers covers six concerts, plus supporting talks and events. With a mathematical exactness of which Bach would have approved, each concert includes one of the six cantatas that make up his Christmas Oratorio, one of the six Brandenburg Concertos and one of the six German motets." [Financial Times]
- With hat tip to Maud Newton, the first book I want to read in the New Year: The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges' Library of Babel by William Goldbloom Bloch. [American Scientist]
- Kyle Gann, you made me laugh: "But isn't there anything else musically non-elitist besides letting a bunch of nutballs who don't know jackshit about music sit around and mouth off about the Beatles? Isn't that expanding the very definition of elitism to include almost everything?" [PostClassic]
- The evergreen Charles Aznavour has released yet another album and says that he will continue to appear in concert, just not on megatours. While admitting that he may be the "best known French musician," he is not the most recognized -- "When I walk down the streets of Dallas, no one knows who I am." Shame on you, Texas! In this interview, Aznavour goes on to say that he will give a concert in the United States entirely in French -- the first one ever in his career. [Le Figaro]
- Farewell, 2008, and all those who depart with the old year. [New York Times Magazine]
- One of the farewells for a coming New Year may be the newspaper industry, after its final demise. The rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic is under way. [Baltimore Sun]
Music do I hear?
1 hour ago