Well, it's happened, blogging really must be dead, because the press offices of arts organizations all around the country are courting bloggers as part of their new media outreach. It must be why publicists for performers and recording companies are now asking to meet me for coffee when they come through Washington. Last night, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra joined the trend, hosting a Bloggers' Night at Meyerhoff Hall before the opening concert of its regular season. Food and drinks were consumed, business cards and URLs were exchanged, and a panel including Anne Midgette of the Washington Post, Tim Smith of the Baltimore Sun, and yours truly spoke about the perils of blogging. It was a very enjoyable evening and will hopefully become an annual tradition.
Time for Three (Nick Kendall, Zach de Pue, and Ranaan Meyer) -- they must be cool
The group's shtick is crossover, fiddling around with bluegrass and country-western music, and Higdon went with that, seasoning the piece with a few blue notes, some folksy bends and open 5th drones, some down-home tunes. This harmless piece, uncomfortably close in feel to countless Windham Hill recordings and the film scores of Howard Shore, should be a huge hit on NPR although it was not as awful as Mark O'Connor. For some reason the trio played with amplification, although for the most part Higdon's large orchestra is kept to a minimum of sound while the soloists play. One of the risks for this kind of group dabbling in other music is that you have less time to keep your classical work honed -- I have noted it before and so have other critics. The trio's performance was viscerally exciting, cool and full of flair, but troubled by less than flawless intonation. They apparently played an encore after I left the hall to get an early start on intermission.
Tim Smith, BSO opens subscription concerts with fiery Tchaikovsky and crossover concerto by Higdon (Baltimore Sun, September 25)
T. L. Ponick, Higdon's BSO triumph (Washington Times, September 28, 2009)
Joe Banno, The BSO and TF3: Time for Energy (Washington Post, September 28)
This concert will be repeated tonight (September 25, 8 pm) in Baltimore and tomorrow night (September 26, 8 pm) at Strathmore.