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29.11.09

In Brief: Giving Thanks Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.
  • Watch this entertaining video of one of Marc-André Hamelin's compositions for player piano, Circus Galop, synchronized to the dizzying score. So many notes! [Monotonous Forest]

  • For the cynical at heart, the acidic Thanksgiving Prayer of William S. Burroughs. [Boing Boing]

  • Jessa Krispin's little post about trying to find a pumpkin in Berlin reminded me of one Thanksgiving Mrs. Ionarts and I spent in France in 1996, while on my dissertation research grant. Trying to buy a turkey from a French volailleur in November raised many a curious eyebrow. The birds are grown on a schedule to reach their ideal weight by December 23 or so, to be slaughtered in large numbers for Christmas. Our Thanksgiving turkey, once we found a shop willing to procure one for us, was pathetically scrawny. [Bookslut]

  • A special place in Hell is reserved for those like Cameron Poole, the finance director of the London Philharmonic, accused of embezzling several hundred thousand pounds from the orchestra. The torments of that bolgia will be carried out with diabolical versions of the orchestral instruments (see the right panel of Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights to get an idea). Jessica Duchen, whose husband plays in the LPO's violin section, has some choice thoughts. [Standpoint]

  • At his blog John Adams posted an entertaining "critic's guide" to writing about music one knows very little about, by stitching together a few stock words and phrases. Sure, it's fun, but reading it did remind me of Tim Page's eerily similar comments here and there about Adams being a "pasticheur," sewing together patches of music of his own and the influence of others. Composers love to carp about reviews, although most of them wear the bad ones with pride, like a badge of honor. [Hell Mouth]

  • 'Tis the season -- Christmas Concert Hell, that is, the time that musicians dread (but simultaneously love all the way to the bank) as do critics (how do I write yet another review about some awful local Messiah?). Hat tip to Scott Spiegelberg for bringing this video by Patton Oswalt to our attention. [A.V. Club]

  • Tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko in the Otello vengeance duet, or as one teacher of mine put it, the "wedding duet" with Iago. [My Favorite Intermissions]

  • Had my calendar been less fraught with non-negotiable demands, I would have gone to more than just the first concert in the 10-day cycle of Beethoven sonatas played this month by François-Fréderic Guy at La Maison Française. Anne Midgette wrote a beautiful review of the final concert. [Washington Post]

2 comments:

Marc-André Hamelin* said...

"of one of Marc-André Hamelin's compositions for player piano"

Excuse me, what do you mean "one of my compositions for player piano"

It's just a little number I recently tossed off in the Carribbean.

RSC said...

Regarding Adams' post, I don't think it was simply about critics who know little about the music so much as critics who focus on the superficials of a performance rather than the actual meaningfulness. The reason why I rarely read concert reviews is because the critics get caught up writing about the competence of the musicians or giving a dry description of the music's progression rather than writing about what the music is actually about.