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In Brief

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.

  • The Finnish composer Jean Sibelius's maternal language was Swedish, and he did not learn Finnish until he was eight years old and became proficient in the language only when he was sent to a Finnish-language school at age 11. That was when he began to encounter the Kalevala text that would be such an important part of his adult compositions. What was Sibelius's spoken Finnish like? [Languagehat]

  • Oh, good Lord. When Alan Rich loses his job -- again, this time with Bloomberg -- you know it is curtains for music critics in the media. Bryant Manning assesses the pros and cons of freelancing, which he should probably enjoy now while it lasts. [Mysteries Abysmal]

  • Savonlinna was already on my radar as a wonderful place because of the opera festival they have there. It is also the birthplace of Ville Leino, who had a knock-out highlight-reel goal for the Detroit Red Wings in what was otherwise a disappointing loss to the Washington Capitals. [Puck Daddy]

  • Food that looks like it would eat you. Creepy. [Boing Boing]

  • Quoth Kyle Gann: "Like flies to roadkill are the musicologists to Ives." I'm not sure to which party this metaphor is more insulting, Ives as roadkill or musicologists as flies. [PostClassic]

  • Matthew Guerrieri remembers his teacher, Lukas Foss. [Boston Globe]

  • David Denby, a film critic with whom I do not always see eye to eye, has hit the nail on the head in his remarks on Benjamin Button's inexplicable sweep of the Oscar nominations: "What is this strange movie really about? A guess: many people in Hollywood endlessly have “work” done to put off aging, and here’s a movie that begins with a wizened baby and ends with physical perfection, a progression that may encapsulate both the nightmares and the dreams of half the Academy. [...] Whatever else it might be, “Benjamin Button” is a celebration of ignorance; it could be a wan kiss goodbye to the Bush era." [The New Yorker]

  • Composer John Adams: "But there are a lot of young composers in their 20s and 30s who are very anxious to appeal to the same audience that would listen to indie rock. But they are creating a level of musical discourse that's just really bland. I don't think it will have a very long shelf life. The bottom line is art really can't be made easy and palatable without simply losing its meaning and importance. I had this conversation with the new executive director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. We all went out to dinner and this fellow said, 'I think we should make concerts interactive'. Here I am, someone who's always been the renegade. 'Wait a minute', I said. 'You can't listen to a really important piece of music and have people banging on their BlackBerrys'." [Newsweek]


Anonymous said...

Wonderful, whole lot of varied things to talk about on my radio programme...

Charles T. Downey said...

With credit, of course... ;-) Glad to be of service.

Anonymous said...

The melon carvings (4th link) are extraordinary!