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In Brief: Fifty Days Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.
  • Yvonne Loriod, the wife of composer Olivier Messiaen, died this week. In a DVD about Messiaen, reviewed a couple years ago (another section of it embedded here), Loriod remembered recognizing a bird, the courlis (curlew), while in the field with Messiaen, only from having played the corresponding movement in Messiaen's Catalogue d'oiseaux. [Ionarts]

  • Claudio Abbado has been hospitalized in Germany for exhaustion, forcing him to cancel his June engagements. We wish him a speedy recovery. [Opera Chic]

  • It's time for the Queen Elisabeth Competition again: twelve pianists have been selected for the final round (May 24 to 29). They will all perform with the National Orchestra of Belgium -- a concerto of their choice, plus the required work, a new concerto called Target by Minje Jeon -- which finds itself this year under the baton of none other than Baltimore's own Marin Alsop. You can watch the performances (and the semifinals, as well) online. Martine Mergeay has a profile of the American conductor as a preview. Alsop could not say much to the press about the new piece, which is kept out of public view until the competition, but she did say (my translation), "It's an excellent piece, for the orchestra and for the pianist (even if I am a violinist, I can have an opinion). We have begun to work on it, and I know that it is going to work out. [La Libre Belgique]

  • New York City Opera had to pay a large severance package to Gerard Mortier for not even ultimately taking up the job as their general director. [Bloomberg News]

  • Do we give Google too much power by using it so exclusively? [New York Times]

  • Jerry Bowles asks the question, Is Nico Muhly overrated? [Sequenza21/]

  • Sarah Kaufman profiles the first specifically Christian ballet company in the United States. [Washington Post]

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