Friday, August 28, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Downloading music found to be better for environment than buying CDs


In a not particularly surprising, but helpful, finding, researchers from Carnegie Mellon and Stanford Universities found that:

"... buying an album digitally reduces
carbon dioxide emissions by 40 to 80 percent relative to a best-case
scenario for purchasing a CD."

Read all of The Carbon Case for Downloading Music.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Les Paul, 1915-2009

Guitarist and audio recording pioneer Les Paul has died at 94: CNN International obituary.

"How High the Moon" via 26 tracks.

Mr. Paul, was not a Celebrity Series performer, but I couldn't let his passing go without a post.

The American Time Use Survey


The American Time Use Study, conducted by the U.S. Census bureau, measures how we, by various groupings, spent our day on average in 2008. It is a picture not for the faint of heart:


NY Times article

American Time Use Survey homepage

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Royal Opera House to perform opera with Twitter libretto

This project has an air of inevitability to it, but London's Royal Opera House will perform an opera using Twitter contributions for the libretto. Here is a snippet of the AP story:

"In an effort to get more people involved with opera, which sometimes
suffers from an elitist, highbrow reputation, London's world-famous
Royal Opera House is turning away — temporarily — from classic talents
like Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini and giving the composer's pen
to ... just about anybody.

All you need to contribute is a
computer or a mobile phone and an account on Twitter, the popular
micro-blogging site that is open to all."

Read all of the Associated Press story.

Random assortment of contributions to date:

"Nuts, i love hazelnuts." Bang! The bird dropped from the sky, dead, its tiny wings were frozen."

"concerns of a nihilist. I would bring you flowers, but they would die. I would love you, but, why?"

"Still in park. Her, shivering with coffee: I’m so cold- let’s leave Boston. Him: Anywhere! Around the world India, then Egypt!"

"but the distance between us is psychological – not physical or intellectual. And what’s happened toooooo the ginger cat?"

"forget! forget! the natives won’t forget! Lovers, mysterious in the mosquito net!!"

View the line-by-line progress of the libretto.

Make a contribution to the libretto (login required).

Visit the Royal Opera House on Twitter (is that close to Covent Garden?)

Royal Opera House web site

WBCN radio signs off for good

It's true. WBCN, fixture of Boston radio for 41 years (and originally the classically formatted Boston Concert Network) is going away today. Story.

Leonard Bernstein's FBI file

New Yorker classical music critic Alex Ross requested and received copies of Leonard Bernstein's FBI file. He writes about the experience for the magazine's News Desk:

"... the first serious
inquiry came in March, 1949, when David Niles, President Truman’s
administrative assistant, asked the Bureau to look into the young
musician’s background. Niles wanted the information because Truman and
Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel, were scheduled to attend
an event at which Bernstein was slated to perform."

Read Bernstein and the FBI.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Arnold Schoenberg's Drei Klavierstücke ... played by cats

And no I don't mean jazz "cats," I mean the furry, purring kind, on video. The video above is the first movement. Visit this page for the other two and an explanation of the project with source materials.

I'm not sure how to describe this. Is it "on the level?", "cruelty to animals?", "a joke?" Well, the cat videos are real and he really did attempt to recreate Schoenberg's famous work and no cats were harmed in the making of this video. On the other hand, how could it not be a joke? If it is a joke, it's no ordinary joke, etc.

Thanks to Soho the Dog for rooting out this gem.

Pianist Fliter's unconventional Schumann concerto in Chicago's Grant Park

Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter gave an unusual performance of Schumann's piano concerto in Chicago's Grant Park on August 5. Here is a bit of Dennis Polkow review for Classical Review:

"Fliter’s rubato remained a constant surprise: after such a fast, thrilling
opening, she quickly quieted down and slowly took the follow-up section,
offering a satisfying yet alternative interpretive contrast.  Her rolling
arpeggios were delivered with such precision and transparency that they often
came across as far more legato and less percussive, a quality which drew more
attention to the overall melodic shape of the piece, as if she were playing

Read the complete review.

As this blog has written before, Ms. Fliter makes her Boston debut on November 1 in a recital at NEC's Jordan Hall.

Friday, August 7, 2009

24 hours of world air traffic in one minute (video)

All of the world's air traffic viewable in a compressed 1-minute video. I found it amazing and oddly chilling. Is it art?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

La Guardia fake bomber also plays classical piano

Apropos of nothing, Scott McGann, the man accused of planting a fake bomb at New York's La Guardia airport, apparently plays classical piano regularly at Beethoven Pianos, a Manhattan music store on West 58th Street:

"'He's always welcome here,' said Perry Fellwock, marketing manager at the store. 'His piano playing is brilliant. He plays mostly classical music.'"

New York Daily News story

Andrew Dickson at The Guardian on the future of arts TV

Andrew Dickson, writing for The Guardian newspaper in the UK, says arts broadcasting is at a crossroads in his country (and, presumably, in ours as well). Read Is this the future of arts TV?

Artemis String Quartet plays Beethoven quartets Opus 59/ 1 & 95

Artemis String Quartet plays Beethoven quartets Opus 59/ 1 & 95 (video excerpts with interviews).

Visit the official Artemis web site.

The Artemis make their Boston debut on Friday, March 5 at NEC's Jordan Hall with an all-Beethoven program.

NY Times advocates napping in the workplace


Today's opinion piece on the New York Times Op/Ed page references a new Pew Research Center study on napping and comes away advocating for naps in the workplace. I would read the Pew study, but I just can't keep my eyes open ...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Stumbling into "The Rehearsal" in Aspen

Writer Erik Tarloff stumbles across pianist Yefim Bronfman rehearsing at the Aspen Music Festival in The Atlantic:

"I strolled down into the all-but-empty auditorium and grabbed myself a
great seat.  The superb Russian pianist Yefim Bronfman was rehearsing
the concerto with the Aspen Festival Orchestra under the conductor
Peter Oundjian, for a concert scheduled to take place tomorrow.  I had
just happened to be in the right place at the right time."

Read all of The Rehearsal.

Musicophilia: Six questions for Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks, neurologist and author of the book Musicophilia, answered six questions for the latest Harper's Magazine. Here's a sample:

"Q. What is it about music that makes it suitable for use as part of a torture regimen?

A. Music’s power does have a dark side. A daily example of this would be musical brainworms, the annoyingly repetitive musical phrases that may run through one’s mind for days on end ..."

Read the complete article.

Newly discovered Mozart works get a hearing

An Austrian pianist played the two newly discovered works by W.A. Mozart on Sunday. The two piano pieces, believed to have been written when the composer was 7 or 8 years old (and written out by his father, Leopold Mozart) were performed in a Salzburg house in which the composer once lived. Reuters story.

UPDATE: Here is the more detailed New York Times story.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009