See it here.
The Mozart Rap--a must see
A rapper--at the request of a school teacher--records a rap video set to the music of Mozart with an inspirational message. This is great!
See it here.
About the Record Business...
According to Billboard, the record business may be in worse shape than we thought. And much of the problem is attributable to streaming.
Read the article here.
Classical Music for Labor Day
Want some suggestions for classical pieces to listen to while you're grilling (or doing whatever you do on Labor Day)?
Here are a few courtesy of about.com.
After the recent announcement by the board of the Vallejo Symphony that this season would be the last for long-time conductor David Ramadanoff, there's been quite a bit of backlash, much of it from the orchestra's musicians.
Orchestra member Kathleen Comalli Dillon wrote a scathing letter to the board regarding the decision, and suggesting that many of the orchestra's musicians--including herself--would resign from the orchestra at Ramadanoff's last concert.
There seems to be confusion as to the board's motives for dismissing Ramadanoff. The first reports indicated that the board was responding to audience surveys, and the decision had nothing to do with finances. But now, in an August 19 article in the Vallejo Times-Herald, the orchestra's publicist is quoted as saying that it is very much a financial matter. The statement says, in part, "Rather than face closing our doors, we took the difficult decision to revitalize the orchestra by bringing in new artistic leadership."
You can read more in teh Valejo Times-Herald by clicking here.
Memphis musician dead
Musician Marshall Fine has passed away after suffering injuries in a car crash last week. Fine was Assistant Principal Violist for the Memphis Symphony, and also a prolific composer with over 220 compositions to his name.
More information is available here.
A new documentary scheduled to air on BBC Channel 4 says drug addiction and alcohol problems are rampant among classical musicians.
The documentary is entitled "Addicts' Symphony", and features musicians such as cellist Rachael Lander. She became addicted to alcohol and prescription pills as she attempted to self-medicate to overcome stage fright. She indicates that the problem is common among classical musicians.
You can read more here.
Deal! The MET will carry on
The Metropolitan Opera has reached a deal with singers and musicians for the next four years. Both sides gave some ground in order to reach agreement.
Here is a link to a story in the Wall Street Journal with specifics.
David Ramadanoff has been conductor of the Vallejo, CA Symphony for 33 years.
Unfortunately for him, this season will be his last.
Evidently the musicians like him, but evidently the board does not. They voted unanimously to replace him. From news reports, the big disagreement comes over repertoire.
Now, I'm not prepared to say that after that long at the helm of an orchestra that Ramadanoff's choices might not have become a little stale. But it, as he claims, he built the orchestra from a community group to a functioning professional group that seems to have solid community support, it seems a bit drastic to cut him loose.
The budget doesn't appear to be an issue--the board indicates the orchestra is in solid shape financially. The whole decision seems to be based on a couple of surveys that indicated some interest in a change in the repertoire.
Seems to me there might have been a way to deal with this without letting Ramadanoff go.
Frans Bruggen passes away
Conductor Frans Bruggen has passed away. He had suffered an undisclosed illness for some time.
Bruggen is perhaps best known for founding the Orchestra of the 18th Century in 1981.
He passed away at home. He was 79.
Thoughts from a composer
I was just reviewing a disk of choral music of composer Dan Locklair, and came across an interesting piece on the disk. While it's not something I could play on-air (it needs to be seen as well as heard), there's a composition on the disk that's worth a look/listen.
The piece is entitled "Instant Culture". It's a satire on our fast paced culture which doesn't allow for time for real enjoyment of anything. It centers on a committee that takes all the repetition, doubling and the like out of music so as to eliminate waste and just leave the "immortal" part. The end result is a "mash-up" (to use the vernacular) of the Hallelujah chorus from Messiah, My Country 'Tis of Thee, and Simple Gifts.
There are some particular lines from the text I like:
"We live in an age of the quick condensed product, the instant, the micro, the mini, the small; Drink instant coffee, drive a tiny car, never have free time, no free time at all;
If we had leisure, we would take pleasure in string quartet and minuet,
But life is short, and art is long...
We want culture, we do, we do,
Make it brief!"
And this from the opposing point of view:
"Life is short,
take time to smell the flowers."
I'm a classical radio announcer, blogger, and musician.