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Caruso & the Quake

Mexican tenor Ignacio Jarquin recreates Caruso as his trunk is stolen, as he avoids the bayonets of soldiers evacuating the streets and takes refuge in a city of tents in Golden Gate Park.

I read the above here.

Interesting to read this, as I’m currently reading a wonderful book called Earthquake Days; The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake & Fire. I was reading Caruso’s account of the quake the other day. In it are Caruso’s own words from The Theatre Mazazine in which he says

“I watch those that have already arrived, and presently some one comes and tries to take my trunks, saying they are his. I say, “No, they are mine”; but he does not go away. Then a soldier comes up to me; I tell him that ...

Whither liner notes?

I rarely buy anything resembling a pop recording, but, after hearing a radio broadcast of a concert of popular songs that Nathan Gunn and his wife Julie Gunn performed this summer in Urbana, I just had to buy Gunn's recording of this repertoire. I had a pile of listening obligations to run through before being able to crack open this recording, but today I did.

I was very excited to see that my old violinist-friend Joyce Hammann featured on the Amazon listing (I haven't seen Joyce for 30 years), but was terribly disappointed not to see her listed on the printed material that came with the recording. The name of Gene Scheer appears Nathan Gunn's four-paragraph essay about life in New York (written in English and translated into French and ...

Happy Halloween

There's something terribly creepy about the words "boneless arm roast" under the words "Happy Halloween." In my mind's eye, I see abstract images of boneless human arms being roasted, like marshmallows. (Thanks to Michael, who got out of the car and took the picture.)

A Tempo Trick from John Philip Sousa

One of the great mysteries of chamber music to the nonmusician is How the Hell Do They All Play Different Stuff and Stay Together?  No conductor, no click track, no drum set – but they speed up, slow down and jump to unrelated tempos in complete agreement, without hesitation.

The simple answer: rehearsal.

The more complex answer has to do with a synergy of senses: watching, listening, feeling – even breathing as one.

And then there are the “tricks.”  There’s an extended passage in my fifth string quartet in which each measure is two seconds long.  I was amazed at how cleanly the Emerson Quartet found the tempo of this passage in the first rehearsal.  Last week, they let me in on the ...

Mendelssohn vs. Me, round 3: rusty!

....in which she begins to develop a neurosis about her hair as it appears from the side. Sigh. I really should just flat iron my hair every day to avoid these calamities. God help me if Nathan or Frankie at Vidal ever sees this. They would call me and heat-style it through the phone!

Ok, more Mendy, this time with some Schroeder thrown in to make sure I'm correcting my problems globally.

Applause For Amateurs: Classical Music With Community Appeal

The way we listen to music has changed drastically over the past several decades. Every second person on the street has earbuds plugged into their ears, and any song imaginable is available to stream over the Internet. Music is hardwired into our daily existence. Yet most people are removed from the active music-making process itself.

With the exception of the programs that specialize in professional musical study, playing an instrument—at least in the Western World—is no longer a standard of general education. Having said that, classical musicians are not dying out. Enthusiasts populate the seats of traditional high-end music halls as well as newer, younger alternative music venues, and while they don’t all study ...

A Film about an almost 107-year-old Pianist Named Alice

Thank you for sending this, Martha. The cellist must be Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, one of only two cellists who played with the Women's Orchestra at Auschwitz between April, 1943 and October, 1944.

Making Music: Evan Ziporyn (Part 2), "Bayu Sabda Idep"

In advance of his Making Music concert on October 30, Evan Ziporyn spoke to Carnegie Hall about his musical inspiration, development, and direction. Here, Ziporyn talks about Bayu Sabda Idep, his long piece for Gamelan that will receive its New York Premiere during the concert.

Written after the death of his Balinese teacher, the title of the piece—in Balinese bayu means "energy", sabda means "voice", and idep means "ideas"—refers to the hierarchy of life in traditional Balinese thought.

Making Music: Evan Ziporyn (Part 2)—Bayu Sabda Idep

Related: October 30, 2010 Making Music: Evan Ziporyn
Making Music series 2010–2011

Making Music: Evan Ziporyn (Part 1)

As a composer and performer, Bang on a Can All-Stars co-founder Evan Ziporyn has expanded the boundaries of clarinet playing. He has also explored the interaction of different musical cultures, forming in 1993 Gamelan Galak Tika to perform new music—including his own—that uses both Western and Balinese instruments by American and Balinese composers.

In advance of his Making Music concert on October 30, Evan Ziporyn spoke to Carnegie Hall about his musical inspiration, development, and direction. In the fourth installment of the interview, the composer talks about three of the pieces—Tsmindao Ghmerto, Hive, and In Bounds—that will be performed during the concert.

Making Music: Evan Ziporyn (Part 1)


With ESQ in Guanajuato, Mexico

The Emerson String Quartet appeared for the first time last Sunday at the distinguished international festival in Guanajuato, Mexico.  Through the festival, the quartet experienced the vibrancy of the Mexican arts scene first-hand, made new friends, and played to a cultured audience that included a crowd of eager, star-struck music students.

In David’s words

Having traveled through the Leon-Guanajuato airport several times on the way to concerts in nearby San Miguel de Allende, I was doubly curious to finally visit the storied town of Guanajuato.  Told of its charms by many, I was still not quite ready for the town’s historic beauty, manic energy, incredible festival, and its young, enthusiastic audience.

The ...