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It used to be argued that listening to Classical music made you a better person.
After World War II, Americans were full of confidence about their ability to improve themselves, and immersion in the arts and literature was touted for its elevating effects.
Over the latter decades of the 20th century, that assertion was no longer an accepted fact – more and more it became ridiculed as propaganda.
Ultimately, the idea that listening to Classical music made you better was unprovable, and it was easy to point out counterexamples. After all, Hitler listened to Classical music. Clearly, becoming a better person, whatever that may mean on an individual basis, involved something other than listening to the “right” ...
Many first year teachers complete their student teaching assignments in the spring semester for obvious reasons – most students graduate in May. However, it makes little sense in the grand scheme of learning how to teach band. Spring semester, while busy with festival preparation, solo & ensemble, and recruiting for the next year, is not the trickiest time for being a band director. By the time spring arrives, band programs are running on all cylinders. The student teacher walks in to a program that is in its stride. It would be more beneficial for that student teacher to enter the program in August or September. One of the trickiest tasks for any band director is starting 6th graders (or whenever your school starts band ...
I’m going back through Slonimsky’s Lexicon of Musical Invective (a title that is as much fun to say as it is to actually delve into) and thought I’d share a few of the entries. In case you’re not familiar, it’s a collection of critics’ assassinations of what are now recognized as wildly successful works.
I first came upon this text when I was working at Baxter Northup in LA. I was so taken by it that I presented it to Rivers Cuomo when Weezer was first promoting the Green Album. The press had been less than kind to them after Pinkerton (the ultimate fan favorite), and he had been legendarily reclusive in part due to the fickle reception of his efforts. I thought that he would especially appreciate ...
It’s official: I’ve reached the age where an afternoon nap is essential to a decent performance. My eyesight is also not as good as it used to be: I have to go to the eye doctor soon and see if I need glasses. These two factors seemed to play a role in my part of this past weekend’s performances.
First of all, this is not a hugely difficult program. The Russlan & Ludmilla overture is part of our bread and butter. We trot it out for just about every kids or special concert to wow the crowds. It was tightened up a bit for Carlos, but was pretty much business as usual for us. The Prokofiev Second Violin Concerto is not a staple of ours, but it doesn’t have any huge technical demands. Finally, the Rachmaninoff ...
In 2008, specially selected wind and brass musicians had the opportunity to participate in a weeklong master class culminating in a public mock audition with some of the most renowned music institutions of our time. Below, participant Andrew Parker, now the University of Iowa's oboe professor, shares his experience. Visit our professional programs page to learn more or apply for this year's workshop for brass and woodwind musicians with the Berlin Philharmonic.The great sculptor Michelangelo once remarked that he did not shape stone into a figure—he brought out the figure that was already present within. For musicians, it’s also about chipping away at layers of insecurity and fear that obscure our inner selves. It’s ...
Any musician or music educator knows the manifold benefits and advantages that arts education of all kinds has for our children (see my earlier posts on this subject). It seems so obvious and proven beyond any faint shadow of a doubt that we all have worn dents in our foreheads from smacking them at the obtuseness of politicians who are determine to ignore the great advantages and joys of a well-rounded education that includes a healthy dose of creative arts study.
Why, oh, why do they think that way?! What is the matter with them? Is it so hard to discern that No Child Left Behind has fostered Every Child Left Behind?!
I may have chanced upon the answer to that question. Let us return now to yesterday for a short peek at a particular ...
The group is in Australia right now, having an fantastic time with students in Melbourne and Brisbane and enjoying concerts in same, with Sydney thrown into the mix, as well as lots of good coffee, wine, beer and food, all at exorbitant prices (holy crap the US dollar sucks). We sometimes have some free nights and free ticket connections to see concerts on the road, and in Melbourne got to see the Tasmanian Symphony orchestra, featuring cello soloist Alban Gerhardt playing the first cello concerto of Dmitri Shostakovich.
Say what you want about his playing stylistically–and I have some thoughts, but they’re not really pertinent to this particular blog post–but if you heard him on that concert, you couldn’t deny ...
Malcolm Arnold. Symphony No. 2; Concerto for 2 Pianos (3 hands); A Grand, Grand, Overture; Carnival of Animals. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley. Nettle & Markham Piano Duet. Conifer Classics, 1994.
The letter ‘A’ has been filled with oddball composers. Drunken composers, high-road and low-road and road-less-traveled composers. Serious, strictly classical composers and light, jazzy composers, melodic and not-so-much. Composers of pieces for typewriters and parrots and cows and four feet and fans. Deeply tormented and mostly fancy-free composers.
So it’s fitting to end with Malcolm Arnold, who unites all these things in one man. Or even in just this one CD. As the Guardian wrote in his obituary in 2006, ...
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