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July 2010 - Posts

The Man Who Would Listen To Anything

  Earlier this week, there was a fascinating report on ABC's Nightline about a sort of anthrolopgist who travels all over the world to exotic places for one purpose- to eat the strangest and most unappetizing food imaginable . Insects, organ meat from animals, rats,you name it . Disgusting and gross .

  But I like to think of myself as the equivalent of this in classical music . Many concertgoers all over America are extremely reluctant to hear works by such avant-garde composers as Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez, Milton Babbitt, Brian Ferneyhough ,Kaaia Saariaho , Charles Wuorinen and others , composers which many US orchestras would never dare to feature on their programs for fear of alienating their audiences .

  It's not uncommon for some outraged audience members to write angry letters to their local orchestras when they hear a contemporary work at a concert saying that if the orchestra continues to play awful music like this,they will cancel their subscriptions. But certain orchestras ,like the New York Philharmonic , the Boston Symphony and the Chicago Symphony etc, do sometimes program these difficult and challenging works ,audience be damned .

  Unfortunately , many concertgoers would rather be waterboarded than listen to music by a composer like Elliott Carter, who turns 102 this December and is still writing the kind of uncompromisingly thorny and mystifying works he has been composing for decades .  The very thought of listening to something other than their beloved Beethoven,Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov is extremely unpleasant  to too many concertgoers .

  In fact, even listening to such long-established 20th century  atonal composers as Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern is  extremely distressing .Some concertgoers will go to a concert and stay away during the performance of a contemporary work and come back to hear their favorite violinist or pianist play his umpteenth performance of a familiar concerto by Beethoven,Mendelssohn,Schumann or Tchaikovsky, or the performance of Schubert's Unfinished symphony or Dvorak's beloved New World symphony .

  But having been exposed to a wide variety of contemporary music , I'm sort of the musical equivalent of that adventurous eater .I'm willing to give any avant-garde composer a hearing .And although I certainly don't like every work by a contemporary composer I hear ,listening to their music doesn't phaze me.  I'll give any avant-garde composer a hearing .  In fact, I'm very curious to hear new and challenging works. It's not as though I were going to eat a rat .

Posted: Jul 30 2010, 08:59 AM by the horn | with no comments
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Why Aren't There More African-Americans In Our Symphony Orchestras ?

  According to statistics, only about  one per cent of the members of Americas hundreds of professional orchestras are African-American . This is certainly unfortunate, but those who suspect racism and discrimination for this are mistaken . There are a number of explanations for this.

 First , very few blacks have ever aimed at careers in American orchestras. They get very little exposure to classical music ,so very few have taken up orchestral instruments .  Whenever an orchestra has an opening , it will often get 200 or more applicants for the job, but chances are that no blacks will apply at all. This is not the fault of our orchestras and their music directors; they are not trying to exclude blacks. Even if they intended to do so, they have very few to choose from. IN all the many auditions I attended over the years as a horn player, I don't recall seeing a single black applicant .

  Also, to prevent any possibility of discrimination based on race or gender, US orchestras have blind auditions behind screens; the audition committees,members of the orchestras whose job is to evaluate the applicants ,  cannot see the applicants and have nothing but their playing to go on, and each applicant has a number, so that complete anonymity is assured.  This system has also greatly increased the number of women in our orchestras over the years .

  Furthermore, the members of the committees,and the music directors, who have the final decision in hiring,are not interested in an applicant's skin color . The only thing that matters is the way you play .  Those few blacks who have gotten jobs in orchestras have done so purely on ability and luck.  The Washington National symphony recently appointed a black tympanist, but he got the job purely on the strength of his playing.

  So if there are any young aspiring orchestra musicians who are black , there is no need for them to feel discouraged from trying .  Getting a job in an orchestra is incredibly difficult no matter who you are . Competition is fierce for openings .

  There are however, a significant number of Asian-American and Asian-born musicians in American orchestras . Japan, South Korea and increasingly China have been supplying many US orchestras with  many musicians, particularly string players, and the New York Philharmonic recently appointed a principal oboist from China. 

  But if you are a telnted young classical musician who happens to be African-American, there is nothing barring your way to success in the field , whether you are an aspiring orchestral musician, or aim at a solo career as a pianist , violinist, cellist or whatever, or hope to become a conductor ,composer or opera singer .  Classical music is a meritocracy .

 

 

 

Posted: Jul 27 2010, 08:54 AM by the horn | with no comments
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These Are The Best Of Times And The Worst Of Times For Classical Music

  Despite the manifold woes afflicting the classical music world today, there is much to be thankful for . Yes, the existence of many orchestras and opera companies in America is in jeopardy, but the vast majority are still active and holding their heads above water. There is much worry over the aging of the audience for classical music and uncertainty as to how to increase the audience and interest young people in this great art form .

  But there are also more orchestras,opera companies and other performing organizations for classical music than ever before in America, and there are also more of these in Asian countries than ever before. Interest in western classical music in China is booming, and Asian countries are are major source of musical talent. 

  Commercial studio recordings by our major orchestras have virtually become a thing of the past ; the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony,Boston Symphony,Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras, as well as those of Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, St.Louis, Dallas,Houston, Washington, etc have not had recording contracts with major record labels for years . But the Boston, San Francisco, and other orchestras elsewhere, such as the London Symphony and others,have formed there own recording organizations to release some of their live performances on CD.

  Naxos records, which has grown in the past 20 years from a small label recording obscure but very good eastern European orchestras dirt cheap, has grown into the largest and most successful classical record label in the world, and now records prestigious orchestras such as the London Symphony and others with major conductors, and is enabling more and more American orchestras to record again , as well as offering numerous DVDs.

  The Metropolitan Opera and Boston Symphony face major difficulties because of the physical disabilities of their towering leaderJames Levine, but outstanding young podium talents such as Gustavo Dudamel, Yannick Nezet-Seguin and others have been accomplshing much and achieving international acclaim. 

  The Metropolitan Opera's High Definition broadcasts of live performances in movie theaters around the US are attracting more and more people, and the internet has transformed the way people listen to classical music by making so much of it available online .  Sales of classical CDs are only a small part of overall CD sales worldwide, but there are more classical labels than ever before ,and they offer a mind-bogglingly wide variety of classical music of all eras to the public.

  Classical CD collectors who are tired of getting CDs of the familiar masterpieces because they already have too much replication can now choose from an incredibly wide range of obscure but interesting works by lesser-known but worthwhike composers as Jon Leifs, Charles Koechlin, Nikolai Myaskovsky,Sergei Taneyev, Silvestre Revueltas, George Whitefield Chadwick, Arthur Bliss, Othmar Schoeck, Hans Pfitzner, Alfredo Casella and many,many others who are rarely performed live .

  Despite the vicissitudes, those who love classical music have never had it so good.

Posted: Jul 21 2010, 09:03 AM by the horn | with no comments
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August Issue Of Opera News - Focusing On French Opera

 The  August   issue  of  Opera  News  magazine  magazine  features  a  variety  of  interesting  articles  on  French  opera .  William  R.  Braun  discusses  the  spectacular  but  now  rarely  performed  operas  of  Giacomo  Meyerbeer,  who  though  a  Berlin-born  Jew ,lived  in  Paris  most  of  his  life  and  was  the  Andrew  Lloyd  Webber  of  the  19th  century ,and  who  wrote  such  once  popular  French  langauge  operas  as "Le  Prophete" ,"Les  Huguenots" , "Robert  Le  Diable"  and  "  L'Africaine"  among  others .

  Patrick  Dillon  discusses  the  long  vanished  tradition  of  performing  popular  Italian  operas  in  French  in  France ,including  descriptions  of  recordings  by  famous  French  opera  singers  of  the  past  doing  this .  Nowadays,  with  the  international  casts  of  opera  performances  everywhere ,  these  operas  are  sung  in  the  original  Italian  there.

  The  distinguished  Australian  conductor  Richard  Bonynge ,husband  of  the  great  and  now  retired  soprano  Joan  Sutherland ,  is  interviewed  about  his  love  for  the  elegant  operas  of  French  composer  Jules  Massenet (1842-1912) ,  which  he  has  often  conducted  and  recorded ,and  classical  music  journalist  and  blogger  Jessica  Duchen  interviews  the  versatile  French  soprano  Patricia  Petibon ,who  sings  everything  from  the  operas  of  Handel  to  the  20th  century  operas  of  Alban  Berg .

  There is  also  an  interview  with  the  rising  French  composer  and  conductor  Frederic  Chaslin, recently  appointed  music  director  of  the  Santa  Fe  opera  in  New  Mexico ,who  blames  the  renowned  composer  and  conductor  Pierre  Boulez  for  his  alleged adverse  affect  on  classical  music  in  France  today  with  his  championship  of  avant-garde  music .

  Hugh  Macdonald  ,a  musicologist  on  the  faculty  of  Washington  University  in  St.Louis ,  chooses  what  he  considers  to  be  the  "Top  10  French  Operas"; they  are  Carmen, Les  Troyens  by  Berlioz , Debussy's  Pelleas  et  Melisande , Rameau's  Hypolite et  Aricie , Massenet's  Werther , Saint-Saen's  Samson & Dalilah, Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride , Ravel's  L'Heure  Espagnole, Poulenc's farcical  Les  Mamelles de  Tiresias  and  Chabrier's  L'Etoile(The Star).

  Reviews  of  live  performance  include  the  recent  world  premiere  of  Jake  Heggie's  Moby  ***  at  the  Dallas  opera , and  performances  from  the  Metropolitan  opera , and  the  opera  houses  of  Houston ,Boston  and  Seatlle ,as  well  as  Paris ,London ,Milan, Zurich , Florence  and  Geneva  in  Europe .

  The  CD  review  section  has  reviews  of  a  new  recording  of  an  early  opera  by  Meyerbeer  in  Italian  called  "Il  Crociato  in  Egitto "  (the  crusade  in  Egypt)  on  Naxos , Ruddigore  by  Gilbert  and  Sullivan  from  the  Ohio  Light  opera  festival ,and  a  reissue  of  the opera  "Captain  Jinks of  the  Horse  Marines "  by  the  late  American  composer  and  Columbia  University  music  professor  Jack  Beeson,  who  passed  away  only a   few  weeks  ago .

  DVD  reviews  include  a  performance  of  "Sophie's  Choice"  by  the  recently  deceased  English  composer  Nicholas  Maw  from  the  Royal  Opera  in  London ,based  on  the  famous  novel  by  William  Styron .  No  one  who  enjoys  opera  should  ever  miss  a  issue  of  Opera  News ,and  you  can  visit  their  website, operanews.com . 

Posted: Jul 19 2010, 08:52 AM by the horn | with no comments
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The Eminent Australian Conductor Sir Charles Mackerras Has Died At 84

  Word  has  just  come  out  that  the  revered  Australian  conductor  Sir  Charles  Mackerras  has  died  of  cancer  at  the  age  of  84.  In  his  long  and  distinguished  career , Mackerras  appeared  with  enromous  success  with  virtually  all  of  the  world's leading  orchestras  and  opera  companies ,  and  leaves  a  legacy  of  many  acclaimed  recordings  of  music  ranging  from  Handel  to  the  20th  century .

  He  was  born  of  Australian  parents  in  Schenectady  New  York  in  1925 and  grew  up  in  Australia ,where  he  became  an  accomplished  oboist  and  a  member  of  the  Sydney  symphony  orchestra . But  he  had  ambitions  to  become  a  conductor and  studied  in  Prague  with  the  great  Czech  conductor  Vaclav  Talich (1883-1961) ,  and  became  filled  with  enthusiasm  for  the  music  of  such  great  Czech  composers  as  Janacek  and  Dvorak . 

  Mackerras  almost  single-handedly  made  the  highly  original  music  of  Janacek  world famous  by  championing  his  music  throughout  his  career ,both  the  operas  and  the  orchestral  music,  and  made  a  historic  set  of  definitive  recordings  of  the  operas  with  the  Vienna  Philharmonic  and  leading  Czech  and  non-czech  conductors  for  Decca  recordings  in  the  70s  and 80s.

  He  was  also  famous  for  his  performances  of  the  music  of  Handel  and  Mozart,  and  was  a  pioneer  in  the  use  of  period  instruments  in  orchestras  and  the  application  of  aspects  of  "Historically  Informed  Performance "  or  HIP  with  modern  orchestras . But  his  performances  were  never  merely  pedantic  or  doctrinaire ,  and  he  always  brought  the  music  vividly  to  life .

  Sir  Charles  had  close  relationships  with  the  various  London  orchestras  such  as  the  Philharmonia  and  London  Symphony ,  the  Vienna  Philharmonic , the  Sydney  Symphony orchestra ,the  Royal  Liverpool  Philharmonic  and  period  instrument  groups  such  as  the  Orchestra  of  the  Age  of  Enlightenment,  and  leading  opera  houses  such  as  the  Royal  Opera  in  London and  the  English  National  Opera .

  He  also  conducted  at  the  Metropolitan  and  the  San  francisco  Opera  on  numerous  occaisions .  Sir  Charles  will  be  greatly  missed  throughout  the  classical  music  world .

Posted: Jul 15 2010, 10:00 AM by the horn | with no comments
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So You've Never Been To An Orchestra Concert Before . What Will It Be Like?

  Many  people  have  a  lot  of  preconceived  notions  about  classical  music;  they've  been  misled  into  thinking  that  classical  music  is  stuffy,  boring  and  "elitist" ,  and  wonder  if  they  should  go  to  concerts  at  all .  So  here's  some  information  about  what  to  expect  at  a  concert  by  a  symphony orchestra  if  you've  never  been  to one  of  these  allegedly  mysterious  events .

  Firdt  of  all ,  there's  absoutely  nothing  to  worry  about .  Just  get  your  tickets,  go,  and  enjoy  yourself .  There's  no  "dress  code". You  don't  have  to  wear  a  tuxedo  or  black  tie .  The  musicians  in  the  orchestra  do  dress  nicely  ,  but  don't  let  that  bother  you . Some  people  actually  don't  want  to  go  to  concerts  because  of  the  way  the  orchestra  is  dressed ,  and  this  is  not  only  silly ,  but  terribly  unfortunate .  Concerts  aren't  about  clothes-they're  about  the  music !

 There's  some  controversy  today  about  when  the  audience  should  applaud . Generally ,  they  wait  until  the  very  end  of  a  work ,  and  don't  applaud  inbetween  movements  of  a  symphony  or  concerto . Some  people  who  are  new  to  concertgoing  have  been  known  to  applaud  inbetween,  and  others  in  the  audience  have  been  known  to  shush  them . This  can  be  an  embarassing  experience ,  and  has  even  led  some  of  these  concert  novices  to  stay  away  from  concerts,  which  is  a  pity .

  Some  critics  and  commentators  have  been  deploring  the  lack  of  applause  between  movements,  and  point  out  the  fact  that  this  kind  of  applause  was  the  norm  until  the  20th  century,  and  that  composers  were  dismayed  if  there  was  no  applause  here  in  the  past ,  and  saw  it  as  a sign  that  the  audience  disliked  the work  when  it  was  new .  Now  there  is  a  trend  to  be  more  tolerant  of  applause  between  movements,  although  some  musicians  who  are  the  soloists  in  a  concerto  or  are  playing  a  solo  recital  find  the  applause  unnerving  and  say  it  interferes  with  their  concentration .

  When  you  are  listening ,  try  to  concentrate  and  focus  on  any  given  work .  But  feel  free  to  applaud  vigorously  and  yell  bravo  if  you  really  enjoy  something .  Some  orchestras  allow  concertgoers  to  see  the  conductor  backstage  and  congratulate  him  or  her . If  you  like,  you  might  send  the  conductor  and  orchestra  a  thank  you  note  saying  how  much  you  enjoyed  the  concert,  and  describe  what  you  enjoyed  about  the  music  and  the  performance .  They  really  appreciate  this . 

 Some  years  ago,  when  I  was  auditioning  for  the  New  York  Philharmonic  and  went  backstage  at  Avery  Fisher  halkl  in  Lincol  Center ,  I  noticed  some  of  these  letters  put  up  in  the  backstage  area . 

  Be  sure  to  read  the  program  with  its  information  about  the  music , which  is  usually  written  by  a  learned  musicologist  whose  job  is  to  explain  the  music  for  the  audience .  Sometimes  the  notes  are  very  helpful,  and  sometimes  audiences  complain  that  they  are  much  too  technical ; it  varies  from  orchestra  to  orchestra .  You can  also  google  the  composers  to  find  information  about  them  and  their  works ,  and  you  can  also  listen  to  recordings  of  the  music  before .

  There's  nothing  to  worry  about  at  a  concert .  Just  go  and  enjoy  the  music !  You  won't  regret  the  experience .

 

Posted: Jul 14 2010, 08:53 AM by the horn | with no comments
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Third Annual Meetup For Classicalmusicguide.com Members - A Memorable Evening

 This  Saturday  evening's  third  annual  meetup  for  members  of  the  classicalmusicguide.com  forum  at  Gabriel's  restaurant  in  Manhattan  was  a  huge  success .  Gourmet  food  and  stimulating  conservation  provided  a  memorable  eveing . I  met  quite  a  few  of  the  same  people  who  were  there last  year  at  O'Neal's  restaurant  near  Gabriel's , and  several  who  hadn't  been  there .  We  were  fortunate  to  have  a  private  room .

  Photos  were  taken , and  every  one  had  a  wonderful  evening .  My  cellist  friend  Richard , who  is  not  a  member ,came  along  as  a  guest , and  was  delighted  to  meet  every one  and  talk  about  classical  music  with  them .  We  discussed  famous  musicians ,past  and  present , the  latest  buzz  from  the  classical  music  world ,  told  jokes  and  recalled  our  experiences  as  listeners  or  in  some  cases,  performers . 

  It  was great  to  meet  people  we  normally  have  contact  with  on  the  internet  live  and  to  have  extended  chats .  You  should  try  this  forum ,either  just  to lurk  or  become a  member. Any  one  who's  enthisiastic  about  classical  music, whether  expert  or  newbie,  professional  musicians  or  just  listeners, is  welcome .

 

Posted: Jul 12 2010, 09:00 AM by the horn | with no comments
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People Who Oppose Government Funding For The Arts Just Don't Get It

 The other day ,conservative pundit L. Brent Bozell was excoriating certain controversial art works which have been shown at museums around the USA ,ie,the works of Andres Serrano and Robert Mapplethorpe ,at Townhall.com, a conservative website. He was using these questionable art works as an excuse to trot out the same old conservative straw men about the supposed waste of vast amounts of government money to support obscene art etc, and how this is symptomatic of America's moral decline, and all that nonsense.

 Of course, he conveniently failed to mention that the National Endowment For The Arts ,which he and many other right-wingers  oppose so vehemently, takes less than a dollar from each taxpayer a year to support the arts in general in America, including our orchestras,opera companies, legitimate painters and sculptors, dance and drama companies etc.

  Like other conservatives, Bozell is always making it sound as though evil liberal politicians in Washington are taking an enormous amount of money from honest,hard-working Americans for no other purpose than to support "obscene art", and that this must be stopped and the NEA abolished once and for all.

  The NEA gets a pitiful amount of money from Washington to support the arts in general in America while so many of our symphony orchestras and opera companies are struggling to stay in existence and others are getting by but not without considerable financial difficulties. A number of them have already gone under,or are on the brink of doing so.

 The livlihoods of who knows how many talented, dedicated and hard-working musicians are in jeopardy, as well as theose who work on administration in all 50 states. In my response at Townhall.com, I pointed out these facts .  But the other people who left comments fell for Bozell's nonsense and expressed their outrage that the government supports disgusting things,and called for the NEA to be abolished.

 One person showed some sympathy to classical music, but said that the government does not"owe classical musicians a living" and that if classical musicians are good enough they should be able to make a living on their own.  In addition, my response mentioned the fact that private philhanthropies,which many feel should provide for classical music in America, do not provide anywhere near enough,and thus, our orchestras and opera companies are in danger .

  This person ,like others who have said similar things over the internet,just doesn't get it. I was not calling for the government to "provide a living " for classical musicians, nor did I say that it owes them a living.  What I meant was that withoyt help, the future of classical music in America could be grim. Furthermore, these people do not realize that it's not the fault of individual classical musicians that they are having difficulties, but the fact that it costs a considerable amount of money to run world class symphony orchestras and opera companies . 

  Without help, they could be doomed . This is not good for America . People who are so opposed to government funding for the arts fail to realize that the arts are good for America. They help the economy to flourish . If classical music, dance, drama, painting,sculpture and photography etc do well, this is highly beneficial to the US economy .  Some people just don't get it.

 It would be wonderful of course, if we could get more financial help from the private sector to help classical music flourish in America . But tycoons such as Bill Gates,Warren Buffett and others don't seem to be interested, or else they are unaware of the crisis of the arts in America.

  So if you're reading this, and you enjoy classical music, please contact Bill Gates ,Buffett and other wealthy captains of industry in America and let them know that our symphony orchestra  and opera companies need help. If not, it may only be a matter of time before you and I cannot attend concerts and opera in your local town because they no longer exist .

 

Posted: Jul 10 2010, 09:05 AM by the horn | with no comments
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DVDs Are A Great Way To Experience Opera

 If  you're new to opera, or would like to get to know this fascinating and infinitely varied art form, DVDs are just the thing for you, and there's a very wide variety of operas easily available to you .  With a few exceptions, they come with subtitles in English and other languages which you can access through the DVD menu .

 Most are from live performances in operas houses all over Europe ,America and elsewhere, even Australia, but a number are films made by famous directors such as Franco Zeffirelli with the singers lip-synching the acting and the sound tracks recorded by them and the orchestra and conductor in a studio.

  Tickets at opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera ,The Royal Opera in London and elsewhere can be very expensive, but a DVD allows you to see performances from opera houses everywhere for  about a tenth of the cost of ticket .  You can experience 400 years of operatic repertoire in the comfort of your own home . Operas by such 18th century composers as Handel, Gluck , Rameau, and Mozart all the way to recent ones by contemporary composers such as John Adams, Thomas Ades, Hans Werner Henze and others.

  You can see and hear such great opera singers as Luciano Pavarotti,Renee Fleming, Karita Mattila, Placido Domingo,Bryn Terfel, Benjamin Heppner, Angela Gheorghiu, Natalie Dessay, Thomas Hampson, and many others , and there are even older performances preserved on DVD by famous singers who are either no longer living or retired, such as Renata Tebaldi, Maria Callas, Franco Corelli, Sherrill Milnes, Leontyne Price, Birgit Nilsson, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Renata Scotto, and many others.

  Here are some suggestions for operatic newbies, covering only some of the most famous operas ,which are perfect ones to start with:

 Giuseppe Verdi: Aida : Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Grammophon DVD. James Levine conducting.

 Georges Bizet : Carmen: Grace Bumbry,Jon Vickers, Deutsche Grammophon,Herbert von Karajan,conductor.

Verdi: La Traviata: Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazon, Deutsche Grammophon.

Gioacchino Rossini: Il Barbiere Di Siviglia(The Barber Of Seville) Kathleen Battle,Leo Nucci, Deutsche Grammophon,Metropolitan Opera.

Giacomo Puccini: La Boheme. Teresa Stratas,Jose Carerras, Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Grammophon.

Verdi: Il Trovatore: Luciano Pavarotti, Eva Marton,Metropolitan Opera,Deutsche Grammophon.

Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro. Bryn Terfel, Deutsche Grammophon.

Gaetano Donizetti: Lucia Di Lammermoor.  Joan Sutherland,Alfredo Kraus, Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Grammophon.

Verdi: Rigoletto. James Levine,conductor,Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Grammophon.

All of these are easily available from arkivmusic.com and other websites, but arkiv has the best selection by far.   Opera is a magical art form !

 

 

Posted: Jul 07 2010, 06:23 PM by the horn | with no comments
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Annual Manhattan Meetup For Members Of The Classicalmusicguide.com Forum Members This Saturday Evening

 I'm  a member of the classicalmusicguide.com forum , and this Saturday ,some of the members will be having a dinner at Gabiel's in Manhattan this Saturday evening ,including me. This will be the forum's thrid annual meeting, and the second for me. I'm really looking forward to it, and it should be wonderful evening,filled with scinillating conversation and (I hope) wonderful food.

  The food was certainly wonderful last year at O'Neill's restaurant near Lincoln Center, and it was a truly memorable evening. This time at Gabiel's, we'll have a private room,which should be very nice,and it will be great to meet some of the forum members face-to-face again.

 Even if you're new to classical music , you should enjoy becoming a member of classicalmusicguide.com . It's a very welcoming forum with classical music fans from all over the US and Europe . The members range from professional classical musicians to people who just love to listen, and there are separate forums to discuss current events and politics, movies, live performances and books. 

 All you have to do to register is to choose a user name and get your password, and you can discuss any aspect of classical music,composers,individuals works, recordings, conductors,violinists,pianists,opera singers etc.  If you're a newcomer to classical music, the knowledgable members will be glad to help you with any information and advice on classical music,recommendations of recordings to get and works to hear etc. 

Posted: Jul 05 2010, 06:03 PM by the horn | with no comments
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French Conductor Ludovic Morlot Chosen As Music Director Of The Seattle Symphony

 The  rising  young  French  conductor  Ludovic  Morlot ,36, has  been  chosen  to  succeed  the  controversial  American  conductor  Gerard  Schwarz ,62, as  music  director  of  the  Seattle  symphony  orchestra .  The  orchestra  had  been  searching  for a  new  conductor  for  some  time  after  Schwarz  decided  to  step  down  from  the  orchestra  after  some  25  years .

  This  will  be  Morlot's  first  orchestra  to  lead  as  a  music  director . He  has  been  appearing  as  guest  conductor  with  a  many  leading  orchestras  for  several  years  and  had  previously  served  as  assistant  conductor  of  the  Boston  Symphony  under  James  Levine ,who  has  been  a  mentor  to  him .

 Morlot's  career  has  been  boosted  by  substituting  at  the  last  minute  for  such  eminent  conductors  as  Riccardo  Muti  and  Christoph von  Dohnanyi  and others , and  from  all  reports ,  musicians  in  the  Seattle  symphony and  other  leading  orchestras  think  highly  of  him , which  is  not  always  the  case  with  these  highly  critical  and  difficult  to  please  individuals . 

  Schwarz  will  assume  the  position  of  conductor  laureate  in  Seattle .  The  New  York  born  conductor ,  who  began  his  career  as  a  world  class  trumpeter  and  had  left  his  position  as  principal  trumpet  of  the  New  York  Philharmonic  to  pursue  a  conducting  career  in  the  1970s , had  brought  the  Seattle  orchestra  to  national  prominence  and  made  numerous  recordings  with  it  for  the  now  defunct  Delos  records .

 But  not  without  a  considerable  amount  of  controversy  and  infighting  within  the  orchestra . There  had  been dissension  within  the  orchestra ; some  of  the  musicians  frankly  disliked  Schwarz  and  there  were  reports  of  harsh  treatment  of  some  of  the  musicians  at  rehearsals  by  him , and  lawsuits  and  rancor  followed . 

  There  are  hopes  that  Morlot  and  the  orchestra  will  have  a  smooth  and  artisitically  productive  relationship ,  and  the  musicians  and  orchestra  management  are  highly  optimistic . He  will  assume  the  position  next  year  and  has  signed  a  six  year  contract . Let's hope  the  best  for  them .  

Posted: Jul 01 2010, 09:04 AM by the horn | with no comments
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