Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bravo New York, Bravo!

While on the NY Times website this morning, an image caught my eye. Did I see carpet and chair and people sitting in the middle of Times Square? Yes - this image is just a sparkling component of what the essence of New York is about.

An audience in Times Square had a free treat on Monday evening: projections of the Metropolitan Opera’s opening night, with Renée Fleming in excerpts from “La Traviata,” “Manon” and “Capriccio.

I don't know who's in charge over there in New York, NY, but whoever it is, to come up with such an extraordinary idea - and perhaps this is a regular occurrence, I don't know - but they deserve a raise.

God bless New York and those exceptional people who understand the cultural splendor something like this event brings. Bravo!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Music in the Mail

For the cool photo above, I thank Flickr Photographer Elsie Cake. For my Bjork DVD, I thank my dear nephew...packaged and delivered all the way from California. I look forward to watching it. Alone - as directed.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Back to black indeed

In the past I have been unduly hard and embittered on the topic of Amy Winehouse. I wish to retract the past comments and negative review of her. This afternoon I came across an early interview she had on the Jonathan Ross show on YouTube. She so endearing, I urge you to stay with it and watch her acoustic performance of "I Heard Love Is Blind".

A few years after her debut album Frank, she released an even greater album, Back To Black. In thinking about what is so depressing about her situation with addiction is that she is undeniably super talented and she may be making like a shooting star across the sky - brief beauty soon to be erased as if it never existed at all.

Morrissey the cat

the song's name is "Stephanie" by Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham

Monday, September 15, 2008

Trees Lounge

Not only was Trees Lounge a great flick with great acting performances from Steve Buscemi, Michael Buscemi, Elizabeth Bracco and Carol Kane, it had a great title track by Hayden.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner & the outlook is absolutely vile

One of the best online radio shows is "Morning Becomes Eclectic" on LA's KCRW.  Morrissey was the guest on August 29th and yes, bugger, I missed it live.  But here's the good news.  You can listen to the interview Here. LINK
Here are His Majesty's recommendations: 

1. The Courteenas - A new Manchester Band

2. The Buzzcocks "You Say You Don't Love Me" (boy, do I  relate)

3. Sparks - who "crashed" into Morrissey's life when he was only 14 - the single "Moon Over Kentucky"

4. The Cockney Rejects "The Greatest Cockney Ripoff"

5. The New York Dolls - "There's Gonna Be A Showdown".

"If you've ever seen footage of Steve Jones he's completely mimicking Johnny Thunders"

6. Jobriath - "Morning Starship"

7. The Single by Mr Bloe, "Groovin"

8. Noel Coward, 1940's England, "There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner"

And as Morrissey says, Noel Coward is simply an amazing lyricist.

And by the way, Morrissey mentions that his first single he purchased was Marianne Faithful - "Come and Stay With Me".

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Everywhere Music Won't Take You...the CBC Radio 2 Fiasco

It is day two for the remodeled national FM station, CBC Radio 2, which Canadians have come to rely upon for steadfast classical music programming and I’m wondering what to think and where to stand on these changes. I will never hear again the radio's slogan, "Everywhere music takes you." What a shame. Somehow the new slogan "Music Lives Here" is a little lame for my liking. I mean, when they stated "everywhere music takes you" it was all encompassing, suggesting that something more than just music was going to happen here on the national station.

Several months back the entire country was in an uproar over the CBC’s heavy-handed change orders. I remember reading a National Post article where even the “young” listeners were in complete disapproving mode over the prospect of losing the Nation’s classical culture dose. There was even a Facebook Group called “Save Classical Music at the CBC.” Pathetically there were only 16,000 people to join.

Now according to CBC Executive Director of Programming, Chris Boyce, the new Radio 2 “will be more relevant to more Canadians.” When I first read this statement I thought – great, now CBC can be as mainstream, dull, boring, unintelligent, monotonous and characterless as the rest of radio programming in the Country – just what Canada needs.

As I drove down Taylor Way and approached the Lions Gate bridge this morning, I crinkled my brow and listened to dear old Tom Allen almost struggle to introduce discs and albums of alternative groups like Broken Social Scene, (a band I dearly love by the way), and I thought what a shame it was to mute all of his amazing knowledge for classical music and its composers. Now we’ll get nothing out of our dear Tom Allen, because this genre of music is simply not his thing.

I for one will long for the mornings where I can relax and listen to Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Chopin – and true disc-jockeys like Tom Allen and Peter Togni, as they would enlighten and account for the lost golden age of music. Thanks to the bind-folded executives at the CBC, the shovels are heaving the last piles of soil over the crypt of symphony, chamber and choral music in Canada.

Well, at least I still have my iTunes Radio where Public Radio reigns supreme on a Sunday morning.

Classical Facts:
Since we won't be hearing from our beloved CBC Radio 2 for this relevancy

Classical Music describes the specific period from 1750 – 1820 and the music of major composers such as Johann Christian Bach, Mozart and Haydn when music was modeled after the ideals of the philosophy and art of Ancient Greece and Rome – balance, proportion and disciplined expression.
There are many styles of music within classical music, including symphony, opera, choral works, chamber music, Gregorian chant, the madrigal, and the Mass.

Classical music is broken down into historical periods: Medieval (including Gregorian chant and all monophonic music before 1400); Renaissance (1400 – 1600, music that was related to the church and expression of piety); Baroque (1600 – 1750, including the music of Bach and Handel. This was the period during which opera began and music became more ornate and textured); Classical (1750 – 1820, including the music of Johann Christian Bach, Mozart and Haydn during which music became an expression of balance, and discipline and the structure of its harmonies were transformed. Public concerts became very popular.); Romantic (1820 – 1915, including the music of Johannes Brahms, Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky. Music became more centered on ideas of fantasy, spontaneity and sensuality); Modern (1915 – present day, including Copland, Gershwin, Stravinsky, Barber. During this period older forms have been revisited and reinvented and technology has played an increasingly important role).

The term classical music was not used until the early 19th century in order to canonize the period from Bach to Beethoven as an impressive, "golden" era of music.
Many studies have proven that early experience with music provides the basis for more serious study later, so many parents expose their children to classical music at an early age and introduce them to instrumental lessons. The 1990s showed an interest in research papers and popular books on the so-called Mozart effect: a temporary, small elevation of scores on certain tests as a result of listening to Mozart. Other similar studies of different composers have produced positive effects on academic studies and child development.

Classical music is often associated with communication of transcendent emotion and universal ideas about the human condition. Many times composers will express inspiration from folklore, poems, paintings or other pieces of fine art and culture.

The Symphony is revered as one of the largest and most impressive fixtures in classical music. The following symphonies are some of the most perfectly representative of the structure: Mahler Symphony No. 9 in D Major; Haydn Symphony No. 34 in d minor; Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in c minor; Mozart Syphony No. 25 in g minor; Barber Symphony No. 1 in G Major; Haydn Symphony No. 94 in G Major; Dvorak Symphony No. 9 in e minor; Ives Symphony No. 1 in d minor; Brahms Symphony No. 2 in D Major; Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in d minor.

The contemporary classical American composer Samuel Barber and his brilliantly moving Adagio For Strings...