Allan Kosnin on the problems of conserving the instruments of 20th century music: Philip Glass’s Farfisa organ, Milton Babbitt’s RCA Mark II synthesizer, and something substantially lower-tech:
Ligeti’s “Poème Symphonique” for 100 metronomes (1962) should be the easiest of his scores to perform: all you have to do is wind up the 100 metronomes, start them at exactly the same time (O.K., that is not so easy) and let them wind down until the last one stops.
But try finding 100 windup metronomes these days.
The Bodleian Library has launched a pilot project to generate metadata for a collection of 64 boxes of sheet music from the mid-Victorian period. The project looks to crowdsource the extraction of key signature, tempo, genre, and other information about the scores, most of which are for piano.
… if you’re going to be subjected to some kind of sensory experience, of which you have no control every single day, then it’s to your benefit… Why not try to enjoy something? Because there’s enough things in life to be stressed out about.
Handel’s ditty gets the “Subterranean Homesick Blues” treatment by the fifth grade class of Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat school in Quinhagak, Alaska, and it’s adorable.
(I agree with Bas Bleu to overlook the greengrocer’s apostrophes.)
My maternal grandmother was an insane fan of Ruth Lyons, Ohio television personality of the 50s and 60s. Grandma would no sooner miss a 12 noon episode of The 50/50 Club than she would skip serving her overcooked gray chicken for Sunday dinner. So, come the winter holiday season, we would hear Ruby Wright with Cliff Lash’s band singing “Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Xmas.” A lot.
It’s been, oh, 45, going on 50 years since I heard that song. (Unless I actually saw Female Trouble—I don’t remember.) And I was OK with that.
I once used a line printer that I swear was playing the bass line to the Smithereens’ “Blood and Roses,” but it is no match for BD594’s collection of instruments. Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg tees up this version of the Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun.”
- I was looking for packing material at my cousin’s place and came across a Saturday edition obit for Jerry Ragovoy; otherwise I would have missed it altogether. Ragovoy co-wrote “Piece of My Heart,” which was recorded in a wrenching live performance by Janis Joplin and later, more regrettably, by a country pop singer.
- Linda Himelstein reports on research that looks at how dyslexics master syllable-based writing systems (and their languages) as opposed to character-based system.
- Alan Feuer filed a fine report on the natural areas of Jamaica Bay, still the only National Wildlife Refuge that you can get to via subway. Mylan Cannon adds a great photograph of conservationist Don Riepe, an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) on a ground-level nest, and a passenger jet in the background.
Jamaica Bay’s conservationists — fishermen and firefighters, limousine drivers and owners of small boats — are not your typical tree-hugging types, not “Upper West Side, Park Slope, brownstone Brooklyn people,” as Mr. Riepe put it. They are people like Mr. Lewandowski from the canoe club, a transit official…
Is it an opera or a musical? Anthony Tommasini offers a distinction that might settle the
argument discussion that Leta and I regularly have:
Both genres seek to combine words and music in dynamic, felicitous and, to invoke that all-purpose term, artistic ways. But in opera, music is the driving force; in musical theater, words come first.
This explains why for centuries opera-goers have revered works written in languages they do not speak. Though supertitles have revolutionized the art form, many buffs grew up without this innovation and loved opera anyway.
When I hear on the radio the voice of an artist that I haven’t heard in a long time, it’s rarely happy news. And so it is with the passing of Phoebe Snow, who died last week after a long illness, as Tom Cole and Neda Ulaby report. “No Regrets,” from the Second Childhood album (1976) is a shimmering three minutes of new swing that will always be with me.
Winter is now a little quieter: NPR reports that Gerry Rafferty has died. Just the other day, I was just listening to City to City on my walk.
A slightly belated tribute to Billy Taylor, who passed away this week after a long long career, as reported by A Blog Supreme. Several years ago, I attended a series of “jazz appreciation 101” talks by Dr. Taylor, given in Kennedy Center rehearsal space. He was a welcoming, generous teacher. One of the things I remember is his observation that you can learn a lot about jazz harmony just by mastering Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life.”