Monday, August 8, 2016


Since cat photos and videos have taken over the Internet,
I had to include a shot of Allegro.

Could it be Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Mahler? Of course not, it's Beethoven! But which one? It's not the symphony you're probably thinking about....

Read more here.

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The Pittsburgh (PA) Schools change course and DOUBLE the number of music teachers serving grades 4-8. Now EIGHT teachers will be travelling among 23 schools, once every seven days. A vast improvement, but still not good enough.

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Anthony Tomassini puts into print something I've been saying for years.

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A friend of mine is visiting the UK and I urged him to go to the Proms. As the only concert that fit into his schedule included a Brahms piano concerto, he hemmed and hawed. But then this report, "The Brahms was heavenly. Peter Serkin was the soloist. Rich, resonant orchestra along with one of the most beautiful sounding Steinways I've ever heard." Interesting that Peter was the soloist. My favorite recording of both concertos is an LP with his Papa, Rudolf, backed up by George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra.

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COMING SOON: The 2016-17 season repertoire of the Quad City Wind Ensemble.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Why is opera a "big deal" everywhere except at the Met?

Well? That really is a toughie.

Norman Lebrecht, no fan of the Met, and even less so of its CEO, Peter Gelb, recently posted on his Slipped Disc blog:

The Munich opera festival has announced the sum of its ticket sales: 99.92 percent.

The Tirol Festival at Erl has just turned in results: 99.19 percent.

Sold out, to all intents and purposes.

To anyone who has attended a sold-out event, the excitement exists before the curtain rises. That gives a huge lift to the performers and allows the administrators to plan with confidence for the future. The atmospheric benefit is felt all around the country.

It has been a very long while since the Metropolitan Opera had a full house. An air of defeat has settled on the house. Maybe the solution is to close off 2,000 seats and pretend that it’s full.

The absence of that full feeling diminishes everything that is presented on stage.

The Met: Yes, it's damn big (but full in this shot)
Of course, this isn't the full story. The Metropolitan Opera is a behemoth in every way. At nearly 4,000 seats, it is pretty much locked out of anything but the warhorses of old. Baroque opera--experiencing a resurgence just about everywhere? Forget about it. Anything considered a "chamber piece"? The same. I often wonder the same thing about Mozart. Don Giovanni had its first performance at a theater (still standing) that seats 650!

But what about these festival houses selling out?

National Theater, Munich: European intimacy
  • National Theater Munich: 2,100 seats. At the festival, several smaller venues are employed for recitals and other performances. The festival runs from late June through July.
Festpielhaus Erl: that's one steep "rake."
  • The Festspielhaus Erl is the main venue for the Tirol Festival. It seats 862 and the festival runs for roughly three weeks in July.
It needs to be noted that both avoid a conflict with the extremely popular Salzburg Festival, which runs from July 22 to August 31. For the record, the Großes Festspielhaus (Great Concert Hall) has barely more seats than Munich.

Großes Festspielhaus, Salzburg
While the Met has many troubles, including the mammoth size of the house (and more), it accomplishes nothing to compare apples to oranges.