Tuesday, December 28, 2010

When It Hurts So Bad / Why's It Feel So Good

Indianapolis has a radio station (WCIR 88.7 to be precise) that features a Concert Band Hour every Saturday morning from 7 to 8 in the AM.
Let me tell you from first-hand experience: it is a little jarring. (Although to be fair, it does wake you up.)

Anyway, my first (and probably only) encounter with Concert Band Hour concluded with a rousing performance of Leopold Mozart's Toy Symphony. The part with the noisemaker had me pretty convinced the car was about to break down. Okay.

With dancers!

Or: mandolin orchestra version of the concert band piece.

And finally: The Remix. Obviously.

I don't know - if any unwanted holiday guests are still lingering around your house, I would play this on repeat for awhile and it just might do the trick!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dream / The Impossible Dream

Peter Aidu plays Steve Reich's "Piano Phase."
Not Peter Aidu and friend.
Just Peter Aidu(!)
It kind of makes my head hurt.

Or as my dad says: I can see him doing that trick for drinks in a musicology bar somewhere. Hmm, yes...

(many (many) thanks to Kevin)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The One And Only

This video is:
1) a reward for turning in all those final papers (hooray you're done!)
2) preparation for an upcoming Madtown concert
3) (there might not be any singing/rapping, but check out that ostinato, right?)
4) Happy Holidays, etc etc.

And so, without further ado:
Snoop Dogg Reads the Grinch

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yeah Darling / You Wear It So Well

The Vienna Philharmonic is instituting a new uniform for its women musicians in the name of a more "homogenous, yet modern" look.
Translation: lady tuxes (picture).

A fun fact left out of the yahoo and jezebel articles? Turns out the women have reservations.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sick Muse

I don't know if you're aware of this, but the British Medical Journal publishes a special Christmas issue every year. It's true! Relevant, too, because this year's issue includes "Mozart’s 140 causes of death and 27 mental disorders" by Lucien R. Karhausen. "The plethora of proposed causes of death and mental disorders suggested for Mozart," Karhausen writes, "stems from some obscure need to cut great artists down to size." Read all about it.

[Plus, I do believe paragraph five (detailing the major theories for cause of death) would make a wonderful Gilbert and Sullivan style patter. Ahem ahem:

It could be typhus, typhoid, measles, mycotoxin or staphylococcal /
Tuberculosis, trichinosis, or infection meningococcal /
Endocarditis, scarlatina, septicaemias, (not optimal) /
But let's just pause a tick lest we forget the streptococcal.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Four Tops

Take a deep breath: The Gerschwin Piano Quartet playing Tango-Fugue on a Theme by Astor Piazzolla by Stefan Wirth.

The world needs more piano quartets. I'm certain of it.

(via collaborativepianoblog. If you've never actually clicked through, maybe today's the day!)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dance Dance / We're Falling Apart To Half Time

Published paper o' the week.

Dance and Technology: A Pas de Deux for Post-Humans
by: Kent de Spain
Dance Research Journal, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Summer, 2000), pp. 2-17

Let it be known that I'm going to start calling all computers "post-humans."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Please Don't Leave Me

Holiday gift, anyone?
Adopt a cylinder.

(Ada Jones and Billy Murray's 1913 rendition of "I'm Looking For A Sweetheart and I Think You'll Do" is still available! As is Stanley Kirkby's "Don't Go Down In The Mine, Dad", or The United States Marine Band's "Marsovia Waltz." Full list.)


Friday, December 3, 2010

She's A Lady

The news reporter is watching you! Right there from his 1984 vantage point!

Charlotte Moorman (who has a much thicker southern accent than I ever would have expected) plays Nam June Paik's TV Cello.

This would take place in 1984. What a woman! What an instrument!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

But Today / I Have The Opportunity To Choose

Speaking of technology as a compositional tool...
(some of us were, I promise.)

How about this guy? Neil Cicierega uses youtube to make a MUSICAL create-your-own-adventure.

(via metafilter)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Could Wait A Thousand Hours / Just To Be Quiet

Today is No Music Day?


Would it even be possible? Even if I were to barricade myself in my room, I'd still hear the bass from undergraduate-filled jeeps at the stoplight down the block. And does reading about music count?

Intriguing, but I think I'll go watch an opera now.

(via largeheartedboy)

That Funky Musicology

Well, I wouldn't want to keep this from you...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shadow Journal

And today I stumbled across this one:

"King Tubby Meets the Upsetter at the Grass Roots of Dub: Some Thoughts on the Early History and Influence of Dub Reggae"

By: Partridge, Christopher. Source: Popular music history, 2(3) p309. Published in: United Kingdom. Publication Date: Dec, 2007.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

You're Wondering Now

Could someone please tell me why when I type "Eggebrecht AMS" into the youtube search box, it returns nothing but Amy Winehouse videos?

Really. Why?

Monday, November 15, 2010

[It's Got] 99 Problems

I don't know how many of you have been following the Anthology of Rap kerfuffle, but NPR's Jacob Ganz lays it all out.

In brief: the 900+ page anthology of lyrics came out last week - and already people are counting up errors. What does it say when a book about rap put out by Yale University Press and meant for scholars and scholarship seems to be based on online sources without proper fact checks?
Just something (a lot of things) to think about on this Monday afternoon.

Seriously, check out the NPR article.
Then there's the Slate review that started it all.
And an NPR interview with Anthology of Rap editor Adam Bradley, plus an excerpt from the book.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sit Down / Stand Up

I'm sending you to a ten-minute interview with Matmos that is worth every precious second. I mean, how many times have you heard someone say: "So I went out and recorded a chin implant, three nose jobs, liposuction..."? Or how about: "We chained a piano to a truck and dragged it around the desert until it was destroyed"?

These guys are my heroes.

Check out more music projects at Snapshots Music and Arts Foundation.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It Can Happen To You / If You're Young At Heart

Justin Bieber (age 16) released a memoir on October 12, 2010. (It's called First Step 2 Forever. Really.)

Gordon Pinset (age 80) enacts a dramatic reading from Justin Bieber's memoir. (It's better than the real thing. Truly.)

(via neatorama)

*update: the link is fixed!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I'm A Sinner / I'm A Saint / I Do Not Feel Ashamed

Suggestion of the week: If you've got an extra 50 euros to spend on a spa treatment in Austria (so there's that bit of fine print...), why not get the "Hildegard von Bingen steam bath (with fine amethyst crystals)" at the Kitzbühel Royal Spa or Schlosshotel Fiss?

Part II: at first I thought this was a joke, but it's a REAL MOVIE that's actually making the theater rounds right now. Plus the trailer will fill your intensity quota for the day.

(Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen)
(NYTimes review)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Preview Of A Screening / Flashback Of A Feeling

While I realize most of my readers will not be attending the AMS conference (hey Dad and Maureen! KIDDING.), I think everyone* will appreciate this Special Bonus Twice-In-One-Day Just-Can't-Wait-Till-Tomorrow post.

presents: Sarah Palin's Guide to AMS!

*And by "everyone," I mean: those of you who will be attending the AMS conference.

I Always Wanted A Schtick / This Is My Accordion

Oh, there are approximately a thousand things you could say about this video/concept. A small sampling of topics: the perceived high/low divide in art, "updating" classical music, virtuosity, the presentation of women as soloists, accordions are awesome, oops those leather pants, etc.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fight The Power

Cello fight by Christopher Stetson Wilson

Cello battle by Apocalyptica

Cello encounter
by Kristin Rule / Terrence O'Brien

Cello war by Zoe Keating

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Creature Feature

I'm starting a new semi-regular blog feature. Like a radio-feature, not like a Huron-feature. Maybe I'll call it a Feature.

Of journal articles mostly, but I'm not ruling out book or chapter titles either. For those of you not in the university-loop: it's getting near final-paper-topic-choosing week and I've been spending some quality time with JSTOR. Sometimes it's fascinating, sometimes it's frustrating, sometimes I feel compelled to read my findings out loud to my unsuspecting roommates. I haven't necessarily read these articles, I don't necessarily know what they're about - but they fill a niche in musicological research, and so we salute them. And also sometimes laugh?

Today's offering:
Brechtian Hip-Hop: Didactics and Self-Production in Post-Gangsta Political Mixtapes
Author: George Ciccariello Maher
Source: Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Sep., 2005), pp. 129-160

(From now on: I'll just give you title and bibliography.)
(And: aren't you kind of curious about this article?)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Whistle A Happy Tune

You've got to love Hindemith. Maybe not. In any case: I love this!

Paul Hindemith: "The Flying Dutchman Overture as Sight-Read by a Bad Spa Orchestra by the Village Well at Seven in the Morning" (1925).

Friday, October 15, 2010

It'll Be Just As Quiet When I Leave

I mean: the orchestra's just a construct, so why not deconstruct?

Concerto for Solo Conductor Without Orchestra
Composed: Francis Schwartz
Performed: Roberto-Juan Gonzalez

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Everybody In The Place Get Wild / I Know That You Like My Style

In the words of youtube user seamusfinnigan2000: "sir please clone yourself!! aaaaa!!"

(Richard Grayson's youtube channel will steal your time and never give it back.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This Is A Gift / It Comes With A Price

I'm directing you to an archived post at 2'23" for a little bit of Tuesday-relief/classical-music-humor:

It's titled... Hunting Babbitts.

You laughed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Found Glory

You guys! One of Magnus Lindberg's early works (that would be: Kraft) requires the percussionists to pick out materials for the performance from a local junkyard. (That way every performance is unique and locally-based, see.) So here it is - percussionists of the NYPO finding their instruments:

I wish this was an everyday occurrence. Although maybe with an expanded hunting-ground; I don't spend much time hanging out in junkyards.

(via fileunder?)
("Kraft" would be such a great piece to hear live...in the meantime, there's always NAXOS.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Drop It Like It's Hot

What's in a name? Women's Division.

Pat Benatar - Patricia Andrejewski
Dido - Florian Cloud De Bounevialle Armstrong
Macy Gray - Natalie Renee McIntyre
Wynonna Judd - Christina Claire Ciminella
Chaka Khan - Carole Yvette Marie Stevens
Peggy Lee - Norma Deloris Egstrom
Mama Cass Elliot - Ellen Naomi Cohen
Joni Mitchell - Roberta Joan Anderson
Cat Power - Charlyn Marie Marshall
Joss Stone - Joscelyn Eve Stocker
Donna Summer - LaDonna Adrian Gaines
Tina Turner - Annie Mae Bullock
Bonnie Tyler - Gaynor Hopkins

*I got these stage/original name-pairs from sources of questionable repute: who even KNOWS if they're true!
(shoutmouth and digitaldreamdoor)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Start To Push / Break Your Own Glass Ceiling

Ken Unsworth is an Australian artist who specializes in installation and sculpture works. "I'm not worried about meaning," he said in one interview. "I just like to make these strange things." Strange and often musical - turns out his late wife, an inspiration for many of his pieces, was a pianist. Examples A and B: "Rapture" (for piano, straw, burnt sheet music, and plastic mice) is a sculpture made of keyboard-stairs, and "Piano Trio (Teaching Three Pianos to Sing in Unison)" involves three grand pianos, motorized parts, three metronomes, and sheet music.

And then I give you Example C: Unsworth's 2009 exhibit "A Ringing Glass (Rilke)" includes an installation with twenty-eight toy pianos (I counted) suspended from the ceiling. The Schoenhut tinkle starts at 4:45, but the whole video is worth watching: even in the installations dealing with, oh you know, humanity and life and death and things, sound and music play a huge role:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Messing With The Flavor / Oh The Flavor That You Savor

Nico Muhly: The Next Food Network Star?
(I really hope so.)

How composing is like cooking, and so much more.

(Muhly has two new albums out: A Good Understanding, and I Drink the Air Before Me.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Art Of Listening

I haven't been this entertained by a music video in a long time.

(Extra credit: Did you spot Alma Mahler?)

70 Million by Hold Your Horses ! from L'Ogre on Vimeo.

(via Neu Black)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Yeah, I Want To Remake The Horizon

"While [Mahler's 10th Symphony] may even today still be as powerful and evocative as ever, it has, so to speak, entered the realms of the historical, where its relevance is limited to a gone-by era outside of our physical grasp. Herbert was fascinated by the thought of being able to listen to it as though the past 100 years had never taken place, as though our ears were still capable of perceiving its grandiose architecture without having been exposed to atonality, dodecaphony and the advent of electronic sounds. His intent was to beam the score straight into the 21st century, giving new birth to it through an act of digital re-contextualisation aimed at establishing connections between the "what is" and "what was"....[U]nderneath its veil of controversy, Herbert has recorded a work that is as heartfelt as it is free from any kind of novelty gadgets. His recomposed (or, more precisely, relistened) edit is both a wordless radioplay and a meta-Symphony, incorporating the piece, its reception and potential context all in one."
(From a Taruskin-heavy but really interesting review by Tobias Fischer at tokafi)

(Mahler: Recomposed By Matthew Herbert)

(Same series!: Ravel & Mussorgsky Recomposed By Carl Craig)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pardon Me Boys / Is That The Chattanooga Choo-Choo

You've got your Train Whistle Blues, your Train Whistle Boogie, some Different Trains, a Train Song, oooh a Train Song with Mr. Waits, the First Train Home, the Last Train Home, and I'm pretty sure we used to bet pennies on who could come closest to identifying whistle-chords as those trains rolled through Northfield during Music Theory II.

(Common train chords: A Major 6th; A7; and c# dim7. Check it out: Train Horn Chords.)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rip Off Your Sleeves / And I'll Ditch My Socks

Trikoton is a Berlin-based label that specializes in custom clothing based on (your) voice signals. The founders created a 1970s-style interactive knitting machine; a micro-controller and 24 small engines imitate a pattern card that can be controlled by live user input (that's you!) via connected computer. You can record anything you want - your favorite poem on a scarf, a sweater inspired by sounds in the kitchen, maybe a song composed for ukulele incorporated into a pair of pants - anything! Lookbook.

Berlin wins again.

(via notcouture)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm Still Figuring Out What's Going To Go / In My Experimental Film

It's Experimental Music Wednesday, and today we're featuring The Friction Brothers: Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), Michael Zerang (percussion), and Michael Colligan (dry ice). Yes dry ice can I get a what(?) It doesn't replace my fondness for the acoustic cactus, but it does expand the repertoire.

(Disclaimer: it's not as though Experimental Music Wednesdays are a regular feature on this blog. So why now? Because The Friction Brothers are coming to Madtown's Project Lodge TOMORROW. Who wants to go?)

(Review of The Friction Brothers from the Chicago Reader)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Soak Up Congratulations

The names of the 2010 MacArthur Fellows have been released, and there are two musicians on the list! Jason Moran is a jazz pianist / composer, and Sebastian Ruth is a violist, violinist, and music educator. (Both men are 35 years old and live on the east coast. It's a coincidence.)

You want a list all of the music-related MacArthur Fellows who have ever existed? Okay.

Marin Alsop - Orchestra Conductor
Milton Babbitt - Composer
Ran Blake - Composer and Pianist
Anthony Braxton - Jazz Composer and Performer
Regina Carter - Jazz Violinist
Ornette Coleman - Jazz Performer and Composer
John C. Eaton - Composer
Osvaldo Golijov - Composer
John Harbison - Composer and Conductor
Corey Harris - Blues Musician
Stephen Hough - Pianist
Peter Jeffery - Musicologist
Bernice Johnson Reagon - Music Historian, Composer, and Vocalist
Leila Josefowicz - Violinist
Ali Akbar Khan - Classical Indian Music Performer
Walter Kitundu - Instrument Maker and Composer
Steve Lacy - Saxophonist and Jazz Composer
George E. Lewis - Composer, Performer, and Music Theorist
Susan McClary - Musicologist
Edgar Meyer - Bassist and Composer
Conlon Nancarrow - Composer
George Perle - Composer and Music Theorist
Max Roach - Percussionist and Jazz Composer
Reginald Robinson - Ragtime Pianist and Composer
Alex Ross - Music Critic
George Russell - Composer and Music Theorist
Gunther Schuller - Composer, Conductor, and Jazz Historian
Ralph Shapey - Composer and Conductor
Bright Sheng - Composer
Cecil Taylor - Jazz Pianist and Composer
Gary A. Tomlinson - Musicologist
Dawn Upshaw - Vocalist
Ken Vandermark - Jazz Composer and Performer
Marion Williams - Gospel Music Performer
Charles Wuorinen - Composer
Miguel Zenón - Saxophonist
John Zorn - Musician and Composer

Monday, September 27, 2010

Listen As The Wind Blows / From Across The Great Divide

I read Pauline Oliveros' book Deep Listening sometime last spring, and for awhile went through this phase where I would try her slow-walk exercise in busy spaces - on the El, in the middle of Millenium Park, at the Mother's Day-themed limerick contest I attended*. The idea is that a slow walk forces you to engage with your immediate (sonic) environment. It's very specific: you're supposed to place your heel, slowly slowly let down the outside of your sole, feel your pinkie toe make contact, and then settle the rest of your foot to balance point. (Think you're doing it? NO WAY: you can always go slower.) Busy spaces, I thought, would make for the most interesting environments - and if I was doing it right, nobody would notice I was moving anyway.

I didn't usually do it right: people noticed. (It was only a short phase.)

ANYWAY: Oliveros is one of the founders of the Deep Listening Institute. You can take classes and get certified (hey!) in what amounts to focusing on the difference between involuntary hearing and selective listening. I don't know that I buy the Institute lock, stock, and barrel - but reading her book really did make me more aware of everyday sound.

Friends: this video is not terribly entertaining. But if you want a little bit of a window into the Deep Listening method / if you want to see Oliveros do her thing: this is for you.

*Okay this one - busy: not so much.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Just Met A Girl Named Maria

On September 26, 1957, West Side Story opened on Broadway.

Here's a Fun Fact: originally, the musical was titled "East Side Story."
And again: Bernstein wrote the song "One Hand, One Heart" for "Candide" - it got cut, and he saw an opportunity to recycle.

Best of all, this is a video of a 2007 50th anniversary tribute rehearsal featuring 22 of the original cast members performing alongside the new blood.

Multi-generational singing and dancing: sign me up!

(more at ThisDayInHistory and imdb)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rubber Ducky / You're The One


Update: Turns out Katy and her Perries never got air time thanks to some disgruntled parents. Even so: IT HAPPENED.

(So comprehensive: squidoo)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Choose To Celebrate The First

The NPR classical music blog Deceptive Cadence just finished up a week devoted to "First Loves" - stories by famous musicians about the moment when classical music grabbed on and wouldn't let go. Tim Munro on Ives, Nico Muhly on Byrd, Zuill Bailey on Rostropovich, Nick Cords on Nadien, Jason Vieaux on Villa-Lobos, and Marian Alsop on Brahms.

That's quite a line-up - but maybe my favorite part of this feature is the invitation extended to blog readers to post their own "first loves". It'll warm the cockles of your heart.

Monday, September 20, 2010

And Now We Pass And Just Like Glass / I See Through You

In which: Hario Glass Corporation makes some instruments.
(More pictures on the SPGRA Design Blog. They're pretty, aren't they?)

But how do they sound? Dean Shostak owns one of the glass violins made by Hario, and he's posted a sample (right here) so you can judge for yourself.

(via notcot)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

All I Hear Is Noise

Turn Me Up! is a non-profit organization "campaigning to give artists back the choice to release more dynamic records." There's nothing wrong with loud music, they say, but artists should have a choice - and many feel like more dynamic music will get lost in the (ipod?) shuffle.

Check out Matt Mayfield's video demonstrating the effect a loud, less dynamic aesthetic is having on the music:

Just something to think about; plus, music dynamics in the news.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'm A New Soul

Steve Reich's new album "Double Sextet, 2x5" is streaming IN ITS ENTIRETY on the NPR website. It's a new sound, and it's been getting great reviews...

(bonus: Reich does an interview with Pitchfork and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore? It happened.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Short People Got No Reason

Neumes on your shorts! High fashion? Um, maybe...
From Cafepress.

(bonus: I don't know anything about them except that they have a myspace page under Folk/Jazz/Rock - but what a great name, right?: The Neumes.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

So Airplane / Airplane / Sorry I'm Late

Stranded on a runway
landed on a plan
what else to do but
impromptu jam?


(via consumerist)
(thank you to mburns!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Baby Loves A Bunch Of Authors

Excellent article of the day: Famous Rappers and their 20th Century Literary Counterparts.

The comments (hilarious, by the way) seem to indicate some people are scandalized, but I say: WHY NOT.

(via flavorwire)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stormy Weather

"Recently, I have begun translating weather data collected in cities into musical scores, which are then translated into sculptures as well as being a source for collaboration with musicians. These pieces are not only devices that map meteorological conditions of a specific time and place, but are also functional musical scores to be played by musicians. While musicians have freedom to interpret, they are asked not to change the essential relationship of the notes to ensure that what is still heard is indeed the meteorological relationship of weather data."

Nathalie Miebach works across disciplines like it's her job. You can see more scores, sculptures, and hear the music realized on her website.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I'm Not Your Toy

Modified Toy Orchestra: exactly what it sounds like. Plus, the BBC's got a behind-the-scenes video article.

The interesting part about this: "we take these [toys] and learn how to play them as instruments." As if there is an instrument buried inside every object if only you know how to make it sound. I like it.

(special thanks to Kevin!)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Grow Up And Blow Away

Tuned Pale Ale
by Matt Braun. TA DA! Think about all the time we could save with these pre-tuned beer bottles! (Since obviously it's going to happen one way or another.)

(via notcot)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tiny Dancer / In The Sand

Have you guys heard of NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts? And if so, why didn't you clue me in sooner?

They're mini-concerts video-recorded live in the perfectly cluttered office of "All Songs Considered" host Bob Boilen. Indie, gospel, hip-hop, jazz, classical, reggae, gypsy punk: there's something for everyone. Most artists play a set of three or four songs, every now and again there's a little talk, some bring friends along for the ride. What a lovely idea!

Recommended sampling:
Ana Tijoux
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
The Tallest Man On Earth

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's He Building In There?

It's a housing complex specifically designed for musicians. Created by Netherlands-based 24H architecture, each ultra-modern house has a designated music room (centrally located and featuring a skylight). As if that's not enough, the entire complex is super-duper-eco-friendly thanks to a system that recycles heat from a nearby harbor.

Designed specifically for musicians! Why? I have no idea! I bet living there would be like summer music camp. But with fewer bugs.

(via notcot)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Guess Who's Back / Tell A Friend

My peace offering is interactive: a tonematrix by André Michelle that lets you create sweet loops. Soothing, sort of inherently-derivative-minimalist - you're not going to get a compositional masterpiece out of the deal, but it's an addicting build-up ease-down process with which you can do no wrong (ie. the customer is always Reich).

Yeah, that happened.

(special thanks to Aaron)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Never Failed Me Yet

The Portsmouth Sinfonia - formed in 1970, there was one major entrance requirement: you had to either be a non-musician, or pick up an instrument you'd never touched before.
Hilarity ensues! A corollary rule required the musicians to play to the best of their ability (ie. not to play badly intentionally), but that only gets you so far on an unknown instrument, you know? As Dan Visconti at NewMusicBox points out, there's a certain joie de vivre (and, I think, earnestness) that makes this a "laugh with" rather than a "laugh at."

And it's not just the funny; there's some history going on here too. The idea of an ensemble made up of people who don't know how to play their instruments was a nod to Cardew's scratch orchestra and the state of experimental music; Gavin Bryars and Brian Eno were both on board - plus (of course) a select group of amateurs and enthusiasts. By the time it fell apart in 1979, the Portsmouth Sinfonia had played concerts, put out records, and even a film. That is wonderful.

(via newmusicbox)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weeping Chandelier

It's not often that I post on just-music-that-I'm-listening-to, but I'm crazy about this particular album, and here's why:

1. It's a collaboration between the "world's foremost Death Oompah band," the Tiger Lillies, and the new music lovin' Kronos Quartet.
2. The instrumentation consists of: (1) avant-garde cabaret band (accordion! musical saw! theremin! falsetto vocals! percussion! contra bass!) + (1) string quartet.
3. All of the lyrics are culled from previously unpublished poems given to the band by Mr. Edward Gorey.

(If that's not of some musicological-literary note, I don't know what is.)
Bottom line: released in 2003, The Gorey End is weird and compelling. BOTH. And that is why I've been listening to it on repeat.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'll Tape It / Cause I Know You Won't

(National Geographic April 1973; vintage ads)

Ahem ahem: "You want a tape deck that lasts? We'll give you a tape deck that lasts. And lasts. ... Whatever weird instrument your great-grandson will be playing, the Sony TC-377 will capture it."

Weird instruments are the best, guys.

(via boingboing)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Music Of My Heart

The Heart Chamber Orchestra might be a little bit of a niche-group.
See here: The twelve musicians hook themselves up to ECG sensors monitoring their heartbeats. That information is fed to a software program designed to generate a score in real time and send it to the laptop screens placed in front of the musicians.

The idea is that the music literally "comes from the heart." KIND OF CHEESY? But also kind of wonderful: I think this would be an amazing (if somewhat style-limited) live performance - the concept, the visuals, the sound...

(Question: I wonder what would happen if one of the musicians had a heart attack?)

Heart Chamber Orchestra from pure on Vimeo.

(via notcot and wired)

Monday, August 9, 2010

And Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect

David Leventi's latest project is entitled "Bjoerling’s Larynx: World Famous Opera Houses": a photo series documenting famous and not-so-famous (but always opulent) theaters. The Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans will display the photos August 7 - September 11, 2010, but you can see them online at the artist's website here.

(via neatorama and pdn)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The World

From Saeed Kamali Dehghan's Aug. 2, 2010 Guardian article:
"In some of the most extreme comments by a senior regime figure since the 1979 revolution, [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei said: 'Although music is halal, promoting and teaching it is not compatible with the highest values of the sacred regime of the Islamic Republic.'
Khamenei's comments came in response to a request for a ruling by a 21-year-old follower of his, who was thinking of starting music lessons, but wanted to know if they were acceptable according to Islam, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. 'It's better that our dear youth spend their valuable time in learning science and essential and useful skills and fill their time with sport and healthy recreations instead of music,' he said."


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Take A Bow

"Entrada" by Stephen Scott, performed by the Bowed Piano Ensemble of Colorado College.
Ryan Raul Bañagale (one of the original performers, and co-founder of the blog Amusicology - a favorite of mine, not to mention the place I found this video) points out the pretty intense choreography that necessarily goes along with a piece like this. Not to get back on the "some-music-would-be-perceived-differently-if-you-couldn't-see-the-performance" horse again, but: well, yes. Plus: what sounds! And all of them from a grand piano.

(If I had known about this in college, you can bet I would have tried to make it happen. Or at least thought about trying to make it happen before succumbing to comps.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chopper City

In my German class this summer, we were asked to present on an influential figure tied to Deutschland - and I chose Stockhausen. Obviously.
My classmates (though wonderful) were perhaps not people, um, steeped in the classical music tradition, and it took a good bit of talking to convince them Stockhausen was even a real person - much less an influential person. On the other hand, part of that was my own fault: shouting "Hubschrauber!" and miming a cello probably wasn't the most coherent way to introduce the Helicopter String Quartet (1995). I was just so excited about it, guys!

Here we are now after the fact, and Ubuweb just posted a documentary showing bits and pieces of "Helikopter Streichquartett" rehearsals and performance with the Arditti Quartet. Four string players in four different helicopters with the music piped down to the audience below - apparently the idea came to Stockhausen in a dream. This documentary is fascinating.

(CD at Amazon)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

So Many Stories Of Where I've Been

The Lost Chord, a musical parody of Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" by Dick Strawser.

And it doesn't end there.

The Schoenberg Code: a serial novel in 12 chapters, and a parody of Dan Brown’s novel, “The Da Vinci Code".
Beethoven's Christmas Carol: a parody of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
Stravinsky's Tavern: A collection of short stories.

I love musical fiction. (All of this and more from Strawser's "Thoughts On A Train".)

(via metafilter)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Big Little Horn

The Giant Tuba is 122 pounds, 8 feet tall, and has 34 feet of tubing. Originally it served as a sort of landmark for the London Boosey & Hawkes store; now, it hangs out in the Horniman Museum.

(via oddmusic)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Carve Away The Stone

These really are gorgeous: hand-carved records by Scott Marr. See the whole series.

(via boingboing)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

All I Wanna Do / Is Have Some Fun

No explanation, no blurb: today is just a series of videos. Youtube can tell you more.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Love You Baby / But Not Like I Love My Guitar

American Air Guitar Championships 2010. Romeo Dance Cheetah is the winner (the video is one of last year's performances).
Flickr pictures. News article.

I like this one.

The World Championship will be held in Finland this August.

(via nerdcore)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Around The World / Around The World

World Music on BBC Radio 3

Organized by country, these radio programmes (I mean, they are English after all) are a little bit explanation, a little bit music, and entirely recorded on location by the BBC. Zanzibar, Cuba, Turkmenistan, the first ever radio broadcast in North Korea - more than 40 countries are represented.

(via openculture)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

There's No Point To This Profession / Without The Occaional Obsession

Here I am on a Saturday morning: sitting on my couch, drinking Lady Grey tea with heavy cream (because I'm out of milk, but not heavy cream. Turns out that's not so unusual.), and giggling like a five year old girl. WHY?

John Moe's Pop Song Correspondences

A Retort to Carly Simon Regarding Her Charges of Vanity ("First of all, that party took place on a yacht. So the way I walked in was perfectly appropriate.")
A Letter to Elvis Presley From His Hound Dog ("I admit it: I do cry all the time. I think a doctor would call it severe clinical depression, if you ever took me to a doctor, like a responsible owner would.")
Marvin Gaye Explains What He Heard Through the Grapevine ("It all started about six months ago when I bought a sack of grapes from an old man on La Cienega.")

The complete series is comprised of twenty episodes.

(I also giggle when people fall down in movies.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

You're A Shining Star

The thing is: it's not as though opera STAR Renée Fleming is in want of an audience. And yet her newest cd is a collection of indie covers (Arcade Fire, The Mars Volta, Tears for Fears) - songs she had never heard before the producers handed her a mixtape. Adventurous, okay!, but the problem I have with this album is the pretty clear "this-is-slumming-it" attitude in the interviews - maybe a touch more condescension than would be ideal ("I was heartened by the social involvement of these young artists and I was really thrilled to know there's a generation of young people coming up who care" - well, yes, non-classical musicians can care too). I would be so curious to know who exactly is listening to this album...

Honestly? There are some just-fine covers on this cd (and the novelty of Renée Fleming singing Death Cab for Cutie is going to take a few more listens to wear off), but there's a reason every critic panned this one. Crossover albums are funny things.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

You And Me Baby We Ain't Nothing' But Mammals

Where was I last night?
Funny you should ask. I was at Millenium Park, listening to the Grant Park Orchestra accompany segments of Planet Earth projected onto a huge screen. It's part of a six-concert tour (Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Baltimore, LA, Philadelphia), and it was - breathtaking. This is the best of sweeping movie music, guys.

Click here for a short interview with composer/conductor George Fulton. You know the BBC flew him to the Arctic to prep for the third installment of the documentary trilogy? Not a bad gig for a composer, am I right?

I'll leave you with this giant shark. (Imagine the music LIVE.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Lovin'

Billboard.com has a new summer playlist every week. This is the equivalent of eating cheesecake for breakfast.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This Is My United States Of Whatever

I practically inhaled Susan McClary's Feminine Endings on the plane ride home last week. And if I had a dollar for every time McClary mentioned Laurie Anderson, I would have - a chapter's worth of dollars.

The point is: I was pretty excited when metafilter pointed out this great Introduction to Laurie Anderson on the Awl's Difficult Listening Hour. Great selection of videos, great performance art, great intro.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Here We Go Loop-De-Loo

In which: Zoe Keating compares her live-looped cello music to information architecture.

ZK has played with Rasputina / Amanda Palmer / Imogen Heap, but I like her solo stuff best. Most of her music is her own; also check out her looped Beethoven.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Am Chicken / Hear Me Squawk

I was cleaning out my inbox and rediscovered THIS:

Happy Friday!

(special thanks to Kevin)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

In Your Eyes (In Your Eyes) / Forbidden Love

The Impossible Music Sessions.
Tagline: you are not supposed to hear this.
Why not?
Because these performances feature the work of musicians who are not allowed to play or promote their music in the countries they call home. Instead, IMS gets American cover bands to do it FOR them.

Along with the concert, every IMS session includes conversation with the original artists about music, about musical conditions - about all sorts of things. So far there have been two, both of which have pictures and video posted on the website: The Plastic Wave (Tehran), and Baloberos Crew (Guinea Bissau).

The Center for Inquiry gives you a feeling for the New York-based performances:

(via metafilter)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Write Mostly On Hotel Paper

Typewriter Music tickatackatickaboom. Composed by Leroy Anderson in the 1950; played here by the Strauss Festival Orchestra in 2008.

(via neatorama)

Hey! Next you hear from me I'll be back on the States-side of the Atlantic, and then I'll have the time and internet access to get you some real doozies I've stored up for just this occasion...get excited please.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Do It Alone, Leo

Jason Robert Brown and a US teenager have an e-mail exchange about trading sheet music and copyright laws. Sure it sounds a little dull, but in the end: FASCINATING.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


The 2010 World Chamionship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest

It was held in Peoria May 28-30, 2010. Meaning: we just missed it. On the upside, that means we get to watch a trailer (soon to be made into a documentary) featuring performances from the weekend!

(via metafilter)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

All These Buildings and Mountains

What major work of Alban Berg are you?!?!?

*Please note: that is the actual title of the quiz.

*Please further note: I am the Chamber Concerto.

(I was pointed in this direction by therestisnoise)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

And They Say That A Hero Will Save Us

Michael Tilson Thomas talks re: Mahler.

UE Mahler Interviews: Michael Tilson Thomas from Universal Edition on Vimeo.

Michael Tilson Thomas: sometimes I call him MTT, but only when I know he's not listening.

(via openculture)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Flip, Flop, Fly

Who doesn't need a spatula shaped like a guitar? I'll take two, please.

(at the Neatoshop)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Joy To The Fishes In The Deep Blue Sea

Quiet Ensemble (founded by Fabio Di Salvo and Bernardo Vercelli in 2009) seeks to "compose sounds out of the most casual movements of the "invisible concerts" of everyday life." Practically, that means their installation "Quintetto" is a five-aquarium affair complete with video cameras that first capture the fishy movements (also the not-suspicious movements - ha! okay.) and then send the information to computers that translate movement into sound.

Quintetto by Quiet Ensemble from yatzer on Vimeo.

(via notcot)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Singin' In The Rain

In Which: Marlena Ernman SINGS Flight of the Bumblebee. She SINGS it.

(via arbroath)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Rock Me Mama Like A Wagon Wheel

The Gravikord is an electric kora - and I believe it was invented by this man right here: Bob Grawi.

Variation on a theme:

Friday, July 2, 2010

I've Been Cooking You A Nice Hot Supper / And You Can't Even Eat It On Time

"My food ain't pretty, but it's good," says Dolly Parton.

Dolly's Dixie Fixin's: What. A. Cookbook.

Please preview this free recipe from the website (I'm curious as to how that much lard might effect the vocal cords?):

Hush puppies are to fried fish what pickin’ is to grinnin’. You just can’t have one without the other. The story goes that hush puppies is what camp cooks shouted to the yelping hounds when they tossed them the fried scraps form their skillets. Whatever the origin, they are easy as pie to make, just whip up the batter and drop it by the spoonful into piping hot fat.

Serves 6, makes 2 dozen

1 ½ cups cup self-rising white cornmeal
3/4 cup self-rising flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
Lard or shortening for frying

Combine the cornmeal, flour, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the egg and stir until combined. Gradually stir in the buttermilk, adding enough to make a thick batter that will easily drop from a spoon.

Meanwhile, heat enough lard in a deep skillet to reach 2 ½ to 3 inches. When the fat is hot enough (about 375°F), drop the batter by the teaspoonful into the skillet. Fry, turning occasionally, until the hush puppies are golden brown. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. Serve warm.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Relax / Don't Do It / When You Want To Go To It

The Associated Press would like you to know that a new study "found playing classic music with specific ambiance sound such as dog barking, human conversation and crow's crow inserted over the music is the most effective combination to relax dogs."

Crows over Beethoven? I mean, okay.

(via io9) (thanks to dad!)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

X Is The Shape I Drew Through Your Face / In Permanent Marker

This is certainly one way to remember your chords...

(The arm belongs to Cedric Paul Mamuri; the original post belongs to Neatorama.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So Ein Schöner Tag

I was introduced to Kölsch music while at the Kielerwoche this past weekend. I think you will enjoy this:

CATCHY, RIGHT? German folk music: yes please. Lyrics for the curious.

(Fun fact: Jacques Offenbach spoke Kölsch.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Obviously I used up my vuvuzela post too soon.

No matter: I refer you to Alex Ross' The Rest is Noise for a little Brahms vuvuzela-style.

(As Maureen points out: Alex Ross AND classical music (okay, no surprise there) AND Germany AND men in tuxes AND soccer - what's not to like?)
(Vielen Dank, Maureen!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Get Low / Get Low / Get Low

There's a new record for the lowest sung note, set by Roger Meenes out of Anna, Illinois. 0.393 Hz? We're talking a low F-sharp.

He gets a certificate and everything.

(via arbroath)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Play That Funky Music

You didn't go to the Sxip Shirey metafilter post I suggested yesterday, did you?

Follow-up: an interview posted by NewMusicBox.org asks the question "Is Sxip Shirey an overly serious novelty composer or an underly serious experimental musician?"

And check out that hair, right?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Make It Up

I like this video because:
1. It's a new instrument! The Sxipenspiel.
2. Said instrument was created by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer.
3. It just so happens that I was the Flohmarkt am Mauerpark yesterday.

(Metafilter contributor jennyjenny has a great post on musician Sxip Shirey. What a fantastic guy!: check it out.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Your Flight Was Smooth, I Hope?

A complete video recording of Adams' "Nixon in China"! In seventeen parts.

(I'll get you started:)

(what a treasure! via metafilter)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Listen To The Sound From Deep Within


The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra has a free and on-demand listening page supplemented with videos, listening guides, composer interviews, feature articles, and web links. Still a work in progress, but a couple interesting pieces (see: Stravinsky and Schneider).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

You Got Your Pope Binoculars

Here's another entry to add to the list of "unexpected ideas for musicals and/or operas":

Non Abbiate Paura (Don't Be Scared), otherwise known as "Pope John Paul II: The Musical."

And yes indeed, after its opening night in Rome this past weekend - it is about to begin a tour Italy.

(via metafilter)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It Gets Complicated

"I Am Sitting in a Video Room" by Canzona. (This is what happens when you upload and re-upload a video to youtube a thousand times.) But the best part? It was (explicitly) inspired by Alvin Lucier's 1969 "I Am Sitting In A Room."

Here's the updated text:
I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice as well as the image of myself, and I am going to upload it to YouTube, rip it from YouTube, and upload it again and again, until the original characteristics of both my voice and my image are destroyed. What you will see and hear, then, are the artifacts inherent in the video codec of both YouTube and the mp4 format I convert it to on my computer. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a digital fact, but more as a way to eliminate all human qualities my speech and image might have.

(via sequenza21)