Friday, November 30, 2007

la pioggia

It's raining!!!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

kein musik ist ja nicht auf erden, die unsrer verlichen kann werden

I'm back in LA after a lovely and relaxing respite with my parents in Houston, even if it was a bit muggy and then suddenly quite cold. There was another fire in Malibu, but that's under control now, thankfully. I am currently doing what I do best of anything: procrastinating. I am a world champion of that most wondrous sport. I have a paper due a week from today on Stravinsky and . . . well I guess I need a definite topic still . . . yeah . . . anyway. I also am trying to get the Berio Ricorrenze up to snuff for Monday, and this weekend is AYS concert weekend (aka no weekend at all). But it should be a good concert--we're playing Mahler 4. What a gorgeous piece of music. I love it, although the last movement has an almost morbid text. I love playing those lines with the violas, so satisfying to play low on English horn! And those funny little tidbits Mahler puts in the part. Even if he also likes to have quick changes for just three notes on English horn that are also doubled in the bassoon. Pointless, but he wrote them, so I'll play them! I wish AYS payed extra for doubling. OK, maybe I should get back to searching Google Scholar.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bill Nye in the Jungle

From IMDB:

Nye Requests Restraining Order Against Former Fiancee

TV star Bill Nye has requested a restraining order against his former fiancee after she allegedly tried to poison him. Nye, also known as Bill Nye, The Science Guy, sought the order in a Los Angeles court on September 4, after spotting his ex, Blair Tindal, dressed in black and acting suspiciously near his home. The order would prevent Tindal from coming near his California house and contacting him. The legal papers filed state Tindal "emerged from my backyard... carrying two plastic bottles filled with some sort of solvent. Apparently she was trying to poison my plants including some vegetable(s). She fled on foot and then a car sped away from the scene." Tindal had driven by his house twice in the previous three weeks. Nye also complained in an abuse report that Tindal "left a coffee pot on my porch" on August 16. However, Tindal filed a response on November 13, disagreeing with the terms of the restraining order. A hearing has been set for December 20.

(Bill Nye married Blair Tindal, author of Mozart in the Jungle, the tell-all book about the classical musician scene in NYC, a few years ago. Guess they're divorced now.)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

No Country for Old Men

Last night I saw the newest Coen brothers movie, No Country for Old Men, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. It was the best movies I have seen in a long, long time (not a fan of Lawrence of Arabia, which I finally got around to watching this week. Seems like a lot of hype for a big, bloated, boring movie, whose only bonus is Peter O'Toole's beautiful blue eyes). I would highly recommend No Country for Old Men for Coen brothers fans: it's their best work, a bit like Fargo and Blood Simple but even better. I would really love to read some Cormac McCarthy, I just haven't gotten around to it yet. I did see a play by him at Steppenwolf before I left Chicago last year that was excellent, I think it was called "The Sunset Express." Anyway, I'm sure the source of the movie was wonderful, so the dialogue was beautiful, and the acting was excellent. The Coens are masterful at keeping tension at a max, and every frame was a piece of art. OK, I'll stop raving now. But seriously, if you don't mind violence in movies, go see this film. (It is really violent. And the villain, played by Javier Bardem, is one of the scariest ever. So it's not for the faint of heart.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

bergman, von sydow, new operas, and more

So I have a string of unrelated things to blog about today. First, on Sunday I saw an Ingmar Bergman double feature at the Aero, part of a tribute to Max von Sydow. We started the evening with The Seventh Seal, which I've seen before, but not in the theater, and ended with The Virgin Spring, which was new to me. It was a dark and heavy evening, spent pondering the existence of a divine being and if s/he exists why so many awful things happen in this world. It was nonetheless very enjoyable, and I highly recommend these two films. The evening would have been even better had Max von Sydow been in attendance to answer questions between the two films, as he had originally been slated to do. Alas, his son's grandmother, therefore his mother (!! Max is 88, according to IMDB, so how old is his mom????) was ill in Sweden and thus he had to return home early, as his son informed us.

Ok, next unrelated idea: this article in the New York Times caught my attention, so I looked for Charles Ward's thoughts in the Houston Chronicle. Intriguing.

Also of interest, there have been a few more articles about Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, including this and this.

Finally, a fellow oboist pointed out the above YouTube clip. I have no comment for it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

radio, youth orchestras, maestros (maestri?), etc

Local radio station KPCC has had some interesting pieces on Gustavo Dudamel lately, including this article online, and this week's edition of Off-Ramp. That program, which aired on Saturday, included bits on Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and the youth orchestra festival (and it can be podcast). As for the youth orchestras, why are neither AYS nor Debut mentioned at all? Not that they're really "youth" orchestras, but the Simon Bolivar and the Sibelius Academy orchestras also include many musicians in their early 20s. I'm sorry I missed the latter orchestras perform, but Art went to everything.

On a side-note, I've noticed that everyone calls Esa-Pekka Salonen just "Esa-Pekka," most of the time (myself included). I find that amusing. In Chicago, people called Daniel Barenboim "Barenboim," not "Daniel." Then again, "Esa-Pekka" is a far more unusual name in the US then "Daniel," maybe that has something to do with it. Anyway. I wanted to point out the LA Phil's tour website, since I did for Chicago. It's more personal than the CSO's, which I like.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

ney & zorba

Last night I attended a LACO concert at the Alex Theater in Glendale with my roommate. She won free tickets off of KCRW, local public radio station extraordinaire. LA actually has three public radio stations, which I think is pretty cool. Anyway. We heard Prokovief's Classical Symphony, Mendelssohn Symphony No. 5, and a new work, a concerto for the Persian ney, which is sort of an ancestor of the flute. (Incidentally, Wikipedia informs me that the ney is made of Arundo Donax, the same plant used for oboe reeds.) It was an interesting piece. The accompanying orchestra was fairly large, with full brass and percussion. The ney was amplified. This instrument has a lot of accompanying airiness in its sound. If one were to hear it in its natural setting, unamplified and with other instruments of its background, I'm guessing the airiness would not be noticeable. But the mics seemed to pick up the airiness almost more than the actual pitches of the instrument, which I found distracting. Perhaps the concerto would have worked better with a much smaller orchestra that would allow the ney to remain unamplified. It was also a somewhat odd juxtaposition of western 12-tone (as in we use 12 notes, not serialism) music and traditional Persian music. I'm still not totally sure what I thought of the piece.

I also watched Zorba the Greek this weekend. It wasn't quite what I was expecting. In fact, it was sometimes a little upsetting. I don't want to give anything away, but, gosh, widows sure had it rough in post-war Crete. It does have some good moments, though.

Ukulele Orchestra of GB - The Good the Bad the Ugly

This is for Jan :)