I'm catching up on my reading. From earlier this month, Alex Ross wrote a piece in the New Yorker on the Leonard Bernstein 90th birthday celebration, including the following speculation:
I wonder whether three or four more operas and shows on the order of "Candide" and "West Side Story" might have done more to advance the cause of American classical music than all of Bernstein's concerts and broadcasts put together.
Although there is not much to say about yesterday's game itself against USC (boo), Roger did point out the appropriate musical programming:
We then watched the half time show. After hearing the two bands, it is
clear to me the great job Gordon does arranging and running the band.
UCLA did, appropriately, a suite from West Side Story– perfect for town
The band prides itself on its vast song selection, never playing the
same song twice in one day, and has a library of over one thousand
songs at its disposal, nearly one hundred of which are in active
The Play refers to a last-second kickoff return during a college football game between the University of California Golden Bears and the Stanford University Cardinal on November 20, 1982. Given the circumstances and rivalry, the wild game that preceded it, the very unusual way in which The Play unfolded, and its lingering aftermath on players and fans, it is recognized as a highly memorable play in college football history and among the most memorable in American sports.
I sat and mused on words, and the decline of
language. Love, Peace, War. So overused we barely know what they mean
anymore; like love: Is love a concept from the
Gospels, from Plato, or that impossibly repetitive word in any pop
song? “All you need is love, love, love...” Meaningless. Religion: are we talking about prayer, charity, faith, or militant fundamentalism? Enemy: that old word we can’t live without. We can all conceive of a personal
enemy; a jealous lover, a bitter rival, and so on; but that big-concept
word—THE ENEMY—is it not invented and constantly re-invented to give us
something against which to fight? Could we have a thriving economy, or
even a modest affluent society, without this perennial reason to build
our arsenals? Would we be in space without an enemy to beat there?
I just noticed that Alarm Will Sound made the upper right "brilliant/highbrow" corner of this week's New York Magazine's Approval Matrix:
Alarm Will Sound explores "a/rhythmic" music at Zankel Hall, in arguably the number-one a/rhythmia show in town.
Usually, the only classical artists to make the matrix are legends like Steve Reich or Philip Glass. Despite the fact the group's Zankel Hall concert was last month and the even more newsworthy "1969" concert just played at The Kitchen this weekend, I'm impressed with the recognition. Note that the Zankel concert was what I saw at Stanford last year (posts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5); the more recent show was a themed extravaganza, including works by Berio, Bernstein, Stockhausen, and a re-creation of the Beatles' Revolution No. 9.
Keeping with all things musical and New York, Alarm Will Sound also has a call for scores:
Alarm Will Sound invites submissions for a 5-15 minute piece to be
performed as part of a March 2009 Alice Tully concert of music by New
York City composers. Works should be submitted in PDF and/or MP3 format
to email@example.com. Preference will be given to works
that use Alarm Will Sound's full instrumentation and which do not
require additional personnel. This call for scores is directed at New
York City composers -- the connection of the composer to New York City
should be explained as part of the submission. All submissions must be
received by 5:00PM EDT on April 1st.
youtube video from the band in the lowbrow/despicable corner of the approval matrix, complete with warning "This video may not be suitable for minors." the nsfw content probably isn't suitable even for those of us who actually remember the year 1969.
Via Playbill, the Leonard Bernstein Peter Pan CD debuts on the classical music charts:
The CD restores music that was discarded from the musical when it ran
on Broadway in 1950 and '51. It features musical theater veteran Linda
Eder and baritone Daniel Narducci. Alexander Frey is the conductor.
In the 1950 production, Jean Arthur was Peter Pan and Boris Karloff Captain Hook. Ok, given Jean Arthur's voice, I'd really like to hear her sing; less so, Boris Karloff.
Update: A cursory check of iTunes, Rhapsody, and singingfish didn't turn up any Jean Arthur MP3s.
In today's SF Chronicle, Robert Hurwitt has a capsule review of the CD and says the work is "smart and vigorously tuneful." He also describes how much of the Bernstein score and half of the songs had to be dropped because Arthur and Karloff couldn't sing.
Jimmie Stewart is another actor for whom it is a delight to write
music. Paradoxically, his speaking voice is not “musical.” But it has a
slightly nasal quality and occasionally “cracks” in a way that is easy
to complement. Jean Arthur's voice is somewhat similar. Just why this type of voice should be easy to write for, I
don't know. One might speculate that since these voices have little
colour in themselves, the complementary musical backdrop doesn't bump
into or fall over the dialogue. The mere fact that such voices are
unmusical gives them an additional definition.