November 29, 2011

A nice first step...

The news making rounds in the classical music world is that the Cincinnati Symphony has just established a special corner in the concert hall where patrons can text during the performance.  That's a nice first step.
     Now how about a special corner for music lovers to masturbate during the performance?

November 26, 2011

Bend over, Beethoven!

Beethoven Piano Sonatas Marathon

Sunday, November 20, 2011
The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space
New York City

I was seriously unhappy with several performances, but decided against naming names and saying unkind things about the performers.  The reason is simple: these pianists are young, almost unknown, and at a point in their lives when they have to struggle a lot to have any kind of a career as musicians in a world indifferent to serious music.  I am sure that this makes them quite vulnerable to harsh judgments of their playing, even when such judgments appear in anonymous blogs. 
     However, among these pianists there was one Ritalin-deprived mongoloid whose drooling fantasy was to make Lang Lang sound like a thoughtful and reserved musician by comparison.  There is no metaphor or analogy that can illustrate what this retard did with his chosen sonata (Opus 22), so I'll have to describe his performance as directly and blandly as if I were writing a police report:  He bent Beethoven over the piano's sound board and, for the next twenty minutes or so, fucked poor Ludwig in the ass.  
      This public rape of a defenseless composer, loudly cheered by some enthusiastic humanoids in the audience, was far more chilling for me than the infamous rape scene in Stanley Kubrik's  A Clockwork Orange.   I won't tell you who the Beethovenfucker is, except to say that it will be a very long time before I will be able to hear this sonata again without having my skin crawl from the memory of his performance...

November 20, 2011

Those who should have known better...

As pictorial as a tone poem, this documents one of the most horrifying moments in world history.  ...  Terror.  Screams.
Michael Steinberg on Krzysztof Penderecki's composition Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (For the Love of Music, Oxford U. Press, 2006, p.174)

Here is the well-known story about this composition's title:  Penderecki's original title was "8:37".  However, this being Communist Poland of 1960, Penderecki was advised by some music bureaucrat (either from the Polish Radio or from the state owned music publishing house) to change the title so as to put an ideologically more advantageous face on this extremely dissonant modernist composition.  Which he did.  The rest, as they say, is history.

November 6, 2011

ELLIOTT CARTER: Cello Sonata, Figment, Figment III, Catenaires

E L L I O T T   C A R T E R

Sonata for Cello and Piano
Lin Tung, piano
May 7, 2003
venue unknown

Figment for solo cello
July 11, 2008
Miller Recital Hall
Manhattan School of Music

Figment III for double bass
Brian Ellingsen
April 11, 2009
venue unknown

May 22, 2009
Bass Performance Hall
Fort Worth, Texas

There may never be a more musicianly cellist than Fred Sherry, and Sherry's studio recording of Carter's cello sonata for Nonesuch (with Paul Jacobs on the piano) has every virtue a fine studio recording can have. 
     Alas, virtuous studio recordings are like virtuous women: respectable but not exciting.