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Note x Note: Musical Musings & Cultural Observations
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Wow. So it's been a while since my last really substantive post. As regular readers doubtless know I've had more than my far share of rotten luck with computers over the past few weeks. The latest news is definitive though hardly encouraging. It seems the small problem I thought would take an afternoon to fix is actually a much larger problem that will take several weeks to fix. However, while my laptop awaits much needed repair I have been lent another laptop that will hopefully get me back up and running next week. In the meantime, while I am on holiday visiting friends I will endeavour to do some work on the blog. Look for some interesting articles over the weekend and do be sure to check back next week. As always be sure to check out the blog's Twitter feed which is updated regularly each day.
Tags: Anthony McAlister (Cello) ; Cello ;
7 years ago |
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Finally, after 11 days of fearing the worst, I at last have some good news to report concerning the fate of my computer. The hard drive has apparently been spared which means all my data is still (fingers crossed) in tact. The unresponsive keyboard is due to be replaced sometime next week following which I plan to return immediately to daily blog posts!

Happily, my video interview with Pulitzer-winner Tim Page has been edited and will be posted to YouTube by the weekend. However, until my beloved pc is repaired posts will continue to be sporadic, at best. You can follow my tweets by visiting the blog's very active Twitter account at www.twitter.com/NotexNote. Once I'm back up and running for good I will send out an email to those readers interested in an update. If you'd like to be added to my email list drop me a line at notexnote.artsblog@gmail.com. Also, for those who feel so inclined, donations toward the swift resolution of my tech nightmare are, of course, welcome. Click on the PayPal link in the column on the right side of the page to make a secure donation.

As ever, many, many thanks to my loyal readers for your continued support. I'll be back shortly!
Tags: Anthony McAlister (Cello) ; Cello ;
7 years ago |
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I just wrapped up a very exciting, wide-ranging interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic and professor Tim Page. More amiable chat than formal interview, we talked for nearly an hour on subjects as diverse as Glenn Gould, the cultural life of Los Angeles, the future of orchestras, and the art of criticism. It was easily one of the most interesting converstaions I've ever had. (Very special thanks goes to filmmaker Ted Owens and photographer Anneliese Varaldiev for their generous assistance and professional expertise!)

Now the editing process begins. You can look for the video of today's interview here on Note x Note sometime within the next week, give or take. In the meantime, I highly encourage anyone interested learning more about this remarkable man and his extraordinary mind to pick up a copy of his poignant memoir, Parallel Play. And look for Tim's new book, Carnegie Hall Treasures, which is due to be released later this year.
7 years ago |
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Well, it's that time of year again when I manage to inflict some costly damage upon my computer. Good news is the problem isn't nearly as horrid as I first feared. Bad news is I will still have to have the thing serviced and a few parts replaced which means that for the next few days new posts will be sporadic at best. (Blogging from one's iPhone is much more tedious than it sounds!) Please check back after the weekend when I will hopefully be back up and running. As always you can follow my tweets on the blog's Twitter page.
Tags: Anthony McAlister (Cello) ; Cello ;
7 years ago |
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Here's to Kathy Battle, La Donna Divina. My all-time favourite soprano singing one of my all-time favourite Baroque arias, "Eternal Source of Light Divine" from Handel's Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne, HWV 74. Enjoy.

7 years ago |
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In a town known for having more than its fair per capita share of so-called celebrities - some of us Angelenos average a couple of "sightings" per week - it takes the presence of something rather remarkable for me to do a double-take when walking about an L.A. avenue. Tonight, jaded little me got an unexpected treat. I stumbled upon a very talented harpist busking on the lower level of the Vermont/Sunset Metro Station near Los Feliz. Being the slightly paranoid whackadoo I am, my guard is always up whenever I travel via public transport in this town... 'cuz, you know, stabbings... Fixated as I was on my desire not to be mugged I was inevitably startled by the sight and sound of a harp in such a seemingly incongruous milieu. And it was lovely, a glorious accompaniment to the urban symphony of steel and concrete and blinking lights. I don't see this sort of thing - classical buskers, that is - in or about Los Angeles much. Perhaps I am frequenting the wrong neighbourhoods. In any event, our subway virtuoso provided a very real public service, for a few minutes anyway. A moment's worth of beauty in a most unexpected place.


Tonight's brief encounter reminded me of the time a few years ago when violin virtuoso Joshua Bell, clad in jeans and a ball cap, busked at a busy Washington, D.C. metro station. Bell's was rather a different experience, and a bit of a disappointing one at that. For three quarters of an hour one of the world's most famous violinists played a string of solo works as an estimated 1,000 commuters streamed by. Only seven actually stopped to listen to the music. Begs the question: when the exigencies of our modern, digital lives make their din heard above the gentle singing of our souls, do we necessarily become immune to the beauty around us? (Read more about JB's social experiment, and watch the video below.)

7 years ago |
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Photo by Lois Siegel
The celebrated Tokyo String Quartet will perform at the Colburn School tomorrow, 17 October. They will be joined by Colburn students for performances of Tchaikovsky's String Sextet Souvenir de Florence and Mendelssohn's much-loved Octet, Op. 20. Concert begins at 3pm in the school's Zipper Concert Hall just across from Walt Disney Concert Hall. Admission is $10 with no charge for students with valid identification. Check here for further details.

The Tokyo String Quartet was founded in 1970 at the Juilliard School by former students of the Toho Gakuen Conservatory. The current iteration of the the quartet includes just one of the four original founding members, violist Kazuhide Isomura. The group have recorded over 30 albums and received seven Grammy nominations; they are widely regarded as one of the most important chamber ensembles performing today.

7 years ago |
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Today marks the 110th anniversary of the opening of Symphony Hall in Boston. Construction on the landmark concert hall, which is home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops Orchestra, and the Handel and Haydn Society, was completed in 1900 shortly after the BSO were forced to abandon their previous home, Boston Music Hall.

Symphony Hall is universally regarded as one of the finest, most acoustically superior concert halls in the world along with Vienna's Der Musikverein, Amsterdam's Het Concertgebouw, and the Berliner Philharmonie. Symphony Hall is also an architectural and aesthetic marvel. Its interior boasts the 4,800 pipe Aeolian-Skinner organ as well as 16 statutes of both mythical and historical figures from Greek and Roman Antiquity. Here's a bit more on the hall's amazing acoustics, and here's a link to archive footage of a BSO rehearsal from 1943 led by then-music director Serge Koussevitzky!

I had the chance to visit Symphony Hall for the first time last fall (that was also my first occasion to hear the Boston Symphony live... I could have wet myself in glee). I will pay another visit to Symphony Hall, Deo volente, when I return to New England later next month to visit friends. Stay tuned!
7 years ago |
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I try to keep my personal politics off this blog as much as possible. And I'm certainly no fan of the shrieking polemicists who present ABC's The View. Yet I couldn't help smile a little after watching the clip below (read more on yesterday's fracas at The View). Bill O'Reilly and his ilk, to my mind, are emblematic of everything that is wrong with public discourse in this country today. Gone are the days of the eloquent, reasoned, quiet dispassion of William F. Buckely, Jr. and company. In today's news media landscape apparently he who shouts loudest and distorts the most wins. Exactly whom does that benefit? Gaah! Wake me when we've hit bottom...

7 years ago |
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This week I had the chance to speak with cellist Haden McKay, official spokesman for the musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, as he and his colleagues entered the second week of their strike. We had an in-depth discussion about the current labour dispute, the events leading up to it, as well as some of the gross misrepresentations made in the press concerning the musicians. We also discussed the furore surrounding violinist Sarah Chang's invitation by DSO management to cross the picket line and perform a "replacement concert". For further background on that particular episode I encourage you to read the article by Milwaukee Symphony concertmaster Frank Almond (here) as well as the piece by violist Robert Levine (here).

My interview with Mr. McKay has been embedded below and is also available as a PDF download. Please be sure to visit the musicians' website at www.detroitsymphonymusicians.org and consider making a donation while you're there. Follow Note x Note for further developments. I, along with the entire musical community, wish nothing but the best of luck to the men and women of the Detroit Symphony who are struggling to preserve not just their jobs but the value and artistic integrity of their remarkable orchestra as well!


Interview with Detroit Symphony Musicians' Rep
7 years ago |
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