Around The Classical Internet: May 20, 2011
By Anastasia Tsioulcas
The week in classical news:
- Two opinion pieces from the Philadelphia Inquirer land pretty much where you might expect when it comes to the Philadelphia Orchestra. The chairman of the symphony's board: "The community must understand that our financial problems are real, life-threatening, and beyond the capacity of the board to cure alone."
- At the other side of the ring, the chairman of the players' committee: "To us, the idea of taking a hammer to our beloved orchestra is repugnant."
- The Inquirer's Peter Dobrin says that just in order to break even this year, the Philadelphia Orchestra needs to raise $8.3 million — in less than four months.
- Yet more sobering fiscal news from New York City Opera. One of the unions is now calling for more productions of standard repertoire, claiming that George Steel's innovative programming is only filling about 40 percent of seats.
- The new "Spring for Music" festival at Carnegie Hall was a big hit, and you can still check out all the concerts online.
- Still, you can't please all of the people all of the time: A violist in the Oregon Symphony took serious exception to one verb and one adverb in the glowing review the New York Times gave the orchestra's Carnegie Hall debut.
- The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is now rocking the suburbs.
- This past Wednesday was Mahler's death centenary. Among the online tributes: Peter G. Davis' reflections on the lasting imprint of Mahler's time in New York; over on The Rest Is Noise, a somber, multi-day observance of the anniversary.
- Films at Cannes this year have relied heavily on classical music: Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life includes works by Giya Kancheli, Berlioz and Couperin, among many others, while the now Cannes-banned Lars von Trier used the Prelude from Tristan und Isolde for his Melancholia. (Oh, dear.)
- Many classical musicians would give up their eyeteeth for a steady, high-profile gig. Eighth blackbird's violinist, Matt Albert, is leaving all that behind to audition for orchestral jobs.
- "Shostakovich gradually learned that for totalitarian governments, all music is program music."
- "Can classical music save the world?" Boy, that's a question for the ages.
- Baritone Sanford Sylvan on singing Adams' The Wound-Dresser at the height of the American AIDS epidemic: "It was terrifying and thrilling and impossible to sing it for people who knew every day of their lives what [death] was."
- A profile of composer Sofia Gubaidulina, whose work is being feted in LA: "There is a percussive existence in the heavens as well as on Earth. The pulsations exist always, even if we don't always hear them."
- Just in case you'd forgotten just how much Lang Lang enjoys the grand gesture: He's sold out a show this Sunday at London's Royal Festival Hall featuring 100 youngsters playing 50 pianos at once onstage.
- Composer David T. Little on politics and music: "Political composers are no longer the revolutionaries we once were. Instead, we function as critics."
- David Lang on baseball and music: "Classical music fans do a lot of the same remembering and measuring as baseball fans. Both baseball and classical music have a great sense of history, a tremendous respect for the past, and a slew of nerdy people like me who want to know all the details."
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