Bluebeard’s Castle is cool as shit, man. It’s such a great story, and the music is unbe-fucking-lievable. Bartok wasn’t actually supposed to write it – Bela Balasz, the librettist, had a roommate who also composed named Zoltan Kodaly – but thank God he (being Bartok) did. It’s possibly the raddest thing he ever did, a score overrun with ideas and colors and intrigue. The story is pretty simple: boy meets girl, boy brings girl home, boy is rich and has sweet castle that could use a little light, boy sure has a lot of closed doors in here, boy has some secrets that he would prefer you not ask about, boy relents and shows you everything one door at a time, girl is rewarded with jewelry. Lots of jewelry. Continue reading
Today’s forecast in Kansas City calls for Siege of Leningrad temperatures with wind chills below zero, so what better way to spend one’s time than by reliving one of the most horrific events in human history through the sounds of Dmitri Shostakovich? Valery Gergiev and the Marinsky Theater Orchestra provide the performance. Crank that volume up.
Inspired by a Twitter live blog involving Sibelius’ Fourth Symphony and a string of Esa-Pekka Salonen insults from two of the raddest “follows” a person could have, @loganvw and @hamtron5000, hidden deep within this message is a superb performance of the the Fourth to counterbalance whatever monstrosity they heard last night. Presumably a brief diatribe on the work in question is in order, and as a tribute to my overwhelming laziness I’m simply going to copy and paste my thoughts on Sibelius 4 from my moderately interesting countdown of the 10 best Symphonies no. 4.
Quoth myself: Continue reading
This was apparently performed in memory of Ingmar Bergman. That’s cool I guess. Mostly, Roland Pontinen plays with incredible style and control and this is probably one of the five most beautiful things ever written. Warning: may cause reflection upon the direction of one’s life.
I’ve already written about Handel’s epic original Royal Fireworks Music, so I’ll spare the details, especially because I’ve already written about it more than once. Suffice it to say, it’s a sin that every nation on the planet doesn’t scrounge up all the God damn oboes and side drums they can get their hands on and ring in every new year this way. But hey, the Nation of You can do it. Crank those speakers up, anger your family and neighbors, make an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat specialist, and rock the fuck out! 2013 MOTHERFUCKERS, LET’S DO THIS!
I don’t generally like “Christmas” music. I don’t generally like Christmas. Not because I hate Jesus or Santa or presents or family or various nogs, but because I don’t like the winter and crowds and Josh Groban. I don’t like how Christmas, in spite of the massive war we are apparently waging on it, stampedes into every store sometime around Halloween and has completely destroyed the appeal of Thanksgiving by turning that holiday into a fuel-intake session for confrontations over discounted TVs and electric shavers. And seriously, Christmas music is fucking terrible…let’s just be real here. It’s a God damn travesty. But there are some exceptions, and these are they: Continue reading
I wrote about Wallenstein’s Camp back in the day, and I presumably stand by everything I said then: this is way too much fun and it should be infinitely more popular than it is on sheer enjoyability. This performance is led by Theodore Kuchar, who is in danger of shedding his underrated status by becoming properly rated as “pretty awesome” with each new recording under his baton. The odds on me getting this complete set of Smetana orchestral works for a mere $13.99 on ArkivMusic is 1-to-1. Take that shit to the bank, and by bank I mean the (hopefully) secure servers at ArkivMusic. Enjoy.