Follow up: Fundamentals, audience participation, and being better than everyone else

Juan Diego Florez

Hide your wives...

At intermission of the Juan Diego Florez recital at the Kauffman Center in Kansas City on Sunday, the woman to my right asked me if I was a singing student. In part I assume this was because I was wearing black athletic pants and a shirt that said “I don’t roll on Shabbos,” but the other part was presumably because I was taking notes. I told her that I wasn’t a singer in any way, shape, or form but that I knew what was good, and this was good. She agreed. I assure you she agreed. Continue reading

Symphonia Domestica and the art of the musical hard-on

Richard Strauss

Why so serious?

Of all the divisive figures in music history, perhaps none inspires as much debate as Richard Strauss. He is a genius, a schlocky Romantic, a master. Too playful, too saccharine, too heavy, not serious enough. A first-rate composer, or a first-class second-rate composer as he himself said. Excessive, simple, arrogant, profound. Truth be told, he’s all those things and then some, but above all else he’s a showman, and no one can top him for sheer listenability. Of all the great composers Strauss, to me, is the most likely to inspire someone to listen to more classical music, and it’s obvious why: his shit is entertaining as hell. Continue reading