Something cool you might have missed: Maurice Abravanel being fucking awesome

Maurice Abravanel. Or possibly one of the bad guys from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

There’s a broadcast of the Pittsburgh Symphony from a few years back in which the program was conducted by the orchestra’s concertmaster, Andres Cardenes. During the broadcast, there was an interview that I’ve probably referenced entirely too many times in which Cardenes described the pleasure of working with an ensemble of the PSO’s caliber because he did not “have to work out the kinks.” This, of course, is incredibly stupid and is perhaps the biggest reason why, for good or bad, many people find the work of contemporary conductors lacking relative to their musical forebearers. Working out the kinks is a great way for a conductor to develop a deeper understanding of a work: I don’t want to put words into old friend Ken Woods’ mouth, but I would hazard a guess that his well-received recordings of the Schumann symphonies with Orchestra of the Swan (along with the symphonies of Hans Gal…hey look, you can buy them on the internet!) likely owe a respectable debt to his time spent working on them with the Oregon East Symphony out in cowboy country. Continue reading

Something to listen to: Royal Fireworks Music

I’ve written about my love for the original instrumentation Royal Fireworks before, and I was thinking about it again today for no other reason than I live in the hometown of the Royals, I didn’t go to work, and I felt like I was on fire because it’s 108 God damn degrees here. Also, I just felt like playing something absurdly loud and boisterous. The performance below is from the Paillard Wind Ensemble, and cooks quickly even though it’s not thinly sliced or pounded. Anybody? Paillard? Anybody? No? Anyway, while it doesn’t have the sheer destructive power of the “full” instrumental package, it does have the advantage of employing the most nauseatingly French-sounding approach imaginable. In some cases that’s a bad thing, but in this case it just kicks the rage into a new stratosphere of annoying awesomeness. Crank it up and prepare to ruin your family’s night!

The strange habits of record collecting

Again?

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to write anything because we’ve had various members of our families in town for the better part of the last month, but something occurred to me this morning while I was desperately trying to wake up to Daily Show reruns on Hulu and multiple cups of coffee: my obsession with ranking things colors the way I purchase music. I bring this up because the local university was having a sale on duplicate and triplicate LPs that wouldn’t have space in their Automated Storage Retrieval System or CREEPY ROBOT THING; $1 per record, take as much as you can. Off I went, with my dear mother along working on bead jewelry, to see what I could come up with. Continue reading

On jealousy, failure, and perception

What is this, à site for failed and bitter conducteurs? To read someone with so little knowledge try to analyse Dudamel’s conducting, amusés me:-) and this other Guy who think Dudamel is overrated, what do you know? By coïncident I just heard thé best Shostakovich 10 ever on wdr.de, with Eivind Gullberg Jensen conducting, so for me this whole article is just misleading notes based on pure jealousy. Get à life guys!

Agree with PierreC, this site smells jealousy all over. Came over this article a while ago, after I found an amazing Rach 2 with Gullberg Jensen on youtube, and was shocked about the harsh and bitter content. But back then I searched for Crackladen on youtube, and guess what? I found the author in person, conducting. It would be too positive to call him a failed conductor, it had nothing to do with conducting in the first place! At least he was smart enough to remove his videofiles:-)

The most popular (RELATIVE TERM!) post on this website is either one of the random symphony countdowns or the one about Eivind Gullberg Jensen being the worst conductor in the universe. Based on the comments, I’d assume it’s the latter. Every so often someone will chime in and say that they disagree and that they heard Jensen conduct Piece X and it was great, and less occasionally someone will stop in to say that they agree that his conducting leaves a lot to be desired. There is a subtext to the “Jensen is good” comments, and that is that by saying that he sucks you’re simply throwing stones at someone whose lot in life you envy. Not every comment comes out and says it quite as explicitly as the two comments above, but it’s always there, if not on the surface like that than lurking below. Continue reading