Something to listen to: The 5 best “Christmas” songs

Because how could I not use this?

Because how could I not use 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

Blast from the past: a thing I wrote about Haydn

At one point or another, I was writing for about the performing arts in Kansas City, but I sucked at it, in large part because I generally can’t write well. That being said, one thing I did write actually was good, and it was this article about Haydn. I don’t really remember why I wrote an article about Haydn, other than the fact that I really like Haydn, but whatever. This is from 2009, the 200-year anniversary of Haydn’s death, which may have been the point of writing it, directly contradicting what I just said. Anyway, read this if you like because Haydn is awesome and I hope I demonstrated that properly. Continue reading

The complete symphonies of Carl Nielsen: a Retro Diary

Look everyone, it's Greg Kinnear with better and hair! And compositional technique!

I’m just sayin’ that if Greg Kinnear and William H. Macy could have a baby in Denmark in the 1860’s…

UPDATE: Here is the link to Dave’s thoughts on the Nielsen Extravaganza.

Last night the great Dave McIntire and I met to listen to the symphonies of the Greatest Dane, Carl Nielsen, eat fine foods, and consume alcoholic beverages of the highest quality. Are we nerds? Perhaps. Do we have excellent taste in food, beverage, and music? Fucking right. What follows is my thoughts on the proceedings as they were happening. As soon as he is ready, I’ll put a link to Dave’s take on the evening, but for now here’s a link to his blog so you can get a taste of the man’s writing, which is somewhere between 10 and 50 times better than what you’ll read here. As with the Sibelius symphonies live blog, we tried to use different conductors, orchestras, formats, etc. Did we succeed? Is there such a thing as success in this endeavor? I would argue that there is, and the success is that we listened to a shitload of Carl Nielsen music. Let’s go to the recap!

Read on… Continue reading

Something to listen to: Wallenstein’s Camp

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.