Invasion of the aliens, starring Carl Maria von Weber, Franz von Suppe, Ludwig van Beethoven and a cast of all-stars!



There’s a fun game that you can play with almost any scenario imaginable, from basketball teams to talk show hosts to movie stars to works of art. In this game, Earth is being invaded by a super-intelligent race of alien life who have journeyed millions of light years across a dozen galaxies to decide the fate of Earth via something of a gentleman’s wager. “Put up your finest ___________ for a one-time showdown between our races. The victor shall rule Earth until the end of time, and let’s be real here, I’m assuming said victor may use that lofty perch to shamelessly demand sexual favors and all manner of hedonistic pleasures and maybe shit like ice cream and the finest cured meats and cave-aged cheeses in the universe at their most casual whim.”

For example, say that ___________ was an Intergalactic Super Bowl between the greatest football teams in the history of both races. Which team would you choose in a one-off match for every conceivable marble in existence? The ’85 Bears? The ’72 Dolphins? The correct answer is ’94 49ers, by the way, and that’s a completely biased and unsubjective take. It’s essentially a riff on a simple “who’s the best”-style countdown, but with a more entertaining backstory.

So what have the aliens challenged us to? A symphony concert dedicated to overtures. But here’s where it gets tricky: it can only feature the work of a single composer. The first half of the concert will highlight the masterworks from the aliens’ finest composer of overtures, Thunyx, Destroyer of Worlds/Composer of Overtures. Who will save us? Continue reading

It’s Monday, summer is over, and your hopes and dreams are probably unattainable. Here’s five steps to not giving a fuck and enjoying your night anyway.

Step 1
Get diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Step 2
Have it so profoundly that you need both Ritalin and Adderall.

Step 3
After filling your prescriptions, combine the two drugs on a flat surface and smash the shit out of them until they’re a fine powder.

Step 4
Line them shits up and do rails for the next three hours.

Step 5
Disregard steps 1 through 4 and play this as loud as humanly possible in a confined space.

Stephanie Pittman: Pride. Power. Bad-ass mother who won’t take no crap off of nobody.

1000 bonus points to anyone who gets that reference, by the way.

I owe my interest in music to a number of people. I sat next to Chris Castellanos, one of the best horn players in the world, for two years in high school which went miles towards my involvement with classical music. Mentors like Ken Woods and Rob Baldwin got me exploring all kinds of interesting orchestral repertoire in new and exciting ways. Close friends like Dan and James were there to experience live concerts, marathon listening sessions, and the general exchange of ideas. More recently, my friend Dave McIntire has gotten me investigating musical worlds I didn’t know existed. But before I ever knew any of these folks, my first musical experiences came from listening to and being around my dear mother. Continue reading

Programming announcement: Stay tuned for mom stories

She hasn't gone by that in 15 years, but hey...MOM!

She hasn’t gone by that in 15 years, but hey…MOM!

I popped onto the dashboard page of this blog to do something or other, and then I got distracted by the “Top Searches” section. First of all, I appreciate the fact that people think there’s a halfway decent chance I would have something to say about classical musicians divorces. I’ve never been tempted to do this until now, but perhaps I should make this place the of historically significant art music. Imagine the tens of monthly hits! But more important than that is the first search, highlighted above by me drawing a red box around it in Microsoft Paint like the computer whiz from 1993 that I am.

Stephanie Klackner isn’t around anymore, having been replaced by Stephanie Pittman something like 15 years ago, but either way that’s my mother. I somehow have managed not to really touch on any cool mom music stories, even though there are many. My excuse is that I focus mostly on orchestral music and she’s a jazz/Broadway piano player, but she’s also how I got into music in the first place. Seeing that search term makes it official: I must share some mom stories.

Keep your eyes open later this week. You will hear tales of musical wonder, foul language, completely inadvertent sacrilege, and a startling inability to not make slight improvements to Mozart on the fly. It goes down Wednesday!

In which I promotionally advertise for the deceased: George Szell, King of Dvorak 8

September 24. It’s coming.

No one who is currently a living and working musician is going to make any money off of the release of the above CD from the kindly German folks at Audite who brought us that sweet Kubelik Mahler cycle among many other things. If this were a pop record I could groan endlessly about how it’s just fatcats in suits who are manipulating our preferences all the way to the bank and blah blah blah, but since this is a classical release I’ll just say that I hope it makes some money for someone somewhere. It’s released in the States on September 24, but it randomly showed up on my Spotify under the guise of something like “You listened to Mozart Symphony no. 39, II. Andante con moto…what about this shit that’s actually unrelated in almost every conceivable way except the part about them both being symphonies?” What the hell? It was worth a listen. Continue reading