Let’s play a guessing game!

The dramatic conclusion that tens of people are looking forward to is very nearly upon us: this week the greatest symphony movement of all time will be revealed in a fiery blaze of hellbound fury and erotic tension. This has been a fun exercise, and I hope at least one thing was learned by one person somewhere or other. I’ve certainly enjoyed plowing through a bunch of really great music, so I guess I’m the real winner here.

I thought it might be fun to have a little prelude to the grand finale in which you fine folks who have been keeping up with the proceedings throw your two cents into the mix in a couple ways. First, I’m curious to hear what you think the number one choice is going to be. Second, I’d like to know what you think SHOULD reign supreme as the greatest symphony movement ever. To me the choice is incredibly obvious, and I’ve never wavered on it since the beginning of this project (if I can be so silly as to call it a project).

So let’s hear it. Comment here, do that thing where you put the @ sign with my Twitter handle so it gets to me, shout it from the top of a mountain, whatever you want…and then look forward to the epic unveiling of the one movement to rule them all.


A Grand Pause: 35 years and 14 Strings later…

This is awesome. Check it out.

Before the Downbeat

ImageIt has been often said that music is a “who you know” business.  Often these are long term relationships, but sometimes they are brief encounters that come and go. Some come to fruition much later.  Occasionally there are also surprises that leap out of the past.  I’ve had one of these unlikely reunions happen recently. To set the scene, let’s travel back in time…

ImageThe year was 1979. A happy intersection was about to occur. I and my fellow string overachievers were at a high school orchestra festival in Colorado Springs and were about to be introduced to something that would fascinate me for decades.  For the most part our guest conductor ran the normal type of rehearsal and concert. Dr. Gordon Childs was funny and witty and taught us quite a lot about the music we were playing (I distinctly remember Haydn’s Symphony no. 104). We…

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10 Best: Symphony movements, no. 2


Symphony no. 9, mvt. 1 by Anton Bruckner

I probably don’t need to rehash this too much, considering I’ve written at relative length about Bruckner and this symphony a few times, including after my recent trip to Chicago. Suffice it to say, this is about the most earth-shattering music that exists anywhere and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be playing this through headphones on a pregnant woman’s stomach to every unborn child about to enter this world, just to give them something to look forward to…and to spiritually prepare them for the revolt against global capitalism or Satan’s armies, whichever comes first (unless they’re one and the same…OH SHIT!). Continue reading

10 Best: Symphony movements, no. 3


Symphony no. 7 by Jean Sibelius

So this is definitely cheating, but whatever; the man himself only made it one movement, and that’s good enough for me. There are easily identifiable “movements” in Sibelius 7, but I guess they’re just sections or something so I’m sticking with this come hell or high water.  Continue reading