On Monday, the UceLi Quartet performed at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu. The opera house was filled to capacity... with 3,000 plants. They played Giacomo Puccini's "Crisantemi." From National Public Radio:
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"After a strange, painful period, the creator [conceptual artist Eugenio Ampudia], the Liceu's artistic director and the curator Blanca de la Torre offer us a different perspective for our return to activity, a perspective that brings us closer to something as essential as our relationship with nature," according to a release on the Liceu's website.
The plants came from local nurseries and will be donated along with a certificate from the artist to 2,292 health care professionals, specifically at the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona.
Earlier this spring, more than 20 members of Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos pan flute orchestra left their homes in Bolivia and embarked on a European tour. They arrived in Germany on March 10, right as that country's government imposed a ban on large gatherings to fight the spread of coronavirus. Within days, their bus had broken down, and all of their performances had been cancelled, and their own government back home in Bolivia announced that it would close its own borders, leaving the orchestra stranded. Read the rest
Children's Fairyland, the mid-century theme park for little kids in Oakland, California, posted this video of their resident donkeys reacting to classical music that is too cute not to share.
Donkeys get a kick out of classical music! We were testing out our PA system and Gideon and Chiquita got into it. As Brett, our staff mechanic, notes, "It's like a real-life Fantasia!"
When they aren't digging classical music (or doing whatever donkeys do), they can be found grazing on grass in the big field when the park is closed:
Previously on BB: Children's Fairyland, the mid-century storybook theme park that inspired Walt Disney and where Frank Oz got his start Read the rest
Italian composer and arranger Giovanni Dettori based his "Lady Gaga Fugue" on her 2009 hit "Bad Romance." In this video, his friend Vincenzo Culotta plays his neo-Baroque piece on the piano. Dettori writes, "To give a "modern feeling" I used a special treatment of fourths, fifths, suspensions and rythm [sic]."
Ok, full disclosure: this video was posted on YouTube way back in April 2011 and was a big hit back then apparently. It was the first time I had seen it though. I enjoyed it and figured many of you would too.
Sheet music is available.
Incidentally, just this year, the original video for "Bad Romance" surpassed 1 billion views.
(Nag on the Lake) Read the rest
Eric Abramovitz is a gifted musician, who can currently be found fulfilling the role of associate principal/E flat clarinetist at the Toronto Symphony: a position that thousands of musicians around the world would kill for. Back in 2014, he applied for another position that these same musicians would think kill-worthy, too: a placement with the Colburn Conservatory as a student. The conservatory is insanely hard to get into – only two students are accepted a year. When Abramovitz received an email from the Conservatory that denied him a spot with them, along with the scholarship he had applied for, he was gutted like a fish: music was his life and being able to study under renowned clarinet instructor Yehuda Gilad was a dream that was so close to coming true. To have it snatched away? Ouch.
But here’s the thing: Abramovitz was accepted into the program, scholarship and all. His girlfriend at the time, fellow musician Jennifer Lee, didn’t want him to leave her to further his education. So, she did what any young sociopath in love would do: she accessed his email account and deleted the acceptance message from the Colburn Conservatory. Next, she opened up a fake Gmail account in Yehuda Gilad’s name and used it to write to Abramovitz, saying, more or less, "tough shit, keep playing music, but you won't being doing it at the Colburn School." Pretending to be Gilad, Lee offered her sweet baboo the chance to attend one of Gilead’s other classes at the University of Southern California, knowing full well that he would not be able to afford the tuition required to do so. Read the rest
Two pages of Ludwig Van Beethoven's original musical manuscript for his Emperor Concerto (Piano Concerto No. 5) are up for auction. The 1809 document is expected to go for US$250,000-$350,000. The Emperor Concerto was the last piano concerto Beethoven completed. From Bonham's:
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The first page is a sketch for the second theme of the first movement. Orchestral exposition, beginning with bar 3 in E flat minor with the following major version in B flat major. The further course is noted in a very shortened form (partly within the bar line division no entries, partly pauses, partly obviously only bass tones). The second page contains ideas for the second and third movements. The material of the second movement (found on staves 1-7) is the earlier version of this movement which Beethoven wrote in theme and variations form. Time signature of 2/4 and in B major (but with only four sharps in the key signature). Including the autograph markings "pizz," "tutti" and "minore" (most likely referring to the envisaged minor-mode variation) and twice the notes "Solo" and "una corda." Staves 8-11 are a sketch for the transition to the 3rd movement, with a notation of the final theme - with a different rhythm and different metric at the end "dopo presto."
Sure, "Moonlight Sonata" is one of the loveliest songs for a reflective and pensive moment, but what if it were covered in a FREAKIN' EPIC arrangement? Read the rest
To celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. the New York Philharmonic played Ricochet, Andy Akiho's concerto for ping pong. Read the rest
Nahre Sol's Practice Notes channel is a whirlwind tour of music history, with variations of well-known melodies in the styles of different composers, mashups of genres, and other delights. Read the rest
Depths of Antiquity is Julius Horsthuis' hypnotic slow-motion dive into fractals generated from images of churches, castles and other imposing edifices of yesteryear. It's perfectly complemented by Beethoven. Read the rest
In this new episode of the Cracked series “Everything Boring Is Awesome,” the show digs into the secretly insane, raucous world of classical music. Read the rest
He's been dead for 225 years, but Mozart can still top the charts in terms of CD sales.
The Mozart 225 box set was named Billboard's Biggest-selling CD release of 2016. Take that, Kanye and Taylor Swift! Read the rest
We all know that you can drop red food dye in white wine and get a critic to call it plummy and tannic. But the same holds true for classical music and other snob-infested culture zones. Alex Mayyasi at Priceonomics:
Expert judges and amateurs alike claim to judge classical musicians based on sound. But Tsay’s research suggests that the original judges, despite their experience and expertise, judged the competition (which they heard and watched live) based on visual information just as amateurs do. ... The key to understanding the aforementioned wine research - without concluding that the entire wine industry is a massive conspiracy powered by snobbery to sell identical fermented grape juice - is that just like with classical music, we do not appraise wine in the way that we expect.
If it comes in a bottle and you paid more than $30 for it, you're probably a sucker. Read the rest
In my professional life, when I’m not posting about music on Boing Boing, I run the digital team for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. People often tell us that they’re curious to come to one of our concerts, but don’t know much about classical music and or which concerts they might like.
So today, after much agonizing and formulating and coding, we are launching a beta version of Concert Master. It’s a web app that asks you a handful of questions about yourself and recommends concerts based on your answers. It’s meant to be a fun experience that takes some of the intimidation out of classical music and points you to the performances most suited to your taste. If you’re in LA or a fan of the arts, we’d love your thoughts.
In other LA Phil news, our website that celebrates 10 years of the LA Phil at Walt Disney Concert Hall went live today as well. Read the rest