Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Can you imagine doing anything else?

A video or two for you before Trick or Treating this evening: A brief discussion between musicians and the Kronos Quartet and Wu Man at a Workshop at Carnegie Hall.

Speaking on the difficulty of reaching a measure of success, violinist John Sherba says, "It boils down to you enjoy this so much that you just have to do can't imagine not doing [it]." What an important point.

In the second video, violinist David Harrington gives a brief history of the Kronos Quartet. Pay attention to  his work as 'the manager of the group', and how often they performed in Seattle in the early days.

So,now that you've heard a little about the work involved. Can you imagine doing anything other than music?

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Make it Mean Something

A recent lecture given by Anthony Rooley (Consort of Musicke) had an important effect on me. Though the lecture centered around Monteverdi's Lamento d'Arianna (1608), as well as other works based on the same subject, an incredibly important point was raised. Artists should be engaging with their audiences on more levels than purely musical. "Give them a story," he said.

Interestingly enough, by the end of the lecture we had heard enough music to encapsulate a concert and walked away with a much deeper understanding of the circumstances surrounding the centrepiece work, as well as discovered numerous other works directly referencing Monteverdi's setting. We covered the entire myth of Arianna at Naxos as well as another, that of Leander and Hero, and covered settings of those works which were isolated from the Italian settings.

Though, of course, it was presented in a manner befitting a classroom, it wouldn't be difficult to convert it for a concert-going public. Indeed, I assume this lecture came about from the Lamento D'Arianna project by the Consort of Musicke c.1990.

Crucial is it for us at this moment to make a concert 'relevant', what better way than this? Create a narrative, appealing to both the intellectual and the emotional, providing an event with an inherent cultural value beyond just another broadly-themed concert.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

New Performer's Visa Basics out!

Musical America just released a PDF titled "Securing U.S. Visas for Visiting Artists". I highly recommend it. Interesting to see just how complex the system there has become.

The most relevant story for me, was that of the Chicago Opera Theater on page 17. Here the up-and-coming Irish singer Claudia Boyle was to take the role of the Queen of the Night in a production of The Magic Flute. Unfortunately, the process dragged on so long that she ended up missing the show. The U.S. Consulate in Dublin "was inclined to send her application back to the USCIS and request revocation because the reviews weren't good enough, the awards not international enough, and the artist was too provincial."

What a Debbie Downer.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What Were Your Early Experiences With Baroque Music?

As young musicians, we learn quite a bit about music history, theory, as well as style and taste from our teachers. We read as well, of course, but I would say that the majority of my musical knowledge has been imparted to me orally, rather than through writing.

What I am curious to know is what sort of general impression you were given early on about baroque music.

For example:
Though I had listened to Bach's organ works as a child (one of the CDs the family would listen to on the road), I had not had that much exposure to baroque music. Before entering university I may have been able to name five composers of the period - certainly Bach, Telemann, and Handel were three of them.

Given that most of the examples of chorales that I was given to analyze by my composition teacher were by Bach, it became quite clear to me that his works were very well crafted.

In terms of musical performance, I had been given a few sonatas in high school to work on. In these pieces I learned that I should always begin a trill with the top note, and that I should always be a little quieter when resolving a dissonance (obviously there was more to it than that, but these rules seem to sit the clearest in my mind as I look back). I remember being told that there was a relationship between dance and music during the baroque era. I also remember being told that there were elements of improvisation in the music, though it was never explicitly outlined what those were.

What do you remember about your early experience with baroque music?

Let us know below
Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).