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A Late Quartet — a Review

Ludwig van Beethoven

It’s not often that I see a movie on subject matter that I think I know something about. But A Late Quartet in some respects touches very close to home.

The story is about a famous string quartet struggling to stay together after its cellist, played by Christopher Walken, announces he’s in the early . . . → Read More: A Late Quartet — a Review

Chronicles: Volume 1 — Bob Dylan

Cover of Chronicles, Volume 1

Contrary to implications from the title, and also to the customary method of presenting biography, Bob Dylan’s book Chronicles: Volume 1 is not a traditional “Born on a mountaintop in …” chronologically-told tale. We learn bits of the back story throughout the book, enough to be satisfied that Dylan, famous for . . . → Read More: Chronicles: Volume 1 — Bob Dylan

About Legacy Posts

As of July 25, 2011, I have migrated over 130 articles from my Neologistics blog, where since August 2005 I have posted many unsorted articles, including items unrelated to editing, writing, or literature. The articles copied from the old site have all been labeled with the category LEGACY.

It has been a longstanding shortcoming of Google’s otherwise . . . → Read More: About Legacy Posts

Keith Richards and Eric Clapton Autobiographies

Cover via Amazon

Cover via Amazon

In January 2011 I read Life by Keith Richards. In April I followed that with Eric Clapton’s earlier book: Clapton: The Autobiography. It was inevitable that readers who read both will see comparisons between these two icons of rock and roll. I doubt I’m the first to do so.

I’ve never . . . → Read More: Keith Richards and Eric Clapton Autobiographies

Fry Street Quartet, Southern Theater

On Saturday night we had the pleasure of attending a concert by the Fry Street String Quartet at the Southern Theater in downtown Columbus, which we had not yet visited in our three-plus years of living in Ohio.

The Southern Theater, built originally in 1896, has a distinguished history of presenting theater productions featuring world-renowned performers. After . . . → Read More: Fry Street Quartet, Southern Theater

Soft Pedal vs. Soft Peddle

Image via Wikipedia

Once I used the phrase soft pedal in e-mail to an erudite friend, in a form like this: “I intend to soft pedal my idea so as not to stir up controversy and resistance.” The friend corrected me, claiming that the preferred phrase is soft peddle.

A bit of Google research indicates that . . . → Read More: Soft Pedal vs. Soft Peddle

Keith Jarrett — Paris / London: Testament

Cover of Paris / London: Testament

Music reviews are typically descriptive, but because words never adequately describe music, I rarely review music recordings. Nonetheless, for Keith Jarrett’s 2008 album Paris / London: Testament I’ve made this exception.

But first some background …

People who know me are aware that I have long regarded Keith Jarrett to be my . . . → Read More: Keith Jarrett — Paris / London: Testament

The Creative Habit — Twyla Tharp

Cover via Amazon

As a sometime composer and writer, I have always been fascinated by listening to creative people of all types discuss their work, especially how they go about doing it.  Therefore, when I recently bumped up against the title The Creative Habit, a 2001 book by master choreographer Twyla Tharp, . . . → Read More: The Creative Habit — Twyla Tharp

My Buddy Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

A friend approached me one evening, an older (but not ancient) woman, wanting to know if she correctly understood what she had heard — that I had at one time been a professional photographer in New York City.

Having no idea where she might have acquired such misinformation, I assured . . . → Read More: My Buddy Mozart

Elliott Carter at One Hundred

Cover of Elliott Carter

On December 8, 2008 Elliott Carter celebrated his one-hundredth birthday, in good health and spirits. He still works several hours and goes for walks daily.

This milestone was observed along with a flurry of accolades and honorary concerts, including a world premiere in New York performed by Daniel Barenboim . . . → Read More: Elliott Carter at One Hundred

Famous Last Words

Dad
conducting

On the morning my father died, he woke up and told my mother that he didn’t feel well and needed to get to the hospital right away. It did not take long to get him to where he could be made comfortable, but there was nothing that could be done. His life systems . . . → Read More: Famous Last Words

Neglected Pianos

Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes I hear about neglected pianos, upon which I go on a bit of a rampage. As the owner of a Steinway model K, which I bought brand new from the dealer, an instrument I have always tuned and cared for myself, the idea of a piano sitting in a . . . → Read More: Neglected Pianos

Streisand Does Phoenix

Cover of Barbra Streisand

When Suzy and I have told people we went to hear Barbra Streisand in concert Thursday night (November 16th) the almost universal reaction has been a discreet, “Well, Barbra Streisand is not my cup of tea, but I’m glad you had fun.” Internally their reaction is roughly the same . . . → Read More: Streisand Does Phoenix

Balanchine Festival, Ballet Arizona

Image via Wikipedia

Saturday night we attended a Ballet Arizona performance that was billed as part of a George Balanchine festival. While the music, the dancing, and the choreography were all exquisite, the experience was not without eyebrow-raising issues.

We bought tickets six months ago, when I learned that the program would be . . . → Read More: Balanchine Festival, Ballet Arizona

Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman — Arizona Opera

Image via Wikipedia

Last night was the first time in 62 years of musical life that I ever attended a live production of a Wagner opera. At that rate I’ll be 124 before I see my next one. I can wait.

The event du jour was The Flying Dutchman, one of Wagner’s earliest works. The . . . → Read More: Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman — Arizona Opera

Music As Wallpaper

Image via Wikipedia

Music today has become like wallpaper — part of the ambience. Hardly anyone ever just listens to it any more, unless it’s to get up and dance.

As a child I became accumstomed to simply listening to music, allowing it to take over my full attention. Even when I was little, I would sit . . . → Read More: Music As Wallpaper

Handel’s Semele — Arizona Opera Company

Cover of Georg Friedrich Händel

On January 30th Suzy and I attended the Arizona Opera Company’s performance of Semele by Handel. Some musicologists classify it as a “secular oratorio” rather than an opera, but all presentations of it I’ve found listed by Google have been completely staged — by opera companies — so it . . . → Read More: Handel’s Semele — Arizona Opera Company

Downtown Chamber Players Concert Review

Image via Wikipedia

Friday night Suzy and I attended an all contemporary chamber music concert. (Contemporary if you count Ysaÿe.) It’s been a long time since I did that.

The venue was a huge space in downtown Phoenix called The Ice House, which is exactly what it was built to be in 1910. . . . → Read More: Downtown Chamber Players Concert Review

Job Interviews Are Like Auditions

Cover of Sir Georg Solti

Recently I have been looking for work once again, and in so doing have had to make myself available for job interviews, the humiliating grilling in which a person is expected to lay his life’s work experience on the line in the course of a few minutes. He . . . → Read More: Job Interviews Are Like Auditions

Chopin on the Banjo

Cover of Béla Fleck

You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Bela Fleck playing a Chopin Etude on the banjo. If you were to listen to it while falling over a cliff while running from a bear in Alaska, your life would be complete (and possibly over). You would never need to drink another . . . → Read More: Chopin on the Banjo

Where’s the Beef?

Image via Wikipedia

Some time ago I learned that Billy Joel has been busy composing “classical music.” What this term means to composers of popular music is generally something quite different from what it means to modern, mainstream, “serious” composers. To most pop composers it means putting on a suit and a . . . → Read More: Where’s the Beef?

Was That a Zebra or a Giraffe?

Image via Wikipedia

Speaking of basic education (was I doing that?) …

Certain skills are fundamental to life. The obvious ones include ability to care for oneself and to perform basic chores, reading, writing, basic arithmetic, to which I would add secondary skills such as riding a bicycle, swimming, for most persons driving . . . → Read More: Was That a Zebra or a Giraffe?

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