La Scena Musicale

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Today's Birthday in Music: August 9 (Hahn)

1875 - Reynaldo Hahn, Caracas, Venezuela; composer, conductor, music critic


Reynaldo Hahn's "Feuillage" (1893), played by Phillip Sear

Elly Ameling, accompanied by Dalton Baldwin (1980), sings Hahn's "La valse dernière"

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Back to School Piano Sales Start Early

Several music instrument retailers are getting a head start on their back to schools sales. Archambault Music in Quebec began their three-and-a-half week piano and instrument sale on August 7 (much earlier this year), running until August 31st. Competition probably had something to do with the earlier date. In Montreal, École Vincent d'Indy has teamed up with retailer Italmelodie for their annual piano sale from August 7 to 10 at the school.

Meanwhile in Vancouver, this weekend (August 8 to 10th), Tom Lee Music will have their special 888 Steinway sale.

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Today's Birthdays in Music: August 8 (Hétu, Chaminade)

1938 - Jacques Hétu, Trois-Rivières, Canada; composer 

Biography (Encyclopedia of Music in Canada)
The Joy of Composing (La Scena Musicale, July 2008)

Jacques Ducharme plays Hétu's "Ballade" from Suite Opus 41, No. 3 (live TV performance, 2007)

1857 - Cécile Chaminarde, Paris, France; composer, pianist


Cécile Chaminade: Sérénade, Op. 29 for piano, played by Phillip Sear

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

In a critical condition (4)

Twenty years ago, I got taken to a convention of music critics in Washington DC. Isaac Stern depped as keynote speaker for a sick Lenny Bernstein and the atmosphere was chummy and convivial until the session was thrown open to the floor and the gripes began flowing thick and fast.

'My editor wants me to interview pop stars,' complained one critic from the midwest. 'My review space has been cut to 300 words,' grouched another. 'My boss has never been to a concert in his life,' chimed a third.

So whose fault is that? I wondered. It occurred to me then that some of the senior colleagues were not keeping up with changes in editorial taste, dynamics and technologies, and a few of them looked well past their sell-by date. But seen from the editor's seat one could readily understand why US city newspapers were starting to cut back on classical coverage.

As editor, try explaining to your chief executive why you are holding a full staff job to report on an art that never makes news, an art that plays the same old music, year after year, with the same parade of expressionless faces on the platform. An art whose audience is greying and unattractive to advertisers. An art whose music director is an absentee European and whose few glamour soloists will only agree to talk about their new record or hair makeover.

An ex-chief of ASOL, the former trade organisation of American orchestras, asserted recently in this blogroll that newspapers were being derelict in their social duty by firing music critics. As usual, ASOL got it wrong.

It's not the newspapers that are to blame but the orchestras that over two decades failed to make enough news of any wider relevance to enable editors, many with the best intentions, to retain their music critics. Symphonic stasis is not the sole reason that music criticism is being extinguished across America, but if anyone is pointing fingers the first cause must surely be the stultifying complacency of American orchestras in recent years.

source: Artsjournal

Today's Birthday in Music: August 7 (Husa)

1921 - Karel Husa, Prague, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic); composer and conductor

Composers Bureau

Husa's Élégie et Rondeau for alto saxophone and orchestra (University of Tennessee Symphony Orchestra, soloist Ben Robinette, 2006)

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Today's Birthdays in Music: August 6 (Strozzi, M.C. Moore)

1619 - Barbara Strozzi, Venice, Italy; composer (baptized Aug. 6)


Tadashi Miroku & Silvia Rambaldi perform Barbara Strozzi's "Che si può fare" (LakeComo Festival 2007)

1873 - Mary Carr Moore, Memphis, U.S.A.; composer, conductor


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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Today's Birthdays in Music: August 5 (A. Thomas, E. Kleiber)

1811 - Ambroise Thomas, Metz, France; composer, teacher, administrator


Mady Mesplé sings "Je suis Titiana" from Thomas's Mignon (L'orchestre nationale de Paris, 1969)

1890 - Erich Kleiber, Vienna, Austria; conductor

Short biography and pictures

Erich Kleiber rehearses the Finale (Ode to Joy) of Beethoven's 9th Symphony (Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, 1949)

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Today's Birthdays in Music: August 4 (Voigt, J. Thomas)

1960 - Deborah Voigt, Chicago, U.S.A.; opera soprano


Deborah Voigt sings "Suicidio" from Ponchielli's La Gioconda (Barcelona, 2005)

1927 - Jess Thomas, Hot Springs, U.S.A.; opera tenor


JessThomas and Inge Borkh sing "O namenlose Freude!" from Beethoven's Fidelio (early 1990s)

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Today's Birthday in Music: August 3 (Lauro)

1917 - Antonio Lauro, Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela; composer and guitarist


Historical recording of Antonio Lauro playing "Maria Cristina," a cradle song dedicated to his granddaughter

Waltz "El Marabino", played by José Gregorio Guánchez

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