Jeffrey Brown talks to master lyricist Stephen Sondheim about his new book, “Finishing the Hat.” I love when he talks about rhyme! So true that rougher and suffer is better than rougher and tougher! :-)
Oh … and “I write lying down so I can fall asleep.” Hah! (Maybe I should make reeds lying down …?)
The federal government now helps to fund Gonzalez’s orchestra program, run at a series of schools and community centres, although for years she relied solely on charity. Gonzalez said she was motivated to start the orchestras when she realized nothing was being done to help the city’s impoverished children. Most charities were focused on coaxing teens out of gangs and into jobs and better lives.
Drawing on her own experience as an alcoholic at 14 and then later a heroin addict, she began working at churches and charities after her recovery from drugs at 35. A music lover, Gonzalez realized Ciudad Juarez was full of musicians who could help — many came from across Mexico and even Eastern Europe to the city when it attracted U.S. tourists in the 1990s.
More than 70 children will take part in a Christmas concert at a local church on Dec. 19, playing music composed by Bach, Handel and Mozart.
… used, again, in a very funny way. When oboe is used as an example like this by someone writing about sports I just have to laugh. I can’t help it!
Meanwhile, the excellent Sean McDonough is still saddled with Matt Millen for the Insight Bowl and the Fiesta, the broadcasting equivalent of pairing the Vienna Philharmonic to play an oboe concerto with a man in a gorilla suit who cannot play to the oboe. When you can’t play the oboe you really can’t play the oboe, and Matt Millen is as bad a non-oboe player as the broadcasting world has to offer. (Additionally, Millen will provide additional irony to the Insight Bowl by lacking any.)
The specter of a declining place in American culture has hung over classical music for decades, but the threat has become more urgent now. One big reason: A National Endowment for the Arts study found that just 9 percent of the American public attended at least one classical concert in 2008 — a nearly one-third drop from 1982.
Perhaps even worse, classical music is becoming a cultural afterthought beyond the insular world of musicians, presenters and devotees.
In an era of celebrity obsession, the genre has failed to produce one bona fide star since Pavarotti.
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If one day you’re in and the next day you’re out, as Heidi Klum says on “Project Runway,” then classical music is out.
Put simply, the field is in trouble.
How bad is it? Even some of the genre’s most ardent supporters are questioning the need for all but the country’s largest and most influential orchestras.
“What, if anything, justifies the existence of a regional orchestra in the 21st century?” wrote Wall Street Journal columnist Terry Teachout in a June column that caused a stir in the symphonic world. “Many people still believe that an orchestra is a self-evidently essential part of what makes a city civilized. But is it true?”
(I’m not certain I’d say Mr. Teachout is an “ardent supporter”. I respect him, but I’ve never seen him as a suppporter of classical music. Visual art? Yep. Theater? Definitely. But classical music? Not so sure.
Well, okay … maybe not out loud … but I found it humorous:
When you read the program, the story of Ben Stevenson’s production seems the same as umpteen other “Nutcrackers.” But as it unfolds, it’s quite another tale. The Nutcracker – coming to life in time for the battle, but still short and unprepossessing – says to Clara, “I love you, you’re mine, you alone can change my life.” After the battle, however, no sooner is he transformed into a handsome ballet prince than he says to her, “You must meet my wife.” Promptly he partners the Snow Queen, who keeps saying, very sweetly, to Clara, “Darling, you’re my new best friend – but just remember: He’s mine.”
Next he leaves the Snow Queen behind, takes Clara away with him to a whole new realm, and introduces her to the Sugar Plum Fairy, with whom he seems happier yet, and who likewise makes Clara her very best friend. (“But he’s mine.”)
The ballet ends with him back in motion in his human-size Nutcracker form by her bedside, presumably trying to start the whole process of cheating all over again.
RTWT because the beginning, about the audience’s fancy dress, is kind of funny as well. :-)