Kick the Karajan

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Music commentator Norman Lebrecht takes aim at conductor Herbert von Karajan as many in the music world gear up to celebrate the centenary of his birth. If you’re a Karajan fan, wear your seatbelt. Lebrecht’s latest assessment of the conductor shows no mercy:
Karajan had a tendency to homogenise music, bending it to his line of beauty, suppressing its diversity of character. Hearing an excess of Karajan is like spending a month at McDonalds, a bloating, desensitising experience. Those who listen to Karajan for the first time this year will, I suspect, be stupefied by the sameness of his brand.

(Karajan) never made an original note of music, bequeathed a transmissible idea or represented any appreciable human value.”

Click here to read the rest of Lebrecht’s article, “The Monster and His Myth”.

Evelyn Glennie: How to listen to music with your whole body

In this soaring demonstration, percussionist Evelyn Glennie leads the audience through an exploration of music not as notes on a page, but as an expression of the human experience. She talks about a music that is more than sound waves perceived by the human ear. She illustrates a richer picture that begins with listening to yourself, and includes emotion and intent as well as the complex role of physical spaces — instrument, concert hall and even the bones and body cavities of musician and listener alike.

Evelyn Glennie appears with the Winston-Salem Symphony February 9th, 10th and 12th. For more information, click here.
Jennifer Foster gives her account of watching Evelyn Glennie perform this past summer in this blog entry dated July 11th, “Lessons from the High Priestess of Percussion”.

2008 Grammys to Shimmer

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Stars will gather at the 50th Annual Grammys after all. Striking Hollywood writers have decided not to picket the upcoming awards. In an email to its members, The Writers Guild, West stated its voters had decided not to picket the Grammys because members of the American Federation of Musicians “face many of the same issues concerning compensation in new media.” (Read the full article here.)
Here’s a full listing of classical Grammy nominees:

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Violinist Offers Free Download

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In an attempt to popularize classical music, acclaimed British violinist Tasmin Little will give her next recording away for free as a digital download. Called “The Naked Violin,” the album features three works for solo violin–Bach’s Partita No. 3, Luslawice Variations by Paul Patterson and Sonata No. 3 by Eugene Ysaye. The violinist has also recorded spoken introductions to each of the pieces to give technical and musical insights. Read the full story here.

The Wanamaker at Macy's

Macy”s in Philadelphia is in the former John Wanamaker store, a National Historic Landmark. Housed within is the Wanamaker Organ, the largest operational pipe organ in the world. Famed for the delicate, orchestra-like beauty of its tone as well as for its power, the instrument is valued in excess of $50 million. The Grand Organ was first heard in the store”s seven-story atrium on June 22, 1911, at the exact moment when England”s King George V was crowned. A tourist captured this recent performance on video: