Rachel Stewart

CSO: Too Much to Say in One Article

by James Hogan
When you have some time, Google “Stradivarius Wilhelmj.”
It’s not an anagram, I assure you; nor is it going to lead you to some kinky Polish-Italian website. With any luck, you’ll see a Wiki entry or some other note to tell you about this fabulous violin that blissfully visited Charlotte this weekend at the CSO’s performances of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major. (The orchestra also performed selections from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and Strauss’ mighty Also sprach Zarathustra.)


Top Ten (okay 11) Reasons to Support WDAV

by James Hogan
1) Piedmont Carolina doesn’t really need another country/pop/alternative radio station, right?
2) Your kids can learn German and Italian words in the car, and you’ll never have to worry about what they’ll repeat in public
3) At least WDAV doesn’t use Ira Glass to completely make you feel guilty about not giving until now
4) There’s only one place to hear Jennifer Foster’s sultry voice
5) The station is local, broadcast essentially in your backyard–not owned by some faceless “parent company”
6) The insider knowledge you gain about Liszt will make you hugely cool at cocktail parties
7) WDAV will take your used car, but it will never try to sell you another
8) It’s the only station that makes you calmer while sitting in gridlock on I-77
9) Sometimes they’ll mention your name on the air, so it’s a relatively cheap way to become locally famous
10) They have a show called Biscuits and Bach. Tell me that’s not freakin’ awesome
11) When people get in your car and hear 89.9, they’ll naturally assume you’re smarter than they are

Ba Ba Ba BOM!

james_150.jpgby James Hogan
Friday night brought the return of Christof Perick to the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven’s marquee, the Fifth Symphony.
A full disclosure is in order: I’m not crazy about the Fifth. Yes, there’s the whole Romantic interpretation of Beethoven’s growing deafness lurking in his mind, producing the image of Fate knocking on the door–the four note infamy that opens the symphony’s first movement.


Eric Whitacre & Godzilla: Alive and Well

by James Hogan
eric_whitacre150.jpgMendelssohn turned 200 years old, and while I’m glad he’s still hanging around Classical Music Camp (“Camp Johann” is the name I keep kicking around for fun), I wanted to focus my attention this week on a more recent composer, an American named Eric Whitacre.
He’s young (just turned 39). He’s hip. He didn’t learn to read music until he was in college, where he joined the college choir because the choir girls were good looking. But he worked his way through Julliard, collaborated with Barbara Streisand, and debuted a techno-opera in Los Angeles loosely based on Milton’s Paradise Lost. His work is popular across the globe–the cities of Sydney and Venice have each hosted Eric Whitacre festivals. He once wrote a piece entitled Godzilla Eats Las Vegas.


Blame it on the Rain–Err…Cold

by James Hogan

Some of the biggest classical music news last week came–no surprise here–as a result of the Inauguration, which featured a John Williams arrangement of “Simple Gifts” played by renowned musicians Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill. But the buzz was overwhelmed later in the week when the committee in charge of the program revealed that the music spectators and television viewers heard was prerecorded. The cold temperatures, the announcement said, made it too difficult to consider using the live performance.


Where are the Best Small Concerts?

by James Hogan
Back not too long ago when I was in college, I would sometimes spend Friday nights in a somewhat Bohemian way. My friend Nick rented a house on the top of a mountain, and I would drive up and start the weekend there, drinking good beer, as he would set up an impromptu jazz concert in his living room. He kept his drum set there, and there was a Rhodes piano, and his other friends–a bass player, guitarist, two sax guys named Jim and Eric, and maybe a singer would come up, light cigarettes, and play for hours.
Yes, I realize my undergraduate experience was somewhat different.


Martin Luther King, Jr.: ‘A Musical Celebration’

By Benjamin K. Roe
mlk_150.jpgMusic in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. went far beyond “We Shall Overcome.” You can find the earliest evidence in his boyhood home on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, steps away from the celebrated Ebenezer Baptist Church, pastored by his father, Daddy King. Dr. King may have been the son of a preacher, but he was also the son of a choir director. When you walk in the King house, the first room you enter is an intimate front parlor, dominated by a battered old upright piano. This is the place where King’s mother would lead the Ebenezer choir through weekly rehearsals, the place where his father first noted four-year-old Martin’s fine, clear singing voice, and where he struggled through piano lessons.


Schulz’s Beethoven: Schoeder’s Muse

by James Hogan
I just had to share this article from the New York Times. Remember all those wonderful Peanuts comic strips featuring Schroeder? He would be at his piano, and often in the comic strip panel, the reader would see a stanza of music, which served as a kind of wallpaper to the scene.