James Hogan

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.)


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.


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.


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.


It’s…It’s…It’s Alive!

by James Hogan
Classical music is not dying–if you believe Fred Child, that is.
Fred, who hosts American Public Media’s “Performance Today,” gave a talk Monday entitled “The Death of the Death of Classical Music,” part of WDAV’s 30th Anniversary Celebration this week. He listed many successful orchestras, stunning classical CD sales figures, and the like, all the while encouraging his audience that classical music was very much alive.
But, he added–and no one in the room disagreed–the way we see and hear and perform classical music has changed dramatically, and it must continue to change if classical music is to remain viable. Fred went on to point out several new ventures in classical music and played a YouTube video of The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela playing Bernstein in London. Here’s the clip:


Where does the Music Take You?

by James HoganJames Hogan
Tonight’s performances of Gershwin, Mozart, and Adams by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra were thrilling. As soon as Gershwin’s Cuban Overture floated out into the house, I was basked in warmth and quickly forgot about the sub-zero cold blowing outside.
Isn’t it wonderful how music can so quickly whisk you away somewhere else? Just this week, I was reading a manuscript a friend sent me, and I needed something to put me in the mood to read and comment. Beethoven’s fourth symphony was just the answer, and soon I was losing myself in the narrative. My friend’s story was quite good, but the music brought me into its setting with an even fuller immersion.
So I’m curious. Where does music take you? And how does it take you there? These sound like elementary questions, but with some thought, they can be quite complex. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section.

James Says Hi

by James Hogan
james_150.jpgHi there. My name is James, and I’ve been asked to hang around this blog and write a bit about WDAV, the excellent music community in Charlotte, and the incredibly diverse audience in the area that listens to them both.
I’m going to the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra performance tonight, and I’ll be writing about that soon, but first I wanted to say hello–and see if there’s anything out there (really, anything) that you, the readers, might want me to talk about. First, a brief disclosure: I’m a former English teacher and an amateur musician, so I’m hoping to engage you in a conversation on this forum rather than give you just another review of a performance or group. I’m much better at conversation than critiquing, anyway.
So…please leave a comment about whatever you’d like to see featured in this blog! I look forward to reading your thoughts and ideas. Cheers!