Lexus’ Cheap Shot at Classical Music

Advertising is about illusion. It manipulates the most irrational recesses of our minds, circumventing thoughtfulness and judgment. Facts and reason are no match for advertising, which plays on emotion, desire and the ephemeral. Madison Avenue can cleverly make any product, person, or idea seem desirable or undesirable, and its reach extends into mainstream news and political campaigns. Are we citizens or brand consumers? In a new Lexus ad, classical music becomes a …

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A Resolution in Atlanta

The Atlanta Symphony’s two-month-long lockout ended over the weekend. With the help of federal mediation, musicians ratified a four year contract. The agreement halts ASO management’s attempt to gain “flexibility” by downsizing the orchestra, ensuring a compliment of 88 full time musicians by the contract’s final year. Read this article and visit Drew McManus’ Adaptistration for background and in-depth analysis. The lockout (the second in Atlanta in two years) has delayed the start of …

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Ten Tips for Youth Orchestra Students

At its best, orchestra playing is a unique combination of artistry and technical craft. It’s a skill which develops over time. As musicians play together, they develop increasing sensitivity and cohesiveness. With the help of a visionary conductor, a disparate group of highly skilled individuals is forged into a team. Whether you’re a member of a student ensemble or an amateur performing in a community orchestra, here are a few orchestra playing …

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Bright Blue Music

As a followup to last Wednesday’s post, here is another exuberant slice of musical postmodernism by American composer Michael Torke (b. 1961). Bright Blue Music (1985) is a celebration of one of the most basic and fundamental building blocks of tonal music: the pull of the V chord (the dominant) back home to I (tonic). Throughout the twentieth century many composers avoided tonal relationships altogether, which makes the opening of Bright Blue Music, with its conventional …

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Salvatore Accardo and the Spirit of Paganini

It’s hard to imagine any better recordings of Paganini than those of Italian violinist Salvatore Accardo (b. 1941). Accardo was the winner of the 1958 Paganini Competition. His playing not only demonstrates technical mastery of Paganini, it sparkles with the effortless and fun-loving spirit of Italian opera. You can hear this in his performance of the First Violin Concerto. Listen to his recording of the Twenty-Four Caprices here and here . Here is …

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