Monday, March 20, 2006


At last the ISM has done its duty to one of the true giants of modern music. And not before time. The Herald newspaper in Scotland writes: "If one man is synonymous with twentieth-century music in Europe it is Pierre Boulez. A former chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and in the pit for crucial productions by the Royal Opera and Welsh National Opera, he has also been an important feature of Brian McMaster's Edinburgh Festivals. It is a tribute to his lasting enfant terrible status, however, that it has taken until now for him to join Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Michael Tippett, Sir Colin Davis and Sir Charles Mackerras in receiving the Incorporated Society of Musicians' Distinguished Musician Award, an honour announced this week. M Boulez was born in 1925."

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Saturday, March 18, 2006


No doubt Glyndebourne will gain ridicule, respect, incredulity and indifference in roughly equal proportions for their hip-hop version of Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, which plays tonight in Lewes, UK, and then travels to Helsinki, Finland, and Tallinn, Estonia, in June 2006. Whatever the final critical judgement (and bear in mind that worthy 'youth opera' Zoe was praised in performance and then panned on Channel 4) I think this adventuresome idea deserves praise for its intentions and concept. After all, RSC have been rapping Shakespeare for years -- and in a narrowcast, broadband culture where artforms are readily stereotyped and ghettoised, it's good to have hip-hop and opera out, proud and phat in School 4 Lovers. Or should that be "Schl4lvrs"?

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006


"I know that my true function within a society which embraces all of us, is to continue an age-old tradition, fundamental to our civilization, which goes back to pre-history and will go forward into the unknown future. This tradition is to create images from the depths of the imagination and to give them form whether visual, intellectual or musical. For it is only through images that the inner world communicates at all. Images of the past, shapes of the future. Images of vigour for a decadent period, images of calm for one too violent. Images of reconciliation for worlds torn by division. And in an age of mediocrity and shattered dreams, images of abounding, generous, exuberant beauty."

(Michael Tippett, from Moving Into Aquarius)

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

[173.1] QUOTA

"Music is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing." (John Erskine)

"It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing much to do with the writing of. The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page." (Joan Baez)

"Art is a house that tries to be haunted." (Emily Dickinson)

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