Politics of Opera

An interesting piece in The New Republic

Yesterday’s cover story in The New York Timesmagazine begins with the story of Valery Gergiev’s decision to conduct a concert in Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, in the aftermath of the Russo-Georgian war. Born in Northern Ossetia, Gergiev, the most dynamic Russian conductor of our times, took the side of Putin’s Russia over the cause of the Georgians. Inevitably, therefore, the author of the article, Arthur Lubow, is led to reflect on the relationship between music and politics.

Those reflections make little or no sense to me. 

The rest is here.

Gramophone Online (1923-2008)

Just passing on the information:

In April 1923 the first issue of Gramophone, the brainchild of the novelist and writer Compton Mackenzie (of Whisky Galore fame), was published. Since then 1039 issues of the magazine have been produced, and now every one is available to read online for the very first time at www.gramophone.net – the world’s largest classical music archive.

Gramophone.net comprises more than 115,000 pages of the magazine in both PDF format and in “free text” using OCR (Optical Character Recognition). A comprehensive search facility is offered which allows you to home in on specific periods or topics and search for reviews or articles. The “My Archive” feature also allows users to record their own individual searches and preferences.

Gramophone.net allows you to search 85 years of the finest writing on recorded classical music. Now, you need never consider an album purchase without first consulting the leading writers on classical recordings since 1923.

I took a look, you will need to register to access the PDFs but it’s easy and it’s free. You can read all the issues starting with 1923 and get nice PDFs of two pages at a time like this. I think it’s an amazing resource, hope this will be useful…

Top (Classical) Music Blogs!

Scott Spiegelberg rates the (classical) music blogs of 2007:

The list shows the rank, the blog, the TA, the author(s), and the category: C = composer, Crit = critic, O = opera, A = academic, L = listener, AD = arts director, and the rest are self explanatory.

1 Sequenza21: 783 Jerry Bowles (C)
2 The Rest is Noise: 650 Alex Ross (Crit)
3 About Last Night: 314 Terry Teachout (Crit)
4 Opera Chic: 181 (O)
5 Violinist.com Diaries: 158 (violin)

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The Rest Is Noise Officially Out Today

“There seems always to have been a ‘crisis of modern music,’ but by some insane miracle one person finds the way out. The impossibility of it gives me hope. Fast-forwarding through so many music-makers’ creative highs and lows in the company of Alex Ross’s incredibly nourishing book will rekindle anyone’s fire for music.”  — Björk

The Rest Is Noise reads like a sprawling, intense novel, one of utopian dreams, doom, and consolation, with the most extraordinary cast of characters from music and history alike.” — Osvaldo Golijov

I don’t know how many of you have been following Alex Ross and his incredibly informative blog about his upcoming book and everything important in the twentieth century music, but the book officially comes out today, so you can get yourself a copy and finally read it.

 You can read some excerpts here and here, and, of course, you can buy the book itself here!

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