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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: May 22, 2006 Archive

Joan Tower Makes the Top 20

Posted at 11:26 AM on May 22, 2006 by Don Lee

I’ve heard quite a few classical music lovers say the 7th is their favorite Beethoven symphony. It’s certainly mine. And American orchestras seem to like it too. They performed Beethoven’s 7th 89 times last year—more than any other piece. Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony came in second, with 76 performances.

These and wads of other stat’s on the past year in American orchestra programming can be found in a report just issued by the American Symphony Orchestra League (ASOL).

Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms and other familiar names dominate the top 20 list. But there’s a surprise in the No. 8 slot. Tied with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is Made in America by contemporary American composer Joan Tower, with 57 performances. And there are more on the way. By the time the work is done touring the country under the auspices of the ASOL and Meet the Composer, it will have been performed 65 times. The Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis performed Made in America in the Twin Cities on Feb. 12.

Mozart = "Taquila Makes Her Cloths Fall Off" ???

Posted at 5:57 PM on May 22, 2006 by John Birge (7 Comments)

"Ever have a song stuck in your head, but can’t remember what it’s called, or even who sang it? If you at least know how it goes, try this astonishing Web site, suggested to me by a reader: It’s SongTapper.com. Basically, you tap your Space bar in the rhythm of the melody notes–”Lu-cy in the sky-yyyy, with di-i-a-monds” or whatever–and, incredibly, the site guesses which song you meant. In my very few tries, it did amazingly well. (It also offers a link to the iTunes music store so you can hear 30 seconds of the actual song for free, to confirm its wisdom.) "

I can't remember where I found this yesterday, but it's pretty, uh, interesting. When I tapped in the opening of Eine kleine Nachtmusik, here's the music that songtapper.com guessed. Number 3 is actually correct, but number 2 is especially intriguing (who knew?):

Mozart Turkish March
Taquila Makes Her Cloths Fall Off
Mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusic
Kaiser Chiefs Every Day I Love You Less And Less
Rossini William Tell Overture
Blind Melon No Rain
Lavalee/Weir O Canada
James Brown I Feel Good
Frankie Goes To Hollywood Two Tribes

Okay, your turn. Try songtapper.com, and post your findings here at Comparing Notes, so everyone knows how you did. Humor encouraged.

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Amazing Vengerov

Posted at 8:22 PM on May 22, 2006 by John Zech
Filed under: The blog

I've been lucky to have some transcendent concert experiences over the years: a candlelight "serenade" concert at the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Berlin Philharmonic at Philharmonie Hall in Berlin (nobody coughed or made any noise during the music), and Maxim Vengerov with the Minnesota Orchestra.

It was a last minute thing. My boss at the time, Dick Stevens, had subscription tickets to the MN Orchestra and he couldn't make it to the concert that night, so he gave them to me (thanks again, Dick).

That night, the 19-year-old Maxim Vengerov played the Shostakovich Violin Concerto. His sound seemed to start in his toes and his whole body played the instrument. It was incredible!

Vengerov is coming back to play a Schubert Club recital Wednesday night at the Ordway. If you can get a ticket, you might have a transcendent experience, too--I hope so.

He just played the same program at Carnegie Hall on Saturday night. Your can read the New York Times review here.

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