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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: April 10, 2007 Archive

Happy Forty-Thirteenth Birthday, Annie

Posted at 5:58 AM on April 10, 2007 by John Birge
Filed under: The blog

Anne Lamott is in town to read from her new essay collection, Grace (Eventually). When her last book Plan B came out, I interviewed her on Mother's Day about motherhood, something she's been a keen observer of since her bestselling book Operating Instructions, detailing life with her then newborn son Sam. She's also been a contributor to my annual Thanksgiving special Giving Thanks both last year and in 2002.

Follow the links above to hear those interviews, or find your way to the at Barnes and Noble in Edina tonight at 7:30 for the reading (and party, as Anne mentioned in an email that today is --as she put it -- her "forty-thirteenth birthday").

L'Enfant terrible as violin venue

Posted at 2:40 PM on April 10, 2007 by Don Lee

The Washington Post ran a story Sunday that has to be among the week's most e-mailed for folks in the classical music biz. A writer for the paper persuaded violinist Joshua Bell to pose as a busker near a Washington Metro stop.

The result? Despite Bell's (relative) celebrity and despite the beauty of his playing, almost no one noticed.

The interpretation? Music--even great music superbly played--has too few charms to soothe the preoccupied commuter's breast. There was also the hint of a subtext: Almost no one cares about classical music.

Is this cause for despair? I don't think so. The context here is everything. Even the Post's reporter pauses to acknowledge that. But then he plows on.

So, while it's a little harsh, I'll recommend this piece from yesterday's Salon as useful counterpoint.