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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: June 9, 2008 Archive

The Strings are the Things....

Posted at 9:16 AM on June 9, 2008 by Ward Jacobson

The country singer Eddy Arnold died recently. My mom was a big fan of his, so I was more than a little familiar with his music.

What I didn't know was that his career was just about down the tubes in the early 60s when he tried something that was basically unheard of at the time in Nashville - he added strings to his recordings. Arnold figured if he just took the same kind of songs he'd been singing and added violins, he'd have a new sound. Evidently he got "cussed out" by more than a few people for trying it, but guess what? Arnold's career was rejuvenated and the string section became a consistent part of the "Nashville Sound" for years to come.

I'll never forget the first time I heard a string section, live in a concert hall. It was such a thrilling, exhilarating sound. Even today when I hear an orchestra performance, those first notes from the strings give me the chills.

So hats off to all you string players out there - what a glorious sound you make.

Brokeback Opera

Posted at 1:18 PM on June 9, 2008 by Gillian Martin (1 Comments)

New York City Opera has commissioned American composer Charles Wuorinen to compose an opera based on "Brokeback Mountain," the Annie Proulx short story which was famously made into a film a few years ago. The production should premiere in spring of 2013.

I wonder who they'll cast? I for one vote for Nathan Gunn, who not only is the most impressive singing-actor I've ever seen (he was the highlight of the Met's Romeo et Juliette this season--too bad he died before intermission) but who already has experience appearing shirtless in premieres of new American operas.

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