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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: September 2, 2008 Archive

Classical Music & Politics

Posted at 3:43 PM on September 2, 2008 by Gillian Martin

I was thinking about an RNC-appropriate Classical Notes entry and not coming up with much, so I searched for "classical music" and "politics" and found this commentary inspired by Valery Gergiev's concert a couple of weeks ago in the bombed out ruins of Tskhinvali, Georgia. Gergiev is from Ossetia.

I found it an interesting examination of how classical music and politics intersect, when they do:

Politicians use classical music rather like they use white-tie galas and red carpets. It adds dignity and intensifies an occasion, making it more serious and profound. But the music heard at political events is all too often ignored, despite its often huge symbolic importance.

Meanwhile, here is an account of the concert itself, from London's The Telegraph. (Gergiev is the principal conductor of the London Symphony.) Here is Gergiev's rebuttal (in the Letters section; scroll down to find one headlined "Conduct abroad").

Position Filled at Bayreuth

Posted at 4:09 PM on September 2, 2008 by Gillian Martin

If you applied to direct the Bayreuth Festival, too bad for you. The epic struggle to determine who would succeed Wolfgang Wagner to lead his Grampa Richard's festival is now settled: Wolfgang's daughters Eva and Katharina have been named co-directors. Read more about it here.

I wonder if this arrangement will last long? Eva was the board's favored candidate years ago, while Katharina (30 years younger than her half-sister) was Daddy's favorite. Will they be able to work together?

The Hill$ are Alive...

Posted at 8:40 PM on September 2, 2008 by John Birge

...with the sound of music. But not just any music.

The iconic songs of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein may soon be on the auction block. Their catalog could fetch a couple of hundred million dollars.

"Oh, what a byoo-tee-ful price-tag...." Marketplace reports on the details.

Classical Music: "Stuff White People Like" ?

Posted at 8:48 PM on September 2, 2008 by John Birge (2 Comments)
Filed under: The blog

If you've never read the blog called Stuff White People Like, you're in for a laugh.
In the words of Wikipedia, it's "a satirical blog looking at the interests of white people" enjoyed by 300,000 readers a day. The book version has spent many weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Yesterday, author Christian Lander (who is white, btw) finally got around to classical music. Don't know what took him so long, actually, but the result is predictably hilarious. A sample:

"There are a number of industries that survive solely upon white guilt: Penguin Classics, the SPCA, free range chicken farms, and the entire rubber bracelet market. Yet all of these pale in comparison to classical music, which has used white guilt to exist for over a century beyond its relevance.
Though white people do not actually listen to classical music, they like to believe that they are the type of people who would enjoy it. You can witness this first hand by going to any classical performance at your local symphony where you will see literally dozens of white couples who have paid upwards of $80 for the right to dress up and sit in a chair for hours reading every word in the program..."


Oh, and Lander doesn't spare public radio either. For example:

"To explain this love for Public Radio, one only needs to summarize several previous posts on this website. Let's use my friend Craig as an example. Craig has a high paying 9 to 5 so he feels guilty about all the problems in the world. To make himself feel better he likes being socially aware of things. However he spends most of his time indulging in the arts and going out for dinner so he has little time to devote to this..."

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