WXXI Classical Blog

After the Ball

I went to the ball and came home with both slippers firmly attached.

The ball was the annual Viennese Ball in Wilson Commons at the University of Rochester.

David Harman’s U of R Chamber Orchestra sounded glossy and polished playing Strauss classics such as the “Radetsky March,” “The Blue Danube,” and “Tales from the Vienna Woods.”

Harman even conducted a surprisingly elegant version of "The Chicken Dance." People flapped and clucked.

Upstairs, Irina Georgieva led the U of R Chamber Singers in a delicate, incisive rendition of Johannes Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes.

the savage breast

Monday night. Off to Oratorio Society to practice singing Handel’s Messiah.

I’m not alone. Hundreds of local singers all over Western New York are preparing for what’s become a holiday ritual. Adding up the performances from my group, the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, The Publick Musick, and dozens of smaller choirs, you could probably hear Messiah live twice a week until Christmas. Beats shopping.

In a feeble effort to live a more mindful existence, I recently started taking notes during rehearsals.

My notes look like this:

“Altos flat.”
“All WL Sheep like NBC theme.”
“Poor Eric w/ broken arm!!”
“Gates have no heads.”
“Hallelujah. UGH.”

Oh, Canada

You may be planning more summer trips to Niagara.

According to today’s Toronto Star, the National Arts Centre (NAC) and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) plan to establish a major new summer music festival. Presently, they’re calling it Project Niagara. The Shaw Festival folk are thrilled.

The performances would be held on a covered stage area with lots of seating on the lawn.

From May to September, this “Tanglewood North” would be a place to hear the NAC Orchestra conducted by Pinchas Zukerman and the TSO, led by Peter Oundjian.

And the winners are . . .

Pac ManPac Man

. . . the kite, Raggedy Andy, and the Atari 2600 game system.

The Atari system beat out Hot Wheels, Yahtzee, and the Game of Life for recognition by the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York.

Sincerely,
Mr. Potato Head

Kaboom!

This morning I’m off to cover the induction ceremony of 2 new toys to the National Toy Hall of Fame.

This year's nominees are:

Atari Game System, Baby Doll, Big Wheel, Game of Life, Hot Wheels, Kite, My Little Pony, Pogo Stick, Raggedy Andy, Skateboard, Spirograph, and Yahtzee.

Only 2 of the 12 nominees will get to take their honored places in the hall.

Personally, I’m rooting for Yahtzee and Atari. I was the reigning family champ of the 1980’s classic Kaboom!

First Snowflake

Today I saw my first snowflake of the season, and suddenly, almost spontaneously, this little original poem popped into my mind.

I saw a snowflake in the air...
Where it came down? I know not where.
Not on my nose. Not on my tongue.
The Joy of Winter has begun.

Ok...so I love winter. Ask me again in mid January when we're up to our kneecaps with the fluffy white stuff. Thank goodness for Classical 91.5 to keep me warm with great music all year round.

From the Top tickets going fast!

From the Top tickets are going fast!

Met at the Movies Returns to Rochester!

The Toll Brothers Metropolitan Opera HD Theater presentations are Back!

culture clash

Imagine you’ve shelled out $31 for a ticket to hear the RPO. The players are warming up. The lights dim. A lanky young man walks out on stage. He’s wearing jeans and a T-shirt. He flips back his bangs and makes a short speech about the importance of the orchestra, asking the crowd to support it as much as possible.

Ohmygosh! It's Rochester teen pop idol Teddy Geiger! Talking about the RPO!

He finishes his speech and saunters offstage. A few audience members are whistling and clapping. Others are scratching their heads.

new NPR music site

Yesterday, NPR fired up a free, multi-genre Web site devoted to music.

http://www.npr.org/nprmusic/index.html

The site is organized by genre and by type of music including live concerts, studio sessions, artist interviews, profiles, reviews, blogs and podcasts.

NPR Music is a creative collaboration with KEXP and KPLU Seattle; KUT Austin; WBGO Newark; WDUQ Pittsburgh; WFUV and WNYC New York; WGBH Boston; WGUC Cincinnati; Folk Alley.com (WKSU) Kent, Ohio; WXPN Philadelphia, and Minnesota Public Radio.

Maybe WXXI will be part of this partnership in the future.