A Radio Program
From August 3 to 7, I'll be in Germany with my brass quintet (The Emerald Brass) attending a brass festival in this lovely house:
Dad was out of town at a college reunion, so we decided to take a trip to the movies to see the new Harry Potter with friends. Lights go down, trailers start, and then...one began. A young lad is climbing out of a taxi, ubiqitous ominous music thudding under the images...well, you can see it for yourself.
Let's be honest: spelling's hard. If you're in second grade. For a record company though, one would think this may not be the case. But one would be dead wrong.
You see, I am made quite sad today: the release of a disc I have been anticipating for a long time has been delayed because someone forgot to spell-check the cover.
I found this paperback in a used book store. In The Art of Possibility, artist Rosamund Stone Zander and conductor Benjamin Zander touch on core issues of creativity and passion and offer practical ways to sustain a spark day after day, even when faced with difficult circumstances or unwilling teammates.
First of all, the Zanders recommend, make mistakes. Take risks.
Benjamin Zander says composer Igor Stravinsky once turned down a bassoon player “because he was too good to render the perilous opening of The Rite of Spring. This heart-stopping moment, conveying the first crack in the cold grip of the Russian winter, can only be truly represented if the player has to strain every fiber of his technical resources to accomplish it. A bassoon player for whom it was easy would miss the expressive point.”
Stravinsky reportedly said, “I don’t want the sound of someone playing this passage. I want the sound of someone TRYING to play it!” Let's make more mistakes.
The email was delivered a few weeks back: Backstage Pass was a finalist in the Radio division for New York Festivals. We just didn't know what we won. We waited. The word came on Friday, and it was Bronze!
It's no secret that I am an automobile nerd. While I drive a humble 11-year-old Subaru with 172,000 miles on it, I always envision myself maneuvering an eight-cylinder, two-seated, rear-engined supercar with something called "sodium-cooled exhaust valves" and carbon-fiber cupholders. Unfortunately these types of cars are expensive, and I play trombone and work for public radio--both admirable pursuits, but neither going to cover the cost of even one of the two dual-overhead camshafts I so desire. Now, if you play the piano, then it's a different story! No, you'll still be a starving artist, but at least you can play one of these:
In my hours of slaving over a hot computer every day, I came across two different views of how the Chinese are taking a liking to some of our art forms. Apparently Western classical music is huge there, and so is...completely ripping off the styling of Western automobiles.
What do British people do when they get really angry about their elected officials spending hideous amounts of taxpayer money on things like life-size statues of Winston Churchill made out of Legos? They write an opera, of course.
On a recent Monday morning I walked into the studio of Rochester's classical music station cradling a stack of CDs in one arm and a sheaf of news reports in the other. The news was not good. The sky threatened rain. I slipped a CD into the player and started a Haydn symphony, a cheerful burst of minty freshness. I followed that with Vivaldi's chirpy Goldfinch Concerto, a flashy set of trills inspired by the song of the European goldfinch, (a mouse of a bird that's not even gold, by the way.)
The music was sunny. But as the minutes ticked by, my mood darkened. It DID start to rain. More depressing stories poured into the newsroom.
At one point I actually thought to myself, “What annoying person picked all of this chirrupy music for a dismal Monday morning?”