RPO

State of bliss

A decade ago, when guitarist Sharon Isbin recorded the lullaby "Cancion de Cuna," by Cuban composer Leo Brower, she wrote that she was in a state of bliss, remembering her experience of "floating down the Napo River in a dugout canoe with piranhas, electric eels, and glistening crocodiles afoot."

This week, when she plays the same piece with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, she'll hear it in a whole new light. Read my concert preview in this week's City newspaper here:

http://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/music/articles/CLASSIC...

Cellist wonders what to do next

I discovered a blog kept by a cellist living in Houston, studying at Rice University. He's preparing to audition in Rochester for a spot with the RPO. He writes:

facebook is evil

I was going to write a blog today that started with the line, “facebook is evil.”

But I need more time on that subject. Check back later.

Instead, here's an interesting news item about the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Less than 1 percent of the repertory that orchestras played last year was composed by a black or Latino composer. The RPO has joined a new, national consortium of orchestras to commission major orchestral works from minority composers.

It’s enigmatically named the Sphinx Commissioning Consortium.

Read more here:

http://crainsdetroit.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080128...

Reactionaries

On Saturday night, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra opened with Fantasia on an Ostinato by John Corigliano, a short piece based on a famous repetitive passage by Ludwig van Beethoven (the second movement of Symphony No. 7.)

I loved it, but others reacted differently.

A Rochester blogger who went to the concert with her husband wrote,

Let's Imagine

The RPO’s Annual Meeting, Having Been Held in Rochester’s Opulent Eastman Theatre, Later Discussed by The Busts of Bach and Beethoven Over the Exits

Johann: Grüß dich! That brass quintet, sehr gut! Don’t you think, my old friend?

Ludwig: Ja, ja, I almost heard it! I think it was almost as compelling as the players’ rousing performance of The Firebird by the Russian Wild One, Herr Stravinsky. (He pauses, leans over, whispering) But I believe the young man who spoke afterward, Herr Owens, may have a Napoleonic complex. Did you catch all his mumbling about fame and glory, making the RPO famous around the world?

music news miscellany

This afternoon at 4:00 p.m., the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra reveals artistic and financial data during an annual meeting. Check back for more on this later.

The U.S. government issued a 2007 patent for colored polymer instrument mouthpieces for brass players, and these are starting to pop up in instrument cases all over Western New York. Prices range from $21 for a trumpet mouthpiece to $32 for a tuba mouthpiece.

Crystal ball

Happy New Year! Our Distinguished Committee on Future Delights presents these cultural events for you to look forward to in 2008:

JANUARY

You don’t even have to leave the house. Tonight (January 2nd) at 8:00 p.m., hear the final broadcast concert from the 2006-2007 season of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra on Classical 91.5 FM (or streamed at wxxi.org.) Christopher Seaman conducts Pictures at an Exhibition.

Christmas Eve Post

I've been so busy with the holidays that I missed the fact that Alex Ross named the RPO's new Gershwin CD one of the best of the year! (Read more here: http://www.therestisnoise.com/) Finished The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand last night. Today I'm playing my last services as the choirmaster and church organist at my Episcopal church. I have barely enough time to wipe away a tear of bittersweet relief before the whirlwind of visits begins. Wednesday, off to Ohio to visit a college friend. I hope to post a few times over the next week, including Things to Look Forward to in Rochester in 2008. Merry Christmas to you!

Deck the Hall

Twice this weekend, I zipped up my black boots for the drive to Eastman Theatre to sing Handel’s Messiah with the Rochester Oratorio Society and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. I could go on at length about the wit and drama in conductor Christopher Seaman’s interpretation, what a pleasure it is to sing for him, and how, for me, the oratorio gets better each year like a vintage bottle of wine.

RPO, Grammys

Jeff Tyzik must be bummed.

The RPO’s excellent Gershwin CD didn’t make the list of Grammy contenders announced today in Los Angeles. About pianist Jon Nakamatsu’s 2007 much-praised collaboration with the RPO, my colleague Mordecai Lipshutz said, “At least they’re selling well.”

"That's not right!" exclaimed my friend Carl Pultz when he heard the news that the RPO had been left off the list. Carl says this proves the nominating system is "corrupt."