Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Silent Monks Sing Hallelujah

After the epic fail of the Messiah organist on crack, I wanted to share another unique and memorable interpretation of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus." Here's a performances from a group of silent monks.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bach Passacaglia in C minor for...accordion??

On his new blog Unquiet Thoughts, Alex Ross introduces us to Aleksandr Hrustevich, a young Ukranian who plays Bach's tremendous Passacaglia in C minor, originally written for the organ, on an accordion! For comparison's sake, here's organist Karl Richter performing the original. Incredible how little is lost in translation (er, transcription).

Browsing through the "Related Video" bar, you'll also find Hrustevich's renditions of Summer from the Four Seasons, the finale of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, and others.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Messiah" on Crack

After a long absence, I've returned with good tidings for the holiday season and a favorite seasonal tradition: the "Messiah" on Crack. We've all had one of those days. But no all of us have those days recorded for posterity. Enjoy!!

(Clip from The Rambler.)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

A letter of condolence from Abraham Lincoln to Fanny McCullough, whose father was killed in December 1862.

Dear Fanny

It is with deep grief that I learn of the death of your kind and brave Father; and, especially, that it is affecting your young heart beyond what is common in such cases. In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it. I am anxious to afford some alleviation of your present distress. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You can not now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once. The memory of your dear Father, instead of an agony, will yet be a sad sweet feeling in your heart, of a purer and holier sort than you have known before.

Please present my kind regards to your afflicted mother.

Your sincere friend

A. Lincoln

On this day, please remember all those who have given so much in defense of this country.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

YouTube Symphony Orchestra Post-Concert Recap

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra made it's much-publicized debut on Wednesday night at Carnegie Hall, and two of the country's foremost music critic were there to cover the event.

For the New York Times, Anthony Tommasini found the concert inspiring, but took exception with the "gimmicky" program put together by conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

For the Washington Post, Anne Midgette was frustrated by the inconsistent orchestral playing:

Music, it turns out, isn't a language universal enough that people can converse in it easily right off the bat. The orchestra sounded ragged, uneven, of wildly different quality. It sounded, in fact, like a lot of different people talking at one another in many different languages--which is, of course, what it was.
Naturally, the entire concert is now viewable on YouTube. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Program Announced for YouTube Symphony Orchestra

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra has finalized the program for its April 15 concert at Carnegie Hall, The New York Times's James Oestreich reports. Selections include movements from Brahms's Fourth Symphony, Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, and Debussy's Nocturnes, as well as music by Gabrielli, Mason Bates, and Tan Dun. Pianist Yuja Wang, violinist Gil Shaham, and soprano Measha Brueggergosman are among the featured soloists. 

Here's Michael Tilson Thomas, the orchestra's conductor and artistic advisor, discussing the upcoming performance.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Washington Post's Anne Midgette Enters the Blogosphere

Anne Midgette, The Washington Post's classical music critic, has just launched a new blog: The Classical Beat. Her initial post promises to address issues that "would not be possible in the confines of a daily paper" and encourage discussion--civil and intelligent, hopefully--among her readership. 

(Photo by Matthew Worden)