If you read much about jazz singer Andy Bey, you’ll come across references to the soft palate, his four-octave range and the way he “integrates the head and chest voices.” But I don’t understand much of that technical stuff.
Starting Monday June 2 at 8:00 p.m., WXXI will broadcast weekly concerts from the 2007-2008 season of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. It’s my privilege to prepare them by writing scripts, editing, hosting, and mixing the performances, which are donated by the musicians after they approve them. I attend each concert, take notes, and then hear it in the studio months later.
I can’t explain why, but performances that electrified the live audience occasionally sound flat on record. In person, the RPO’s Bolero (Ravel) had me on the edge of my seat, even though I’ve heard it a thousand times. On tape, though, it seems a bit ragged.
Bettye LaVette's playing the Lilac festival tomorrow. You should go.
My first exposure to her was the record "I've Got My Own Hell To Raise," which I bought sound unheard, based on the cool cover and the producing credit of Joe Henry. I knew immediately it was a major discovery. The glorious weather-beaten voice commanded attention, from the tenderest whisper to a full force gale.
"Ten years ago, coming out was an adult process. Now it's an adolescent process."
That's a quote from Jim Anderson, a former spokesman for Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in New York Magazine, about six years ago.
And the trend continues.
There are hundreds of area teenagers who are openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. They are coming out at 12, 13, 14 years of age. Many adult gays and lesbians will tell you they knew their sexual identity at that age, but they didn't tell anyone until they reached their twenties (or beyond.)
Update: The New York Times has eliminated five full-time jobs in the culture department. One name stands out -- that of long-serving and much-beleaguered classical critic Bernard Holland. He's taken a buyout and is on his way out. His last day will be May 23rd. Read more.
Donna the Buffalo played the Lilac fest last night. The stage is nestled at the bottom of a grassy slope. There are tents along the top where you can buy fried dough and Italian sausage and beer. The sky was low and mottled, threatening rain that never came. There was a slight chill in the air. Dark planes glided by.
Regular readers may recall that when I started this blog, I was the choir director and organist at a small town Episcopal church in Upstate New York. I loved the creative work and the core singers whom I now consider some of my dearest friends.
But certain aspects of the job were tedious. I used to spend a fair amount of time cajoling volunteers into showing up for choir practice. Palestrina is sunk without participation, and you can’t pull off Mozart’s “Ave Verum” without at least a couple of basses and tenors. So I used to compose a weekly e-mail, such as:
When soprano Allyn Van Dusen walked into the Hochstein Performance Hall, I half-expected she’d be wearing a full-length antique wrap that had belonged to her grandmother. (She’d mentioned it when we'd talked about her appearance on WXXI's weekly live radio show, "Live from Hochstein.") Instead, she appeared in a metallic sleeveless top, a casual, fringed broomstick skirt, and jeweled sandals. Her appearance hinted at the exotic influences in the music: Ravel’s “Sheherazade,” for example, unfolds in tri-tones to evoke the sight of a bejeweled Persian queen.
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