Brenda Tremblay's blog

How to be a classic snob

I’m not a huge Joel Stein fan, but his essay, “How to be a classic snob” is kinda funny. Especially the part about the giant hammer.

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Back from holiday

Can you say what you want?
Can you say what you want to be?
Can you be what you want?
Can you be what you want?

- Sufjan Stevens, "That Was The Worst Christmas Ever!"

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The Sound and the Fury

O Fortuna! Kodak’s ten million dollar gift earmarked for renovations to Eastman Theatre have sparked two debates. The first has to do with the future renaming of the space “Kodak Hall.” The second centers on whether renovations, scheduled for this summer and next, will actually improve the sound of music.

The morning after the Rochester Philharmonic and Oratorio Society performed Carmina Burana, two rather technical e-mails on the subject landed in my box. They are reprinted below the line.

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Secret Confessions from Skitty


Skitty says, “I had a fab time hearing the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra play for visiting U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi this week.”

See video here!

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Music for a Recession

"When times get tough, as in America during the Great Depression and the Second World War, music gets soft."

L.A. Times critic Mark Swed refutes that generally-accepted theory in an encompassing think piece, “Tough times call for tougher music.”

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The Singing Revolution

About once a decade, my mother announces she wants to see a movie on the big screen. The last one was “The Fugitive” with Harrison Ford. Before that, it might have been “In Search of Noah’s Ark.” She’s no film buff. So when she said she wanted to see “The Singing Revolution” over the weekend, I dropped everything and went to the Little Theater with my mom, my sister, and her Estonian friend Maarit.

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A conductor's last lark

Singers and audience members expressed mixed emotions before Madrigalia’s final concert of the season. It was the last one conducted by the choral group’s long-time music director, Roger Wilhelm. He received a standing ovation before anyone sang a note.

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Party like it's 1499

Sex is yummy, drinking is fun, and we’re all gonna die, so party like it’s 1499. That’s the basic message in Orff’s Carmina Burana. Since it comes wrapped in Latin, you get a veneer of respectability. Click here to hear conductor Christopher Seaman talk about Carmina and the womanizer that inspired composer Richard Strauss. You’ll also hear Christopher's advice for the pure of heart attending next week’s exciting, final RPO concert of the season.

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Ownership

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.

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Wheel of Fortune

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.

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