Brenda Tremblay's blog

culture clash

Imagine you’ve shelled out $31 for a ticket to hear the RPO. The players are warming up. The lights dim. A lanky young man walks out on stage. He’s wearing jeans and a T-shirt. He flips back his bangs and makes a short speech about the importance of the orchestra, asking the crowd to support it as much as possible.

Ohmygosh! It's Rochester teen pop idol Teddy Geiger! Talking about the RPO!

He finishes his speech and saunters offstage. A few audience members are whistling and clapping. Others are scratching their heads.

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new NPR music site

Yesterday, NPR fired up a free, multi-genre Web site devoted to music.

http://www.npr.org/nprmusic/index.html

The site is organized by genre and by type of music including live concerts, studio sessions, artist interviews, profiles, reviews, blogs and podcasts.

NPR Music is a creative collaboration with KEXP and KPLU Seattle; KUT Austin; WBGO Newark; WDUQ Pittsburgh; WFUV and WNYC New York; WGBH Boston; WGUC Cincinnati; Folk Alley.com (WKSU) Kent, Ohio; WXPN Philadelphia, and Minnesota Public Radio.

Maybe WXXI will be part of this partnership in the future.

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dream country

6:15 p.m. on Friday. Swathed in black velvet and hunched over a small plastic tub of macaroni and cheese, it occurred to me that much of my life revolves around the very High and the very Low, sometimes both at the same time.

It was Friday night, at the end of a crazy-busy day at work. I showered, dressed, and headed back out to the Rochester Early Music Festival.

Until that moment, the whole day had felt stuck on fast forward. Then someone hit the pause button.

I think it was J.S. Bach.

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Secret Confessions from Skitty

Oscar Wilde said that there are two kinds of people in the world -- tedious and charming.

I recently heard that there are two kinds of bloggers in the world – serious and cat.

A catblogger is someone who blogs about cats.

In other words, not to be taken seriously.

I’ve weighed the risks and decided to advance with my dubious plans to introduce a new feature to this space:

Secret Confessions from Skitty

Skitty says, “I don’t really like Beethoven. Totally overrated.”

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early music

Riding the bus last night, I was thinking about Rochester’s Early Music Festival and how to make this Friday night’s event sound exciting in the age of Facebook, Avatar, and Tim Horton’s.

Truth is, I realized, I can’t.

People are drawn to music written before the 18th century for the same reason they like home-brewed beer and hand-stitched books. It’s slow to unfold. It’s a walk down a leaf-strewn path for no other reason than in hopes of glimpsing a flash of feathers. It requires time, patience, and the willingness to park on a hard, wooden bench.

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ode to autumn

When I was in New York City for the NEA Institute in Classical Music and Opera, I wrote that I missed my backyard.

This is why. Trees. Grass. Earth.

I love fall.

Especially on sunny, cool days.

Come back for these upcoming posts:

Singing, (almost) the greatest physical pleasure
Alexander Zemlinsky. Who he?
Behind the scenes at the RPO.
Confessions from Skitty.

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In praise of exquisite writing

I love this line from Bernard Holland’s October 30th New York Times’ review of Angela Hewitt playing Bach in Zankel Hall.

“The “Well-Tempered Clavier” is, more important, an encyclopedia of the heart, every shade of extroversion, privacy, happiness and desolation thoroughly described.”

See for yourself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjs9olYaXxc

Read the whole review. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/30/arts/music/30hewi.html?_r=...

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The lunar tundra

About once a year, a recording seizes my hand and pulls me into a labyrinth. Once there, I want to wander around forever. I spent much of 2006 meandering through a CD called Cloudburst by Polyphony, an English choral group.

I played the song 'Sleep' over and over and over.

The evening hangs beneath the moon
A silver thread on darkened dune
With closing eyes and resting head
I know that sleep is coming soon.

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What you are about to read may stun you. Or not.

What news would really surprise you?

At a party last year, I posed this question to a rocket scientist from the Rochester Institute of Technology. (He's a physicist with a specialty in rocket technology.) His response was, “I'd be surprised to learn someone's discovered a real fuel alternative to gas and oil. That would truly stun me.”

What news would surprise you?

I'd be surprised to hear we'd been contacted by aliens. Surprised, but not stunned. Carl Sagan imagined such an event in his fantastic novel, Contact.

On a more trivial scale, I saw or heard two things on my recent trip to New York City that surprised me.

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NEA Institute: sketches

My friend Dave Perkins, who teaches at Houghton College, went to Europe this summer. He didn't take a camera. Instead, he took a sketch pad, a paintbrush, and a tiny tube of paint. He came back with a notebook filled with exquisite little watercolors of scenes from England to Italy.

He inspired me.

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