Handel

Catching up

  My thanks to every listener who's e-mailed rad...@wxxi.org about the morning mystery pieces on Classical 91.5.  It's a delight to explore old and new repertoire, and I'm excited that so many music lovers are getting up a little early to guess the name of the mystery work at 6:40 a.m.  (One man told me he

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A do-it-yourself diva--and she's normal to boot!

"I'd abolish all music competitions. People should be judged on their merits, not against other people. And I'd like to dispel the myth that high art is snobbish – it just needs a bit of effort on both sides."  With sentiment like that, this diva clearly has her feet firmly rooted on the ground.
 
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So? Where's the hype this time?!?

Mozart turned 250, and you couldn't turn around without banging your shins on another recording of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.  Mendelssohn turns 200 and...not so much.

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The composer bailout tournament of the century!

 One of my most important personal mantras is "Do not take yourself too seriously."  In this spirit, I present to you Recession 2008: "Which Classical Composer Would Hypothetically Survive and Who Would Need a Government Bailout, The Tournament."  

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China cracks down on Western sacred classics

A British newspaper is reporting that Chinese authorities are banning or tightening controls on performances of sacred classics such as Handel's Messiah and Mozart's Requiem.  Even Carmina Burana has fallen under suspicion.  (The Rochester Oratorio Society's repertoire came under Chinese scrutiny over the summer.  Only a few weeks before the group's trip to China, conductor Eric Townell got an e-mail saying all of the music had to be vetted.  His strategy?  He sent translations with the word "Lord" spelled with a small "l" in hopes authorities might miss it.)   Read the article here.

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Waterfall

My friend Sharon got me interested in waterfalls last summer when she took a bunch of us hiking down a dirt trail to the edge of a 60-foot drop. It was late July. Dry. A single ribbon of water dropped off a shelf, past moss and shale, spilling into a pool at the base. We clamored past warning signs to splash and gaze.

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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.

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the savage breast

Monday night. Off to Oratorio Society to practice singing Handel’s Messiah.

I’m not alone. Hundreds of local singers all over Western New York are preparing for what’s become a holiday ritual. Adding up the performances from my group, the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, The Publick Musick, and dozens of smaller choirs, you could probably hear Messiah live twice a week until Christmas. Beats shopping.

In a feeble effort to live a more mindful existence, I recently started taking notes during rehearsals.

My notes look like this:

“Altos flat.”
“All WL Sheep like NBC theme.”
“Poor Eric w/ broken arm!!”
“Gates have no heads.”
“Hallelujah. UGH.”

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