The first and only time composer Richard Wagner saw his opera Das Liebesverbot performed, things did not go well. The orchestra stumbled. The singers ad-libbed. The leading tenor sparked an affair with the leading lady, whose husband eventually stepped in with a left hook. Bloodshed ensued. When it was all over the composer complained in an 1836 letter, “They are all shit-heads [Scheisskerle] here!”
"You have this very close relationship with this thing that you’re bringing to musical life. It’s just between you and the notes and the musical ideas and a kind of imaginary (in some cases) ensemble of musicians that are making the music. And it’s a world I love to be in, and you need time for that. You need quiet space for that. You need to be kind of in the zone for that, and it’s very difficult to do that when you all lead busy lives." - American composer Joseph Schwantner
The other day, a friend warned me to avoid the new Facebook game, Scramble. Too addictive, he said. If you use the online social networking site Facebook, you know it contains many such delightful ways to avoid work.
The most conspicuous performer at the Olympics probably couldn’t run a mile without stopping. The twenty-six year-old Chinese piano star Lang Lang has been prepping for his part in the Games for three years. He played this morning from Beijing on the Today show. And he’ll pop up tomorrow night during the Games’ opening ceremony.
Click here to hear conductor Eric Townell and myself talk about the Rochester Oratorio Society's recent trip to China. The show, recorded August 1st, was hosted by WXXI's Peter Iglinski. It's about 50 minutes long.