WXXI Classical Blog

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Several years ago, my friend Nina was walking into the art building at Houghton College when she noticed something lying on the ground. It was a clay head—sculpted, fired, and then, apparently, despised and rejected. Nina studied its flat features, twisted lips, and Medusa-like hair. She asked around. Nobody claimed it, and so she carried it home and planted a snake plant in the open cavity on the top of its head.

The plant thrived in its dirt brain for a couple of years until my friend accepted a new job teaching at Bowling Green University in Ohio. While we were packing up, she yanked out the plant and stuck the head in a heap of junk to throw away. I noticed it.

“I’ll take it,” I offered.

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Cary Ratcliff: Who He?

He’s a composer.

And he’s having a good year.

In this picture Cary Ratcliff is preparing the Hochstein Youth Singers for Saturday’s premiere of a set of songs called 'Goops and Hula Hoops.'

He’s currently writing an opera for children's chorus and chamber orchestra that will be performed in San Diego in the spring.

Also this spring Concentus Women's Choir will present 'Song of Woman,' to poetry by Rochester poet Francesca Guli.

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RPO, Grammys

Jeff Tyzik must be bummed.

The RPO’s excellent Gershwin CD didn’t make the list of Grammy contenders announced today in Los Angeles. About pianist Jon Nakamatsu’s 2007 much-praised collaboration with the RPO, my colleague Mordecai Lipshutz said, “At least they’re selling well.”

"That's not right!" exclaimed my friend Carl Pultz when he heard the news that the RPO had been left off the list. Carl says this proves the nominating system is "corrupt."

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Dust in the wind

Every now and then I think of him.

The last time was Friday on my way to the Plum House, a Japanese restaurant on Monroe Avenue. I swung by his old house, curious to see if the new owners had ripped out the hulking evergreens blocking the front porch, the bay windows, and the lights within.

They hadn’t.

Before he died, composer David Diamond said he wanted his ashes to be spread between the graves of his parents in Mount Hope Cemetery. His long-time friend and former neighbor Sam Elliott did that for him, with some of the ashes. But Sam got an idea. He divided the remaining ashes into thirds and poured them into three 6-inch plastic vials with screw caps.

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Classical 91.5 features local groups in holiday specials

Classical 91.5 is featuring lots of local groups this holiday season!

If you'd like to enjoy all the riches that Rochester has to offer this season, but you don't want to go out in the cold and blowing snow, just tune to Classical 91.5 or 90.3 FM for these local holiday specials:

Wednesday 12/5 - 12:10 p.m. - Live from Hochstein features "Holiday for Horns" with the Eastman Horn Choir under the direction of Peter Kurau.

Sunday 12/9 - 1:00 p.m. - RPO Holiday Pops 2006. Join RPO Pops conductor Jeff Tyzik, the Festival High School Chorale and vocalist Steve Lippia for this annual holiday tradition. (Repeats 12/25 at 10:00 a.m.)

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Apologize

"And I need you like a heart needs a beat
But it's nothing new - yeah
I loved you with the fire red-
It's too late to apologize, it's too late
I said it's too late to apologize, it's too late whoaa ohhh . . . "

- from the song “Apologize” by Timbaland

How many times can you listen to the same song over and over again?

A commercial radio station in Philadelphia had faith that its listeners wanted to hear Timbaland’s song “Apologize” 123 times. In one week.

That’s a record, according to Jeff Leeds’ recent article in the New York Times. “Apologize,” by the modern rock band OneRepublic and producer Timbaland also broke the national record for the most plays of a song on Top 40 stations in a week. It played more than 10,000 times.

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The Happiness Meme

I’ve been tagged with the Happiness Meme by my friend Andrew, who keeps a fascinating personal blog at http://drewtherat.blogspot.com/2007/11/happy-happy.html.

You're probably thinking what I thought, which was, "OK. What does that mean?"

The rules are simple, Andrew wrote. Just create a post about any number of things that have made you happy recently. Then tag any number of people and have them post this meme on their blogs.

I thought about it and decided to pick ten MUSICAL things that make me happy. They are, in no particular order:

1. Anticipation. The guitarist tuning her strings . . . the strings answering the oboe. . . the singer removing his chewing gum . . .

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Yes, we have no Endangered Bananas

I must say, it’s fun to walk into a concert hall with no expectations.

On Tuesday night, I entered Kilbourn Hall with my fashionable friend Carin, a notebook, and two kids: I told my children to sit wherever they wanted to and draw pictures. They hopped up to the back row.

We went to hear Ossia (pronounced “oh-SEE-ah”), the student contemporary music group based at the Eastman School with a time-honored tradition of omnivorous, unpredictable programming.

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singers' paradise

Welcome to singers’ paradise!

Click here to read my essay on choral music published in Rochester’s City newspaper, November 28.

http://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/music/articles/ESSAY%3...

Tomorrow . . . adrift on the sea of Ossia.

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The Met on pay per view

Movies, radio, satellite, PBS, and now . . . pay per view.

Starting in January, The Metropolitan Opera will offer pay per view through a deal with In Demand. Read more here:

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117976629.html?categoryid=...

On another operatic note, Bryant Manning, a music stringer at the Chicago Sun-Times and Time Out Chicago sent an e-mail to the NEA Fellows I met in New York last month. He writes:

“Yesterday I interviewed the Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and
he voluntarily brought up Renee Fleming. When we were in NY, Ms.
Fleming was lambasted by some as a terrible and overrated singer. So
for entertainment purposes, I thought *some* of you might be surprised
he said this:

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