When I started blogging in October, I did it for my own pleasure. I saw it as an absorbing way to think out loud about classical music, flex my writing muscles, and pass on information that isn’t exactly newsworthy, but worth something. I really like doing it, and hope you like reading it.
Even though I set out to write for myself, I’ve become increasingly fascinated by the number of readers drawn to each post. I can see this number, which most can’t, and you might be surprised by what’s attracted the most attention.
The former Music Director of the Rochester Oratorio Society, Roger Wilhelm, had a very serious heart attack during the early hours of Christmas Eve morning. He was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital and was placed in a drug-induced coma for 48 hours. As of today, he was taken out of the coma and has had a miraculous improvement and is now alert and able to speak.
Wilhelm is currently serving in his last season as Music Director of Madrigalia.
His family asks for prayers – no visitors, no flowers. If you wish to send greetings, please send to Roger’s home address: Roger Wilhelm, 4280 East Ave. Rochester , NY 14618.
I've been so busy with the holidays that I missed the fact that Alex Ross named the RPO's new Gershwin CD one of the best of the year! (Read more here: http://www.therestisnoise.com/) Finished The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand last night. Today I'm playing my last services as the choirmaster and church organist at my Episcopal church. I have barely enough time to wipe away a tear of bittersweet relief before the whirlwind of visits begins. Wednesday, off to Ohio to visit a college friend. I hope to post a few times over the next week, including Things to Look Forward to in Rochester in 2008. Merry Christmas to you!
Those who think classical music is kinda sexless, boring, or soulless haven't heard soprano Danielle de Niese. She sang Messiah last weekend with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Rochester Oratorio Society.
It’s that time of year, time to consider the people you care for most. Whom do you love? Whom do you want to spend time with? Whom do you HAVE to spend time with? Are you happy? What does that mean, exactly?
You might've read my recent post about Rochester composer Cary Ratcliff. He's writing an opera for children's chorus and chamber orchestra that'll be performed in San Diego in the spring.
Cary got more good news this week. He writes,
“I wanted to share with you the news that Eleni has been selected for the New York City Opera 'VOX' showcase of new operas this May 10/11. Half an hour of Eleni will be performed un-staged by their singers and 60 (?) piece orchestra. A giant thanks again to all who have helped to move this work toward some hoped-for production. Now I gotta finish up that full-orchestra orchestration...”
Last night millions of Americans witnessed the birth of Clash of the Choirs, NBC’s glitzy, Prozac-driven TV competition of amateur choirs. Singers were picked and prepared by celebrities Michael Bolton, Patti LaBelle, Nick Lachey, Kelly Rowland and Blake Shelton. Over four nights, starting Monday, each choir will compete for the votes of American viewers and a quarter-million dollars in prize money for charity.
Music geek that I am, I was excited by the possibilities, imagining millions of viewers transfixed by the beauty of Morten Lauriden’s Lux Aeterna or Mozart’s Requiem. Lives would be changed!
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.
I had the privilege of interviewing writer Alex Ross of The New Yorker last Friday. His new book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, a cultural history of music since 1900, was named one of the top ten books of 2007 by The New York Times and various other publications. He’s a clear and vivid writer, and I will die happy if I ever write something one percent as illuminated and coherent as his book.