New York

In New York for the Chamber Music America conference. Talking business all day, so it’s up to the Tkts 50% off booth for a theatre ticket for tonight. Going to “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”.

Art & Entertainment Wars
Lots of spirited discussion at the conference about the difference between “art music” and “popular music”, whether or not sophistication is the kiss of death, why elitism in cultural is anathema yet exclusionary cliquish behavior in popular culture is a irresistible… Predictably inconclusive but reassuringly spirited discussion.

The Blogosphere
I met Drew McManus this morning at a “Blogging (or how to build an audience without leaving home)” session at the Chamber Music America conference. And I was flattered today to see that Deceptively Simple mentioned my blog. He finds my writing a little too “touchy-feely”, but I’ve been called worse. I’ll take it.

Insperiences
I was yanked back to my grouchy concert-going episode of last week by an entry in today’s Artful Manager posting. The current buzzword seems to be Insperience. It’s not news that affluent consumers are creating state-of-the-art entertainment environments at home – but does this new technology keep people from seeking out live performances or supplement (maybe even whet appetites…) for more?

The Road to Hell
It’s paved with my good intentions to keep practicing all month. This week totally got away from me. Got into the Bach WTC but ending up fast-forwarding past all of the fugues with more than 3 voices and anything in a key I don’t particularly like. (For the record: C-Sharp Major, a-flat minor, oddly enough E major.) Anyway, I’m consoling myself with the knowledge that a large portion of the February 3rd concert is devoted to material that is reduced from orchestration and songs that exist both in pianistic and orchestral versions. I’ve convinced myself that it’s equally important for me to spend some time this week listening to the Mahler Wunderhorn songs, and a smattering of Mussourgsky and Wagner.

Shuffle
The fog outside the train window this morning was opaque, and I was dreading firing up the laptop to do my usual installment of travel work. My Amtrak seatmate was flustered to find out that she had forgotten her laptop power cord. I kindly (and unselfishly…) offered the use of my laptop cord so she could work, effectively giving myself an excuse to plug into my iPod for 3 hours.

  • Nicolai Gedda, Beethoven’s Adelaide. Some synchronicity here. Beethoven’s In questa tomba is on Alan’s recital.
  • Ann Hampton & Liz Callaway, Our Time from Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. A gorgeous song from a problematic musical that I adore.
  • Hide and Seek, Imogen Heap. Thanks, Lexi.
  • Birgit Nilsson, Liebestod. (The shuffle can only offer so many coincidences. I admit I went in search of this one.) I met Ms. Nilsson only once – I was the pianist for a master class she gave some 25 years ago. In spite of the bad rap I’ve given master classes on these pages, I must admit that my memories of that afternoon are all positive. Astonishing artist, classy lady, generous spirit. May she rest in peace.

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