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OMG, when I was in college the music department would have a weekly one-hour recital that was intended to teach performers how to get their acts together and perform on stage. Of course, one only had to perform once in a semester, but some of us more nerdy music students couldn't get enough of bringing weird music to all the faculty and clueless students. Once upon a time, my best friend and I arranged it so that after one of the recitalists had finished and the applause was dying down, we continued clapping. Everyone stared as we got up from our seats, walked from the audience onto the stage (while still applauding), and broke into the initial rhythm of Clapping Music. We managed to perform the entire thing without screwing up or laughing (which we often did, out of sheer joy).

When I was a wee boy, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg came to my little hometown in Texas to play with the Symphony. I remember asking her autograph and being horrified to see that her with her marker she'd made her name look like nothing but a series of heartrate graphs. How could someone with such control over arms, wrists, and fingers have such deplorable handwriting?

P.S. This.


Get out of my head. We are so on the same wavelength with Dawn. I'm deeply jealous you were present at Upshaw's recording of "This is prophetic". When I first heard "No Word From Tom" I couldn't imagine who this fantastic composer was. (The piece came to me out of context. No liner notes.ARGH.)When I found out it was Stravinsky, I balked. So I went and got the Gardiner recording with Terfel and York, which is fine, but "No Word" simply wasn't the same. Sad face.


You got turned on to opera by Dawn Upshaw singing Pat Nixon's aria from "Nixon in China"? That's got to be some kind of first, dude and congratulations.

I used to go standing room at the San Francisco Opera in the mid-70s but I found the form rather silly, to say the least, until I heard a good cast perform Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and I had one of those blinding revelations, "Oh god, this stuff is supposed to be good." This was quickly followed by productions of Britten's "Peter Grimes" with Jon Vickers and Janacek's "Jenufa" with Sena Jurinac and Elizabeth Soderstrom. After that, it was all over and I was a committed slave to opera.

Who was playing at the Hemlock last week, by the way. I'd promised Mr. Amarkhanian I would be there but fell asleep before it was time to start (yes, I'm turning into an old fart).

And mezzogregory, everyone's musical tastes are different, but if you're still "balking" at Stravinsky, then anything you write about music is deeply suspect for its sheer ignorance.


I love Stravinsky. I would have been less shocked if the music had been part of his primitivist oeuvre. "No Word From Tom" didn't sound like anything I would have expected Stravinsky to write at the time. Perhaps balked isn't the right word. Guffawed? Spit milk out my nose? However, no one denies the sheer level of my ignorance. There's so much to know about music, that I will spend a lifetime just getting around to finding out how deeply ignorant I am.

M. C-

Blevin Blectum and Chris Willits were at Hemlock; Heather noted her reactions here. We had surprisingly similar reactions, considering the fact we didn't even talk about the performance afterwards! Heather spells it out differently and much better than I would; basically I found Blevin's set entrancing in its variety and intensity, whereas I found myself falling into a trance in Chris's set due to its homogeneity.

Nick, tx for that track, and here's something else to ponder: how could someone with such control over arms and wrists almost have sliced off her finger while cooking?


Dahlin, have you heard Rolando Villazon live? There's always hype, but where there's smoke, there's usually a fat cigar, and Rolando is a stunning latin lyric voice. I was there at his Met debut (opposite the Fleming in Trav): smallish instrument but manages to pierce through, and once it reaches you, you're taken to another place where you don't care if you're raped. Now, rape is a serious thing, but with a voice like that, he gets clemency straight from the pope. And speaking of pope, I hear that he and his personal secretary are ... ooooops.

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