Classical Music

Bring back the court composer, part two

Just a day dream....

Concerning the court composer or orchestral organization composer and compensation. Almost every orchestra has a donor or 20 with guest houses somewhere in the city. The composer would receive housing. The donor gets to possibly ...

Bring back the court composer

With no new symphonies to speak of, what's to be done?

Why not bring back the court composer? Way back when, aristocrats used to have their own orchestras and composers who wrote music for those orchestras. Why not bring that model back? What if the San ...

Do great singers ever really die?

The recent death of Jon Vickers is part of a strange phenomenon

Jon Vickers died on July 10, 2015. He had been retired since 1988 and had a prolonged struggle with Alzheimer’s. It’s a strange phenomenon when an artist of his stature dies. The first reaction, if ...

Classical... karaoke?

Faure's Requiem draws a participiatory crowd in Mission Valley, Vivaldi's next

There is a series of "summer sings" at Mission Valley Methodist Church over the next several weeks. I went to the first one on Wednesday, July 8. The piece for the concert was Gabriel Faure's ...

Because one opera company isn't enough

San Diego City Opera to launch its season in October

Last year, San Diego almost had no opera company. Now it has two. This is a feat New York City couldn't pull off. New York City Opera closed down in 2013, leaving that city with ...

Star-spangled drunk

Real talk about the national anthem

Let us talk "Star-Spangled Banner." First, the tune is a British drinking song — people would sing this while they got drunk and nobody had a problem with making this the national anthem of the ...

White nights, summer romance

Soundtracks for the sunny season

When considering classical music with a summer theme, sometimes the title gives a clue — as in Frank Bridge's Summer. There is also Summer by Glazunov and Vivaldi. See there? Now, what do all three ...

Summer of nothing

Beethoven sits us down by the stream and does... nothing

Our recent little thunderstorm reminded me of what is probably the best piece of summer music: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6. There are fives sections of the symphony, one of which is a thunderstorm which passes ...

Miss what most of us never had

James Agee and San Diego: Summer of 2015

Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Is there a more nostalgic title? It evokes a yearning for simpler times, a time when fathers watered their lawns by hose in the evening, after supper, while children played and ...

More complicated than you might think

A soprano isn't just a soprano

Let’s talk about soloists and concert music. I’ve yet to be impressed with any soloists at any of the orchestras in town. I’ve found them all to be serviceable at best and miscast at worst. ...

Are you free?

Singing for free is the norm, so why make it an issue?

Why don’t orchestras pay choruses for the concerts that require a chorus? Why would an institution with a $20 million budget not pay choristers? Here’s the deal. They do pay choruses, but they pay the ...

Racy conclusion

Beethoven contemplates but Mozart drives fast

As of June 20, the Mainly Mozart Festival is done for 2015. The final concert was a study in contrasting styles of music. Or perhaps I should say contrasting moods instead of style. The entire ...

Shining, happy people

Mainly Mozart musicians deliver a Biblical experience

“As he [Jesus] was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus...As the ...

Preaching to the choir

The bar is too low for choral vocal work in classical music

Warning: This article is critical of some current choral practices. If you’re a singer in a choir, you’ve been warned. Let’s talk about this explosive “k” at the top of every mass. The opening text ...

Top-notch Mozart by way of Bach

San Diegos request to classical music might just be "talk to us a little"

Saturday night’s Mainly Mozart concert was a wonderful experience of musicology. Conductor Michael Francis spoke before each piece instead of having a printed “Maestro’s Notes” in the program. This is the type of approach which ...