The fourth annual New York Chamber Music Festival opened today, honoring the centenary of John Cage.
I managed to break a way from the office to take in one of Cage’s unique text-based pieces, “Lecture on the Weather” — a setting of selected writings by Henry Thoreau, focusing primarily on issues of governance and democracy.
In case you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, read this.
Horrors! In one Austrian town, less cowbell! Der Spiegel has the shocking details.
Bass-baritone Evgeny Nikitin has withdrawn from the title role of Wagner’s Der fliiegende Holländer at this year’s Bayreuth Festival. This article will give you an inkling (pardon the pun) of the underlying reason. I’m not buying the sincerity of his public statement of regret at all.
I’m taking two months off from blogging to launch a big project. It probably won’t be a total hiatus, but expect only sparse posting. You’ll see what I’m up to the day after Labor Day.
I’ve just attend an impressive demonstration of some “3D” recordings given by German producer Werner Drabinghaus. The playback system supplements the modern home theater surround configuration with four additional speakers placed high up in a room (in the present case, some 5 meters up in the Gasteig’s “Black Box” venue) on the right and left, front and rear. The results were quite stunning, particularly from recordings where some of the instruments and choirs are placed on risers or a cathedral organ is high above the congregation. Most interestingly, the additional speakers increased the sense of both staging and imaging along with the vertically expanded aural canvas. Drabinghaus is on to something big, especialy given that good quality surround speakers and amplification are a relative bargain, standards that include elevated speakers are beginning to find standardization (including Blu-Ray playback) in the consumer audio community, and multichannel formats are beginning to get traction among the download community.
Okay, so perhaps I exaggerate, but…
He was a giant of the music world, and a particularly important figure in Germany’s postwar era. There’s a terrific biography/obituary at The Telegraph. EMI’s new SACD release sporting high-definition transfer of his four groundbreaking early HMV LPs of Schubert lieder with the incomparable Gerald Moore arrived at my office last week; these are among the most important classical recordings of the postwar era.