Sunday, September 30, 2007

I'll take you outta this world baby, with a lovin' feelin.

While I get the hang of a perfectly flat laptop keyboard that radiates heat-- certainly something to get used to--I thought I'd mention a singer everyone's likely heard of already--Amy winehouse. The first time I'd ever heard of her was when she got incarcerated due to her addled fight with her boyfriend. I had no idea who this chick was. Now that I got a computer and a bit of free time, I thought I'd see who this person was, expecting to read about another one of those manufactured stars like Britney and Lohan, and instead I find someone who has a wonderful recent album of heroin-meets-Motown combined with a touch of Diamanda Galas--who has quite a few harrowing releases out there, along with this amazing performance with Alan Wilder's (formerly of Depeche Mode) recoil. Winehouse is certainly in trouble, and her family is encouraging people to ignore her recent album, but from what I've heard, her Back in Black album is worth looking into. Of course, I may be writing this about 9-18 months too late, as is my usual M.O. regarding pop music.

Still no new pictures yet--the drivers aren't readily available for my camera and my hard drives have yet to be easily connected to my laptop.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Back to Music and Politics

Bright and early at 7:45 on Friday, my good friend Joe called me up asking if I was coming down to Indy for the weekend--he had tickets for the Symphony for performances he wasn't planning to attend. I of course said I'd be delighted to lighten him of a couple of tickets. Last night saw the return of the most recent winner of the Indianapolis Violin Competition, which is an event that has seen quite a bit of respectable international attention in the past decade. It turned out that it was the opening concert for the Classical series, so there was quite a bit of prefatory shenanigans going on in the discussion that they often have in one of the reception rooms. Mario Venzago, the conductor, mentioned that some might think that Richard Strauss' Death and Transfiguration an odd choice to open the series with, considering its rather grave opening section. He mentioned that he thought it apt.
Many of the usual folks were there, Friday seeming to be the night that those closest to working with the Symphony plan to attend. Marianne Tobias, the musicologist who writes the program notes, was called on to demonstrate augmented fourths on the piano. Her husband was also there who many will likely recognize--Randall Tobias, the Bush-appointed AIDS "czar," who recently has been in a spot of trouble or two. He seemed to be in quite good spirits, in spite of his shady resignation. Wife Marianne was quite bubbly and seemed to not be affected at all by the recent scandal. either that or the medications are working quite well. Considering that her husband was CEO of Lilly company, I'd assume she's getting the best drugs money can buy.
But I digress. Venzago's comment about Death and Transfiguration being an apt season-opener, no doubt, has to do with the recent shake-up in the orchestra recently, with quite a few principal chairs picking now to retire, and this quite soon after what appears to be a Venzago-leveraged replacement of the Concertmaster the season before. There are quite a few fresh faces (and by this I mean young in addition to new) in the current lineup. The new concertmaster is all of 28 years old.
He was featured quite a bit in the pieces yesterday, with the various solos in Death and Transfiguration, which opened the concert, and the following Poem of Ecstasy, otherwise known as the fourth symphony by Alexandr Scriabin, which is about 35 minutes of sex. Yep, that's about the only way I'd be able to describe it--that Scriabin dude was rather preoccupied. His ten piano sonatas are a great overview of what his style is like and how it evolved into the ecstatic metaphysical vision that he had toward his last years. The audience seemed rather bemused/confused by all the sinuous swirling of the massive forces packed on the stage. I was rather distracted by my nose, as the woman next to me had her perfume set on tazer stun mode. I found I only had a tiny little Dairy-Queen napkin in my pocket and I was doing all I could to make it last through the performance.
The last piece was our Violin Competition winner, Augustin Hadelich, performing the Tchaikovsky Concerto. As winner of the competition, he has been given the use of the Gingold Stradivarius made in 1683 for the next four years, so this was also an opportunity to hear the voice of a famed and ancient instrument. He did wonderfully. As most who have been to Classical performances know, there are folks who think the whole piece is over when only the first movement has ended and they'll clap. Tonight was no exception, especially with the barn-burning ending to the first movement of the Tchaikovsky, but a couple of people in the fourth row went so far as to give him a standing ovation, which brought other people springing up who didn't appear to know any better. This went on for some time, with various Others not knowing quite what to do and standing up to clap while the orchestra had a not-particularly well-hidden chuckle.
I have half a mind to go again tonight, but with finances the way they are, I'll think it's best not to. Next week--The Beethoven 9th. There'll be plenty to see with that one. The general public piles in and proceeds to yawn and consult their watches through the first movements of the symphony, but perk right up as soon as the Chorus stands up. They seem to think that that movement is the 9th symphony. And who knows--perhaps I'll be able to corner Randall and ask him a bit about massage therapy...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Debt, thy name is Davo.

Well, folks, Davo now has a new computer. He has finally entered into the laptop age. He has a smokin credit card. He has descended into the depths of Microsoft Vista, which is truly the most godawful piece of crap software since Microsoft ME. In spite of that fact, Microsoft has blocked purchase of Windows XP, so all have to buy the most godawful piece of crap software since Office ME. Still, though, crap software is better than fried motherboard, so I leave this brief bit here to alert all who religiously check out this blog that I appear to be online yet again.