Classical Music Buzz > BOOM'S DUNGEON
BOOM'S DUNGEON
Boom
Much of what is in this blog is related (sometimes only tangentially) to art music. Occasionally I use insensitive language in referring to various arrogant or incompetent assholes who managed to get on my nerves. If you're squeamish about such language, then stay away from this blog. To contact me, use boomboomsky at gmail dot com.
278 Entries

[Elliott Carter] walked out of Orchestra Hall before the [Chicago Symphony's] 1984 performance of his Symphony of Three Orchestras because he objected to the seemingly flippant tone of conductor Leonard Slatkin's spoken introduction.
John von Rhein, "Composer Elliott Carter has chosen a difficult road", Chicago Tribune, November 22, 1992.

I always like to talk about a difficult piece before I perform it. ... I meant no disrespect to Mr. Carter.  Simply because I don't like a particular piece of music doesn't mean I can't lead a performance. I even recorded the Pachelbel canon. 
     ... On the other hand, I still don't like Mr. Carter's symphony. ... I don't hear much in his work at all.  It's just a series of mathematical gestures, piled on with needless complexity.
Conductor Leonard Slatkin speaking to Tim Page in "An American Conductor Succeeds at Home", New York Times, May 20, 1984.


I take it as obvious that Leonard Slatkin's remarks in the above New York Times interview are those of an arrogant asshole with a seriously underdeveloped musical mind and a grotesquely inflated sense of self-importance.  What caught my eye in this interview, however, was not so much Slatkin's display of philistinism and rudeness - he isn't the only baton-waving hack to have insulted Elliott Carter - as his bragging about having performed musical works he actively dislikes. Slatkin's musical masochism made me wonder if, aside from being irrational, it is unethical for a musician to give public performances of music he actively dislikes and which he is not contractually obligated to perform.
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11 months ago | |
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This post is for fluent Russian speakers only. Read more »
1 year ago | |
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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/97/NBC_News_logo.png

Homeowner Shoots Dead Robber 

Who Answered Craigslist Ad

(January 26, 2016)
When a headline from a major news outfit can be read as telling us that a dead person answered a Craigslist ad with the intention of committing a robbery, perhaps it is time to give up our fetishistic obsession with science and rationality and accept that zombies are real after all.

Then again, perhaps instead we should accept that the retards at NBC are simply incapable of recognizing semantic ambiguities as obvious as this one.  At least not right away.  A couple of days after its initial appearance, the above headline was changed to a saner version which reads "Homeowner fatally shoots robber who... etc."  Alas, the clean-up job wasn't thorough enough, leaving embarrassing traces not only elsewhere on the NBC website, but also in a number of other media outlets (e.g., Chicago Sun-Times) which picked up the original story from NBC.
1 year ago | |
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I.Caruso was waiting for me at a small public park in Studio City not far from his girlfriend’s house.  Ex-girlfriend’s house, to be precise.  About an hour earlier she threw him out and took away his car keys because she owned the car he had been driving.  The finality of their separation was certified by the ugly bruise on the left side of Caruso’s face.  The bruise was still spreading like a lunar eclipse when he limped to my car from one of the picnic tables near the parking area.     “Frying pan?” I asked after he planted himself in the passenger seat.     “Magazine,” he said.      I took another quick look at his purple cheekbone.  “Must have been Vogue.”     “Didn’t notice,” he sighed, “but the damn thing was thicker than a surfboard.  I really didn’t expect it.  Marina was holding it with both hands, like she was about to open it and read something.  I was in the middle of a sentence when she just swung it with a two-handed grip and whacked me in the face.”     “And the limp?”     “Tripped on something in the hallway.  I was in a hurry.”
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1 year ago | |
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The above image comes from a brief scene in Woody Allen's film Irrational Man (2015), where one of the principal characters gives a piano recital at a small college auditorium.
     Assuming Woody Allen had not become senile by the time he made this film, I can think of only one plausible explanation for what seems to be an embarrassing display of cultural illiteracy by one of America's distinguished filmmakers.  Allen simply liked this particular composition of the scene and decided that viewers who insist that the purpose of a raised piano lid is to project sound toward the audience can go fuck themselves.

1 year ago | |
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No, not that Milton.  I am giving up on the music of Milton Babbitt.
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1 year ago | |
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A superbly produced HD video of a 2015 concert performance of Elliott Carter's Clarinet Concerto (1996) by Moritz Roelcke and the young musicians of Orchester der Zürcher Hochschule der Künste conducted by the German-based American conductor Jonathan Stockhammer.  The highest 1080p video quality (choose by clicking on "HD" icon) comes with a 256 kbs AAC audio track which sounds vastly more realistic and natural than any of the currently available commercial studio recordings of this concerto.

Usually I find watching performances of serious music a total waste of a sensory modality, but in this case the visual experience enhances (if slightly) the theatrical aspect of Carter's musical design.  Throughout this concerto's seven short movements Carter pairs the soloist with different instrumental groups, and the soloist has to move around the stage (during brief orchestral interludes) to play each movement standing next to the designated instrumental group.
1 year ago | |
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Just saw the news that Pierre Boulez died yesterday.
No other conductor did more for the cause of  contemporary music in the past half century.
I will miss his formidable intellect on the podium.
1 year ago | |
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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

1 year ago | |
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The conductor Kurt Masur died today.  Some will remember him because they own his mediocre recordings.  I will remember him as the pompous asshole who, in 1996, embarrassed the New York Philharmonic by stipulating that a work commissioned by the orchestra from Elliott Carter would be performed only if he (Masur) personally approves it.
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1 year ago | |
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