The More Things Stay The Same

In a recent Huffington Post article, Metropolitan Opera Director Peter Gelb responded to the accusations that John Adams’ opera The Death of Klinghoffer is an antisemitic work, and to the protests surrounding the opera’s inclusion in the Metropolitan Opera’s current season. In his brief essay, Gelb accuses many of those who describe Klinghoffer as antisemitic of being uninformed and ignorant of the production:

It would seem that most of those violently objecting to our presentation of Klinghoffer have no interest in knowing what the opera is really about. Without having read the complete libretto or ever having seen the opera, they nonetheless are quick to condemn it. For them, giving any voice to terrorism is a sin in itself.

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31 Days: Days 1-15

A few articles back, I gave a brief narrative on how the circumstances of my life that led me to decide to create 31 new works in just intonation over 31 days. Once I decided to take on such a project I had to go about actually composing the works—which dominated my life over the next month. All works in the 31 Days cycle were composed using a G = 1/1 system, in which G (or 1/1) is vibrating at about 392 Hz (or powers thereof).

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Tangential Tidbits

When I research for articles, I often come across odd tidbits that are tangentially related to the topic and sometimes more interesting in their own right. In my recent article on Starship’s 1985 hit, “We Built This City,” I discovered a couple of these bits and pieces of knowledge that didn’t fit into the narrative of the post.

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Starship’s “We Built This City”: How Could Something Like This Happen?

In 1989 I attended the opening of San Diego’s new waterfront convention center with my father. My most vivid memory from that event was hearing Starship’s 1985 single, “We Built This City,” play as the fireworks danced in the sky over San Diego Bay. Since I was nine at the time, I didn’t know Starship’s song and I didn’t remember when it hit the charts in 1985. What I do remember was feeling how appropriate the song was to the event: a celebration of a building being built, and an exciting fireworks show.

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New York Polyphony Contributes to Christmas Creep

We all know about the Christmas Creep: that phenomenon of Christmas celebrations inching earlier and earlier into the year. There’s something a little unsettling about seeing Christmas decorations in the aisles of stores before Halloween. What happened to the halcyon days of waiting until Thanksgiving? This year New York Polyphony, the acclaimed vocal quartet, decided to contribute to the Christmas Creep by releasing their newest album, Sing Thee Nowell, in early September—and I couldn’t be more delighted.

Sing Thee NowellI’ve been following New York Polyphony for several years now, and I’ve always been impressed with their work. This album however, is excellent even by their already high standards. Sing The Nowell is a wonderful blend of old and new Christmas carols. In typical fashion for New York Polyphony, their recording features standards like Victoria’s “O Magnum Mysterium” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and works by contemporary composers such as Andrew Smith and Richard Bennett—whose Five Carols are excellently performed. But the real gems of this recording are Verdelot’s “Gabriel Archangelus” and several compositions and arrangements by members of the quartet.
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