• Art,  Music

    Anthonie Tonnon’s new album: Successor

    I have been enjoying Anthonie Tonnon’s new album, “Successor,” for the past few days. Tonnon is a New Zealand musician with a previous CD and EP under his belt with “Tono and the Finance Company.” In his most recent CD he’s embraced a meandering sort of ballad writing that digs underneath characters and settings with verses that seem, at first glance, to be made up of a series of asides. and her beauty is the only thing her whining generation has given to the world oh but you would pay off her loan if it could make her yours The songs are all about frustrated, strange and somewhat horrible people surviving the…

  • Art,  Early Music,  History,  Music,  Myth,  World Music

    New Sappho poems

    In the most recent issue of the New Yorker there’s a charming little long read about recent discoveries in the life and work of Sappho, including two new Sappho poems (or… whatever). The two fragments, one discovered in 2012 the other in 2004, take on the subject of idiot relatives and old age. [I bring] the beautiful gifts of the violet Muses, girls, and [I love] that song lover, the sweet-toned lyre. My skin was [delicate] before, but now old age [claims it]; my hair turned from black [to white]. My spirit has grown heavy; knees buckle that once could dance light as fawns. I often groan, but what can…

  • Early Music,  Events,  History,  Music

    Breval, Campioni and the Vivaldi Project

    On February 6, we attended a concert of The Vivaldi Project, a DC-based Early Music quartet centered on Elizabeth Field on violin, and Stephanie Vial on Cello (Both women have extensive educational material related to Baroque music on Youtube). The show was focused on 18th century string trios, our favorite of which were pieces by Jean-Baptiste Breval (1753-1823) and Carlos Antonio Campioni (1720-1788). Breval’s trio stood out the most among the set of seven played that night. Breval was a professional cellist active in the musical life of Paris during its most exciting half century (the theatre he worked in was a meeting place for counter-revolutionaries during the French Revolution). His trios…

  • Music

    Fights over Rachmaninov

    So this happened: Andrei Gavrilov refused to play the Rachmaninov D minor in Moscow last  night. The audience was told that he was not feeling well. Gavrilov posted something else on his Facebook page: They didn’t play the Rachmaninoff. They played the notes that did not even reminded me of Rachmaninoff. It was playing at the level of sick chickens, incubator imitating nightingales. In the end Alexander Ghindin took over for him, because, he was in the audience, and… why not? More melodrama and a response from the orchestra at the link.

  • Music

    Amarrass records

    A new record label selling South Asian field recordings has attracted some attention. Here’s the NYT: Mr. Sharma and Mr. Malhotra, both 37, said they want to preserve the music of the Manganiyars, whose songs — devotionals as well as stories of births, deaths and love, often about the Hindu families that are their patrons — have no written record. The two men said they were inspired by Alan Lomax, the musicologist who more than half a century ago traveled the American South recording previously unknown blues musicians. And like Lomax they hope to preserve the music and to bring it to a wider audience through a small, independent record label…

  • Music

    Shin Joong-Hyun, South Korea’s Jimi Hendrix

    Talking about mean electric guitar: That was Shin Joong-Hyun, who the Economist a few months back referred to as a South Korean Jimi Hendrix. His life story is far more rock&roll. In 1975, a few stoner-fans gave him marijuana, which he says did nothing more than make his head hurt, and prevent him from concentrating on his music. The police busted him all the same. He was sullied in the press as a drug addict, and subjected to waterboarding and other forms of torture while imprisoned. He was later sent to a mental institution and, upon his release, banned from performing music for life.