Thursday, February 22, 2007

Classics Without Walls

The Bay Area is down to one very bad classical music radio station, KDFC - and its corporate master has just sold it to another big corporation, so who knows what will happen to it? (I filled out their listener survey and gave them an earful about how to improve the programming.)

If you can get the KUSF signal - stream it to your computer if not - listen to Classics Without Walls, which is broadcast from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday nights (Pacific time).

The CWW DJ is Mark Theodoropoulos, whom I'm known for a long time. He is erudite, a great writer, and a fabulous programmer. Take a look at those playlists! Classic music with intelligence!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Keeping Track

I was going to blog the known and suggested sources of the "Hatto" CDs, but Andrew Rose is on top of it; visit the Pristine Classical Web site to follow the bouncing ball or the Joyce Hatto article at Wikipedia.

Andrys Basten has an excellent page of all the goings-on. Jessica has a link to pianist Christopher Howell's views of the matter. MusicWeb has a long list of Hatto-related material on its home page.

Dear Mr. Barrington-Coupe:

It's up to you to provide the explanations now.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hatto Update

There's plenty of commentary around the blogosphere at this point; use Google Blog Search to find many postings I haven't cited below.
I've never heard a note of Hatto, by the way. I could easily have been taken in.

Update, Feb. 19: Jessica links to an excellent editorial on Classics Today. It's in two parts, somewhat annoyingly: Part 1 and Part II.

Breaking Scandal

The British pianist Joyce Hatto, who died last year, has become something of a cult figure - I believe I first heard her name on a great pianists mailing list I am a member of. The eminent critic Richard Dyer called her the "greatest pianist no one's ever heard of."

Perhaps not. In a rather fascinating breaking scandal, it seems a number of the recordings issued by the Concert Artist/Fidelio label, which is owned by Hatto's husband, are by other pianists, including Yefim Bronfman and Laszlo Simon. Here are links to relevant articles:
The forger evidently didn't realize that digital recordings encode enough information to allow iTunes to identify the tracks. Ooops!

Not Much of a Girl

For various reasons, something I say about myself is that I am definitely a woman, but I'm not much of a girl. My partner (female) says this about me all the time, in fact. If you've met me, I feel sure you understand why.

Well, I am happy to announce that it's really true. A posting at Making Light, Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden's blog, pointed me to the Gender Genie, a site that analyzes word use in a block of text and then makes a guess at the author's gender.

I plugged in four chunks of text. Three were postings from this blog, one was an essay of sorts about things going on in my life at the moment (work, my mom's health, etc.). I indicated that the first two were blog postings and called the third posting and the essay nonfiction.

My scores were as follows:

For my blog review of The First Emperor, female score 1870, male score 2847.

For the blog posting about the Berkeley Symphony, female score 716, male score 873.

For the blog posting about Fidelio at S.F. Opera in 2005, female score 564, male score 1015.

For the essay, female score 1492, male score 1543.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


I somehow dropped Mr. Noise from the blogroll during the migration. He's back now. It was completely inadvertant.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Horrible little animal

No, really.


Christian Tetzlaff got the short end of the stick the other day in San Francisco: his performance of the Brahms violin concerto, in which he more or less burned up his bow, the stage, and the whole auditorium, got buried under the coverage given to the premiere of Robin Holloway's Fourth Concerto for Orchestra.

I understand why, I really do. In most circumstances, the Brahms would have been the big piece on the concert. But the Holloway is a gigantic, entertaining, attractive, brand new, possibly important piece, and such works do need lots of attention. I'm glad it got the coverage it got.

STILL. Tetzlaff deserved more than a token couple of paragraphs at the end of the SFCV and Chronicle reviews. Based on what I knew, I was expecting a cool, restrained, austere performance of the Brahms. What I got...well. A hot, impassioned, intense, emotional, and extremely beautiful performance. WHAT a player he is, what assurance, what tone, what involvement.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Postcard from Paris

San Francisco Symphony's French program of Berlioz, Debussy, and Dukas: you really must go.


The Met high-definition TV broadcasts are proving popular enough that it seems nearly all will be encored. You can catch I Puritani again on Tuesday, February 13 at 7 p.m. and Ha-Shi-Woof The First Emperor on Wednesday, March 7 at 7 p.m. or Sunday, March 11 at 1:30 p.m. (Two repeats?? Well, why not?) Times are the same in all time zones. Visit the Fathom Web site for more information and to buy tickets.

By me the repeats are real evidence of a pent-up demand for opera. The broadcasts are a win for everybody. $18 is more than movie theaters can get for a first-run film, but a lot less than a trip to NYC. The performers and the Met get lots of exposure (and the composers, in the case of permieres). Goodness knows, it's helping fill the gap between SF Opera's fall and summer seasons. Let's hope that Doctor Atomic is on the list for broadcast in a future Met season.