Thoughtful piece up on NPR about how to become a music journalist. It just leaves out the most important thing: learn the nuts and bolts of music, as a performer and in the classroom. Then, get good. Last thing we need are more "music journalists" who have not trained in making music. Controversial subject, I know, but it's my stance. The writing, the networking, it will all come, if you have something to say.
Today the teller in Citibank asked me what I do for a living. I'm a writer, I said. That's awesome, she said. It can be, I said, but it's not as fun as some people think. Then, I left to go take a ping-pong lesson.
LA psychologist Lina D'Orazio (@ladolcelina) in response to the tele-therapy piece on the @Atlantic online. She writes: "While I appreciate the increased access to affordable mental healthcare, I'm not sure it should come at the expense of security (Skype and Gchat are not secure, which puts confidentiality at risk) and quality of care. I know licenses don't guarantee quality care, but they do guarantee protection when things go wrong. I have a feeling that this hasn't happened to this "Angry Therapist"...yet. Perhaps a solution to this could be a special license for telehealth that is recognized nationally."
Tomorrow is Serge Koussevitsky's birthday, but I want to celebrate him today, get a jump on the festivities --I can link to his recorded performances tomorrow.
Who was he? Pictured above, next to the taller (!) composer Aaron Copland, he was the commandingly sensitive Russian-born conductor who, along with Copland and others, taught the young Leonard Bernstein, and who created much of what the Boston Symphony's Summer home in the Berkshires, known as Tanglewood, became.
Tanglewood is where my family was forged, and so there's more than simple lineage there for me as a music lover.
I wrote about this subject for NPR last year when Tanglewood turned 75, but as my family would visit the festival at least once each summer, so shall I celebrate it annually.
I have Koussevitsky to thank for many things, including that piece, and I'm not the only one. (See this link for a letter from Bernstein to Koussevitsky that I quote in the NPR piece.)
To think of what life was like for the young Bernstein, learning from the master Koussevitsky, and from Copland, some 70 years ago: All that I can say is that it's not just one film but a series of them from many perspectives that could never tell the stories well enough.
Koussevitsky, who led some of the most important live concerts of his day (some preserved on record), commissioned among other works Ravel's Piano Concerto, Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, and through his foundation had a hand in the creation of Copland's Third Symphony (including the famed Fanfare for the Comman Man), as well as Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra and Britten's Peter Grimes, to say nothing of other staples of modern concert music.
A lot of people think of Bernstein and Copland when they think about Tanglewood, but the main music shed, where big concerts are held, is named after Koussevitsky, and sometimes I think that the whole 20th century in concert music could be named after him. Or at least include his name prominently, along with others.
Koussevitsky was driven by gratitude for music, for composers, and for those who loved making and listening to music. I'm grateful simply that he existed; in a practical sense, I might not have seen the light of day without him.
Extract from press release of the day: "Poo~Pourri has been delighting people with the clever names of their pre-use toilet bowl spray scents for some time: Heavy Doody, Royal Flush, Potty Mouth, Trap-a-Clap and more, have been a great source of laughter, but in reality these blended essential oils are very effective at keeping the bad smells out of the air and in the toilet where they belong."
I was recently in New York, spending time with family, when I learned of my baby nephew's seemingly natural affinity for Lee Morgan. His father, my brother, would keep it on in the car as we drove around the city, and then in his home. I'd missed listening to it while watching New York, or any east coast city, roll by. The playing, clarity, stands alone. Morgan sadly didn't make it past 33, and he would have been only 75 today. But he's still very much alive for many of us, including the newly born.
"The morning of the day I got sick I'd been thinking... it's good to be in something from the ground floor..."
I first learned about The Sopranos at NPR's old headquarters. I was new to my job, to any office job, and people in the building were talking about the show, apparently passing around VHS tapes. I asked to be put into the queue. Two people were ahead of me. When at last I received the tapes I found myself fall ill, spend four weeks at home with a high fever. This was the first time that James Gandolfini came into my life. Every day, I had something to do while I rested, healed, that I loved. Books sat unopened, I shared the show (show? superfilm?) with my visiting father. Eventually, I got better, returned the tapes, asked for more, signed back up for HBO. Now, when I look at The Sopranos scripts -- and a better version of this comment came originally from an astute friend, Will Berson, in conversations we would have about the show -- I see that despite the show's great writing (a show about millenial America, about watching, about the now, about entropy), it was the acting that made it, especially in its early seasons when it was lighter. That acting was lead by Gandolfini, in practicality and in purity of spirit, and today, I return to watching Sopranos episodes, often just for the enveloping performances, for Gandolfini's life-affirming,selfless devotion to his art. The watching will go on.--Adam Baer, www.adambaer.com