Wednesday, December 14, 2005

An evening out!

Friends of ours from church took us out to a concert last night. It was so much fun – I haven’t been to a “real” concert (i.e. not high schoolers!) since…hmmm…maybe not since college. It was in the Disney concert hall, which really is as cool as they said it was going to be. Their organ is to die for. And the acoustics are such that the small string ensemble just seemed to sparkle with brilliance. It wasn’t as good for the LA Master Chorale, but they are extremely competent and could probably sound good in a tin bucket.

On the program: Bach’s 5th Christmas cantata (yay!), another Christmas cantata by one of his contemporaries, a Jewish composition (current) and a variety of carol arrangements. Really delightful, particularly the Bach. I also especially liked an arrangement of “Lo, How a Rose, Ere Blooming”. The arranger was intelligent enough to realize that you can’t improve on the original, so he didn’t change anything for the first verse. That is, hands down, my very favorite Christmas piece, so I particularly appreciated his choice. The rest of the verses were quite nicely arranged, and I enjoyed them, too, of course!

Now, I just have to comment on the program notes. They were HIDEOUS. I should say that again. Hideous. JAC warned me, but I had to read them for myself. For the rest of you…don’t ever subject yourself to anything by Victoria Looseleaf. Except for a few excerpts, which I am now going to post for your daily dose of laughter (you have to laugh – otherwise you’d just cry or get mad.)

She opened her notes with the lovely assertion that “Were he alive today, his popularity would, no doubt, rival that of Diddy, Bono and the Pope, his image beamed world-wide in media of all stripes: In Times Square, 20 stories high, that famous wiggy silhouette dances joyously with an iPod; he’s also smiling haughtily from the pages of Vogue under the banner, ‘What becomes a legend most.’”

Right. This is drivel, certainly. But it gets worse.

She is talking about J.S. Bach.

Did you know that he is “the original sonic blingmeister”? What is that, anyway?

Ok, it gets better. I mean worse. The next object of her rambling is Buxtehude, a Bach contemporary.

“After all, Buxtehude put in nearly 40 years at St. Mary’s in Lubeck, his musical autonomy a model for careers of later Baroque masters, including George Frideric Handel, with parallels today in Houston rapper Bun B paving the path for Slim Thug.”

Yes, you read that right. She just “paralleled” Buxtehude, Handel, and rappers.

I could do this with most of the program notes. They’re just awful! I think the only thing in them that actually (had she elaborated on it) could have helped me was the statement that the Bach cantata is “predominantly in A major”. Now there is a fact! Everything else was just…drivel. And not even the high brow “I’m smarter than you and if you were just one of the elite you would understand” drivel…just plain old drivel.

It’s too bad for the LA Master Chorale. They really deserved better, because the concert was quite good. You should all go to one of their Christmas season concerts. :)


Elena said...

I'm glad you got to get out for an evening of good music!

You're joking on the program notes, right?

Whatever "blingmeister" means, I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean a quiet, impoverished church organist who left behind manuscripts of a genius only centuries would reveal.

Emily said...

I am so not joking about the program notes. Hard to believe, isn't it?

Sarah said...


this is too much. thanks for making my day over here.