Classical Music’s Hell Week

(Vanska himself may not be free of blame: Leonard Slatkin helped resolve the Detroit Symphony Orchestra strike simply by keeping his mouth shut in public.) Back in New York, Carnegie Hall has cancelled its opening-night concert, which was to feature Joshua Bell, Esperanza Spalding, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, because of a stagehands strike . The stagehands are picketing the hall with a giant inflatable rat; no word yet on when concerts will resume. New Yorks big story is, of course, the demise of New York City Opera: Mayor Fiorello La Guardia founded the company as the peoples opera, but the current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, declined the chance to save it . As the saying goes, the organization fell apart gradually, then all at onceFred Cohns fine piece in Opera News, from January of 2012, laid out the companys long history of artistic triumph and financial difficulty, and virtually predicted its end. The bad decisions of George Steel, City Operas last director, were piled on top of those made by Susan L. Baker, the former board chair, and by Gerard Mortier, Steels putative predecessor, who never actually took up the job. There are those who think that if Francesca Zambello, the widely respected director of Glimmerglass Opera and of the Washington National Opera, whose operatic expertise outstripped Steels, had been appointed in his stead, the company would still be in business. But now well never know. The silver lining to all this is that opera in New York is alive and wellespecially the feisty, contemporary kind. Young American composers are practically falling over themselves to write operas, in all sorts of styles and on all sorts of subjects; there are workshop programs (like that of American Opera Projects) out there to nurture them, and daring new ventures, like the Prototype festival (spearheaded by Beth Morrison Productions), to mount them. Gotham Chamber Opera, no longer a fledgling effort but a solid player, produces inventive stagings of operas old and new; Amore Opera, the successor to the beloved shoestring company Amato Opera, puts on not only family-friendly Mozart but such daring ventures as the U.S. premiere, in 2011, of Mercadantes I Due Figaro, a work from 1835 that had just been given its first modern performance by a scrappy outfit called the Salzburg Festival. The catch is that all of these smaller outfits, while thoroughly professional, do not put out the kind of world-class performances that City Opera could, at its best, reliably presentnot just in the glory days of Beverly Sills and Samuel Ramey, not just in the fresh and innovative Handel stagings of the nineties and aughts, but in the companys final effort, the stunning, American-premiere production of Anna Nicole, a recent, vital work by a major composer, Mark-Anthony Turnage (originally presented by the Royal Opera House Covent Garden), which closed at BAM barely a week ago. Work on that level will likely be continued at Lincoln Center, certainly by the Mostly Mozart Festival, and probably by the New York Philharmonic, where Alan Gilbert has led stagings of operas by Ligeti and Janacek at Avery Fisher Hall. And what about BAM ?

How country music went crazy: A comprehensive timeline of the genre’s identity crisis

Perhaps to the Multi-Genre Awards Show, Featuring Artists under 30. I realize speaking out will cause me to now be forever banned by CMT. But Im tired of folks messing with my country music. Especially when it involves my dear friend George Jones. July 3: Laura Bell Bundy signs with Big Machine to make pop-country She is a natural to lead the Country Dance Music movement that is starting to blow up and Im confident we will find great success with her many talents, said Scott Borchetta in a press release . July 10: Montgomery Gentry releases musical travesty Tittys Beer The song wasnt a hit (thank goodness), but it did give traditionalists sufficient ammunition to say that the genre was getting dumber by the day. August 1: Florida Georgia Lines Cruise becomes longest-running country No. 1 ever Due to changes in Billboards chart rules, which now count airplay on pop radio (where the songs Nelly-assisted remix thrived all summer) as well as country radio (where the song was a hit in 2012) on the Hot Country Songs chart, Cruise topped the list for 26 weeks, thus becoming the longest-running No. 1 country song of all time. Country blogger Windmills referred to the record as meaningless over at MJs Big Blog . August 5: Tom Petty calls modern country bad rock with a fiddle in Rolling Stone Well, yeah I mean, I hate to generalize on a whole genre of music, but it does seem to be missing that magic element that it used to have. Im sure there are people playing country that are doing it well, but theyre just not getting the attention that the shittier stuff gets I dont really see a George Jones or a Buck Owens or any anything that fresh coming up. Im sure there must be somebody doing it, but most of that music reminds me of rock in the middle Eighties where it became incredibly generic and relied on videos. August 11: New York Magazine s Jody Rosen coins the term bro country Cruise is bro-country: music by and of the tatted, gym-toned, party-hearty young American white dude. Its a movement that has been gathering steam for several years now, and we may look back on Cruise as a turning point, the moment when the balance of power tipped from an older generation of male country stars to the bros Country has always been pops most mature genre Bro-country breaks with that tradition.

Sinead O’Connor pens open letter to Miley Cyrus: ‘Don’t let the music business make a prostitute of you’

Phones have already taken over as the portable music players of choice. Do you know anyone who still uses a MP3 player, one that’s not also a phone? Today’s bands and record labels know their audiences aren’t listening at home on a stereo, so they have to make sure the music’s volume never changes. That way the listeners can hear it well enough in the noisiest of places. That’s why engineers compress music, compression boosts the softer sounds, and flattens the really loud bits, so it all comes out sounding the same. From a whisper to a scream, it’s all equally loud. Adding a little extra zing to the mix helps it cut better over the lowest-fi Bluetooth speakers, especially when there’s lots of competing sound on the beach or park or other settings. And since most BT speakers are just one speaker, mono is well on its way to replacing stereo over speakers. They haven’t figured out how to lose stereo over headphones just yet, but given enough time I’m sure it will happen. Of course, folks who occasionally listen in quieter places, over decent speakers or headphones, are rightfully appalled by the sound. They voice their outrage on various forums , including this blog , but we more attentive listeners are just a tiny minority. Most folks happily consume overly compressed and processed music, and sadly, I can’t see that changing anytime soon. That’s reality; the engineers will continue to skew their mixes by pumping up the midbass and adding sizzle to the treble, so the sound cuts through the murk.

An inconvenient truth: Why music sounds bad

If they want you sexually that doesnt mean they give a f about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you dont give much of a f about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they dont give much of a f about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped.. and that includes you yourself. Yes, Im suggesting you dont care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We dont encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them prey for animals and less than animals, a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and its associated media. You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesnt see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever.. Dont be under any illusions..