When news hit that Renée Fleming was recording an indie rock album, my first reaction was:
But then I told myself to keep an open mind. It’s not often that an idea as unlikely as this one gets green-lighted, and if Fleming faltered, the album would join a large pile of failed classical crossovers. She didn’t falter, and the album, Dark Hope, became one of my favorite of the year.
When I saw Fleming would perform three tracks from Dark Hope with the Seattle Symphony, I bought tickets, despite some initial reluctance over the price. I wasn’t disappointed.
Of course, I don’t listen to much classical vocal music, let alone opera. So I can’t comment how well she interpreted Maurice Ravel’s Sheherezade, or various arias from Franz Lehár, Charles Gounod or Erich Korngold.
Fleming, however, is a modern music advocate, probably not as fiercely as Dawn Upshaw, but the program she sang at Benaroya Hall on March 16 included works as recent as 2007. On that, I can comment.
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It’s a change that’s long overdue, but I’m experimenting with using WordPress to deliver Musicwhore.org. For all this time, I’ve been using Movable Type to manage the content, but using my own custom code to deliver it. That’s an artifact of the days when the content was subsumed in the old artist directory, which I haven’t really updated since 2005.
Of course, the “Hello World” title of this entry is the default that gets generated when creating a new WordPress site. So I may as well repurpose it to say, “Hello, world! Welcome to a remodeled version of Musicwhore.org!”
The plan for now is to soft launch this site — make a few updates, get a feel for how readers interact with it.
Then I’ll unveil it to the rest of the world.
The overriding theme of 2011 could take on a number of guises. It could be the Year of the String Quartet. Or perhaps the Year of New Amsterdam Records. An argument could be made that it was the Year of Spotify.
It certainly wasn’t a year dominated by Japanese rock. Yes, the top half of the Favorite Edition 2011 list is occupied by Japanese artists, but they’re the concentrated minority in a series of lists dominated by string quartets and new music ensembles.
My tastes have been shifting gradually away from Japan over the past few years, but it seems 2011 marks the first real evidence of that wane. Another indicator — new release e-mails I receive from CD Japan don’t actually feature specific albums by artists I like. They’re all compilations now.
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