By Jacob Stockinger
But here is something of a substitute, or at least an addendum or supplement, to that event to celebrate the great Johann Sebastian (below).
It is an urgent but polite request, a direct solicitation from radio host Rich Samuels (below), who writes:
“I’m preparing a special Bach’s Birthday edition of the Thursday 5-8 a.m. classical music program I host on WORT 89.9 FM, which will air, of course, on March 21. (WORT’s headquarters at 118 South Bedford Street in Madison is pictured below.)
“I’m hoping to include pre-recorded segments featuring performances by local Bach lovers. (I have the capability to make broadcast-quality recordings in the field).
“If you know of anyone who would like to participate in this joint effort, please let me know.”
Rich Samuels, WORT, 118 South Bedford Street, Madison WI 53703
Here is more contact information:
By way of details, Samuels adds:
“You can mention my effort whenever you wish. I’d like to get the recordings made in February. Of course, I have no idea how many people want to participate in this effort.
Participants will have to provide their own instruments, page-turners and performances spaces (but they are probably clever enough, in the case of keyboard artists, to have access, somewhere, to a well-tuned piano or harpsichord).
It’s probably best for people to contact me via this email address, so we can work out times and places.
My goal since I began hosting this show a couple of years ago is to feature local performers as much as possible.
A REMINDER: The annual “New Year’s Day Concert From Vienna” (below) with the Vienna Philharmonic under conductor Franz Welser-Most and with TV host Julie Andrews will air this morning on NPR (and Wisconsin Public Radio) at 10 a.m. this morning with the TV version airing tonight on PBS (and Wisconsin Public Television) at 7 p.m. For more information and links to a play list of Strauss family waltzes and polkas plus works by Verdi and Wagner and lots of background, visit:
By Jacob Stockinger
Today, Jan. 1, 2013, is New Year’s Day.
The past year was not an easy year in so many ways.
Especially disappointing is the increasing polarization or partisanship one sees not only in the US but also around the world. I myself fear for the rise of right-wing fanaticism (often signaled by hatred of immigrants, a callousness toward social welfare and the oppression of minorities) in Greece and elsewhere because of economic situations. Economic strife often leads to war or other forms of strife and suffering. (Below is a CNN photo of an austerity protest riot in Greece.)
One can only hope for much better in 2013.
So that makes this “flash mob” performance of Beethoven (below) all the more appropriate and moving. It certainly was an emotional experience for and for the very old friend who sent it on to me — as well as for the more than 8 million viewers so far on YouTube.
It is the perfect piece – or, to be precise, the perfect excerpt of the perfect piece – in words and music — performed in a perfect way that was commissioned by Banco Sabadell in Barcelona to mark its 130th anniversary, I believe.
It gives one hope – especially at a time when Spain, like so many other countries, in undergoing the trials, tribulations and testing of austerity.
Judge for yourself – be sure to look at the facial expressions of the children and the ordinary people who just pass by and stop to take it all in. You can see that great music connects and bonds.
And let us know what you think by leaving something in the COMMENTS section.
By Jacob Stockinger
Offhand, I can’t think of many Turkish pianists who have stood out in their interpretations of Western classical music.
But the young keyboard wizard Fazil Say (below), 42, is one of the exceptions.
Maybe the only one.
Say, who is also a composer and who plays and performs jazz, has the impressive technique — the chops if you will — plus the interpretive ability and artistic affinity to leave you deeply impressed with his reading of, say, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Ravel among others.
Just look at all the 5-star User Ratings his CDs get on Amazon.com:
Here is a link to his official fan website:
But now it looks as if Say, who admits to being secular and to supporting a secular government in his native Turkey, will have to take up a home in exile (probably in Japan, he says) because he has been charged with the equivalent of heresy or blasphemy by Turkey’s government and threatened with arrest, trial and prison. (Below is the famed Blue Mosque in Turkey.)
Specifically, he is accuse of, and investigated for, insulting Islam, and other religions, because he Tweeted that he is an atheist. He was indicted and a trial is set for Oct. 18.
It all sounds very similar to what happened to the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk (below) who was charging with libeling or insulting the Turkish government because he referred to the Armenian genocide by Turkey in 1915 — which Turkey officially denies ever took place, despite the testimony and evidence provided by many experts and historians.
After worldwide protest, Turkey dropped those charges,
Maybe the same outcome could happen for Fazil Say (below and at bottom, playing ironically Mozart’s “Turkish” Rondo).
Here are links to stories and other blogs about Say’s unfortunate predicament:
No matter what the right-wing here says about the need for more state-sponsored religion, now you can see why the Founders wisely wanted in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to establish a wall of separation between church and state. In their own lifetimes, they had seen what the mix of religion and government or politics did in Europe and elsewhere.
So: Looks like it’s time to speak up for free speech, artistic freedom and freedom of religious in Turkey.
What do you say about Say and his plight?
Leave a note of protest and support in the COMMENTS section. Maybe it will persuade Turkish authorities to relent – although I wouldn’t count on it.
Shame on Turkey!
Shame on Islam, Christianity, Judaism and all other forms of religious intolerance and oppression!
Shame on religious zealots of all kinds in all places and at all times!