The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: Israelis play Wagner at Bayreuth. First African American orchestra principal is featured in a PBS documentary. Cincinnati Museum discovers huge cache of musical instruments. Robert Spano cleans up the Aspen Festival. Help Gramophone magazine pick the Artist of the Year. Album art pioneer Alex Steinweiss is dead. Guess what hurts when they make you a castrato.

August 6, 2011
3 Comments

IMPORTANT CORRECTION: AN EARLIER VERSION OF THIS POSTING INCORRECTLY STATED THAT HARPIST ANN HOBSON PILOT — THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN TO HOLD A PRINCIPAL CHAIR IN A MAJOR AMERICAN ORCHESTRA — HAD DIED. THAT IS NOT TRUE. AS AN ASTUTE READER CORRECTED IN A COMMENT, SHE IS STILL VERY MUCH ALIVE AND PLAYING,  AND THE  WORD “LEGACY” HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HER DEATH. I APOLOGIZE TO MS. PILOT AND TO READERS  FOR THE INACCURACY, AND I HAVE MADE APPROPRIATE CHANGES TO THE NEWS ITEM BELOW.

By Jacob Stockinger

There aren’t many connections among the items today. But the news does feature some names all classical music fans should know and some intriguing or even surprising factoids:

ITEM: Want to vote for Gramophone magazine’s Artist of the Year?

http://www.gramophone.co.uk/classical-music-news/vote-for-the-gramophone-artist-of-the-year-2011

ITEM: Israelis play the music of the notoriously anti-Semitic composer Richard Wagner (below) at that most Wagnerian shrine, the Bayreuth Festival – quite a turnaround:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2011/08/01/138720659/a-tradition-shattered-israelis-play-wagner-at-bayreuth?ps=cprs

ITEM: The first African-American woman to become a principal in a major American orchestra – harpist Ann Hobson Pilot (below) — is being featured in a documentary:

http://articles.boston.com/2011-07-28/ae/29825699_1_harp-repertoire-harpist-harp-concerto

ITEM: Maybe you can’t judge a book by its cover. But many of us have bought recordings based on their cover art. So we should remember Alex Steinweiss (below), the man who turned album covers into art (my all-time favorite covers were the old Nonesuch classical LPs) and who died at 94:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2011/07/28/138706064/alex-steinweiss-remembering-the-modern-cover-man

ITEM: Do you like discovering hidden treasures, like people do on “Antiques Roadshow”? Well, the Cincinnati Museum of Art recently discovered – uncovered? — a stash of some 800 historical music instruments hidden in storage:

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110722/ENT/107230324/Art-museum-rediscovers-spectacular-instrument-collection

ITEM: First, Russian conductor Valery Gergiev cleaned up the Tchaikovsky Competition. Now it is American conductor Robert Spano (below) who has cleaned up the Aspen Festival:

http://www.denverpost.com/music/ci_18525400?source=rss#ixzz1T5lcuW00

ITEM: Natural countertenors can be grateful. Apparently the famous 18th century castrato Farinelli (below, ca. 1775) suffered more than was originally thought when he was “fixed”?

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21128224.600-lack-of-testes-gave-castrato-superstar-headaches.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news


Posted in Classical music

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