The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical Music Quiz: What 5 classical performers guarantee sell-outs? What Mozart works does the director of the Mostly Mozart Festival like most? What noises are the most rude or intrusive to make at a concert? Did fiddler Nigel Kennedy ever do illegal drugs?

August 13, 2011
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By Jacob Stockinger

The week has been slow on classicla music news, but big on features. In fact, many of the items make up a kind of quiuz.

Hope you enjoy it.

ITEM: Can you guess who are the five classical music stars that can guarantee a sold-out performance? Ask Washington Post critic and blogger Ann Midgette (below), who wrote a piece on the 40th anniversary of Wolf Trap and cited others’ opinions. Still, The Ear think there are more performers and that sell-outs can also depend on the venue and the program as well other artists.

ITEM: What are the Top Five pieces of Mozart (below top) favored by Mostly Mozart Festival director Louis Langree (below bottom, in a photo by Benjamin Ealovega)? You’ve got to love Frenchman Langree’s candor and openness – as well as his terrific choices, though curiously there are no sonatas, or trios, or string quartets, or viola quintets among them. Take a look and then take a  listen:

ITEM: James Oestreich (below), a music critic from Wisconsin who works for The New York Times, considers the role of annoying and intrusive sounds at concerts – sounds including his own mechanical heart valve as well as oxygen pumps and coughs. What sounds annoy you most at a concert? How about those oblivious listeners who unwrap cellophane-wrapped candies and cough drops during the quietest part of a slow movement?

ITEM: Did Bad Boy concert violinist Nigel Kennedy (below) — aka Kennedy, aka Nigel Kennedy — do drugs at a nightclub with an executive of his recording label who is now a MP (Member of Parliament)? Who knows for sure and who can prove it? But doesn’t it seem out of character for the one-time punky string star?

Who are your favorite performers who would guarantee you’d come to their concert?

What are your Top Five works by Mozart?

What noises most annoy you at a concert?

Did you ever do drugs with Nigel Kennedy?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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