The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Amazon’s new TV comedy “Mozart in the Jungle — Sex, Drugs and Classical Music” depicts the problems of classical musicians in New York City, and gets cheers and jeers from critics for The New York Times and National Public Radio.

January 22, 2015
8 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

Bankrupt symphony orchestras and opera companies?

Highly trained but out-of-work classical musicians?

The unfortunate realities of classical music in contemporary American culture have made their way into a fictional comedy.

Fresh off its surprise win in the Golden Globe awards, Amazon Studios is broadcasting an unusual comedy series based on the behind-the-scenes problems and trials of classical musicians in New York City.

It is called “Mozart in the Jungle” – a title that reminds The Ear of the moving scenes in the classic film “Out of Africa” where recordings of works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  — including the sublime middle movement of the Clarinet Concerto — are played by multiple Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep and Robert Redford on a phonograph in the midst of the African bush.

Below is a photo by Nicole Rivelli of Amazon Studios that shows Gael García Bernal (right), Bernadette Peters and Malcolm McDowell starring in the classical music comedy series “Mozart in the Jungle.” You can see the trailer, which has a lot of details and bacground and which already has more than 1 million hits, for the new streaming series in a YouTube video at the bottom.

mozart in the jungle

But this urbane comedy take gets mixed marks for its realistic depiction of the difficulties of the classical music scene in New York City, which could easily apply elsewhere.

Here is the critique from NPR of National Public Radio by Anastasia Tsioulcas:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2015/01/15/377232599/what-we-love-and-hate-about-mozart-in-the-jungle

And here is the review by critic and reviewer Zachary Woolfe for The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/19/arts/television/mozart-in-the-jungle-an-amazon-series.html?_r=0

If you have watched “Mozart in the Jungle, let us know what you think.

The Ear wants to hear.


Classical music: Play the expert insider. Listen to excerpts and then vote in the BBC Music Magazine Awards for 2015.

January 18, 2015
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By Jacob Stockinger

It is the season of entertainment awards, what with the Golden Globes, the Oscars or Academy Awards, and the Grammys among others.

YL Oscar foods statue

grammy award BIG

Those awards are given out by privileged insiders, who work inside the various industries.

But when it comes to classical music, you — and the ordinary listeners or the “common listener,” as writer Virginia Woolf might term it — can also vote in the BBC Music Magazine Awards for 2015.

So here is your chance to play the expert insider.

True, only United Kingdom residents can win prizes. But anyone can listen to the 1,200 entries and vote for the 200 ultimate winners.

Here is a link to the introductory story:

http://www.classical-music.com/news/vote-bbc-music-magazine-awards-2015

And here is a link to the various excerpts:

http://www.classical-music.com/awards

BBC Music Magazine


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