Monthly Archives: March 2009

Puff piece

Steven Lemons writes a very interesting piece in the Phoenix New Times on the continuing imbroglio between Michael Christie and the Phoenix Symphony.  My goodness, what controversy!!  And check out those comments — Mr. Christie seems to inspire very passionate opinions both from his admirers and his detractors.  That probably means he’s doing something right.

Speaking of trade mags and puff pieces, what is this “Listen” Magazine that showed up in my mail today?  Did everybody else get this? (he asks his non-existent readership…)  I haven’t actually read it yet, but if I were to judge it by it’s cover (which I think you can do with a magazine) I’d say it’s total crap — just look at the quality of the print and the paper.

A further examination of the contents reveals that this is just another BBC Music or Grammaphone magazine — a bunch of puff pieces about the most famous classical musicians and some lame CD reviews, sprinkled liberally with ads for pianos and opera recordings.  And on top of that, there’s no CD.  BBC and Grammaphone include a CD glued to each edition of their magazines (which makes them even more overpriced than they otherwise would be).  The “Listen” website has a link called “Purchase Music”, which made me think, “well, maybe for a buck or two, you can download a compilation of the tracks referenced in this issue…”

Instead, you are directed to a search page on that lists ALL OF THE CD’s referenced in this magazine.  No no no, this will not do.  Wait a second… flipping through the pages of the magazine, I notice that at least half of the ads are for ArchivMusic.  Well, I think we’ve adequately solved THAT mystery.

But while I’m on the subject, what’s with this Leonard Bernstein 90th anniversary stuff?  I mean, come on people, you couldn’t wait 10 years?  Don’t get me wrong, I think every day should be Lenny day!  But I don’t like the idea of milking every tiny postmortem milestone for every last drop you can squeeze out of the guy’s name.

I mean, just look at him.  He’s so beautiful.


OK, and I’ll say it, though I probably shouldn’t: this does bother me a little.

It must be a slow news day in Cincinatti

The Paavo Järvi saga continues: Mr. Järvi has entered a plea of not guilty in an Ohio court.  But let’s go to the videotape and be the judges for ourselves: 

 Also, reader challenge: WHAT IS HE LISTENING TO?  You only get to hear it for like 4 seconds at the start of the video.

It gives me a certain satisfaction to see that there are no fewer than 8 pages of reader comments on this story at (linked above), the only problem being that so many of the commentators have a real attitude problem, seeing Järvi as some elitist trying to skirt the law.  Why can’t fun little classical music scandals without it being some kind of social commentary?  Where’s our Amy Winehouse or Britney Spears?

Woe is me.


How often do we get two (2) legitimate items of gossip from the world of classical music?

1) Paavo Järvi, of the Estonian dynasty, charged with DUI.

2) Rufus Wainwright’s opera REJECTED! (Actually, from the description, I’m really looking forward to it.)