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Alt Classical + links

August 18, 2010

This was a links post, but I got carried away….

I really wanted to review Corey Dargel’s new album, but Frank Oteri said everything I wanted to say and more.  I also really really love this quote from Dargel in an interview with Danny Felsenfeld:

I prefer the term “art.”  I know, I know, all the pretentiousness alarm-bells are going off, but for me, to call something “art” is merely to request that your prospective audience pay careful attention to what you’ve made. Here’s another way of putting it: I’m not interested in competing with commercial culture for your attention.  I’m going to assume that I’ve already got your attention, and so my goal is to hold on to it and to reward you for paying attention.

(emphasis mine).  I think that’s at the heart of the current alt classical conversations going around the internet.  Perhaps Dargel could sell a million records if he worked to become the darling of Pitchfork, but I doubt if he did he’d really find himself in a place to fully communicate with listeners.  I’m not trying to say Pitchfork listeners are dumb or anything, but I think in that venue, part of Dargel’s message would be lost.

I respect all of the composers that get branded with the alt-classical label to respond with some discomfort.  A lot of art at its core is communication, and I think often people like to group artists together make it easier to describe what that group is trying to say.  By doing that though, individual messages get lost, and at times an artist may even have words put into their mouth against his or her will.  That’s not a good spot to be in.

That said, I think it’s tough to deny that there isn’t some sort of community of ideas (musical and otherwise) in places like NYC and elsewhere that can collectively be described as alt-classical.  At William Brittelle’s Television Landscape record release, the sense of community was hard to miss.  While I’m not going to suggest all of those people march in lockstep from le poisson rouge to Brooklyn, I think it is fair to say there is some sort of camaraderie there.   I’m not going to through the word around a lot, but I do believe in its existence.

Hey, let’s teach the arts in schools.

This *was* on the Dallas Cragslist page, but has been removed:

What is up Dallas I am a classical orchestra conducter looking to conduct a GIGGING orchestra. No startups, I don’t care how rehearsed you are. Not looking to make it big, been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, just looking for a well trained professional orchestra that wants to jam on the weekends maybe play a few open mics or operas once in a while. NO ORIGINALS, just looking for covers. You know, Brahams, Mozart, Beethoven, maybe a little Rachmaninov for kicks. I can conduct the **** out of those! I have been conducting since I was 12. I have conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, The Philidelphia Opera Company, to name a few. Like I said, not looking to make it big again, but still want to work with PRO players with PRO attitudes. I have connections with the Myerson, and can get us booked there no problem. I have pro attitude and pro gear and pro transportation. My gear includes:

Newland Custom “Silhouette” Conductor’s Baton
Mollard Lanico 12″ Baton
Mollard Lanico 14″ GOLD series Baton
Manhasset M48 Symphony Music Stand (with podium light mod)
Perry Ellis Italian wool Tuxedo- regular Dinner Jacket or TAILS!
Patent Leather Shoes

YOU- Must have pro gear, tuxedos, shoes, 420 friendly, Hit me up and send me a sample of your orchestra-ing. I don’t care if it’s just a crappy demo your orchestra recorded in the garage. I’ll know if it’s good or not, and I’ll know if I can conduct the **** out of you!!!!!!!!

(h/t Jack Curtis Dubowsky for the link)

Paul Hillier is all over my iPod, and he’s a fabulous musician.  Apparently he was arrested for not paying child support.  Its tough to really make blanket statements in these matters, especially since he claims that his rights have not been met in the matter, but at the same time, one needs to support his children.  Its tough to have so much respect for a person and then find not so flattering information about him.


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