Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Riding the Crust of the New Wave

I knew I had something in common with New Wave robot Martian Klaus Nomi. Turns out he was a master baker, specializing in pies and cakes. He even paid for some of his promo photos with pies. Poor Nomi: he never did find a sweetie to bake sweets for. Such an odd little creature, and all alone at the end. It breaks my heart.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Eye's So Messed Up

They're calling him "authentic"? They're charmed by his lack of finesse? OK, the critics can have Bright Eyes, whose singing is turgid and out of tune, and whose "arrangements" (such a misnomer) for everything including the kitchen sink are more knotted and painful than the LA freeway at rush hour. Oh, but that makes him authentic. Authentic WHAT? Smart lyrics don't cut it: find some damn musicians to write, arrange, and play your songs. Why is that considered shameful?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Colorful Lyre

Last weekend at Glimmerglass, I heard the Berlioz edition of Gluck's Orpheus and Euridice, using its French libretto. This "reform" opera returns to the mantra of Monteverdi, that the music exists only to serve the dramatic needs of the words. Gluck's writing eschews the trite predictability and galant schmaltz so popular in the pre-classical period.

But why was there a fiery coloratura aria in the middle of the opera? Full marks to young soprano Michael Maniaci for his wicked licking of this music, but I was amazed and suspicious to hear such a display of virtuosity in a Gluck opera. Time to dig around in some old scores, it seems. Berlioz [top] simply can't be trusted.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

In Good Company

Happy 60th Birthday, Brian May. You've joined the rarified stratum of sexagenarian Rock Gods! Keep thrilling us with the Red Special, and keep working on that dissertation, dear Brian.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Oldies Are New Again

I was so sad when CBS-FM, New York 101.1, went off the air, to be replaced by the all-computerized Jack-FM. But yesterday, the unprecedented happened: CBS got so many complaints from oldies lovers that they reinstated the old station (adding the '80s to its mix), as well as most of the voice staff. Yeah!

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Char-lady's Favourite

I am a terrible ironer. I'm not very good at it, and I'm very slow. I also procrastinate until there is a mountain to be done. The only thing that can keep me concentrating at the ironing board until the entire pile is pressed is Erasure's "Pop! 20" greatest hits album. That's nearly the only time I listen to them, but they certainly play an important role in my life. So, cheers, guys. Wanna come over and just do my ironing for me? I'll sing for you!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

We Can Still Hear Your Voice

R.I.P., Beverly Sills. You'll always be my Violetta.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Static and Kinetic

I don't know why I should expect Out magazine to supply sophisticated music criticism, but I took their recommendation and listened to the new Patrick Wolf [top] album. They described his songs as "gorgeous." Clearly, I'm missing something, because I got bored with every song before it was done.

Still, I do miss things sometimes... take Rufus Wainwright [bottom]; I'm nine years late discovering that fascinating wordsmith and melody weaver. Sorry, Rufus. But now I get the joy of learning all your albums. Such a cool name, too!