October 2013

Roman Kim: Upping the ante on Paganini.

October 15, 2013 13:09

Phenomenal! A virtuoso friend called me to tell me that he heard something new that Paganini didn't invent and that I must stop immediately to listen to it. Coming from my friend that is an incredible testimonial:

So here it is; Listen to it all! (Refresh you screen if the embed does not appear.)

or click here: http://youtu.be/t5kzdf8kUeM

The last little bit is something of a gimmick but the mixed artificial harmonics, normal tones and tremolando (did I hear plucking!?) at about 9:00 is spectacular. His fingered octave technique is totally incredible,

15 replies

Is there still such a thing as better?

October 7, 2013 12:27

I have been reflecting a lot on the state of the arts in America. The situation with the Minnesota Orchestra is quite tragic and my normal anti-union sympathies are very softened. I do think that a public institution is being wrecked by some stupid managers. Honesty and transparency is always the best policy and management of the MO has been very opaque.

But the problem goes way beyond management and union relations. If the Minnesota Orchestra were the "it" thing in Minneapolis-St. Paul would this fight even be happening? I don't think so. There are lots of reasons for the decline of the classical arts in America but I want to address just one.

How many of us think that classical music is the best music? Or do you think of it as good music but one of many good kinds of music, including, pop. rock, jazz, gospel, R&B, rap etc.?

I remember when Time Magazine (a dying medium) only reviewed classical music in its music section. There were articles about other kinds of music but performances and records in those genres were not reviewed. It changed at the end of the sixties. Everything was good. Now we get critiques of "muscular riffs" and "wailing trumpets". To me it is like reviewing a comic book as literature. But here we are. Everything is good which really means nothing is good. Blue ribbons for everything.

I am concerned that we no longer think of classical music as partaking of and deriving its power from fundamental values of western civilization. Without that mindset can we expect art to elevate us to something better?

Is there still such a thing as better?

17 replies

More entries: June 2013

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