Transcending Genre

November 9, 2010

There are moments here that I find profoundly musical, and all of it feels affirming:

Shirley Verett (1931–2010)

November 6, 2010

Until a few moments ago, I didn’t think I had anything to add to the eulogies that will surely flow in torrents for the wonderful Shirley Verrett. Two of my greatest operatic thrills were of her doing: the first Met Troyens in which, due to the indisposition of Christa Ludwig, she sang the parts of both Dido and Cassandra; and the Siege of Corinth that was intensively publicized as the Met debut of Beverly Sills, who was very fine, but who more or less saw the show stolen out from under her by the amazing Verrett. But thousands share those memorable experiences with me.

What persuaded me to add my voice to the tributes was a Facebook posting (thanks, Christopher Temporelli!) of this performance of THE Mozart Alleluia:

I know nothing of her training in early performance-practice, but she does the most important thing: she “tucks” the least important notes and emphasizes the major tonal points. And a thrilling performance with all the right contours is her (and our) reward. There is also that undefinable something that doesn’t bear, or need, discussion.

And I won’t be impertinent enough to comment on this sublime interpretation of the bereaved Orpheus:

Che cosa posso dire?

Everything But Lunch

November 3, 2010

Remember when “everybody” was swapping those old floppy disks with pirated copies of the WordPerfect program on them, while the profits of WordPerfect every day went further through the roof (which they continued to do until hit by the steamroller that was Microsoft)? That was an early digital example of the permeability of the wall between giving things away and making a profit indirectly, through ubiquity, that has been a leading characteristic of the new-media revolution — one that such outfits as the Electronic Frontier Foundation were quickly founded to preserve and encourage. But the Wild West air behind that foundation’s name is no longer the only one breathed by the culture of free-use on the internet. Now comes a substantive guide to Public Domain and Creative Commons: A Guide to Works You Can Use Freely, including musical scores of works not under copyright. I use such resources every single day and now find some difficulty in imagining how it felt not to have them.

Tip of the hat for link to this resource: Michael Ochs