Top Posts From AJBlogs 01.03.17

Cry of the Heart
Several months ago,, the host of this blog, posted an article about opera in Great Britain that had the following teaser title: Opera Is Not Too Posh And Exclusive, And If You Think It Is, It’s Your Own Damn Fault, Says Opera Bossread more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2017-01-03

Belletto’s Birthday: Two Recordings
This is the birthday of saxophonist and bandleader Al Belletto (1928-2014), providing a perfect reason to listen to two of the recordings he and his sextet made in 1957. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-01-03

Nine for Four
In 2009 I heard the Prism Quartet play Pagine, a set of arrangements by Salvatore Sciarrino of works spanning several centuries.  I was taken with suppleness of the ensemble, its ability to adapt itself to … read more
AJBlog: Infinite Curves Published 2017-01-03

Derek Gripper’s Classical Kora Transcriptions
The last day of WOMEX is usually taken up with an awards ceremony and last minute networking within the world music community. But this year it found me traveling through Galicia in a bus bound … read more
AJBlog: OtherWorldly Published 2017-01-03

Cast a cold eye
For all its increasingly aggressive incivility, I still get a fair amount of pleasure out of Twitter, enough so that I continue to take part in threads which amuse me sufficiently. Here’s a recent one: … read more
AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2017-01-03


Music In The Age Of Discovery (So Why Do Our Choices Seem To Be Narrowing?)

How are you discovering music? Radio used to be the main way music spread. Now it’s YouTube videos, and, increasingly, streaming channels that figure out playlists algorithmically. But the promise of all music anywhere courtesy of the internet hasn’t really worked out. Increasingly our musical worlds are defined in narrower terms and we have to work to get out of them.

The promise of the internet and the opportunity for democratization in music just haven’t gone the way I’d hoped, so these soundtracks and pointed multimedia releases have been welcome. As music discovery becomes more concentrated and consolidated (goodbye, Vine) thanks to Spotify recs and Tidal-only exclusives (my New Year’s resolution: cancel Tidal) and Beats 1 premieres that one feels obligated to indulge for the sake of relevancy, the free-for-all that once was a deep-dive internet search for a weird track has dissipated a bit, in lieu of streaming services handing you what you want on a platter. “Discovery” features feel like an exercise in marketed groupthink, even when they occasionally do yield new music.

Now we more and more live in musical bubbles defined for us by behavioral formulae. It might feel like we’re being adventurous because we’re encountering music new to us. But that “new” is selected to fit familiar characteristics of music and artists we already know.

Perhaps nothing wrong with that. We like what we like and why not have more of it. But as we increasingly live inside our niches while fooling ourselves that we’re still encountering new experiences, our ability to have common culture and shared cultural experiences erodes.

LA Or San Francisco? Where Will George Lucas’ Billion-Dollar Museum Be?

“The “Star Wars” creator is financing the project himself. He plans to spend more than $1 billion to build the museum, endow it and provide a trove of initial artworks valued at over $400 million. Together with Chinese architect Ma Yansong, Lucas has proposed a sleek, futuristic design looks like a cross between the Guggenheim and a galactic starfighter. The museum’s bold design and concept make clear that the 72-year-old filmmaker sees it as part of his legacy, and he is increasingly impatient to break ground.”

Edinburgh Invests Another £300,000 In Its Festivals

“The extra money will go the Expo fund, which is available to the 12 key Edinburgh festivals to help Scottish artists create and showcase their work on an international stage. It takes the total sum given by the government to support the festivals in 2017/18 to £2.3 million. The cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, Fiona Hyslop, noted that the combined festivals attract 4.5 million attendees and contribute £313 million to the Scottish economy.”