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Lou Harry's A&E

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Arts & Entertainment, etc.

The best of times for classical music?

July 20, 2010

Stories from elsewhere that could impact the A&E world:

--The New York Times reports that, for the first time, Amazon.com sold more e-books than traditional paper books. Is anyone else mourning?--

--The Stranger reports that, In Seattle, arts groups teamed together to buy time--not advertising, but programming segments--on a morning talk show.

"Unlike a TV commercial or an advertisement in a newspaper, New Day's bought-and-paid-for segments appear identical to any other segment on the show—but KING 5 and the 5th Avenue insist their financial arrangement is made clear by a brief disclaimer at the end of the program stating that some segments are sponsored."

Among my many questions: Who watches the end credits of a morning chat show?

--At the New York-based City Journal, Heather Mac Donald makes a strong case that we are living in the best time to love classical music.

She writes: "A twenty-first-century music lover plunged into the concert world of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries would find himself in an alien land, surrounded by strange customs and parochial tastes. Works that we now regard as formally perfect were dismembered: only a single movement of a work’s full three or four might ever be performed, with the remaining movements regarded as inessential. Musical forms, such as the sonata, that are central to contemporary performance practice were kept out of the concert hall, considered too difficult for the public to absorb. And the universal loathing directed by today’s audiences at the hapless recipient of a mid-performance cell-phone call would have struck eighteenth-century audiences as provincial, given the widespread use of concerts and opera as pleasant backdrops for lively conversation."

Not only does this make me feel a little more forgiving (but only a little) of the two adult couples behind me who wouldn't shut up during the entire Symphony on the Prairie program on Friday, it also made me want to read Hector Berlioz's Memoires. (I already put one of IMCPL's two copies on hold.)

Your thoughts on any of the above?

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