RILM
Germany rocks opera
bayreuth lohengrin

bayreuth lohengrin

Increasingly, young opera singers from all over the world are moving to Germany, drawn by the prospect of steady work—even full-time employment.

In 2013 Germany saw 7230 opera performances, one-third of the world’s total. German opera houses employ 1270 soloists and 2870 chorus members on full-time contracts.

An American soprano who will be joining the Deutsche Operin Berlin next year says…

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Cage’s microtonal rāgas
cage ragas tabla notation

cage ragas tabla notation

John Cage’s 18 microtonal rāgas are found in Solo for voice 58 from Song books (1970).

To perform them, the dhrupad and experimental music specialist Amelia Cunidecided to apply experimental procedures to dhrupad vocalism and to elaborate her Indian music background in a new music context. She also wanted to explore an influential contemporary composer’s take on rāgas and step back from her…

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Koussevitsky and American composers

Happy 140th to Koussevitsky!

Koussevitsky 74th with Bernstein & Foss

Koussevitsky 74th with Bernstein & Foss

Serge Koussevitsky was a tireless champion of contemporary American composers during his tenure at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Once he had decided on the value of a new work he was determined to program it, regardless of whether it was long, abstruse, dissonant, difficult to perform, or difficult to comprehend. Often he arranged for the major portion of the week’s rehearsal time to be devoted…

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The esoteric phonograph
Edison phonograph

Edison phonograph

Emerging in the gaps between biology and physics, matter and unseen ether, electricity is a liminal force that inevitably carries a powerful imaginative charge both ethereal and anxious.

Many of the influential early figures in the science of electricity, such as Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, and Guglielmo Marconi, couched the new technology in mysticism and spiritualism, or even linked…

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Di Meola and Vizzini

Happy 60th birthday to Al Di Meola!

Vizzini

Vizzini

The music on Al Di Meola’s 1998 album The infinite desire was largely inspired by the work of the Venetian painter Andrea Vizzini.

“We had books of his collections laying around the studio,” Di Meola said in an interview, “and all of the musicians involved would periodically glance through them for inspiration. Even people who aren’t normally versed in art are moved by his work.”

“He’s about…

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A Springsteen archive
Springsteen report card

Springsteen report card

Founded in 2014, blindedbythelight.com is an online museum displaying more than 300 pieces of Bruce Springsteenmemorabilia. Admission is $9.99, which allows a month of access to the site, the ability to download a font that replicates Mr. Springsteen’s handwriting style, the use of a ticket and memorabilia exchange, and entry to a monthly raffle. Mr. Springsteen has no formal involvement with…

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iPhone ocarinas and stress recovery

iPhone ocarinas and stress recovery

iPhone ocarina

iPhone ocarina

In an experiment, 54 participants were instructed to play Twinkle, twinkle, little star using the Smule ocarina app on the iPhone, which involved blowing into the microphone of the iPhone and placing fingers on the screen to produce different notes.

One week after receiving instruction, the participants were randomly assigned to either an acute-stress induction procedure or a no-stress control…

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Prince and female desire

Prince and female desire

Purple-Rain

Purple-Rain

In the song When doves cry, Prince’s attempts to elicit female desire are traced according to three codes found in the lyrics: the “normal” code of male sexuality common in rock music, an unusually explicit “Oedipal” code, and an “uncanny” code.

The uncanny code constitutes a counter-code to the usual male-oriented sexuality of rock music and represents an attempt to elicit a non-stereotypical…

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Der Spiegel von Arkadien

Der Spiegel von Arkadien

Der Spiegel von Arkadien

Der Spiegel von Arkadien

Franz Xaver Süßmayr (1766–1803) launched a career as one of the most respected German opera composers of the time with the success of Der Spiegel von Arkadien.

The critical reception was almost uniformly enthusiastic; the score was even compared to that of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, rare praise for the time. Indeed, in the musical high points Süßmayr appears to have benefited from his direct…

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Music on bones
music on bones

music on bones

In 1946 Stanislav Filon, a young Soviet engineer, brought a record-cutting machine home from the front as a war trophy and used it to start a business in Leningrad.

By day, Filon recorded the voices of customers on industrial plastic discs; by night, he and his friends made pirate copies of records of foreign jazz and popular music.

Since the plastic discs were expensive and scarce, they…

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