A new episode of my book is online today. Again it’s about classical music history, the part they might not teach in music school. I’m trying to establish that classical music wasn’t always classical. And in this episode, when I get to Baroque opera, things get a little crazy.
The next episode goes online on Monday, June 12. That one might be crazier still. Vivaldi went to extremes, improvising as he led performances of his operas! Mozart’s singers improvised part of the Don Giovanni finale!
Isn’t scholarship wonderful?
On June 26, I’ll post another episode, and then I’m going on vacation. I’ll be out of the country for all of July, and not writing anything. And for August, I trust I’ll be out of action, workwise, except for composing. Probably I’ll look over everything I’ve written for the book so far, and map out future episodes. But once June is over, I don’t expect to post anything new until after Labor Day. That’s for the book. I expect to be blogging in August, though not in July.
And there’s one more thing that’s important to say. Many of you may have seen a huge piece in The New York Times on Sunday — it was linked in ArtsJournal — by Allan Kozinn, called “Check the Numbers: Rumors of Classical Music’s Demise Are Dead Wrong.” Certainly many people have e-mailed me about it. Allan, whom I’ve known for years and like a lot, really believes that classical music has never been healthier. And he thinks he’s got statistical support for that.
But what’s weird is that there really aren’t many statistics in his piece, and most of the numbers Allan does use aren’t very relevant. He cites ticket sales, for instance, in a few small New York venues. But what about the Metropolitan Opera? What about the New York Philharmonic? What about the whole big world outside New York?
What about long-term trends, easily documentable statistically, that show declining ticket sales and an aging audience? I’m have a detailed comment on this here, later this week. The timing of the article is in one way very odd: In the upcoming issue of Symphony magazine, the publication of the American Symphony Orchestra League, there’s a long position paper by the League’s incoming board chairman, which for the first time says in public some of the things I’ve been hearing people in the orchestra world say privately. Namely, that orchestras face some serious problems, and these (with one small exception) go unacknowledged in Allan’s essay.