Sunday, September 11, 2016


The normal Norma is sung by Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne, and they did
so in 1982 in San Fran, and we can hear the result now at 6.05 on AAAARNZ
(that's "arenzed", though the word radio starts with R not A, somebody
should discreetly inform them before this bad habit gets established as an
    I don't know about the tenor, but our Joan (well she was my Joan, from
Sydney, like me, but too expensive for me, though I have a lot of her operas
in boces in the house). Bonynge will be waving the baton at them.
For some reason, this particular site (the Norma article with my own
synopsis) has not been visited much. I hope bel canto is not going out of
fashion again. Can Anna Netrebko replace Maria Callas in this department? I
have been watching her this afternoon,
    Brace yourself! Thursday 10th of November is "scuttling the sore" time
again. The leak says that Wagner will be represented, after all those years
when he was excluded, and that aberration showed how unrepresentative this
hit parade is.  I hope the Albinoni is not the fake piece (as shown by their
own snooper, Steve Danby). The APhO will perform a selection of the items
and the top five (and any solo pieces, such as Beethoven piano sonatas, will
have been secretly secreted, in the non-secretory sense, for this occasion).
One year they managed to get their oen party-piece for horns into the
concert, by tactical voting, no doubt. Who checks whether some participants
are frequent flyers in this contest?
    To give you an idea how these things work: BBC Magazine asked 151 conductors
to name their three favourite symphonies. Beethoven 3 came top (he would
have agreed with this rating) with 32/151. Beethoven 9 was the runner-up
with 31/151, and 5 and 6 also ran, though 7 and 4 were left behind the
starting gate. Third was Mozart 41. Haydn has 104 symphonies, but did not
get a look-in, even though his 1 (a joke!) 6 22 and 94 got a vote each.
Brahms, Bruckner, and Mahler fared much better. Tchaikovsky 6, Shostakovitch
5, Berlioz SF (7), but Dvorak 9 and Saint-Saens 3 did not score enough to be
in the 20.
    Let's see if the RNZ selecters can come up with a comparable team.
(I suspect they will be giving help-up handicaps to NZ compositions.)
October 2016
The RNZ CONCERT is heavily advertised on the New Zealand national broadcasting network, but to the uninitiated it is an undecipherable enigma. In such acronymical puzzles, ROYAL has to be the first choice for R. So we presume that a royal command performance is in the offing, but it turns out to be more off than on; it never happens.
   Is it the Royal Naval Zoo? No, it is Radio New Zealand. For years they taught us how to say it, and then suddenly, in a fit of reductionism, they altered it to the incomprehensible RNZ.
Health warning:
Monday madness of RNZ concert party.
You know that in NZ the abbreviation R can only refer to Rugby.
(And rugby players often make news headlines for their activities off the playing field.)
But it is possible that Radio is sometimes intended, though it must not be said aloud because it has connotations of radioactive radiation, which is a bad thing.
Whatever the truth or truthiness of the matter, a madness Monday has been programmed for 12/9/16 (which would be the day after 9/11 in the backward USA).
I am not making this up. It is on the RNZ website.
The invitation (to the bach?) is: Come you tempted sinners.
It is billed as a bacchanal (not a reference to Bach).
Invited guests are: the lads in their hundreds, a bevy of merry wives, a
corsair, a red priest, a fairy queen, a sorcerer's apprentice, Daphnis and
Chloe (ready for another orgy), and Billy the Kid (for a bit of gun-play).
A young woman (apparently promoting a brand of paint stripper) has been hired to perform the dance of the seven veils, and a riotous fire dance.
There will be an upbeat lunch, after all the beating up.
Other entertainments include an Up-country song, and Love went a-riding, and much more (though I refrain from naming them, since you might blame me for all the double meanings lurking in them)
And to the fore all day will be 'settling the score' (very violent).
And do you know why this is happening?
It is because of the new policy of only allowing short pieces on the air.
We are not permitted a pious Bruckner symphony with our breakfast, or a Mahler symphony for afternoon tea.

Don't forget to vote for your favourite old scores But they must be short, and orchestral (for the AKL orchestra to play at a concert in November), not piano sonatas (forget the Moonlight Sonata), or string quartets (don't mention the Lark Quartert, though the Lark Ascending is always acceptable), or solo cello suites; there has to be rules, even in conspiracies.

Peace and quiet be upon us

Brayin (not as in braying ass).

I am reading The Third policeman by Flann O'Brien (not his real name nor my pseudonym) which is mainly about bicycles taking over the world, and ridiculing academics like me.

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