Archive for May, 2009

haydnIn Haydn’s commemorative year, it’s still — mostly Mozart

Franz Josef Haydn, arguably Austria’s greatest composer (if not its best) died 200 years ago today. He was the biggest composer of his time, and he basically invented the symphony — and the symphony orchestra — as we know it today. And yet, as the newspaper article above mentions, he’s still an also-ran in his native land, where Mozart is still the number one tourist attraction.

If Mozart had never lived, the world would certainly be poorer, and the “M” section of the Classical bins in the record store would be a lot smaller. But if Haydn had never lived, classical music as we know it would be radically different.

I’m a huge Mozart fan, and I have no problem stating categorically that he had a genius that Haydn simply didn’t match (Haydn himself had no problem saying so either). But Mozart wasn’t an innovator, let alone a revolutionary. He was, simply, the very best at composing within the established style — the style largely established by Haydn.


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My Lottery Garage: Austin-Healey 3000 MK III Not necessarily this one, and not a ghastly monstrosity of an Austin-Healey with a blown V8, but a proper one, restored to original condition. There are some British roadsters I’d subject to the resto-mod treatment for added horsepower (like the S(pitfire) 2000), but not this one. Nearly 150 hp at the wheels is plenty for a car that weighs less than a Mini Cooper. (pic via Hemmings)

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Girls Rock a Giant Piano If you thought theĀ  “Heart and Soul”/”Chopsticks” scene in the movie “Big” was impressive, check out what these guys do with Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (AKA “the creepy organ music in every single movie that’s ever had creepy organ music”). My question is, how the hell do you practice something like that? Do they have one of these babies in their basement or something? (via Cynical-C via Kottke)


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TowelDayOh, Belgium! I’m a day late for Towel Day, but a blog post on the yearly salute to “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” author Douglas Adams has the terrific video above. (Here’s the YouTube link to all 7 parts of his talk.)

(And for the uninitiated, here’s what the deal is with towels.)

And maybe being a day late is a sort of tribute in its own right for the man who said, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

(Towel Day pic via e|news)

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Jonah Weiner’s article in Slate makes an interesting point about the Black Eyed Peas as having a more serious vision than they let on: The Peas have been the hardest-working punch lines in show business for six years, singing ridiculous lyrics, dancing ridiculous dances, and wearing ridiculous pants, all in the name of an unabashedly uncool utopian vision. In the group’s daffy singalongs, as in its multiethnic ranks (the members are African-American, Filipino, Mexican, and Scottish-Irish), we’re meant to glimpse a world in which all races throw down arms, join hands, and possibly do the white-man-overbite dance, too united by common goofiness ever to fight again.


To me, they’re the modern, multiculti version of the B-52’s — the party band for the hipster set, making goofy music for smart and self-aware people. Sure, “My Humps” is a silly, stupid, superficial song — but so is “52 Girls.”


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Brian & Eileen’s Wedding Music Video from LOCKDOWN projects on Vimeo. This is among the most joyful things I’ve ever seen. I used to think the Harvey Danger thing from those 20-something kids at Connected Ventures was the most awesome lip dub I’d ever seen, but I may have to change my mind. This is pure joy (even though it was done by a professional outfit). And it looks like it was an awesome reception — maybe almost as cool as mine and Louise’s.


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Jilted Journalists Looks like it’s just getting started, but this could be interesting if enough of us find out about it and start contributing info or posting on the forums they’ve already got set up.

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