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"Pearls Before Breakfast"

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Kyle In Hollywood
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"Pearls Before Breakfast"

Postby Kyle In Hollywood » April 16th, 2007, 9:15 pm

During the past week the following article has generated some interesting discussion online.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01721.html

The title of the article is "Pearls Before Breakfast" and tells the story of a classical musician Joshua Bell peforming "in cognito" at a Washington D.C. metro station during the morning commute. The anonymous performance was arranged by the reporter to see if such a display of art and talent could get commuters to stop and notice. And maybe even appreciate the beauty they had stumbled upon.

I don't know if registration is required to read the article. Let me know if you can access it without taking the time to register. I think it is a really good read.
Kyle In Hollywood

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Joshua Bell: Pearls Before Breakfast

Postby moira finnie » April 17th, 2007, 7:36 am

Yes, the Washington Post requires registration on their site, but it's relatively painless. As a longtime Joshua Bell fanatic, I found this stunt pretty amusing. I like the fact that so many kids wanted to pause to listen to his seraphic playing, while the foolish adults just wanted to hurry. Oy, what we lose as we become more responsible!

I'll always treasure the impromptu memorial concert that he gave at the Catherdral of St. John the Divine, days after Sept. 11th. He's a great artist and a citizen who gives himself to his community.

My essential Joshua Bell Albums:
Barber, Walton & Bloch: Violin Concertos
The Kreisler Album
Saint-Saens, Massenet, Ravel and Others
The West Side Story Suite
and I could easily go on...

Come to think of it, maybe his playing in the subway was really also pearls before swine...

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Postby movieman1957 » April 17th, 2007, 7:48 am

Moira:

I assume your fondness of classical music goes beyond Mr. Bell. I am a fan of classical music as well. My most memborable night as a concert attendee was watching Yo Yo Ma play Elgar's Cello Concerto. I was in the 5th row.

Now we have more things we can talk about.
Chris

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Postby SSO Admins » April 17th, 2007, 8:17 am

For those who don't want to register, this link provides usernames and passwords for most non-pay sites that require registration.

I'm with the critics who felt that it might have been a fairer trial to have done this in the evening, when people aren't as rushed. Telling the boss you were late because you stopped to listen to a subway musician won't play well in most offices.

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Music Mad Members?

Postby moira finnie » April 17th, 2007, 10:10 am

Telling the boss you were late because you stopped to listen to a subway musician won't play well in most offices.-Jondaris


Yeah, Jon, *lol*, darned those bosses! Don't those philistines know that contributing to the GNP in the rat race of life is peanuts compared to listening to Mozart? My bosses would categorize my "listening to subway music" as an excuse for tardiness as an apt subject for serious review during my next job evaluation. No merit or cost of living raise for you, Ms. Finnie.

I assume your fondness of classical music goes beyond Mr. Bell. I am a fan of classical music as well. My most memborable night as a concert attendee was watching Yo Yo Ma play Elgar's Cello Concerto. I was in the 5th row. -Movieman1957


Chris, you lucky dog. Fifth row! I'm lucky if I can wrestle the remote away from a family member to switch to PBS to catch Yo-Yo. Right now I'm listening to his albums Silk Road Journeys and Belle Epoque.
Have you heard his contributions to the John Williams score for Memoirs of a Geisha?

While I was thinking about Joshua Bell's escapade, I was wondering if the charismatic and more famous Itzhak Perlman would've gone unnoticed by passersby in the subway. I also amused myself by wondering if the notoriously volatile Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg might've been a wee bit more confrontational to commuters if they ignored her?

Best Subway Musicians who've made me late for work when living in Boston for 20 years (btw, the subway is called the "T" in beantown):
Tracy Chapman in Cambridge's Porter Square station
Caribbean Steel Drum Ensemble in Downtown Crossing
Bolivian Pan Flute Musicians in Government Center Station

Yes, I was good and late somedays, but the acoustics in some of the T stations were so perfect for music...

I'm actually pretty eclectic in my musical tastes, from Gregorian chant to opera to show tunes to jazz to folk to cabaret to '80s techno-pop, but have a special fondness for classical music of all stripes. Anyone else like to discuss music?

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Re: Music Mad Members?

Postby movieman1957 » April 17th, 2007, 10:34 am

moirafinnie wrote:
Have you heard his contributions to the John Williams score for Memoirs of a Geisha?

While I was thinking about Joshua Bell's escapade, I was wondering if the charismatic and more famous Itzhak Perlman would've gone unnoticed by passersby in the subway. I also amused myself by wondering if the notoriously volatile Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg might've been a wee bit more confrontational to commuters if they ignored her?


Perlman certainly would have been noticed. Like Ma he is one of the few "pop" stars that transcends classical music. Sonnenberg might have been more "out there" but I wonder if passersby might have pointed her out to the police.

I do have some of Ma's regular albums but I'm not familiar with the "Geisha" work.

If it comes up again you should look fo PBS showing Daniel Barenboim play four or five Beethoven piano sonatas. They even showed a short master class with him and Lang Lang. It was very enjoyable.
Chris

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Kyle In Hollywood
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Postby Kyle In Hollywood » April 17th, 2007, 11:20 am

As a "clock-puncher" during my day time hours, I was pleased that the busboy at the adjacent restaurant was one of the more appreciative listeners. And even pleased that the shoeshine lady was impressed enough NOT to call the cops on Joshus Bell. As someone who has been treated as member of the "great unwashed" who perform menial labor for a living, it was particularly heart-warming.

The author hosted an online chat after the piece was published and some folks also pointed out the inherent liability of stopping to listen on one's way to work as opposed to heading home from work (if the performance was done in the afternoon). The author wrote that there were two main reasons for doing the early morning performance -
- it was to accomodate Joshua Bell and his schedule demands.
- the Post was going to be asking for phone numbers of passers-by and felt that fewer people would be willing to give out home numbers to strangers/reporters with the understanding that they would be called and bothered at home.

If you want to read the chat/online Q&A, it is found here -
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01228.html

Anyone else see the Yo-Yo Ma "films" Inspired By Bach? I have taped them and think I will pull them off the shelf tonight. Haven't watched them in quite awhile.
kjk
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Postby movieman1957 » May 1st, 2007, 12:13 pm

Since classical music was brought up in this thread I thought I'd mention, just in case, that Mistislav Rostropovich died on Friday in Russia.

One of the most renowned cellists he was also famous in my area as he lead the National Symphony Orchestra (Wash DC) for 15 years or so. Critics around here frequently debated his conducting ability as far as his technique but no one ever questioned his passion or joy for the music, least of all those who played for him.

Mad a name for himself also by his political stands with the Soviet government.

I loved to listen to him play.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."


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