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Friday Miscellanea

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Friday Miscellanea

The Verbier Festival in Switzerland is canceled:
The festival has just announced ‘with infinite regret and sorrow’ that its 27th edition, planned for July 17 to August 2, has been called off.
This makes me nervous for the Salzburg Festival. However, the latest word is that all is ready for the festival to proceed with a final decision being taken on May 30.

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From the Guardian, here is a review of the disc by Barbara Hannigan I posted about the other day: La Passione review – Grisey's masterpiece endures.
On Barbara Hannigan’s recording with the Ludwig Orchestra, she pairs Quatre Chants with a Haydn symphony, No 49 in F minor, which gives its nickname, La Passione, to the entire disc. Hannigan’s performance of the Grisey (which she conducts as well as sings) is cooler, perhaps less immediate than the other version available on disc, with Catherine Dubosc and Klangforum Wien, but it evokes the work’s haunting, unclassifiably expressive world more vividly than ever.
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The Wall Street Journal Magazine has a feature article on Kanye West this week: The Creation and the Myth of Kanye West. He is actually the only current pop artist that I am a fan of. This might be behind the paywall, but here are some quotes.
West, who mentioned in passing that he was preparing to record a new album in Mexico this spring, has 21 Grammys, including four for best rap album. He has been called an “American Mozart” by Atlantic writer David Samuels.
But West aims to be a great designer of all kinds of things. For more than a decade he has pursued plans to have the phenomenal impact in fashion that he’s had in music. West admires Steve Jobs. And McDonald’s. And the Gap, where he worked as a teen, when it was cool in the 1990s. “I believe that Yeezy is the McDonald’s and the Apple of apparel,” West says. “In order to make the Apple of apparel the next Gap, it has to be a new invention. To invent something that’s so good that you don’t even get credit for it because it’s the norm.” 
Possibly the most lucrative business decision West ever made was to retain ownership of the Yeezy brand. Today he produces sneakers and slides in a partnership with Adidas. The Yeezy merch, the apparel and nonathletic footwear—the products that he has been working so diligently to develop this past year—are West’s alone. During an appearance on James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” segment last October, West told the talk show host, “Yeezy [is] worth $3 billion.” An Adidas representative declined to confirm West’s estimate, citing a confidentiality agreement. West, who says it bothers him that people don’t think of him as a successful businessman, repeated the estimate to me in February when he explained how he could afford to support so many endeavors. “The fact that Yeezy does $1.5 billion in revenue per year and the valuation is $2.9 billion means that money does not have to enter into the equation.” I later reviewed documents that reflected those numbers.
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The Ojai Music Festival has also been canceled.
“As we were monitoring the COVID-19 crisis over these last several weeks, we considered the unpredictability of travel as well as the safety and comfort of our artists and patrons,” Eberhardt said in the announcement. “It has also become clear that the institution cannot shoulder the projected financial burden due to the forecasted drop in festival revenue and increase in festival expenses.”
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This is a very bad time for all musicians and performing artists. Some very prominent artists, including Anne Sophie Mutter and Plácido Domingo, have contracted the virus. At least one prominent artist's management agency in England has gone out of business, nearly every symphony and opera has canceled the remainder of its season with some paying their artists and others not (coughTheMetcough). Music festivals are canceling right and left. Dark times indeed. But I think that perhaps things are not as bad as they seem and that we will recover, perhaps sooner than we think.

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Let's have some optimistic envois today. Here is Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks, for chamber orchestra, from his neo-classical period:


Here is the estimable Hopkinson Smith playing all the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin by Bach on the Baroque lute:


His justification, not that he needs one, is that Bach did a version of at least one of these pieces, the Partita No. 3, for Baroque lute. Here is Khatia Buniatishvili playing the Rondo from the Piano Concerto No. 1 by Beethoven. There is just something exhilarating about this performance.


Hilary Hahn playing the Presto from the First Violin Sonata:


Let's end with something diverting. How about the Divertimento K. 563 for violin, viola and cello by Mozart, perhaps the most substantial divertimento ever written?




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