Fitness Advice from Edwardian England

This whole fitness thing is a bit exhausting. Every time I check my Facebook or Twitter feed, I am bombarded with ads showing impossibly toned people doing all sorts of intimidating feats at the gym. Their chiseled six-pack abs feature prominently, and those of us who are naturally a little more soft-edged are apparently supposed […]

Mendelssohn and the bloody Scots

From what I can gather, 16th century Scotland may have been a challenging place to live. Granted, I expect that for people who are a bit soft like me, 16th century anywhere would not have been a walk in the park. If you need to be reminded of some of the rather gory details particular […]

Handel’s Messiah, or the Original Get Out of Jail Free Card

By my reckoning, we’re now officially in that magical time of year. The tree is up, the shopping is done, and the blur of holiday staff parties is underway. Our credit cards may be tired, if not melted, but with a little holiday cheer (liquid or otherwise), we can wondrously put out of mind the […]

Razumovsky’s faulty flue

According to my Starbucks order, it’s now officially the holidays. Of course, I’m not one to judge, but appropriate planning should have begun by now. Christmas will be a high priority for many of you. For our American friends, Thanksgiving is a major hurdle yet to be cleared. Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are also fast approaching. […]

Swindlers, mountebanks and Mozart’s Requiem

Keeping up with the news lately has been a grim undertaking. It’s hard to be entirely objective about this, but it does seem to me that the customary gloom and doom of headlines has been ratcheted up a few notches. By way of intentional contrast then, allow me to highlight one recent news bite that […]

‘Taking the music to the people’: Gordon Gerrard brings Regina symphony outside auditorium walls

Madeline Kotzer, CBC News
“We’re really trying to broaden our reach and include more people in what I think is a life-changing and life-affirming art form,” he said. “To realize that some people assume, [classical music] is not for them, is disappointing to me. And it’s not on them to change, it’s on us to change that.”

Tchaikovsky and the dead cat

You would be hard pressed to find a musician out there who doesn’t appreciate a standing ovation. There are those who will pooh-pooh the practice, lamenting that giving a standing O seems to have almost become mandatory for anyone who isn’t monstrously ungenerous. But I am a strong advocate of you audience members expressing yourselves […]

Copland and modern pioneering

It’s abundantly clear to me that I would have made a terrible pioneer. The notion that my forebears eked out an existence here—especially here!—in eighteen-something-or-other inspires both tremendous awe and sheer terror in me. Had I been the one forced to find and/or kill my food and to rely on my questionable dexterity to create […]

Stravinsky and TED Talks by Kermit the Frog

Recently I watched Kermit the Frog do a TED Talk. If this piques your curiosity, the talk is easy enough to find online. Kermit’s addition to the TED canon is called “The Creative Act of Listening to a Talking Frog,” and it’s not bad. I guess I had assumed that my days of learning life […]

When Mozart’s Ass Was Burning

I am trying to recall the last time I received an actual, honest-to-goodness letter. Emails don’t count and neither does the reassuringly consistent correspondence I receive from the Canada Revenue Agency. (Don’t worry, I have paid my taxes.) No, I mean letters, on tree-derived paper, from friends, relatives or significant others; the kind with sentences, […]