Message in a Bottle

I’ve always thought I would like to stumble across a message in a bottle. Given the fact that I grew up in Manitoba and now live in Saskatchewan, I can concede that my geographical realities have somewhat hindered my chances. Nevertheless, I persevere. The notion of making a tangible connection with some great unknown person […]

Horoscopes by Holst

Well, friends, it seems the stars have finally aligned for me. A quick Google search of my horoscope has turned up this bit of excellent and overdue news: “This week, everything seems to be going your way, and shady issues that troubled you in the past will finally clear up.” That’s a relief. I’m a […]

Wagner’s underwear

I sometimes wonder how classical music got stuck being so darn serious. An evening at the symphony or the opera still carries with it the unfortunate baggage of a sometimes bewildering set of audience expectations. Most notably, the question of when—and when not—to clap is still hotly contested, even though there seems to be evidence […]

Storming the Castle (Gently)

Some of us lean more naturally toward rebel than others. You don’t have to think too hard for a few of history’s greats to spring to mind, like Che Guevara, Mahatma Ghandi or Rosa Parks. Of course, artists and musicians seem to be predisposed to be hell raisers. Jim Morrison had his run-ins with the […]

Beethoven’s cows

Inspiration comes from the darnedest places. In the world of symphonies and classical music, it may often be perceived that our time-honoured musical masterpieces are the result of divinely gifted minds treating on suitably lofty themes. Epic characters like Napoleon Bonaparte and Cleopatra have been successful source material, as have been majestic sights such as […]

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 […]