Felsenmusick - The Weblog of Daniel Felsenfeld
The Web Log of a Certain Daniel Felsenfeld: Composer, critic, avid reader, aspiring
bon vivant, capricorn, shadowy figure, advice for the lovelorn

Monday, April 14, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion: Opera After Hours

I'd love anyone and everyone to come to Opera After Hours this Thursday at the Zipper Room. Details below...or you can read about it in on the New Yorker web site.

A subversive evening of opera and song
April 17th, 2008, 8:00 PM, The Zipper Factory

By Daniel Felsenfeld and Jennifer Griffith

Directed by Christopher Alden

THE BLOODY CHAMBER by Daniel Felsenfeld, libretto by Elizabeth Isadora Gold

Michael Zegarski, Constance Hauman, Jessica Miller-Rauch, and Amy Van Roekel

Charity Wicks, Musical Director
Terese Wadden, Production Designer
Susan Whelan, Stage Manager
Jana Llynn, Production Supervisor

Based on the Angela Carter novella of the same name, THE BLOODY CHAMBER re-envisions
the Bluebeard myth at the cusp of the Modern age. THE DRESSING ROOM explores how a
mezzo-soprano sick of playing boys, and her cross-dressing dresser both long for a more
glamorous wardrobe. In DREAM PRESIDENT, the former Commander in Chief reflects on his
past, as ex-flames critique him on matters political and sexual.

The Zipper Factory is at 336 W. 37th St. (between 8th & 9th Aves.)
For tickets, please go to www.zippertheater.com or call 212.352.3101
For dinner reservations at The Zipper Factory Tavern, please call 212.695.4600

Thursday, April 10, 2008

To Criticize the Critic

I am deeply, deeply impressed with a post on the fascinating Detritus Reivew which has as its sole aim a crusade to right the wrongs in music criticism. From where I sit, a lofty and under-funded ambition. Found during a "vanity Google," this made me smile from ear to ear because it did what I think the blogs are good to do: it called me out, gave lengthy and intelligent digression to a fine point, and goaded me into a response.

Case under assessment: my brutal attack on a disc of piano music by Salvatore Sciarrino on ClassicsToday. Allow me to add a bit to this dialogue (as they chose not to consult me--their absolute right, might I add--indulge me a retort). When this review was writteny (and I am unsure of the year, but I am going to say it was 2002 or 2003) I had been subjected to a lot of Sciarrino, and for my part was likely dishonoring this particular disc based on the sheer amount of this music I'd heard--in other words, I did do something rather outside the ken of the vauntedly fair and moral mission of my outlet by over-pummeling a composer's work rather than the specific recording. I was, in retrospect, a little unfair, so thank you Empiricus, whomever you are. I deserve what you said--you did, in fact, "get me good." Even composer-critics have their off days--well, I suppose, especially composer critics.

Your comments to me were kind enough, and I am not usually one to participate in such a "hatchet job" as this. Were I in your position, working with your stated mission, I might offer Felsenfeld-in-abstract the same vivisection. Not that my opinions on the composer have changed--I cannot say I've seen the proverbial light on this, or that Empericus has showed me the error of my wicked, wicked Sciarrino ways--but I think today I'd be less inclined to be too-clever-by-half while saying it. I like to think I've grown a little, and have mostly prided myself on being fair.

And while I don't think my little review on a niche Web site written several years ago deserves comparison with Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I admit points for sheer brio, for bloggish moxie in doing so. If we are to save classical music, we have to think big, and metaphors need plumping as much as budgets or newspaper column space. (Though now that I think about it, it makes my registering of Sciarrino's rather limited palate into the onomatopoetic "plink" and "thump" seem rather tame. But who am I to say? I just work here.)

What makes me so happy about this whole posting--aside from the comments of some readers who were generally kind to my music and my writing--is that I've always felt that these kind of "police actions" were the exact purpose of this weird volunteer army of bloggers. Would any other outlet allow for this exact dialogue to take place? It means that the blogs are alive and well, and are even going to the back of the files to find things otherwise long-since buried. Can you imagine the same thing happening with spools of microfiche in a previous era?

So Empiricus, I do have one small bone to pick with you--you hide your light under the bushel of a nome de blog, while I choose to attach my name. And from the comments portion, you seem to know me--or someone on your team does--and even be a little familiar with my work. I'd love you to come out from the shadows, because as a fellow blogger you are no doubt aware that it is impossible to have a meaningful conversation with a shadow-colleague because the terms are uneven. We are clearly on the same side, even if my work is the work in question.

But please, all reading, follow the example of these bloggers and do point out the injustices when you see them. One of the things many critics lack is accountability, and in the blogosphere, everyone has to own it.

And by the way, whomever goes by the name of AnthonyS in the comments portion, please do get in touch.