The Critics Weigh In

Jonathan Bellman

The warm-up performance of my Mendelssohn/Moscheles piece was Monday night, and it went well.  I now know better what to work on for the real premiere in TX on 2/21, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have gone through it.  I am deeply fortunate to have colleagues like conductor Russell Guyver and pianist Lei Weng who are willing to make something like this happen, and I have to observe—yet again—that Universities are the sorts of places where this kind of thing can happen: atypical ensemble, colleagues who are willing to take risks on unfamiliar works (especially a recent discovery like this) and like nefarious schemes, and so on.  It was a pleasure to walk among the students who were warming up in the corridors backstage.  All seriousness: cello here, oboe there, violins all over.  I’ve often thought that a documentary on the doings in a school of music over the course of a term would make for really compelling viewing.

Now for the morning-after critics.  Google Alerts informed me of two student bloggers who liked what they heard.  In all their marginally literate glory, they are to be found here and here.  One of them may be using the blog to practice her English, which is a fun task to set oneself.  It’s nice that these are students who would not necessarily be going to such concerts, so these are not music blogs.

About jonathanbellman

Professor of Music History and Literature and Head of Academic Studies in Music at the University of Northern Colorado. Author, *The _Style Hongrois_ in the Music of Western Europe* (Northeastern University Press, 1993), *A Short Guide to Writing About Music* (2e, Longman, 2008), *Chopin's Polish Ballade: Op. 38 as Narrative of National Martyrdom* (Oxford University Press, 2010), Editor, *The Exotic in Western Music* (Northeastern University Press, 1998), author of bunches of articles and reviews and so on. Likes to play the piano, the mandolin, and even guitar sometimes. A. M. and Jo Winchester Distinguished Scholar at UNC, 2011.
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6 Responses to The Critics Weigh In

  1. robert f. jones says:

    As I always say to my composition students, put in lots of trumpet to please the crowds.

  2. eba says:

    I was there, too, and found the piece — and the playing — very entertaining. Hurrah for the college for making it happen.

  3. eba says:

    P.S. — RFJ’s music composition students would also do well to remember the cowbell. Fans love the cowbell.

  4. Sara Heimbecker says:

    Jonathan,
    The bloggers are my MIND 297 “Creativity and the Arts” students and they were required to go to the concert and to blog about the experience.
    To my dismay, none are ESL students. They are all native speakers. The two you linked in your blog are not music students. Here’s the blog of the one music student in the class: http://spencerbowie.blogspot.com/
    His work has always been excellent–very creative thinker and good writer. Spencer’s blog also links to the rest of the class, so you can read the rest of the reviews via his blog.

  5. Peter Alexander says:

    Jonathan: Thanks for linking to those two blogs. It was really wonderful to read them, “in all their marginally literate glory.” We do well to remember that there are students out there who can react this way — naively but with great, great excitement and enthusiasm. The enthusiasm is just as genuine, and as important, as the naivete (and the implied ignorance), and I loved both.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Thanks, Peter. It’s worth hitting the link Sara put up just above your note–that student has links to all the other student blogs in the class. Looks like I lost the beauty-and-dashingly-handsome contest with Lei Weng, but fair enough!

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