Category: Features

Have Musicians’ Wages Gotten Better Or Worse?

Miss Mussel went archive diving again and stumbled upon, quite by accident, a piece in the NY Times called “MUSIC IN THE CITY.; Where Our Musicians Come Front [sic]–Their Qualifications and Rates of Compensation.” The article is a whopping 1714…

Question: Programming or Playing?

A concert Miss Mussel reviewed last week brought a fundamental question to the fore: Which is more important: the program or the playing? Audience: Would you go hear a great ensemble even if you weren’t that keen on the pieces…

Can An Evil Person Be A Great Artist?

Pianist Stephen Hough lays out a doozy of a question on his blog this weekend: Can An Evil Person Be A Great Artist? and Is there a moral dimension to music? This is one of my favourite debates, mostly because…

Van Cliburn Index

The 2009 Van Cliburn Piano Competition is getting into gear and the initial batch of 30 participants has been settled on. Miss Mussel is happy to announce that Ang Li is representing Canada. The following is a bit of fun…

How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?

Ummm… you rent it. And that is precisely what Canadian tenor Ken Lavigne did on 22nd January. Lavigne is from Vancouver Island on the West Coast of Canada. Victoria, the island’s largest city, has metropolitan population of roughly 330,000 people…

Spine Tinglers: Maurizio

Reader Maurizio sends in his Spine Tingler: “I am not a famous artist or singer; I’m simple a civil engineer with a strong musical background. Back to 1977; a piano recital in my home town theatre, all XX century compositions;…

Nico Muhly – Interview Extras

As always, most of an interview conversation doesn’t make it into the final piece but that doesn’t mean the leftovers are not worth reading. Also, for this concert, there was a repertoire change, so lots of good bits had to…

Feature: Nico Muhly – Wish You Were Here

In The Waterloo Region Record 30/09/2008 If the press murmurings are to be believed, he is a messiah: here to give classical music new life as an accessible art form that is relevant to a 21st century audience. Of course,…

Spine Tinglers: John Terauds

John Terauds, the Classical Music Critic for The Toronto Star, weighs in with the first Spine Tingler of the season. Here’s John: We can only hope of wining the big lottery once. But people who listen or play can (and…

Just In Case You Were Wondering

A *hmmm I wonder* that turned into a 3-hour Excel love-in: The stats are too incomplete at present to give absolutes for the top twenty but the top five pieces played by League of American Orchestra members from 2000/01 to…

On Folk Music

It is no longer common in the West for people to live with their Nan, the inevitable result of which is less people learning folksongs.

All About Spine Tinglers

Spine Tinglers is a section devoted to stories about those moments in music that are out of this world; the ones that make you stop and reconsider life as you had previously known it. Some people get the shivers, others…

‘Bile Flows More Easily Than The Milk Of Kindness’

Molly Flatt writes about books but her questions apply to reviewers of all stripes. …why is it so difficult to “praise interestingly”? Despite our native savagery, surely there is nothing quite so pleasing as a balanced, sensitive and generous review…

‘The Mind Of A Critic’

Miss Mussel has given much thought of late as to what exactly a critic’s role in the 21st century. Is it best to get out now and take up plumbing or is a brave new world awaiting just over the…

Spine Tinglers: Edwin Outwater

“I was in high school in Los Angeles, driving around in an old beat-up Volvo with my friends, catching to as many concerts as possible. On one sunny SoCal day, I heard the Emerson String Quartet playing Beethoven’s quartet Op. 132 at a large church right in the middle of Beverly Hills. I had no idea what I was about to hear.