Random Wednesday: The Heat is On

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August is Here and the Heat is On
We have been having some very hot days here in Phoenix, Arizona. The temperature topped out at 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) a few days ago.

The heat is on for a number of people in the music field too, as August is prime time for college students, teachers and performance professionals to gear up for a new season.

Now is a good time to hit the refresh button and aim to be ready and charged for a new season.

Along those lines:

Olympic thoughts
The recent Olympiad got Travis Bennett thinking:

As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved watching the Olympics, and the past 2 weeks I’ve been tuning in as often as I can.  I think one of the reasons I enjoy it so much is that I can relate to the athletes (in a metaphorical way…).

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A call to boycott the Malaysian Philharmonic
From Kuala Lumpur we hear of nine musicians being fired the Malaysian Philharmonic and a notice from the Paris-based International Federation of Musicians (IFM).

Founded in 1998, the Malaysian Philharmonic is owned by a state oil firm. It’s home is in the famous Petronas Towers in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur.

An international musicians’ group has called for a global boycott of recruitment by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), saying the symphony sacked nine members without cause.

The Paris-based International Federation of Musicians (IFM) posted on its website a strongly-worded attack on the sackings, in a rare note of discord in the usually genteel world of symphony music.

The IFM said the Malaysian Philharmonic’s new chief executive, Nor Raina Yong Abdullah, in a cost-cutting move had issued non-renewal notices to nine musicians including four founding members of the orchestra.

In the statement, posted on Monday, the federation said the sackings came “for no reason whatsoever… destroying their livelihoods”.

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As if this is not enough, Norman Lebrecht reports of trouble in Seoul, Korea, where a music director is demanding that musicians re-audition for their positions.

Horns for sale
In the Horn Matters classified area there are currently a number of per-owned double horns and mouthpieces for sale worth checking out.

Seems like a fair trade…
Seen on craigslist:

would like to trade a french horn for a hand held gasoline leaf blower. See at 14 S Bell or call 325-617-xxxx

(Source.)

On listening to music at work
An article in the New York Times highlights that listening to music at work can improve worker concentration and productivity in a number of ways.

In biological terms, melodious sounds help encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain, as would eating a delicacy, looking at something appealing or smelling a pleasant aroma, said Dr. Amit Sood, a physician of integrative medicine with the Mayo Clinic.

People’s minds tend to wander, “and we know that a wandering mind is unhappy,” Dr. Sood said. “Most of that time, we are focusing on the imperfections of life.” Music can bring us back to the present moment.

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The article goes on to discuss headphone etiquette:

He said some supervisors might think that workers wearing headphones weren’t fully engaged and were blocking out important interactions “because they are going into their own world.”

“If someone’s not doing a good job,” he said, “then you can have a hiring manager say that all they do is listen to music all day and that it’s hampering productivity.”

For those who choose to listen to music, it’s best to set limits, because wearing headphones for an entire shift can be perceived as rude by those nearby.

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Random etiquette 
If you switch the instrument being written about (from viola to horn) the answer from Miss Manners offers us something to think about.

…the other night I was approached by a woman who told my group that her son played the violin, but didn’t want to work hard – so he switched to the viola. I reacted to both of these people with a wan smile, though I found both comments insulting.

Suffice to say I would never denigrate a person or their life’s work in such a fashion. I am afraid these comments are increasing in frequency. It is disheartening, and I’m afraid I may at some point lose my cool. How would you advise I handle such situations in the future?

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Getting natural
Radek Baborak gives a stunning performance of Vitaly Bujanovsky’s Alpen Fantasie at Performance Today.  You will have to work a little bit to hear it:

  1. Go to this web site
  2. Click on “Performance Today Hour 2”
  3. Fast forward to the 6:50 mark

Random stuff

Random videos

Featuring John Graas and his quintet.

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From June 1956 – Julius Watkins in a “Golden Chariot.”

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Giovanni Hoffer performs “Brasylvia.”

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“Bruxelles ma belle” by Mathias Rüegg. As recorded on the CD “Artistry in Rhythm” by the Vienna Art Orchestra – featuring Arkady Shilkloper & Tom Varner.

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University of Horn Matters