Music

Verdi and the Immortal Opera

Hal Gordon

Verdi’s later operatic efforts were similarly meddled with to make them politically correct. In 1850, he gave the world “Rigoletto.” The opera was based on a novel by Victor Hugo called Le roi s’amuse (The King Amuses Himself). Hugo’s novel recounted the romantic escapades of the randy 16th Century French monarch, Francis I. Verdi’s portrait of Francis was largely accurate and that, according to the censors, was just the problem. 

The Future of the Music Industry: Consumers in the Clouds

Sandra Canosa

Downloading was sticking it to The Man, even if we knew we were hurting the musicians in the long run that we’d rather support. When streaming services came along, they seemed like a godsend for music aficionados with a heavy conscience. They’re free – or based on tiers of what you can afford. They’re legal. They offer instant gratification. And they actively cater to the pleasures of discovering new music without having to make an initial financial investment. They seemed like a way to circumvent The Man and simply get to the music.

All That Jazz: A Night in Montreal

Steven J. Chandler

Jazz in a concert hall? It’s a trend and can appear contrived and devoid of the spontaneity that’s the essence of jazz music. This was Redman’s challenge as he and his quartet performed at the Maison Symphonique de Montreal, an acoustically rewarding venue that on most dates is the home of Montreal’s acclaimed Symphony Orchestra. Backed with strings and performing from his latest release, Walking Shadows, Redman’s quartet made use of the acoustics by playing compositions that employed an orchestral landscape. 

Reflecting on Controversial Composer Richard Wagner on His 200th Birthday

Karolina R. Swasey

More people wrote about him than about any other person in history – with the exception of Jesus, Luther, Napoleon and Marx — they say. In 2013 the world is celebrating Richard Wagner’s birthday for the 200th time — his obit for the 130th. Wagner’s work continues to cause great emotions, ranging from sheer enthusiasm to utmost rejection, and his recitals attract people to opera houses all over the world. The poet, director, conductor, writer and first and foremost composer, remains a mystery for many, and doesn’t cease to polarize even 130 years after his death. 

Documentary Follows Bob Marley’s Sons on an ‘Africa Road Trip’

Steven J. Chandler

Bob Marley today is a product of pop culture bastardization. The impact of his music has been reduced to the two-dimensional, an image printed on T-shirts or plastered on dorm room walls. I may be generalizing. But anyone who has visited the campus of a California university is right to doubt whether those in the hacky-sack circle are true believers, genuine Rastafarians. “Imposter-farians” seems to be a more appropriate description. 

Hip Hop Legend Big Daddy Kane + Las Supper = Soul Sensation

Alysia Stern

Grammy Award winner Big Daddy Kane is an inventive New York “Hip Hop” legend who emerged in the mid-1980s. Big Daddy Kane was the catalyst behind Jay Z’s career. He is known to have gotten his start as Kane's hypeman. As an actor, he debuted in Mario Van Peebles' Posse.  Kane’s song "Ain't No Half Steppin' was named #25 on the list of the 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine, which also called Kane "a master wordsmith of rap's late golden age and a huge influence on a generation of MCs."

Reflecting on the Music That Shaped the Los Angeles of the Rodney King Era

Kevin Morris

Because of the gang violence and drug addiction that is synonymous with the inner city and especially Los Angeles, there is sense that these type of measures are warranted for a people who commit such acts intra-communally. And police brutality stands as another repressive constant within the inner city. Something NWA summed up with their classic single F*ck Tha Police. Although some may cringe at the title and lyrics of the song, the sentiment is shared across the predominantly African-American inner cities in this country. 

Is Firefly the East Coast’s Answer to Bonnaroo and Coachella?

Kevin J. Ryan

Bonnaroo. Lollapalooza. Coachella. Firefly? That’s the goal for the second-year festival: Get mentioned in the same breath as the largest and most famous in the country. And with the success it’s had in its first year-plus of existence, Firefly might be well on its way. The Atlantic Coast has always lacked a signature festival. While the West is rife with multiday music events, Easterners have had to travel as far as Chicago or Manchester, Tenn., to get their fix. 

The Smiths Saved His Life: An Interview With Simon Goddard

Loren DiBlasi

For many of us-- and this includes those who haven’t dedicated the better part of our careers to Manchester’s mightiest quartet-- that feeling was first generated in 1983 with The Smiths’ debut performance on Top of the Pops. Still, this iconic appearance is one of the most discussed and dissected moments in televised music history. For Britain, it was a fittingly bold introduction to the band that would forever mold popular music. 

The Comeback Kids: Bizarre Ride Live Makes Its Mark on Hip-Hop

Alysia Stern

The Pharcyde is a soulful hip-hop group from the early 1990s. After a breakup, four of the original members have reunited. Fatlip, SlimKid3.  along with Pharcyde producers J-Sw!ft & L.A. Jay are now performing as Bizarre Ride Live. The animated and enthusiastic group is best known for the hit singles "Drop", "Passin' Me By" and "Runnin,'" as well as their first album, Bizarre Ride II the PharcydeHighbrow Magazine recently met with and interviewed the band.  

 

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