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  • Annotating the Music
  • Annotating the Music

    There’s a hard reality behind the Spokane Symphony’s struggles
      It would have been appropriate for Robert Herold to fact-check before writing his recent commentary, “Way Out of Tune” (11/15/12). Here’s what’s really going on. First, M
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  • Fiddling With Romance
  • Fiddling With Romance

    Date night at the symphony! This weekend's concerts offer a serenade suitable for swooning.
      started with one of those public-radio driveway moments. About a year and a half ago, Mateusz Wolski, concertmaster of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, was tooling around town when, he says, âeuro;œI heard this fantastic piece on my car radio. âeuro;˜What is this concerto?âeuro;™ I asked myself âeuro;” I didnâeuro;™t know it.
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  • Clocking In
  • Clocking In

    The guy in front is sawing away at his cello, but what are he and all the other musicians thinking about?
      0:20 âeuro;” Musicians, like listeners, tell themselves little stories about the music. For flutist Bruce Bodden, the opening passage is all about âeuro;œan immense army snaking through the woods.âeuro;� And his flute phrase here? âeuro;œForest creatures peeking out from their hiding places.
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  • Smiling at Death
  • Smiling at Death

    Have you ever been sad? Then let the music of orchestra and choir wash over you. Stop trying to figure it all out.
      Julian Gomez Giraldo, the director of the Spokane Symphony Chorale, ought to know. He says that when his vocalists — roughly 20 each of sopranos and altos, tenors and basses — ascend the risers behind the orchestra to sing German lyrics drawn from...
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  • Accidental Festival
  • Accidental Festival

    The ivories will be ridden hard and put away wet over the next few weeks.
  • Faithful to the Music
  • Faithful to the Music

    After rescuing orchestras, sustaining music festivals and more, Gunther Schuller deserves some recognition from Spokane.
      Beneath the hundred-foot stone arches of the cathedral’s interior, the group of singers look small. Still wearing coats against the drafty cold, many of them have pencils behind their ears so they can jot notes on their musical scores.
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  • Musical Audibles
  • Musical Audibles

    “Woodwinds Slot Right, Percussion 25 Blast”: A conductor calls orchestral plays.
      In the NFL, quarterbacks are stressed before every snap — analyzing defenses, redeploying receivers, changing formations. And that’s before the play even begins. Once all those large bodies start hurtling around, the QB has even more “reads” to make..
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  • Starving Arts
  • Starving Arts

    The state arts commission might survive budget cuts, but as a skeleton of its former self.
      In the current thinking, the commission would continue to exist but most likely as a mere shadow of what it has been. The governor’s budget proposal cuts the arts commission’s state funding from $1.26 million to $250,000. Factoring in the cutbacks from recent years, WSAC’s budget would be 10 percent of what it was three years ago.
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  • Who Needs Counseling?
  • Who Needs Counseling?

    Friday’s Symphony concert will show that composers are no more messed up than the rest of us.
      That’s why devoting a program to “Neurotic Composers” — as the Spokane Symphony Orchestra will on Friday night at the Fox — plays to popular prejudices. Oh, those oddball composers — always humming scraps of tunes, waving their arm about and looking skyward.
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  • Twenty Seconds Of Terror
  • Twenty Seconds Of Terror

    Waiting for the right light - and the spotlight - with photographer and clarinet player Chip Phillips.
      This weekend, Chip Phillips, principal clarinet for the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, will step forward to perform as soloist in the half-hour-long Mozart concerto. How’s he feeling about the prospect? “Scared. I feel scared,” he says. “You know, people don’t realize this — they think we do this kind of thing all the time.
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  • Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet
  • Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet

    Elmer Fudd is still watching out for wabbits — but this time, he’ll be 15 feet tall and surrounded by an entire orchestra.
      Classical music: snooty and boring. Cartoon music: zany and fun! Like when the xylophone accompanies one of Wile E. Coyote’s screeching stops. But wait — in the old Warner Bros. animated comedies, classical music and cartoon music were the same thing. “Practically every kid in America got their first dose of classical music from these incredible cartoons,” said George Daugherty in a recent Playbill magazine interview.
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  • Critical Listener
  • Critical Listener

    Why are multiple recordings of rarely performed symphonies made? So conductors can scoff at them.
      Two minutes into the third movement (which is marked “Allegro agitato,” meaning “fast and frantic”), there’s a passage with the brass shouting over freaky strings, then a drumroll and throbbing basses. It sounds like a horror-movie soundtrack, and sure enough, Renata’s going nuts.
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