Beethoven’s Tenth for April Fools – NPR’s music department caused quite a stir with their report Sunday about the discovery of Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony among some materials belonging to the developer of the metronome, Maezel. The accent of the German musicologist who made the discovery should have given it away; it sounded like a parody of an old radio show like Jack Benny. At the end the announcer said “Happy April Fools.” Of course there really is already a hypothetical Beethoven Tenth Symphony, assembled by Barry Cooper, and two CDs of it are available.
Mozart Piano Piece Discovered – This one isn’t an April Fools: an 84-bar allegro molto piano piece attributed to Mozart was found recently in an attic in the Tyrol. It was part of a 160-page handwritten book of piano music dated 1780.
New Met Manon Panned – The new updated version of Massenet’s popular Manon by the Metropolitan Opera has been called a “cold, drab and relentlessly cheerless view of the world.” The setting was changed from the lush era of the early 18th century to the harsh years following the Franco-Prussian War, around 1900. It was also felt that Anna Netrebko’s soprano voice was too heavy for Massenet’s kittenish music.
Silent Films Popular Again – So-called silent films seem to be coming back. The Artist won several Oscars recently, Hugo included the true story of early film magician Georges Melies, and the showings of the reconstruction of Abel Gance’s epic Napoleon in Oakland, California last week were a huge success. 5½ hours long, the silent film ends with a portion shot with three cameras and projected in the colors of the French flag on three screens. Due to the costs involved transferring the three-screen original to DVD and Blu-ray, plus that of hiring a symphony orchestra to provide the 5½ hour original score by Carl Davis, it may not have any other public showings or disc release. And get this: there is now a computer app called Silent Film Director, which can turn your videos into vintage-appearing silent films with special soundtracks. It’s only $1.99.
Audio Bargains List – The Audiophiliac assembled a Top 10 list of great audio gear that don’t break the bank. Among them: Ikea’s Lack hi-fi stand ($8), Grado’s SR60i headphones ($79), Sony’s XDR-F1HD HD Radio ($100), Samsung’s HT-C6500 HTiB ($649), Altec’s Expressionist Ultra MX6021 speaker-subwoofer system for computers ($200), Rega P1 Turntable ($350), Dynaudio Excite X12 speakers ($1200), Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition Blu-ray player ($899).
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