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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2016 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One Louder: 2011 The Year in Reviews

We look back at 2011, the year that turned it up.
Like Nigel Tufnel's amplifier, this was a year that went over the edge.
Image from This is Spinal Tap © 1984 Embassy Pictures.
We're at the end of another year here at Superconductor. There were a total of 467 posts (or an approximate average of one and a half articles a day.) Not bad when your ambition is to write publish and edit a daily blog. More are coming.

There were also posts that had little to do with reality: a privilege of being one's own editor.

So we're going to use this opportunity to look back (mostly fondly) at a very busy year. It started a New Year's Day review of Palestrina, and will (eventually) include this week's forthcoming reviews in the grand total.

The guide is in five (formerly four) sections:

I went to the opera 70 times, if you count a few live telecasts and broadcasts. Includes Strauss, Rossini, but surprisingly, no Wagner. Eleven reviews of great performances from different companies, with honorable mentions at the end.

Opera Singers:
When you see almost six dozen operas, you're bound to catch some good performances. We break down the 11 best, in all vocal shapes, sizes and styles.

Attended 95 of these this year. A recount of the eleven best experiences to be had sitting in a concert hall and not fidgeting. Features piano recitals and orchestral concerts in four different cities.

The recording industry is not dead. It's just changing shape, with the best opera recordings coming out on home video long before they're released on CD, and whole symphony boxed sets repackaged as dime-store downloads.

Our chamber of horrors. This year, instead of rehashing lousy performances, this section focuses on backstage drama and news coverage of a very strange year. Includes tales of injured conductors, on- and offstage drama, and the journey into the infinite undertaken by the New York City Opera. Plus singers falling off of stage sets.

The end of the guitar room scene. 
Footage, dialogue from This is Spinal Tap © 1984 Embassy Pictures.

Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and...
Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?
NT: Exactly.
MDB: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?
NT: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?
MDB: I don't know.
NT: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
MDB: Put it up to eleven.
NT: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
MDB: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
NT: [pause] These go to eleven.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.