Isn’t it time for the Duchess to be pregnant again?

Hola. I’m sure you would agree that The Duchess gave a brilliant performance from memory while squeezing out the third baby and she looked absolutely picture-perfect “radiant” hours later. She was wearing the perfect red dress, the perfect hair (not a hair out of place) and the perfect smile, as if she’d never been pregnant or as if she’d never delivered a baby. The perfect human being, or at least that’s the impression/image for our consumption. Following that perfect performance, she was awarded the Umla Calada (that’s the birthing version of Magna Cum Laude) from the hospital from where she gave birth.

Such phoniness. Trying to present the false image and impression that pregnancy and giving birth is as easy as making a cup of tea. I do not understand the mentality of some of these royals who seem to try to give this fake image that they’re not even human and on a completely different plane or pedestal than the rest of us. But that’s what these days are so often about: Image. Fake image with the wealthy being presented as far superior to everybody else, when in reality it’s just the opposite. It’s so shallow and superficial. So unproductive for anything really.

Some would say: “What do you mean by ‘isn’t it time for the Duchess to be pregnant again? She just had a baby.” It doesn’t matter that she just had a baby when her goal in life seems to be that of a Baby Factory. I was just wondering why we haven’t heard news that she’s pregnant once again, with — how many is it now? — Baby #? We’ll hear once again that they’re “overjoyed” and “thrilled” with the news. One gets the impression they want a family that would fill a couple of 747 jetliners, so they better get on with things! Haven’t they said they want a large family? And Harry and Meghan have said that they can’t wait “to start a family.” Breed, in other words. Isn’t it wonderful that they can afford to have a large family from the public trough.

In a couple of weeks (as of this writing, el 19 de mayo de 2018/19 May 2018) I suspect we’ll hear “the joyful news(tm)” and the official announcement from Kensington or Buckingham Palace that Meghan is now pregnant, and all el mundo/the world will once again go loco/crazy over such a mundane and common occurrence. (Women have babies every day). Then I guess the Duchess will follow soon.

Unfortunately, the royals don’t believe in adoption and there are so many lovely children waiting to be adopted which the royals could welcome into their royal family. And if any of them would be open to adoption, I think it would be Harry. He’s not into the royal family thing — I had long sensed that by observing him; he’s more like Diana, his mother — and he even asked to get out and give up his title, but his grandmother, the Queen, suggested that he come up with his own role, which he has since done.

So there’s no time for breaks into between pregnancies. And a female can get pregnant very quickly after giving birth, so one would think their thinking would be, “Well we better get on with it! What are we waiting for? We have children to pump out.”

From what I read, the sister of the Duchess is pregnant as of this writing so it would be so much fun to be pregnant at the same time. Pregnancy stories to share. (roll eyes) Ugh.

And soon, Harry and Meghan will be pumping out a brood of babies as well, because again, none of the royals believe in adoption and they seem to care less about the world’s overpopulation. Nor do they seem to care about setting an example for the masses by taking the adoption route.

The sheeple get all excited when celebrities have babies when in reality breeding is no big deal. The royals have been made into major celebrities in recent years with the sheeple fascinated by the most minute details of their lives. One gets the impression they’re almost the royal family of the US, in part because the UK is essentially now a colony of the US and obediently follows the (imperialistic) orders of the corrupt US Oligarchy.

Most people seem to forget that mosquitoes can breed. Chau.—el barrio rosa

Royal Wedding Update (Harry y Meghan): I was somewhat interested in the music aspects of the Royal Wedding. It was unlike any other Royal Wedding I’ve seen. Very subdued really. One could say it was almost somber. Nothing grand and glorious about it like other Royal Weddings (think: Charles and Diana’s wedding in St Paul’s Cathedral, for example, where an anthem “Let the People Praise Thee” by Mathias was written for the occasion and Sir David Willcocks wrote a special arrangement of the national anthem). There was nothing really traditional about it in a musical sense — other than the language of the Liturgy itself — and that the wedding was held in the Anglican chapel at Windsor Castle. Although it was very traditional in that they used that, “man and wife” and “husband and wife” nonsense language in the Liturgy. That was a turn off for me. I didn’t pay much attention to anything except the music. I found the god stuff boring. I’m not even sure it followed the CoE (Church of England)/Anglican wedding service per the Book of Common Prayer. There were only two hymns. The last one was one of the old favourites (“Guide me oh thou Great Redeemer”) — William and Kate used it at their wedding too but with a different descant — and featured the trebles/boys of the St George’s Chapel Choir singing a new descant (or a descant I’d not heard before) on the last verse. Other than the choral music selected which didn’t showcase the Choir at all unlike other Royal Weddings, the service music was more ethnic than traditionally Anglican. If one were hoping to hear a piece by the well-known Anglican composer Herbert Howells, you didn’t. Meghan seemed to smile most of the time when the camera showed her, whereas Harry often looked more solemn, if not worried at times. He seemed to be his usual, real self to me. He’s not into pomp and pageantry so I think he/they did the best with the Liturgy that he could by tailoring/making it acceptable for them. It was more of an ecumenical Liturgy. It was too “Protestant” (Low Church) for me personally being a High Church person and that being my musical background and experience. The people invited were extremely Low Church as I’d noticed at other Royal Weddings and/or state services, even though this wedding was not a state occasion. When passing by or approaching the High Altar, no one bowed (or genuflected if there’s a reserved Sacrament present) as is customary in Anglican, Lutheran and (Roman) Catholic parishes and cathedral churches. I noticed that when the Archbishop of Canterbury blessed the congregation at the end, I saw no one blessing themselves as most Anglicans and Catholics customarily do. And the royal family is just as Low Church from observing them. That’s rather odd considering their relatives started the Church of England, the mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and its ceremonial protocols and liturgical rites. Charles seemed to be giving his attention to Meghan’s mother — how did Camille feel about that?; she looked isolated from Charles, if not perhaps annoyed/uncomfortable? — to make Meghan’s mother feel welcomed into the family. Charles walked Meghan down the aisle at one point. She started down the aisle by herself initially. It was a feminist gesture/decision on her part. For the national anthem (“God Save The Queen,”) the Queen did not look sour during the national anthem, as she sometimes does. She was wearing very colourful lime and purple. Very pretty. I watched the wedding on Univisión. They did an excellent job covering the Liturgy. They did not talk over it other than to have the network translator translate the spoken Liturgy part into español. But there was no talking over the music — which I really appreciated — as I suspect they did on the English language corporate networks, the way they usually do, disrespecting the music.

The only thing that comes to mind that annoyed me was that for some reason Univisión felt the need to find this horny breeder couple — I don’t know who they were; probably part of the aristocracy — in the Choir stalls. She was obviously pregnant and he turned to her and it looked like they were about to make-out right there in the Choir stalls at the end of the Liturgy. He put one hand near her face as if he were going to go in for the landing beso/kiss — and had to cup her face because apparently females can’t keep their face still for a beso and/or his aim is off — and then it looked like he was about to feel up her pregnant stomach. The message this sent was: “We’re going to be having a baby very soon just like Harry and Meghan.” (Who cares?!) I can’t remember ever having to cup a person’s face in order to kiss them. With us Queers, our aim is spot-on. We don’t have this learned behaviour “cupping” nonsense going on that breeders do.

One of the corporate US rags had to make an issue as to why the Queen wore bright colours to the wedding. She’s now known as a fashion icon for wearing (what they called) “vibrant hues.” Rather than saying that she wears beautiful, bright colours because she likes pretty colours — and I take it that there’s something wrong according to the corporate media with someone wearing colour now since “everyone is supposed to be wearing funeral black and grey” — this corporate rag had to use the excuse that it’s for her subjects to see her well, especially when they are 4-5 deep on the sidewalk and waiting to see her. Get a Clue corporate rag: The Queen doesn’t give a damn about any of the subjects waiting to see her. This woman has been around. She’s 92 year old as of this writing and she damn-well wears what she wants and (like me) she doesn’t care who likes it or not! Right-on! She doesn’t care about her subjects or whether they can see her. She wears beautiful colours because she likes them, just like I do. Is that so difficult for you colour-phobics to understand? The only time I’ve seen her in drab “Millennial Funeral Black” is at a funeral. Or is everyone supposed to be in depressed funeral-black as we as a society race back to the 1940s-50s (if not before) politically speaking?

But back to the topic of this article, the Duchess didn’t seem as “all smiles” as she usually does. She seemed a bit subdued, perhaps even tired when the cameras showed her. It looked like she had raced to get rid of her “baby bump” as I didn’t see any sign of her last pregnancy, so she would be “model perfect” for la boda/the wedding. I would imagine she’s gearing up for the next pregnancy. I guess she’ll have to compete — especially in the Baby Factory department — with the Duchess of Sussex Dahling (Meghan) for the corporate media’s attention and the sheeple’s constant obsession and fixation with these “glamorous,” “stunning,” “wowing,” perfect people and all the superlative adjectives lavished on them.

When might we expect for the US national anthem to be changed to “God Save The Queen?” Admittedly, it’s a far better anthem (musically speaking; it’s in hymn style) than the piece of basura that we have in the shithole US — which most people don’t even know most of the words for — which glories barbaric war and ugly nationalism (“bombs bursting in air….and our flag is still there”). Chau.—el barrio rosa

Related:

The British Royal Baby Factory

Classic Arts Showcase promotes gun violence

There were at least two instances of the promotion of guns that I saw in the 8-hour long continual show for the week of el 14 mayo de 2018/14 May 2018 on the Classic Arts Showcase (CAS).

Hola a todos. I never knew that the promotion of guns and gun violence is acceptable when it has classical music accompanying it. In that case it’s called “ARTS.” That’s news to me. Is this what the two founders — one of them being Jamie Rigler’s (gay?) uncle — envisioned for their “ARTS” channel?

I should also point out that on television they can show and promote all the guns and gun violence they want and that’s even encouraged especially for ratings. But they can’t show a penis, buttocks, a vagina or woman’s bare breasts, and we all know that seeing those human body images can kill a person or irreparably harm them permanently. (roll eyes) We live in one messed up society, I have to say.

So I turned on my television the other morning, and at first I thought it had switched on its own to a channel of the US corporate media where guns and gun violence are heavily promoted and is standard programming. (And some wonder why US society is such a violent society?) The scene being shown at the time on the CAS was that of gun violence from the 1930s. People pointing guns at each other. At least one person was shot and lying on the ground. The channel I was on (32-5 in the Bay Area) said “ARTS” over in the lower right corner of the screen so I knew I was on the Classic Arts Showcase where I was supposed to be. Well, not only are viewers saturated with scenes of breeders/straight couples fawning over each other 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but now there’s some gun violence sprinkled into the programming. Lovely. Just what we need here in the violent US. More gun violence and/or the promotion of same regardless of the channel. This is not what I would expect from an ARTS network.

Since I wrote about the heteronormative Classic Arts Showcase (CAS), which you can read about here, to me things have gotten worse on CAS in the heteronormative “him and her” department. There now seems to be even more of that, if that’s even possible, which is how that would play out. That’s what I would expect.

The gun violence scene was described as a “short film” clip. I don’t find gun violence “ART” no matter how one tries to gift wrap it. But apparently Jamie and Jimmy (his partner?) don’t have any problem showing gun violence on their CAS service/network. The title of the “short film” was “King Zog of the Albanians.” (Vienna, 1931).

Then, a bit later in the show, viewers were treated to two screamers, technically called opera singers. But they (a soprano and a tenor) were really screaming at each other rather than singing beautifully. That was a bit much too. It was of course the perfunctory and ubiquitous “him and her.” What else would one expect to see on the CAS? There are no gay people in the world according to the CAS, based on their breeder-based programming. In this more contemporary-looking opera scene setting being shown, he (the tenor screamer) asked her (the soprano screamer) to, “Give me your hands to kiss, my butterfly.” (roll eyes) Why are guys always kissing the hands of females? It’s very chauvinistic; the opposite of feminism. And who knows where her hands have been that he’s kissing! This operatic clip bordered on “soft porn.” I’m seeing a bit more of that too on CAS. Him kissing her neck. It was a clip from Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini. It was the “Love Duet.” I didn’t catch the name of the two screamers, but they were accompanied by the Austrian Opera Orchestra. While watching this I was thinking: I don’t know how she (the soprano diva) could have taken this as he was screaming directly into her left ear.

Then there was another clip. One involving two guns along with the drug alcohol. It was a bar scene, and oddly there was a We*l’s F*argo ad on a grey slab in the middle front of the set. Once again, “him and her.” Him kissing her hands. Can’t they ever come up with anything other than that?! Her stage name in the opera was Minnie. There were two guns shown in this scene. One by a guy who came on the set and then left. Minnie held a gun and then later pointed her gun at the camera. She sang (translation at bottom of screen): “If anyone is after this gold, they’ll have to kill me first.” This also had something of a negative nature to do with los mexicanos, if I’m not mistaken (I’ve not seen this clip from the beginning yet). I did see the word “Mexicans” in the translation. Trying to portray los mexicanos as “the bad guys” are we? One gets the impression that some of the selection of clips being shown on the CAS — or at least this one — is now trying to cater to the climate of hate (of los mexicanos) in the US and the current dismal, dire and insane political climate we’re living in. In this opera, there was a “bad guy.” And the “bad guy” is always non-white. I didn’t catch their real names but that’s just as well since I don’t like to promote opera screamers. The Nederlands Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied the screamers in this operatic piece: La fanciulla del West by Giacomo Puccini.

It’s too bad there’s not a channel somewhere that only shows mostly orchestral performances, without opera screamers serving as soloists. I’m just not into screaming opera with their obnoxious, uncontrollable, excessive wobbling vibrato — it’s almost as if they’re asking: “guess what pitch I’m singing?” — and/or gun violence, and it looks like Jamie (the Executive Producer of the CAS) has decided that it’s perfectly acceptable to show guns and gun violence in his “ARTS” programming. I hadn’t seen any guns or gun violence until now. Maybe he thinks that some gun violence will be appreciated by the conservatives who likely watch the very heteronormative CAS service and this will translate into an increased viewership. But to me, it’s catering to the lowest common denominator in our US society. The NRA will certainly appreciate the plug for guns. And playing classical music — especially opera screamers — while promoting guns and gun violence may end up being a new approach that the NRA adopts. They can say that they got the idea from the Classic Arts Showcase, and thanks go to Jamie Rigler. Chau.—el barrio rosa

Related:

Will straight soft porn save classical music?

How Embarrassing: “The US is always right.”

Oh por favor/please! US Exceptionalism is so ugly, embarrassing, and immature.

Hola a todos. I’m sorry to have to bring up the cesspool of US politics — since I have a very short fuse for talking about politics — but, since I live in the shithole US/The Cesspool, I would like to apologise to all the citizens of el mundo/the world in their countries for the pompous and arrogant remarks made by the current US secretary of state as of el 16 de mayo/16 May 2018. Because of the frequency at which people are coming and going out of this despicable revolving door regime of the insane orange man-child currently residing en la casa blanca/in the white house, I think it’s wise that I date things in articles so one will know which secretary of state I’m talking about, since I don’t care to have his name contaminating my site. As you may know, one secretary of state has already resigned from this fascistic regime. This current secretary of state as of the above date gave a “pep rally” to the staff at the US state department wherein he said (with my edits since I didn’t like the language he used):

US diplomats should act with confidence in carrying out the Tr**p administration’s regime’s foreign international policy, safe in the knowledge that the US is always right.

Sigh. (roll eyes). Where do these trash come from who speak this caca and believe it?

This septic guy also said that “aggressiveness” was simply “born of the righteous knowledge” that its cause was always just. As such, state department staff should carry their “diplomatic swagger” to “the ends of the Earth,” he said.

I would like to respond to that: I would like to inform this self-righteous, pompous and arrogant asshole that truly great countries do not need to keep reassuring themselves and their people of their supposed greatness. A truly great country does not need to keep selling themselves, marketing themselves to their people and the world as to how great they are and of their supposed greatness.

A country’s greatness stands on its own. Period.

One’s supposed greatness is seen by others without one needing to constantly remind others about it or constantly brag about it.

It is insecure countries — such as the shithole US — and insecure and immature people who do what this guy is doing. Well-adjusted and mature people don’t behave in this adolescent and dysfunctionally-brainwashed manner.

I don’t hear other great countries around the world constantly bragging about how great they are and how they are “always right.”

No country is always right. Countries are run by humans and humans make mistakes. No human is infallible.

His brainwashed mentality is that of an adolescent, not to put down adolescents, some of whom are quiet mature for their age and far more mature than this piece of trash.

If the US were such a great country and all that it pumps itself up and pretends to be, this asshole wouldn’t be saying any of this nonsense. He wouldn’t need to. He wouldn’t need to keep marketing this shithole of a country — with its barbaric and violent-based international policies — to state department employees or anyone else!

His rhetoric is ugly and embarrassing. I don’t share his views at all.

An analogy: As a trained musician, the finest musicians I’ve known and worked with were the most humble and modest of people. They didn’t strut around constantly bragging about how great they were/are, how well they play their instrument(s), what superb conductors they are, how well they can prepare a Chorus for world-renowned conductors, or how much they had accomplished in their distinguished career. No, I heard none of that from the superb musicians I worked with. In their maturity, they allowed others to speak highly of them and their accomplishments, and they modestly responded with a kind, “Thank you very much, how kind of you to say!” and/or sometimes followed by a mere, “Oh it was nothing!” Often minimising their superb musicianship rather than beating their chest about how great they think they are.

Then, we have these despicable septic assholes in politics. Why do politics constantly attract such trash, such low-life humans? They have never learned anything about humbleness, modesty or anything remotely about being a decent human being of character frankly. No, these people are the scum of the Earth. As if they are part of the mob and one of the various Crime Families. They are the most despicable of human beings.

Again, a truly great country does not need to pump itself up, it does not need to bully the world. It does not strut around the world chest-beating (and threatening/sanctioning other nations) and rattle on about their supposed greatness. A truly great country does not constantly police the world and meddle in other country’s business.

A truly great country is automatically seen as great, a world treasure and highly valued as such — not seen as a world parasite like the shithole US — and acknowledged for its genuine greatness. A truly great country is not frowned upon as an international bully.

Countries that are insecure with themselves, immature and juvenile are the ones who constantly need to brag about themselves, “sell themselves,” and brag about how they are “always right” and “born of the righteous knowledge.” These people are absolutely basura.

Question: Why does there have to be a “best country” or “greatest country?” There are many great countries around the world. I guess the better question would be “what country is best for its people — and not the Military Industrial Complex — and the environment?” It looks like Norway is considered the best country in the world.

So my apologies to the people of el mundo/the world for these most unfortunate and immature remarks. But one should consider the source. These are very septic people in power and they’re on the most vile of a fascistic white power trip. Chau.—el barrio rosa

Scabs: This company crosses picket lines

Hola a todos. The union representing the employees of the University of California (UC) system called a pre-scheduled 3-day strike this past week (the week of el 7 de mayo de 2018/7 May 2018).

Unlike the other campuses in the statewide 10-campus UC system, UCSF Medical Center (UC San Francisco) is a health sciences University with professional schools in dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy. UCSF has multiple campuses throughout San Francisco, including UCSF at Mt Zion, at Mission Bay and the UCSF Medical Center at San Francisco General Hospital.

UCSF Medical Center is the top-rated medical center in the State of California, rated “Best in the West” and it’s ranked #5 in the US for medical research and #2 in the US for Primary Care.

During the strike, I was on the Parnassus Height campus, the main campus in the UCSF system. (No, I did not cross their picket line. I supported the employees and their strike.)

I read that in order to honour the strike, thousands of medical appointments were cancelled by patients and hundreds of surgeries had been cancelled.

UCSF has an elaborate colour-coded shuttle system for transporting UCSF staff (including MDs, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other medical personnel as well as some able-bodied patients) to and from their other campuses in The City from early morning until late in the evening. During the 3-day strike, their fleet of shuttles was not running.

I saw a scab driving one of the Blue line shuttles and (what looked like) another scab running one of the Grey line shuttles.

I also saw a UCSF VA shuttle (Veteran’s Administration) but I think that was required to run because the doctors/resident physicians who work at the VA Medical Center in San Francisco come from UCSF at Parnassus Heights.

I’ve read the requirements for working as a UCSF shuttle driver and not just anybody can do that job. They are professional drivers set to the highest of standards. The job requires multiple certifications, required years of driving experience for a vehicle of that specification, as well as specified self-defence training. I have a lot of respect for the shuttle drivers because they are among the best drivers on our streets. They have a difficult and stressful job driving in this City with all the nuts and lunatics I see driving — especially SUVs and drivers staring at their phones while driving — who drive like they’ve never passed a driver’s test, and their new luxury vehicle didn’t come with turn signals.

With these two scabs I mentioned earlier, it was obvious to me that neither driver knew what they were doing with the UCSF shuttle bus they were about to drive because the destination sign on the front of the shuttle for both vehicles was incorrect, other than the colour indicator. When working correctly, the destination sign on the front of the vehicle changes to show the stops within that route. On the scab’s vehicles, this was not the case. It was static.

What I did notice was that a certain company had been brought in by the administration of UCSF at Parnassus Height to replace some striking employees and at least one of the striking shuttles (the Grey line), and that scab company’s solid black buses had crossed the striker’s picket line. Los Pendejos! That company was this company which you can see in the image at this link:

I also noticed that one of their solid black scab buses was replacing one of UCSF’s Grey line shuttles and it was stopped in the shuttle area. It was a gigantic black bus. Far oversized for what was needed. The UCSF shuttles are relatively small vehicles, as you can see in this image. The Grey line shuttles do use the larger shuttle vehicles in the fleet as seen at this image, but they’re not nearly as big as the scab vehicle brought in and especially for that late in the day.

That scab company is connected with the Tech Industrial Complex. I see those black techie shuttles among the 2-story tall wobbling tech shuttles with their blackened windows when they start coming in here from Silicon Valley daily.

Basura!

I hope the UC employees had a successful strike, although I don’t think they got what they were asking for, unfortunately. But in the case of UCSF at Parnassus Height, the striking employees did show what the main campus would be like without them. It was virtually dead. Shut down. The opposite of the way it usually is. Chau.—el barrio rosa

Iran: Tehran Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform Orff and Rachmaninov

Update (el 11 de mayo de 2018/11 May 2018): As of this writing, Israel is launching a terrorist attack on Iran-backed troops who are in Syria. Syria is Iran’s ally. They are fighting the Taliban and ISIS. The Cesspool/The US is taking the side of the Taliban and ISIS against Syria. The international bully (the deranged orange man-child) en la casa blanca wants to supply weaponry to the Taliban and ISIS to fight against Syria. He also withdrew the shithole US from the Iran nuclear deal and then imposed more sanctions against Iran and industry that supports Iran. The shithole US can have any and all nuclear weapons they want, and is the only despicable nation to have used them. With the US of Hypocrisy, the hypocrisy is once again glaring. In the eyes of the shithole US, they can do no wrong no matter what they do and no matter how heinous and barbaric their actions or how many countries they launch a terrorist attack on.

So, when the orange man-child and any other terrorist nations join him in launching a terrorist attack on Iran — pronounced E-rahn and not Eye-rack as the most proudly-ignorant among us pronounce it — that attack will be no different than another country launching a terrorist attack on one of the major US cities. Tehran is a very cosmopolitan City. They have a beautiful Metro and the Tehran Symphony Orchestra is superb. Check these things out down the page.

Not that he will read this, but I just want the asshole to know what he and his deranged accomplices are bombing, not that they care! When it comes to making dinero/money, the barbaric Military Industrial Complex doesn’t care what they destroy or how many lives.

Also, the new US ambassador to Deutschland/Germany — who is openly Queer and a conservative Log Cabin Republican type (they’re thought to be the self-hating Queers) — has already made an ass of himself: ‘Never tell host what to do’: Top German diplomat schools new US ambassador.

Now on to the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 in c minor from Iran. Chau.—el barrio rosa

My original article from Feb 13, 2017 follows:

Hola a todos. I have to ask: What backwater cesspool of a redneck hick town do these proudly-ignorant, nearly-illiterate, stupid-is-in and know-nothing cult members of El Hombre Naranja/The Orange Man live in? It’s as if none of them made it past fifth grade, if that, and they are stuck vegetating in the 1940s. And I’m not just saying that, I’m serious. I honestly don’t recall ever encountering such an absolutely ignorant group of people in my life as the basura that boot-lick and rabidly support El Hombre Naranja in their hero worship of him. These people have never learned something as basic as “two wrongs don’t make a right.” So in their “mind” (the word “mind” used advisedly), if Obama did something that was wrong, it’s perfectly fine when El Hombre Naranja does the same. Loco.

The hate and ignorance for Iran is rabid and wide-spread among the robotic cultists of El Hombre Naranja, especially after president Bannon and his empty puppet, El Hombre Naranja, placed sanctions on Iran recently. Because of US hate for Iran, corporate media propaganda and willful-ignorance about Iran, one would think that all of Iran were an uncivilized mud pot with most Iranians living in caves. That’s the impression The Cesspool/the US tries to give to its ignorant sheeple. But that image is the opposite of reality.

By the way, Iran is pronounced “E-rahn,” and not “I ran” the way the ignorant, hick/redneck stupid US’ans (including the US corporate media and politicians) pronounce it.

I don’t agree with some of the policies of the Iranian government — nor am I interested in talking about them — just as I don’t agree with the policies of the US Oligarchy or some other world governments. But the government of Iran is not the people of Tehran/Iran. And the views of Muslims worldwide are as varied and diverse as that of Christians. But to hear the hateful bots of El Hombre Naranja, they think all Muslims think the same, which is ludicrous. And of course reason has no bearing on them. In their alternative universe, reason is “fake news.”

Iran’s capital city, Tehran, is a beautiful, very modern city with a population of about 9 million people in the City of Tehran and 16 million people in the greater Tehran Metropolitan Area. Tehran looks no different than a city in the US. See also here and here. Los Ángeles came to my mind while watching the tour of the Tehran video below. Tehran has a very nice and modern Metro, nicer than some Metros here in The Cesspool (nicer than San Francisco’s). Modern Life: 65 New Passenger cars added to Tehran subway system. And Mayor of Belgrade visit Tehran’s modern Metro system. Also: Modern Life (Home Page). Lovely, friendly people live there. I don’t see any homeless people in Tehran so apparently they take care of their people, unlike The Cesspool which chooses to treat homeless people like basura while The Cesspool pretends to be “A Christian Nation.” Tehran has an excellent Symphony Orchestra and Chorus which in 2015 performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (“Choral”), just to give one example of their repertoire/skill level. I haven’t heard it but I have heard part of their performances of the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 in c minor and also part of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (see videos below).

Some people have been asking: Will there be a false flag/inside job sometime soon similar to the 911 inside job at the beginning of the illegitimate Bush regime? (Cue the “Tin-Foil Hat” Card that will likely come from the far-right and others about now because I spoke of a false flag/inside job). A false flag (terrorist attack) would be launched to get the public opinion poll numbers of El Hombre Naranja soaring — as it did under the illegitimate Bush regime — by making the public even more afraid of their own shadow and to get the sheeple in lockstep behind El Hombre Naranja. This speculation of a false flag comes especially after El Hombre Naranja has been slapped down (twice now) by the US judicial system. He and/or president Bannon fail to understand that if one wants a court to more likely rule in one’s favour — since justices/judges are also human beings with emotions/feelings/personal opinions — one might more likely get a ruling in one’s favour by keeping one’s mouth shut rather than publicly railing against a court’s decision by calling it “disgraceful” and other pejoratives. But some people just don’t seem to possess basic sense.

El Hombre Naranja and his out-of-control and amateurish regime have turned the District of Columbia into utter chaos since he took office with even his Supreme Court nominee in disagreement with him over El Hombre Naranja and his stated disrespect for the US court system. I read that they’ve already interviewed another person to replace the current and abrasive White House spokesliar, and president Bannon and El Hombre Naranja haven’t even been in office a month.

A false flag worked for George W Bush. Jeb Bush and many of the Bush regime’s people were signatories to the neocon PNAC document, which on page 51 speaks of needing a “New Pearl Harbour” (which 911 was) to unite the people behind The Oligarchy’s goal of US imperialism and world domination. Would a false flag work for El Hombre Naranja? Two possible targets: North Korea and Tehran/Iran.

Although in the alternative universe that El Hombre Naranja and his cultists live in, he could just tweet that there was a terrorist attack someplace in The Cesspool — blaming it on North Korea or Iran — without there actually being one. Just like with the “Bowling Green Massacre” that they have been going on about that never happened. His gullible disciples would believe it because he said it. That would be the best kind of “terrorist attack” as no lives would be lost. Then again, in his alternative universe he could tweet that he has launched a nuclear attack on North Korea or Tehran without ever doing so. Again, no lives would be lost. The corporate media would report that no attacks occurred and El Hombre Naranja and cult would scream, “fake news, fake news.”

I can’t imagine (and don’t want to even think about it) any deranged person attacking/bombing Tehran. Only a completely insane person would do that, and that’s my concern because we have a completely off-the-latch, insane person(s) en la casa blanca/in the white house. El Hombre Naranja comes with no social or diplomacy skills whatsoever. He’s a dysfunctional, bullying child in an adult body always having to have his way. And from what I’ve read, he’s constantly livid over trivial things such as the bath towels in Air Force One not being soft enough. His devout cult followers rush to defend any and all things that he does and says. They spend every waking hour obsessing about and trolling about “libs” (they’ve never learned to spell the word liberal apparently) and how “libs lost and we won, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.” Children in adult bodies, assuming these are “adults.” All the problems in el mundo/the world are because of (according to them): “libs, libtards, libturds” and “DemoRATS.” Anyone who disagrees with them they automatically label “a Communist,” clearly ignorant of the definition of the word Communist. Their own Republican party is sacrosanct and above reproach and not responsible for any of our problems. If El Hombre Naranja bombed/destroyed Tehran (I can’t even think about that), it would be no different than destroying a major US city.

I thought about this: If the haters of Iran were to hear the Tehran Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, watch video tours of Tehran and of their Metro, their Persian food and rich culture, would that at all change their Dark Ages and willfully-ignorant view of Iran held by the cultists who worship El Hombre Naranja, as well as the views of El Hombre Naranja himself? Absolutely not. And to begin with, they wouldn’t watch any of these videos, just as no links are adequate to these basura unless it comes from their Fox News or Alex Jones or whoever they’re watching. El Hombre Naranja and his cultists prefers to remain ignorant. They would call all of these videos down below “fake news.” They prefer to wallow in their hate and ignorance rather than to educate themselves. To them, education is a very bad thing and education would get in their way of scapegoating people who are not identical to them.

In the first video below, a superb Iranian pianist (his name is not listed) is playing the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 in c minor with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra (TSO) in this excerpt of his performance below. The TSO use the Bösendorfer piano, considered by many to be the finest pianos en el mundo/in the world and better than the Steinway (New York or Homburg). Their Bösendorfer has a beautiful sound. For this performance — and they may do so in general — the TSO uses the European seating arrangement with the violins seated on both sides of the orchestra and cellos seated inside the orchestra.

I read an article from a tourist from The Cesspool now living in Tehran who has spent over two years there. He loves Tehran and spoke about all the anti-Tehran lies, disinformation and propaganda constantly fed to the public about Tehran. He said that Tehran is a very safe city without exceptions and the people are very friendly. There’s also very few Western tourists there. He said there’s probably approximately five in the entire country.

For this performance (below) of the final chorus from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, the Tehran Symphony Chorus was excellent. It was clear to me — like with all well-prepared Orchestra Choruses — that the Chorus Director had brought in a language coach for the text/diction which is in Latin because I could understand every word, considering that the languages of Iran are:

Persian: 53% of the population
Azerbaijani and other Turkic dialects: 18%
Kurdish: 10%
Gilaki and Mazandarani: 7%
Luri: 6%
Arabic: 2%
Balochi: 2%
Other languages: comprise 1%, and they include Tati, Talysh, Georgian, Armenian, Circassian, Assyrian, Hebrew, and others.

Yet many stupid US’ans can even speak one language (US-English) correctly. Pathetic really, while they hallucinate about their supposed “greatest country” and other US-nationalistic ugliness. (Why does there have to be a “greatest country?” There are many great countries). You should see the sad writing skills of the cultists who worship El Hombre Naranja. And his are no better.

Back to the Tehran Symphony Chorus, I heard no annoying vibrato from any section of the Chorus, and they bowed at the end. I used the title above for this article because I wanted to credit the Symphony Chorus, even though they don’t perform in the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 in c minor. Chau.—el barrio rosa

Related: Asked to ban female musicians, Tehran Symphony Orchestra cancels performance: “The authorities had pointed out that the female performers were not wearing appropriate hijab (head covering)…The women musicians were going to perform the country’s national anthem. Why shouldn’t they? I have said many times that I was born in this country and I know very well where the red lines are. As long as I’m the director of this orchestra, I will not allow this kind of treatment,” he [the orchestra's artistic director Ali Rahbari] added.

Here’s the excellent Tehran Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (Orff):

In this video, notice the modern traffic signals that let motorists know how many seconds remain before the light changes, for both red and green lights. We don’t have that in San Francisco and I’ve not seen that anywhere in The Cesspool, the so-called “greatest country.”

I enjoyed this video recorded on their Metro, although I would have preferred different music more authentic to the region:

A nice segment about the Metro and about the Persian food in this video. Someone was having jugo de zanahoria/carrot juice, like I make every day. Now that’s real food as opposed to coffee — nothing nutritious about that — that the typical US’an would be ordering. Those stuffed bell peppers look good to me:

Originally published on: Feb 13, 2017 @ 1:44

The Second Class Musicians

“The musicians and the choristers.”

It’s sort of an inside joke among musicians. But all joking aside, that’s how most people view choristers, unfortunately.

Hola a todos. Mi amigo/My friend and I were watching a video featuring a superb Symphony Chorus recently. He leaned over and whispered to me, “They’re really not musicians, you know.” I just rolled my eyes. Of course he was joking and mocking the ignorant people among us who have so little respect for the Chorus.

In symphonic choral performances, the Chorus is “the star,” — not the soloists — along with the Orchestra. It’s a joint effort.

But on YT, it’s another story. A video will feature a major work for Chorus and Orchestra. When one hesitantly looks at the comments, who are most people praising? The screaming (celebrity) soloists who didn’t sing most of the time during the performance. Yes, the commenters praise and heavily applaud the “heavy”/excessive vibrato screaming soloists. Who do most people ignore in the comments? The Symphony Chorus who had the major role in the performance along with the Orchestra.

Loco./Crazy.

Therefore, who are seen as the second class musicians? The Chorus, seated behind the Orchestra. They’re just considered “background” to the musically-ignorant.

Upon reflection, maybe this ignorance is partly attributed to the fact that the traditional placement of vocal soloists is on either side of the conductor, so that gives the soloists this appearance of being more important than they really are, upon the edge of the stage staring at the back wall. These days, particularly in Europe, I’m seeing more performances where the soloists are placed back on the side of the Chorus or in front of the Chorus, if there’s room there. I much prefer that arrangement. When Boston University’s Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performed The Bells by Rachmaninov, the two soloists were placed inside the Orchestra. The soprano was seated among the violins and the tenor was seated among the cellos. That worked beautifully. And they stood when it was their time to sing.

I think that in many (if not most) people’s minds, the Chorus performing with a (major) Symphony Orchestra is considered unimportant. Second class musicians. Sort of on the same level with that of your amateurish podunk church choir.

The highly-skilled Symphony Chorus is not considered on par with the highly-skilled musicians of the Orchestra or of the same musical caliber for some odd reason, even though they are all well-trained musicians in the Symphony Chorus. But to the musically-ignorant, they’re considered “fluff” and “background.” I don’t know where this unfortunate thinking began. But with few exceptions, I see this mentality all the time in YT video comments. I guess one should consider the source since YT/G**gle seems to prefer stupid and childish videos catering to the worst of people and the lowest common denominator.

It doesn’t matter which Orchestra it is or which country, I still see this mentality of disrespect for the Chorus. Although in Chicago, and based on one performance that I saw I noticed that their audience seems to have a bit more respect for the Chicago Symphony Chorus, based on the applause level when the CSC stood to be acknowledge at the end of the performance. I suspect that was especially true when the late Margaret Hillis (Founder and Director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus) walked on stage at the end of performances to have her superb and Grammy-Award winning Chorus stand to be acknowledged for their performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

This odd phenomenon of the Chorus being thought of as second class musicians was brought to mind recently when I watched a symphonic choral performance from Amsterdam. They were performing a piece for Chorus, Orchestra and two soloists. The Chorus had the major role along with the Orchestra. And in this performance, both the Orchestra and Chorus were excellent. But who were the commenters below the video gushing over? The shrill-sounding operatic screaming soloists and especially the “heavy”/excessive vibrato soprano soloist whose voice could probably have been heard metres away. Second in line for the gush-fest was the conductor (who didn’t play one note). Not one person in the comments said a word about the excellent Chorus. And I’ve seen this countless times, and find it so disrespectful to the Chorus. In the comments, it was as if all that people heard was the screaming operatic soloists. Were the soloists using “heavy” vibrato to mask their bad vocal technique and/or pitch problems as can be the case? Based on the comments, one or two people did hear the Orchestra.

I think the gushing in the comments was from — as expected and as usual — the pretentious Classical Music Snots who (for first time readers) are those self-appointed, know-it-all authorities on any and all aspects of classical music. I think they are people who wanted to be musicians but did not possess the talent, intelligence and did not want to go through the years and years of intensive training and work required for being a professional musician, so they decided it would be much easier (and far less expensive) for them to be classical music armchair critics on YT. There’s no work required for that! Unfortunately, these snots ruin classical music for a lot of people. I can’t stand them. They’re also the same basura who worship big-name/celebrity conductors as well as big-name/celebrity opera singers screamers, and they love to drop names. Of course it’s always the name of some well-known celebrity conductor or screaming soloist to give the impression (keeping up appearances) that they’re some sort of “expert.” I also get the impression they are mostly into screaming opera, in part, because they think they’re supposed to be in order to appear all-elitist. You see, there’s this class-ist element of wealth associated with opera and with many (if not most) pretentious Lah-Tee-Dah “opera goers” Dahling. There’s less of this pretentious nonsense with Symphony Orchestras, not that there aren’t some who have to tell everybody that they know, “We’re going to the Symphony, Dahling.” So, that could explain their (the Classical Music Snots) obsession over the excessive vibrato screaming soloists who sound very out-of-place in symphonic choral performances where the Chorus is singing with a lovely, pure, straight tone (giving them perfect intonation/the perfect blending of voices), and the soloists are using excessive vibrato and screaming — instead of singing musically and beautifully — which prevents the perfect intonation/blending of their voices where one can’t even tell what pitch they’re singing. Often they’re singing in between notes or sharp or flat. I also get the impression that the Classical Music Snots don’t know the difference between opera and a symphonic choral work.

When BBC Radio 3 had a message forum, I noticed this lack of respect and recognition for the Chorus in a performance. Some guy was going on about the Orchestra in a choral performance, so I challenged him on that. He responded to me by saying, “I consider the Chorus part of the Orchestra which is why I didn’t say anything about the Chorus.” I explained to him that the Chorus is not part of the Orchestra even for Orchestras that have their own Chorus, such as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. That’s why they are called the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, for example. The Chorus is a separate ensemble and they only perform with the Orchestra a few times a year during the season. All other times they are in rehearsal preparing the choral repertoire for the season. They have sectionals (the sopranos and altos rehearsing together or tenors and basses) and Full Chorus rehearsals every week so that the Symphony Chorus will be at the same level of excellence as that of its Orchestra.

I have noticed that choral ensembles do get more respect based on the applause level at BBC Proms’s performances when the Chorus Director comes out to take his bow and has the Chorus stand at the end of the performance. In that instance, there is usually a rather loud roar of approval for the Chorus. So maybe it’s a bit better in Britain. They do have a strong choral tradition, in Britain, including the choral tradition of the Anglican Church with its Choirs of Men and Boys, and most recently the addition of Girls and/or Women.

I also think the disrespect for the Chorus comes partly from people’s ignorance. I honestly don’t think the average person can tell one Chorus from another quite frankly. I suspect all Choruses pretty much sound the same to a musically-untrained and illiterate ear.

Also, due of ignorance, some people likely think that any piece that involves a Chorus is opera, in part, because of the often screaming, shrill-sounding and excessive-vibrato opera soloists brought in to symphonic choral performances, rather than using soloists singing with the preferred straight tone from the Chorus.

And, I don’t think that the average person knows the difference between opera and symphonic choral music. I think to them it’s all the same.

Maybe this will help to clue people in to the differences:

Opera involves costuming and scenery and (unfortunately) “heavy”/excessive, vibrato where the soloists usually sound like they’re screaming rather than singing musically and beautifully. Vibrato is often used to cover up/mask bad vocal technique and pitch problems. Can’t sing on pitch? Then sing with “heavy”/excessive vibrato — think screaming opera divas — where it sounds like they’re singing screaming in between notes and sharp and/or flat. They think the audience will never know the difference. I heard a diva like that recently in Amsterdam. She wasn’t singing exactly on the correct pitches but the casual listener probably didn’t notice because she was using excessive vibrato at times, especially in her upper register. In some instances, it’s difficult to tell the difference between an opera diva’s screaming and shrill voice — especially sopranos — and that of the high-pitched sirens on an emergency vehicle passing by in the streets outside the venue. Also with opera, the orchestra is in the orchestra pit (they vary in depths) in front of the stage so the orchestral conductor can see what’s happening on stage.

A symphonic choral performance does not have costuming or scenery, and it’s not supposed to include vibrato. Some people, including the Vibrato-bots, will dispute that statement and ask me “where did you get that from?” I’ll explain what I mean by that. That’s the problem with bringing in screaming opera divas as soloists because they clash with the Chorus. It’s a case of excessive vibrato (soloists) versus a straight tone (Chorus). The two don’t match at all. They don’t go together. This is another ill-thought-out tradition of the classical music field. I’ve seen some performances in Europe where they will do an encore involving all the performers and the conductors asks the soloists to join the Chorus (singing with a straight tone) for the encore piece. When the soloists become choristers, they turn off their vibrato as any singer can do. Either the conductor asked the soloists ahead of time to please turn off their vibrato or the soloists heard that the Chorus was singing with a straight tone and they knew (as good musicians do) that their voice needed to blend with the other voices in the section of the Chorus they were joining. A Symphony Chorus/Orchestra Chorus should be singing with a lovely, pure, beautiful and musical preferred straight-tone. That’s the only way to achieve the perfect blending of voices where each section of the Chorus sounds like one voice. One should not hear individual voices in a well-trained Chorus. It’s called perfect intonation, the perfect blending of voices in each choral section (SATB). The use of vibrato prevents the perfect blending of voices.

For a symphonic choral performance, the Orchestra is on stage. Occasionally, an Orchestra will have an “Opera Night” or something similar to that where celebrity opera divas perform solos or duets from operas. In that case, the divas stand in front of the Orchestra at the edge of the stage and scream at each other and to the audience. Sometimes, some operatic acting is involved (always the heteronormative “him and her”) acting out some love scene.

I’ve mentioned vibrato many times. This is from Vocal Technique Instructor, Karyn O’Connor:

“There are situations in which vibrato is an undesirable effect. In choral work, vibrancy rates among individual choir members may differ either slightly or enormously, and vibratos that aren’t synchronized can destroy the quality of a soft, unison passage. Wide-swinging vibratos that aren’t squarely on pitch in one singer can throw off the pitch of other singers standing next to them in the group. Most choir directors make the decision to have everyone sing in a ‘straight tone’ to avoid such inconsistencies in the overall sound of the choir. A straight tone can help singers in a large group blend more easily with each other. Therefore, tempering how much vibrato a singer uses or has, if any at all, is a valuable skill in an ensemble situation.” [Source: Singwise: An Information Based Resource For Singers By Vocal Technique Instructor, Karyn O’Connor].

As with choral ensembles, I also think that all orchestras sound the same to a musically-illiterate ear. The average person probably can’t tell when they’re hearing an outstanding Orchestra either, they’re merely going on the name of the ensemble and its reputation.

If we had a serious music education programme in the US public school system, over time this might help musically train the ear of students — especially the gifted students with an ear for music and inspire them to go into music — to recognise the finest of musical ensembles. But that’s not at all a priority with the perpetual war-based US Oligarchy and its corrupt Democratic and Republican corporate parasites who, most of whom I think, see music and The Arts as “fluff.”

Mi amigo/My friend says: “If you put a soloist — particularly an operatic soprano soloist who sounds like she’s screaming rather than singing — and a jet engine noise together, I doubt that most people could tell the difference between the two of them either!” Perhaps. Then after the performance given by the jet engine, you’d still have that perfunctory guy in the front row jumping up uncontrollable and grunting out a loud roar before the conductor lowers his baton at the end of the performance. The conductor was hoping for a bit of respectful silence between the last note of the piece and any applause, but that idiot guy in the front row who has to always be the first to applaud, prevented that. (Think: the BBC Proms).

I think that when the average person sees a Symphony Chorus performing with an Orchestra — even with major Orchestras — they see the choristers no differently than that of your average mediocre podunk church choir where some or all of them probably can’t even read music. That couldn’t be farther from the way things really are. These ignorant people in the audience — who watch YT videos — likely think that the members of the Symphony Chorus are people who just walked in off the street without auditions, picked up their vocal scores and that the piece the Chorus is singing has been drilled into them by rote, and that the choristers are only turning pages of the vocal scores in their hand to read the text, because they can’t read music. Wrong.

Choristers in Symphony/Orchestra Choruses are required to undergo very stringent auditions. I know from experience, having been through three auditions for Orchestra Choruses (Choral Arts Society of Washington, University of Maryland Chorus and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus). Some choral ensembles require re-auditions every year for current choristers where other choral ensesmbles audition current choristers every-other-year. In other words, a choristers continues to be auditioned as long as s/he is in the Chorus. One can’t just get in there and think, “my auditioning days are over.” No they’re not! Choristers are required to sing a piece of their choice (an aria from an oratorio, for example) — with the piano accompanist for the Chorus serving as audition accompanist — to demonstrate one’s vocal ability. Prospective choristers are required to sight-read during the audition, including contemporary pieces which are quite difficult. Sometimes the sight-reading part of the audition involves singing with another chorister to see how well their voices blend and harmonise with each other. The audition may also include the candidate being required to sing back random notes in a series played on the piano, which can be difficult, because of nervousness and one has to remember all the notes in the correct order one just heard and repeat them back to the Chorus Director. Auditions are required for all choristers in Orchestra Choruses because they only accept the best. So as the reader can see, membership in a Symphony Chorus is nothing like one’s membership in the average podunk church choir. Now there are some parishes and Cathedral Churches — especially in the Anglican Communion — who have the same choral standards as that of major Orchestra Choruses. One that comes to mind is the renowned Choir of Men and Boys at St Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in Manhattan (Anglican Communion). And they have a lot of respect and regard for their Choir at that parish, and they also have the only resident Choir School in the US.

The Chorus performing with an Orchestra is no different than the orchestral members as far as their musical training, sight-reading abilities, musical background and experience. It’s just that with choristers their training is in vocal music and they usually have trained in a different degree programme than that of orchestral musicians. Their voice is their instrument, not that they don’t play other instruments.

But with the Classical Music Snot (ugh), the voice is worshiped only when one is a (screaming) soloist. If one is a chorister, with few exceptions, the chorister is completely ignored. This thinking is very disrespectful to the Chorus.

Also, with Orchestra/Symphony Choruses, any of the choristers with their voice training could serve as a soloist, and in some cases they do. Some might not feel fully comfortable doing so and feel they have more of a “choral voice” than that of a “soloist voice,” but any of them are quite qualified to be a soloist, from my experience in three Orchestra Choruses. So there’s this glaring double-standard/hypocrisy between the respect given to (screaming)*** soloists versus choristers.

But I think this all boils down, once again, to a lot of ignorance about music on the part of the public.

The Symphony Chorus should be fully paid. Every Chorister.

The Orchestra is fully paid. Why isn’t the Symphony Chorus?

Most orchestras help promote this second class musician status onto choristers by refusing to pay their Symphony Chorus or an invited guest Chorus. I’m not aware that a guest Chorus is paid. The opportunity to perform with the Orchestra is seen as their “payment.” The convoluted mentality of orchestral management — with their exorbitant salaries — seems to be:

“We are giving you, the Symphony Chorus, the opportunity, privilege and exposure by performing with our Orchestra, and that’s all the ‘pay’ you need (unspoken: or deserve).”

That seems to be the mentality of those elitist jerks in orchestral management.

Of course, all the invited soloists are paid because they usually come from artist agents and not from within the Symphony Chorus, as they should. I wish the soloists were selected from within the Chorus, provided the Chorus is singing with a beautiful, lovely straight-tone.

I only know of two orchestras in the US that pay their Chorus — assuming my information about this is still correct — and that’s the fully-paid Chicago Symphony Chorus and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus (20% of the SFS Chorus is paid, or it was when I was in the Chorus, and that was the case the last I heard. A chorister states that s/he is auditioning for a paid position, but s/he may have to accept a “volunteer”/nonpaid position, since there are only so many paid positions available).

I remember when Chorus Director Margaret Hillis — with her all-paid Chicago Symphony Chorus — stood before the San Francisco Symphony Chorus which was demanding to get some paid choristers at that time. As interim Chorus Director for the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, she said, “Professional does not mean paid.” What an arrogant thing to say as she’s standing there in Full Chorus rehearsal receiving her generous salary! And some of us really resented that and I personally noted the hypocrisy. To support orchestral management bringing Ms Hillis here to San Francisco, she felt the need to stick her nose in our controversy. I thought to myself: Well if that’s the case Ms Hillis — that “professional does not mean paid” — why don’t we remove your generous salary that you’re receiving? I’m sure you wouldn’t mind since (as you say) “professional does not mean paid,” no? So I’m sure you wouldn’t mind volunteering your services here as interim Chorus Director for the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Hypocrite. Then when you go back to Chicago, inform the orchestral management that you’ll start volunteering your services there as Chorus Director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. Can we expect you to do that? To this day, I have the greatest admiration for her as a Chorus Director and the stellar results she received from her Grammy Award-winning Chicago Symphony Chorus in the Best Choral Performance Category, but I have to say that some of the things about her personality left me feeling cold about her. I remember reading some comments online awhile back about Ms Hillis and how some of the choristers of the Chicago Symphony Chorus felt that she was difficult to work with and that she was so picky. Was she difficult to work with because you’re all being paid? And I’m not clear on what they were talking about but her being “picky” achieved the most superb of results. I received the same “picky” complaint — so I guess I was in good company — when I served as Organist and Choirmaster in Anglican parishes. Some of my choristers referred to me on occasion as “you’re so picky.” They said it in a friendly, smiling way. I was paid to do my job and I wanted the highest of choral excellence. I was a stickler for diction. My view was/is that “if you can’t sound that good as a Chorus, you can at least have good diction.” (smile). I think Dr Traver (University of Maryland Chorus) said the same thing. And it’s true.

All other Orchestra Choruses perform for free to my knowledge. What if they refused to perform? In that case, the Orchestra would just find another Chorus of the caliber of excellence they require and invite them to perform, and the new Chorus would likely agree and would be delighted to have the opportunity. Years ago, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra disband their Symphony Chorus. From what I read, their Symphony Chorus wasn’t that good. They were not of the same caliber level of excellence as the BSO. After their Symphony Chorus was disband, whenever the Baltimore SO performed a symphonic choral work they invited Dr Paul Traver’s stellar University of Maryland Chorus to perform with them. After they were liquidated/disband by the University of Maryland’s School of Music at College Park, the BSO has since invited the University of Maryland Concert Choir to perform with them on occasion, or the Baltimore Choral Arts Society.

Serving as a chorister in a Symphony Chorus is a major commitment — I can vouch for that! — because one is usually volunteering one’s time for free with all-expenses (travel time, gas, food) being paid for by the chorister.

For the major Orchestra Choruses, some Chorus members travel far distances (at least 4-plus hours round trip in some cases) for the opportunity to perform with the Symphony Chorus with a major Symphony Orchestra in a major concert hall.

It is a thrilling musical experience to be part of a superb Symphony/Orchestra Chorus and to hear that beautiful choral sound that one is surrounded by as a chorister. It can put a lump in one’s throat and can bring tears to one’s eyes it is so beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous, when one has an outstandingly superb Chorus singing with a lovely, pure straight tone giving one the perfect blending of voices in all sections (SATB). When one is performing with other professional musicians of the same caliber as oneself it’s extremely rewarding, and especially if the chorister gets to perform a major choral work that one has always wanted to sing. This remains true until one starts to burn-out after awhile. Because of burnout and the demanding rehearsal/performance schedule, there can be quite a turnover within the Chorus where a chorister may only serve 2-4 years/seasons with a Symphony Chorus. While others will sing with the Chorus for decades.

It does depend upon the situation however. I recently saw a performance of a Baroque oratorio where, I think, the entire Chorus was paid. That’s most unusual, as you’ve probably gathered by now. This performance was in Vancouver. The names of the choristers were listed at the end of the video and of the names I searched, they had artist agents. They were available as solo vocal artists (their main occupation) but also available as a chorister, singing with a straight-tone when in a Chorus. After enjoying that oratorio performance (it was Georg Friedrich Händel’s Israel in Egypt), I had wondered why this musical organisation hadn’t performed anything else, or at least that they had uploaded to YT. I suspect it was probably because of the expense involved of having a fully-paid (I assume) Chorus as well as a fully-paid Orchestra. In that performance, the soloists were selected from the Chorus. It was a superb performance.

I also think the public’s awareness has changed in a negative direction since when I was a chorister in Orchestra Choruses. In those days, whenever anyone asked me what I did outside of my day job, I would say: I’m in the Choral Arts Society of Washington, or the University of Maryland Chorus, or (after moving to San Francisco) I said the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. The response was most often, “Oh wow, you have to be pretty good to be in that, and you perform at the Kennedy Center (or Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco)?!” I said, “Well thank you” and then I’d explain a little bit more about it and how I was busy with rehearsals and our upcoming performance at the Kennedy Center or Davies Symphony Hall. But I didn’t have to explain to anyone what it was that I was talking about. The average person even without any musical training had enough knowledge to understand it in those days. Today? I think I would get a blank stare if that situation repeated itself with most people. I don’t think most people today have any idea, any clue what a Symphony Orchestra Chorus is or does, nor do they care. And I include in that group the Classical Music Snots considering their disrespect and lack of acknowledgement for the Chorus in a performance.

Can anything be done about this disrespect for the Symphony Chorus? I don’t think so. It is what it is. Outright stupidity is in today (especially in the shithole US) and it’s so engrained in people. Just look at the state of things. And who has the time to go through YT videos correcting every idiot on there ignoring and disrespecting the Chorus for a major symphonic choral work? One can write comments on YT videos about it but I don’t know that doing that would accomplish anything. And some of the comments I’m talking about are from years ago. Is that idiot who worships soloists still on YT?

Mi amigo/my friend had this to say about this topic: “The people who do most of the work — the Chorus and Orchestra — are ignored in favour of the people who do the least amount of work: the (screaming) soloists. That is so typical, and that’s across the board.”

That’s true reading comments on YT from the Classical Music Snots. But as I said earlier, to most people, it’s all about the soloists first and foremost, followed by the conductor, which I don’t understand other than what I’ve said here about it. The conductor didn’t play one note (unless he was conducting from a keyboard), and as violinist Nigel Kennedy has said, “conductors are so over-rated.” In YT comments, someone might mention the Orchestra and praise them after gushing over the conductor.

And finally, when an Orchestra does not tour with their own Chorus and/or uses another Orchestra Chorus at an international concert venue in another country for a symphonic choral work, that too relegates their own Chorus to second class status. In some instances, the replacement Chorus may be better than their own Chorus, but that’s not the point. And I understand the expense involved for touring with the Chorus. But if the Orchestra can afford to tour, why not the Chorus? Orchestral management would likely oppose and/or scream about that by saying “we can’t afford that; we can’t afford to send the Chorus.” As second class musicians, they can go if they pay their own way in full would be management’s thinking. Of course some of orchestral management could take a pay cut in their exorbitant elitist salaries to help pay for the touring of the Chorus.

But only on the odd occasion should one expect to see any mention or appreciation of the Symphony Chorus because to the sheeple, the Chorus is seen as “background” and second class musicians. Chau.—el barrio rosa

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*** I mentioned “(screaming soloists)” up above: It seems it’s impossible to find a “perfect” group of vocal soloists. I’m referring to a group of soloists who try to blend beautifully with each other without any one voice overpowering the others, rather than sounding like a “trainwreck” (think: the quartet in Beethoven’s Ninth). There’s usually one soloist in the bunch — it’s often a soprano — who is a screamer, followed by the tenor. Most bass soloists that I’ve heard seem to be able to sing beautifully without screaming. I’m currently watching a performance where there are three vocal soloists. The tenor and bass are excellent. The soprano? I can’t listen to her. She’s a screamer. Her voice can overpower them all and it seems most difficult for her to sing quietly, even when the score indicates “p” or “pp” or “ppp.” Last week, I listened to another performance where the soprano soloist sang beautifully. She has a lovely voice. No screaming. She sang with her subtle natural vibrato which was quite musical. Her vibrato was not the least bit offensive. We thoroughly enjoyed her voice. The bass soloist in that performance didn’t do anything for us. We had to bypass him due to his rough-sounding vibrato. This is what I mean by how rare it seems to find a “perfect” group of soloists where they are all a delight to listen to, and their voices blend beautifully together. One is not trying to out-scream the others.

Related:

What happened to the renowned University of Maryland Chorus?

BSO and the University of Maryland Concert Choir perform Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem, Op.45

Can we end Mother’s Day?

The woman who started Mother’s Day would be pissed at what Mother’s Day has become.

Día de las Madres 2016

Día de las Madres

Hola. If Julia Ward Howe could see what Mother’s Day has become en Los Estados Unidos/in the US, I suspect she would scream: “What have you done to it? That’s not what Mother’s Day is supposed to be about. That was not my intent. What is wrong with you people? Don’t you read or remember any herstory?”

Mother’s Day was started by Julia Ward Howe following the Civil War. Mother’s Day was a protest to the carnage of that war and calling for disarmament by mothers who had lost their sons. Mother’s Day was their day to remember their sons. From my research, Doña Julia was a rather organised mujer/woman and she even wrote a Mother’s Day Proclamation (Boston, 1870). Check that out.

On Mother’s Day, some churches acknowledge the youngest and oldest mothers present in the congregation [roll eyes]. Roman Catholic and some Anglican churches, especially the High Church (Anglo-Catholic tradition), focus their liturgy on the Virgin Mary, the mother of the Holy Trinity. But Mother’s Day was not meant to be any of that nor was it meant to be a day of restaurants, las flores/flowers and candy. That was not the original intent of Mother’s Day at all and I wouldn’t think that one would be in the mood for such things when one is remembering one’s dead son(s).

Later, en Los Estados Unidos/in the US, Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in 1908 and then she worked to make Mother’s Day a national holiday in the US. But that backfired on her in the end. In 1914, Mother’s Day became a recognised holiday, but by 1920 Doña Anna was already disappointed with the commercialisation of this holiday.

From Wikipedia: Mother’s Day:

“Nine years after the first official United States Mother’s Day, commercialization of the holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become and spent all her inheritance and the rest of her life fighting what she saw as an abuse of the celebration. Later commercial and other exploitations of the use of Mother’s Day infuriated Jarvis and she made her criticisms explicitly known the rest of her life. She criticized the practice of purchasing greeting cards, which she saw as a sign of being too lazy to write a personal letter. She was arrested in 1948 for disturbing the peace while protesting against the commercialization of Mother’s Day, and she finally said that she “wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control …”

So if one really wants to honour the original intent of Mother’s Day/Día de las Madres and if one feels obligated to give una tarjeta/a card or gift to one’s mother (or all hell will break loose if you don’t because la tarjeta/gift are expected due to “tradition”), la tarjeta should really be of a paz/peace and pacifist nature. It would not be some cookie-cutter tarjeta from a corporate card company with a syrupy message written on it by someone in-house gushing over a mother they don’t even know and have never met and never will! But that’s the way corporate cards are. Just sign your name to the thing since the message is pre-written for you. I prefer to write my own personal message en una tarjeta than a pre-written message.

A message of peace is what is appropriate for Día de las Madres/Mother’s Day and I’m sure Doña Julia would be very appreciative that at least someone is honouring her intent for the day. Chau.—el barrio rosa

[Article originally published mayo de 2015/May 2015].