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Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No. 4 in g minor, Op. 40 – Pianist Yuri Favorin

Hola a todos. In the mood for some Rachmaninov? Music for piano and orchestra?

Below is an excellent performance of Sergei Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in g, Op. 40. Here are the performance details:

Академический симфонический оркестр Московской филармонии
Солист – Yuri Favorin
Дирижер – Dimitris Botinis

Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow Philharmonic
Piano Soloist – Yuri Favorin
Conductor – Dimitris Botinis

Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 4 is neglected, compared to his Second and Third concertos, which are the most often performed.

The Three Versions: 1926, 1928, 1941

Readers might find it interesting to know that there are three versions of this concerto. There’s the original 1926 manuscript, which was not well received when it premiered. At that point, Rachmaninov decided to make some cuts in the concerto and other changes in the writing and he published that version in 1928. Well, that version was not well received either. So apparently fed up with the whole thing at that point, Rachmaninov decided to shelve it. But fortunately for el mundo/the world, he eventually got around to working on it again and revised it. He published that final version in 1941, and that’s the version performed in the video below and the most often performed version today. I’ve heard a performance of the original manuscript and I liked it, but think I prefer the 1941 version. I read that pianist/conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy prefers the 1926 version having conducted it twice and performed it once as pianist.

Rachmaninov made cuts and/or revisions to some of his pieces because he wasn’t pleased with them and/or they were not well-received. In some instances he made cuts to his music because some people complained that his pieces were too long. He also made cuts to his pieces just to get them performed. He made cuts in the Third Piano Concerto. I’ve heard a recording of a cut Rachmaninov Third and I didn’t like it because I knew sections were missing. I’ve played the Third in its original form — although not with an orchestra; concerto opportunities don’t come around that often unless one has an agent and works as an international concert artist or takes part in piano competitions — so I knew that not all of the piece was there. I’m of the opinion that if one is going to perform his music, perform it as he originally wrote it, or in its final version in the case of the Piano Concerto No. 4.

This performance in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall by Yuri Favorin and the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow Philharmonic is rather unusual in that I don’t see how it could be improved upon. Yuri plays beautifully. Listen at how he rattles those (well-drilled) runs off of the third movement. Very clean playing; never an overuse of pedal. The orchestra is one of the finest — a really smooth string section — as is the conductor. The conductor, Dimitris Botinis, is very laid-back and I enjoyed watching him conduct and his interaction with the pianist and orchestra. I also enjoyed the interaction between the leader/concertmaster and the second chair violinist at the beginning of the third movement where they were counting waiting to come in. After a quick head jerk from the leader, which caused the second chair violinist to smile, the leader then had another head movement as part of his counting. The second chair noticed and they smiled at each other.

I found this performance very enjoyable and it’s well recorded.

Yuri’s encore was Rachmaninov’s Etudes-Tableaux Op. 39, No. 3. I’ve played that one. Mi amigo/My friend was watching this with me and when it came to the encore he said, “Oh that one (from having heard me play it). That’s a good encore. That’s one of my favourite ones.” I said: It’s quite difficult in its own way, especially those random run passages, although not as difficult as some of the others in Op. 39. He said: It looks difficult.

From my personal experience, the thing about Rachmaninov is that if one plays mostly Rachmaninov and/or Scriabin, it makes other pieces feel rather easy to play by comparison. Chau.—el barrio rosa

New Chorus Director for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus

Hola a todos. I told mi amigo/my friend that I was writing about the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. He asked: “Why are you writing about some squeal-y Chorus?” (smile). I knew what he meant by that since we had talked about the problems with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus sometime ago. I said to him: Well, they have a new Chorus Director. That’s why I’m writing about them and maybe he will make positive changes to the Chorus because of his own high choral standards.

If you’ve read mi diario personal/my personal diary (pink barrio) for sometime, you may have noticed that I haven’t written favorably about Boston’s Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the official Chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO). And that’s because they’re not as good as they used to be, in my opinion, like so many other things these days.

But maybe that will change now that the BSO has hired James Burton from the UK to be the Chorus Director of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus as well as the BSO’s Choral Director. That latter title is curious. The BSO created that new title (“BSO Choral Director”) for James Burton and I’m not sure what that means since the Tanglewood Festival Chorus (TFC) is the only Chorus that performs with the BSO. So it would seem to me that by default Burton is automatically the “BSO’s Choral Director” as Chorus Director of the TFC, no? But then after thinking about it, just like with TFC’s founder and former Chorus Director, John Oliver, I assume Burton will be working at Tanglewood as a choral expert/specialist — and working with other guest choral ensembles at Tanglewood — in his role as the BSO’s Choral Director, and not in his role as Chorus Director of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus or anything having to do with them.

For those who don’t know, Tanglewood (which is in Lenox Massachusetts) is the second/Summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — and they perform there when they’re not in Boston’s Symphony Hall — and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus was formed by John Oliver to serve as the Chorus for the Tanglewood Music Festival. Oliver retired as TFC’s Chorus Director in 2014.

A little history: Before the TFC was founded, the New England Conservatory Chorus (Lorna Cooke de Varon, Chorus Director) performed with the BSO. They had quite a legacy with the BSO — similar to the superb University of Maryland Chorus and the National Symphony Orchestra in the Kennedy Center — and the BSO and the New England Conservatory Chorus made many recording together of their performances. Later, BSO conductor, Seiji Ozawa, asked John Oliver to form the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and they became the Official Chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I bet it made their day when Lorna Cooke de Varon and the New England Conservatory Chorus learned they would no longer be performing with the BSO.

TFC was one of my favourite Orchestra Choruses at that time. But hearing them in recent years, something changed with them. Or did John Oliver’s hearing give out in recent years? Something happened. Maybe they were doing too much opera repertoire? Which would be better left for Opera Choruses to do, rather than a Symphony Chorus. In the last couple of years or so I heard them perform and could not listen to their shrill-sounding soprano section with that god-awful wobbling, fluttering, almost-nervous-sounding vibrato they sing with. Jesus, who likes that sound? (People with no ear for the finest of choral excellence). And at the end of their Beethoven’s Ninth performance at the Tanglewood Music Festival a couple of years ago, the audience screamed with approval and applause. Apparently their audience can’t tell the difference between screaming and singing (choral excellence). Or was most of the audience drunk from sipping wine for hours on the lawn, so anything sounds good to them?! In that performance, the soprano section sounded unrefined and like they were cackling especially on the highest notes of the Beethoven. It sounded awful. I thought while listening to them: What’s happened to the Tanglewood Festival Chorus? It made me wonder that perhaps some of the sopranos shouldn’t be in the Chorus — vocally past their prime? — and it made me wonder if those choristers are all that John Oliver could get these days considering the commitment required for chorister membership in the TFC. Again, the soprano section did not have a smooth, refined sound like the rest of the Chorus which I found very odd because the soprano section did not “match” the rest of the Chorus, if you know what I mean by that. As I remember, the altos had a similar problem but they were not nearly as annoying/bad as the sopranos. The tenors and basses did not sing with vibrato at all. Their strong tenor section was mostly excellent. I say “mostly” because with them I heard some straining and cracking voices in their upper register of the Beethoven. Not good, and not what one expects to hear from a superb, well-trained Orchestra Chorus.

With the Orchestra Choruses I had the privilege of singing with (Choral Arts Society of Washington (National Symphony Orchestra/Kennedy Center Concert Hall), University of Maryland Chorus (NSO/Kennedy Center Concert Hall) and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus (Davies Symphony Hall)), all sections of the Chorus “matched.” I’ve never been a chorister in any Chorus where the sections did not “match.” That’s unheard of from my choral experience. We had no section (SATB) that had some fluttery/wobbling annoying vibrato as if they’re trying to be an Opera Chorus and not what they are: a Symphony Chorus. The Symphonic Choruses I sang with were of the same caliber as Margaret Hillis’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Robert Shaw’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Hillis and Shaw had no vibrato with any of their sections. All sections of both the Chicago and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Choruses had a very smooth, polished and refined warm choral sound (and impeccable diction). And there was absolutely no cracking voices or straining for notes. The same was true for Simon Halsey’s CBSO Chorus (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Chorus) in the UK when I was paying close attention to them. All of their sections matched. The same with Stephen Hill’s BBC Symphony Chorus.

I don’t understand the thinking of some Chorus Directors these days where they have three sections of their Chorus (it’s usually the altos, tenors and basses) singing without vibrato and one section (the sopranos) singing with vibrato. WTF is up with that? Is this something new? It’s not how I was trained.

I’m beginning to wonder if this annoying vibrato with sopranos and altos is a “Boston thing,” because the Boston University Symphony Chorus has the same problem. Or are they trying to emulate unrefined Tanglewood? If so, don’t, por favor. Not a good idea. I couldn’t listen to the Boston University Symphony Chorus’ recent performance of the Fauré Requiem because of, again, the annoying fluttering vibrato from their soprano section and some from the altos. But their tenors and basses fortunately had absolutely no vibrato whatsoever. They sounded beautiful, very smooth, polished and refined. But unfortunately, the women of the BU Symphony Chorus certainly did not sound refined. They had this unpleasant “rough”/non-smooth sound to them. It was as if they (men and women) were prepared by two different Chorus Directors with two very different perspectives/preferences: Vibrato for women. No vibrato for men. Loco./Crazy. And what they ended up with for the final performance was a non-homogeneous-sounding Chorus with a smooth/refined-sounding men’s section and a rough/unrefined-sounding women’s section. Damn odd and unpleasant to listen to, at least for me and mi amigo.

So maybe James Burton will correct these things. The Chorus he prepared for the BBC Proms did not sing with vibrato. They had what I call a “British sound.” A very bright sound with no vibrato. You can hear them here in Felix Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang (which the ignorant BBC Radio 3 announcer didn’t know how to pronounce correctly. Sigh. They don’t have a German consulate in London that he could call to check the pronunciation with, or does he enjoy sounding ignorant on the air? Others commented on this as well). Again, none of the SATB sections of the combined Hallé choral forces sang with vibrato in this performance below, so maybe James will use the same standards in Boston, hopefully. I would give him a least a year to make changes. It usually takes awhile for new people to make changes. Here’s their performance from the BBC Proms:

The Hallé Choir
The Hallé Youth Choir
The Hallé Orchestra
Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

Maybe James will also end that silly tradition that the TFC has of performing without their vocal scores. Who were they trying to impress by not using their scores? There’s something about a large group of people (150-200+ voices) not using their scores all staring straight ahead looking at the conductor which makes them look like a motionless bank of lobotomised robots regurgitating on cue what’s been drilled into them. That’s how the Tanglewood Festival Chorus under John Oliver looked to me and mi amigo/my friend. He’s noticed it too. To me, a Symphony Chorus that performs with their scores looks much better. It looks like they’re actively engaged in reading music and interpreting the score. They don’t look like mindless robots, and the score does not get in the way of seeing the faces of the choristers. I’ve had no problem seeing the faces of the Boston University Symphony Chorus. They use their scores (good) as they did in this Rachmaninov performance. I give other examples of problems with the TFC in the article at this link. Also, in this Rachmaninov performance (link immediately above) no section of the BU Symphony Chorus had annoying fluttery vibrato. That’s why it’s most curious and unfortunate that they used vibrato (as I said earlier) in their more recent Fauré Requiem performance. That performance was conducted by Scott Jarrett. Does he like that wobbling sound, or did another Chorus Director prepare the women and he didn’t feel comfortable asking them to turn off that tacky and annoying vibrato? Fluttery vibrato was also used some years ago (again) by the women when the BU Symphony Chorus performed Mendelssohn’s Elias at Symphony Hall with the BU Symphony Orchestra. That performance was conducted by Ann Howard Jones formerly of Robert Shaw’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

James Burton has an excellent background. I’m familiar with him as former Choral Director at the Hallé Orchestra, and music Director of the Hallé Youth Choir. You can read about him at that link above.

Mi amigo asked me: Why did the UK let James Burton get away to come to Boston? Well, I suspect the answer to that is: dinero/money and the salary the BSO offered him, which may have included paying all expenses to move him from the UK to The Cesspool as well as arranging for his work Visa. Although, one wonders why he would want to live in the US, especially under El Hombre Naranja/The Orange Man who’s now in power in the District of Columbia.

It’s telling that the BSO felt they must go to the UK to get a qualified Chorus Director, isn’t it? This also speaks to the dismal state of things here in The Cesspool/los Estados Unidos and the dying-state of classical music here and the complete lack of respect and interest in music education in the US. As of this writing, The National Endowment For The Arts as well as The National Endowment For The Humanities are being completely eliminated from the US federal budget proposed by El Hombre Naranja. El hombre has no respect for culture or the arts — both are way over his enormous head and beyond him since all he thinks about is dinero/money — and the same goes for the rabid proudly-ignorant (redneck) trash that worship him and serve as his devout boot-licking cult-mentality followers. A really pathetic situation. Contrast the US to Britain, where they have a superb National Youth Orchestra and National Youth Choir and they’re so outstanding that they perform every Summer for the BBC Proms. We have nothing like that here in The Cesspool. Nor do we have anything like the Proms, nor will we at the rate things are going. Chau.—el barrio rosa

UPDATE: After publishing this article, someone identifying himself as a chorister from the Tanglewood Festival Chorus disagreed with my article down in the comment section. He wrote:

“Conductors loved the memorized TFC (Seiji Ozawa’s original idea)…

Awhile back I read an article about the TFC and according to that article (which you can read here), it was John Oliver’s idea as I stated in the article. This is from that interview:

“Michael: Was the standard of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus from the very beginning to sing without a score?

John: That came later. The first time we sang without a score was Tosca, in the mid ‘80s. The lights were out for a lot of the time on a staged piece the Boston Symphony Orchestra was performing, so the chorus had to memorize the piece. The same thing happened the next season with Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arch au bûcher, so that, too, had to be memorized. I said to myself, if those two pieces can be memorized, why not Symphony No. 9? They sing it every year. So I asked them to do that. I don’t remember exactly how it evolved, but there were objections from a certain segment of the chorus. It was a lot of work, God knows, but on the other hand, the people who were proud of it gradually outnumbered the naysayers.”

I read another article awhile back about the TFC wherein John Oliver talked about this again and how the TFC usually perform from memory. In that article, I got the impression it was his idea — and not Seiji Ozawa’s idea — as Oliver talked about how one needs to see the faces of the choristers (as if their scores hinder that), and that’s why I addressed that in this article. It doesn’t really matter whose idea it was — I still don’t like it for the reasons I stated in the article — but if it were Seiji Ozawa’s idea, Ozawa didn’t have the same memorisation standard in this performance of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy for Piano, Orchestra and Chorus he conducted in Nihon/Japan where this excellent Japanese Chorus (their name is not listed) perform with their vocal scores. They also sing without vibrato. In this performance, everyone uses his/her score except Ozawa. Pleased to see Argerich using her score. I think more pianists should be using their scores:

Do you use Firefox?

Hola a todos. I use Firefox. Maybe you do too. Something I’ve noticed many times on their search page is their begging for donations, such as this language that appeared on el 14 de marzo de 2017/the 14th of March 2017:

“Celebrate Pi Day with some pie. Then burn off those calories with a donation to Mozilla. We’re pretty sure giving to keep the Internet awesome totally burns calories.”

They had about five donation buttons of various amounts for one to choose to make a donation, or one could check this box to choose to make a monthly donation.

Can someone tell me why this huge corporation (Mozilla) need donations when they have millions of dollars, based on their financial information:

Type of Company: Private
Founded: August 3, 2005; 11 years ago
Headquarters: Mountain View, California, US
Products: Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, more…

Revenue: $329.5 million (2014, last year available)

Number of employees: 1000+
Parent: Mozilla Foundation

Then there’s their relationship with Google which you can read about here.

There’s also this, although current figures not available:

Combined income of Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation
2011 $163.5 million (proportion derived from Google) 85%

Here’s their 2013 Tax Return Form

Question: Why are people so gullible to donate dinero/money to people who don’t need it? How many people take the bait given by Firefox? Because of their begging with their donation scheme language, before I researched them I had the impression they were this struggling, poor, barely-making-it, non-profit type of organisation. In reality, they’re a private company with millions of dollars.

Why would the average person donate to a private corporation that has or makes millions of dollars? That makes no sense to me. If one is not a millionaire why would one donate to millionaires? To me that’s loco. That’s as ludicrous as donating to a millionaire corporate politician in one of the two parasitic corporate parties in The Cesspool (Democrat and Republican). Is this more of that far “right-wing” math where the low and middle-income people are supposed to fund and support millionaires and their corporations? I just wonder how many gullible people fall for this scheme? I think they’re typically called suckers. Chau.—el barrio rosa

“Why don’t immigrants learn English before coming to the US?”

Hola a todos. That ignorant question in the title above was asked recently by some of the Orange Man’s cultists in the US state of Iowa in an interview with them. They said they thought that their Orange Man’s deportation of undocumented immigrants would tank Iowa’s economy. The people interviewed were not hating on immigrants, per se. One person asked: “Why don’t immigrants learn English before coming to the US?” (roll eyes) I’ll presume the person was referring to Los Latinos, Los Hispanos, Los mexicanos immigrants as opposed to Asians, for example. Many Latinos, Hispanos, mexicanos immigrants already know some English. Others are fluent in English. One of my acquaintances from Buenos Aires is bilingual. He’s fluent en español and inglés/English because he learned both languages in Argentina, and his English is perfect.

How many people in Iowa speak a language other than US-English? Their ignorance is noted however. Here’s why: Many undocumented immigrants fleeing the civil wars and many problems of their native country leave their country very quickly. When one is struggling financially and in other ways in one’s native country, one usually does not have the luxury of learning another language or even thinks about another language. Learning a language takes a long time and it takes dinero/money (schooling). Learning another language is the last thing on one’s mind when one’s country is in the midst of a conflict and/or civil war because of barbaric policies affecting that country (and sometimes the entire region) because of, in part, the terrible and exploiting policies of the barbaric and bullying Cesspool known as los Estados Unidos/the US. (To me, what I’m writing here seems like a given but there are a lot of stupid people out there who apparently don’t know any of this). So that’s why many immigrants arrive in The Cesspool/the US without knowing much or any English. Then after they arrive here, they understandably feel they must live in hiding so they won’t be rounded-up and deported. When one is trying to keep a low profile, one usually doesn’t enroll in a language school, unless perhaps one is living in a “Sanctuary City” and even then it can be risky. One can turn on an English-language corporate network but that will be very slow-going learning English that way. One needs to compare what one is learning in English with one’s first/native language to have a full understanding of the new language and how the two languages compare. When one is dead-tired from working a grueling and often back-breaking job every day as an undocumented immigrant and just trying to survive, learning US-English is understandably not a top priority, and where does one get the $$$$$$/dinero to do so? The Orange Man’s cultists/haters of undocumented immigrants should try doing the job that these extremely hard-working undocumented immigrants do — most of whom are very good people — and see how long they last in the same job. I suspect they would not last long. Also, when one is living among people of one’s own ethnicity and language, there is less incentive to learn the most commonly spoken and in some cases “official language” of a country. That’s the case with some Asians in San Francisco’s Chinatown, for example, who don’t speak much or any US-English, but I don’t hate on them for that. And one really has to have a genuine, sincere interest in something and the drive to learn it in order to learn it well, versus something being forced on one to learn. Some people simply have no interest in languages, and they only know the language they speak because they learned it from childhood up, and they probably don’t remember much about learning that language. If white people who only speak (or rather mangle) US-English were to move to a non-English speaking European country, for example, and lived among other white people who also only speak English, they too would likely be slow to learn the dominant or “official language” of that country because they would likely say, “I don’t have much need or use for it since most of the people I’m around already speak my (English) language.” I should point out that there is no “official language” in The Cesspool.

I suggest that the people of Iowa learn español. If they’re that frustrated by not understanding Latino or Hispano undocumented immigrants, Iowans could remedy that by learning their language, since I think español is the second major foreign international language spoken in The Cesspool at this time. Learning español will likely be as slow-going for Iowans as learning US-English is for Los Latinos/Hispanos. But unfortunately, most (redneck) US’ans fear other foreign international languages and want nothing to do with them which is the opposite approach taken in the rest of the world where international languages are embraced and encouraged, particularly in business. Yet another example of the Backwards USTM. As I’ve written before, classical musicians, for example, work with a variety of languages on a regular bases depending on the repertoire they’re playing. Yet many US’ans can’t even speak their one language correctly: US-English, as opposed to British English and its varieties/accents including Queen’s English. It’s as if the embarrassing and bullying Orange Man and his appallingly ignorant cult members don’t seem to have made it to 5th grade. Seriously. I mean, look at how el hombre/the man talks, if you can stand to! His ignorant cultists have all kinds of problems with US-English and spelling from reading their comments on message forums, while they lecture non-English speakers about: “LEARN ENGLISH!” They should take their own suggestion, los pendejos, since their English sucks.

Other than the music, one thing I’ve enjoyed about watching the Liturgies from La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is that I’m very slowly learning another foreign international language, français/French. Their High Church Messe is in Latin (the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, and so forth) as well as in français (the readings and Homily, for example). I especially enjoy listening to the readings during the Liturgy. The readers speak very clearly and I gradually pick up some words. I would like to learn français. One cannot learn enough foreign international languages as far as I’m concerned. It just takes a lot of concentrated time and effort. Learning another language is not as nearly as easy as the ignorant “English only” basura like to make out while they flippantly scream at immigrants, “LEARN ENGLISH!” as if one can learn a new language practically overnight, or in a matter of weeks or months and become fluent. It can take years to become fluent. I know some people are not language people — mi amigo/my friend is not a language person; he has trouble with languages because of his dyslexia, so I understand that — but people should stop fearing immigrants and international languages. Because in the US, we are all immigrants — except for the native/indigenous peoples — whether one was born here or not. I hope this helps some people better understand why some immigrants don’t learn English before coming to The Cesspool. Chau.—el barrio rosa

The Closeted Queer Community (2017)

Why I no longer write about Queer topics, and why am I now using the word “Queer?” Well that’s because there’s no hierarchy or politics involved in the word “Queer,” as opposed to the hierarchy of that “LGBT” nonsense that’s saturated all over the internet. Also, Queers (and the word Queer) make breeders nervous and we enjoy every minute of it. (smile)

Hola a todos. Some readers have asked me via e-mail: Why are you no longer writing about Queer topics? That’s because I don’t see any reason to. Why should I bother? I’ve written about Queer topics for years and it didn’t do any good. Nothing changed for the positive. There’s nothing else to say about it. Only a few people seem to care in the big scheme of things. As with some other topics I used to write about, I seem to be “fighting an uphill battle” or “a lost cause.” That’s how it feels to me. Several examples that come to mind explaining this and some of which overlap:

I’ve become disgusted with what the Queer community has become, and I’d rather write about things that don’t annoy or disgust me. It’s healthier/less stressful for me to do that. Today, the Queer community is mostly DISCREET (translation: closeted), conservative, pro-corporatist, pro-Establishment, DISCREET, mainstream, DISCREET, non-alternative, DISCREET, non-proudly radical, sanitised, DISCREET, shallow sheeple trying to be like the boring and often conservative mainstream breeders. Queers today are the DISCREET opposite of who they were during the decades of the (now-dead) NON-DISCREET and proudly-radical Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement. Some examples:

1. Monitoring television programming: one would think that the entire world consists of breeders. One gets the impression there’s not one openly Queer person en el mundo/in the world other than that heteronormative, corporatist, pro-Establishment, Obamabot and god Ellen daily promoting silly, dumbed-down and “stupid-is-in” and making millions: Ellen DeGeneres Receives Weekly Salary of $1.2 Million doing so. $1.2 Million a week? Outrageous. For being stupid? Whenever I see her in YouTube promotions of her show she’s wearing all black or black/gray or all white. Ms Conformist. La mujer/The woman didn’t care how many immigrants the Deporter-in-Chief Obama had deported or how many breeders and Queers Mr Nobel Peace Prize had droned or killed in other parts of the world in his 8 wars as she gushed over Obama at every opportunity. Or is she oblivious to all that? And I know Anderson Cooper is an openly-Queer boy, but I’m making a point here. Most of the (closeted) Queer people before network cameras pretend to be breeders. They refuse to come out of the closet and announce that they’re Queer. There are a lot of Queer people out there, but the public is led to believe those people are breeders because they refuse to come out of the closet. Despite some advances that have been made for Queers over the decades, those advances are not reflected in the overwhelming majority of corporate network television programming. And with the insane Orange Man at the controls, expect those advances to be eroded or disappear altogether. He’s already begun eroding Transgender rights. All the programming on the español language networks I monitor is breeder-based. I am so tired of seeing him fawning over her, him making out with her, him holding needy-her’s hand, him holding her chin, him playing with her hair, her running over to him for more attention with one foot up in the back (she’s perched on one foot) desperate for more attention, and him doing other things with her when it’s more than obvious to me and my reliable Queerdar that “him” is really a closeted Queer boy pretending to be a breeder. Such as the breeder-based dating programme that started on TV Azteca en CDMX recently in the afternoons. According to my Queerdar, I’ve seen one closet case Queer boy after the other on there wanting to date a female. (roll eyes). Is this stuff for real or is it staged just to create a programme? Do they ever have real dates on there? I don’t know. Mi amigo/My Queer friend says the same about the closet cases on television. In all of the Latino/Hispano/mexicano community, I only know of TWO (2) Queer boys that are out of the closet. Just TWO. That’s it. Those two are Ricky Martín (Enrique Martín Morales) and Christian Chávez (José Christian Chávez Garza). All the others are closet cases despite the public being fed the wishful-thinking lie that “gay is now mainstream.” Yeah sure it is. That’s why I constantly read anti-Queer comments on political message forums and YouTube videos and everywhere else. “Gay is so mainstream” that Queers are saturated all over my television. NOT!

I don’t watch the English-language networks but I would guess that they’re no different. I suspect 99% of the programming on those networks is breeder-based too. In the last few months I’ve read about one or two of those corporate networks planning to do a “gay programme” or bring back one they did in the past. At which point, some shallow, corporatist Queer organisation jumped up and down in celebration about this. Get. A. Grip. As some of us see it, it’s nothing but a “flash in the pan” in the big scheme of things and nothing to get excited about. Too often with these rare “gay programmes,” or when they feature a person who is supposedly Queer, they merely show stereotypical Queer guys and lesbians to continue outdated stereotypes. I’ll get excited when corporate networks change their programming to where a large segment of their programming is Queer-based. But I’m not holding my breathe for that to happen. These little “token” gay programmes are meaningless — and usually shallow — in the big scheme of things as far as some of us are concerned.

2. The public — including Queers — use that cookie-cutter/corporatist “LGBT” acronym nonsense because that’s what’s been drilled into them by them seeing that all over the internet. Even the anti-Queer far-right use “LGBT.” Some of us can’t stand the “LGBT” nonsense for several reasons:

1) to begin with, it leaves out Queers entirely since there is no “Q” on the end…whatever nutball dreamed it up was prejudice against Queers. Some of us are surprised that the “T” is still there and that they haven’t chopped that off yet considering the hate for Transgender individuals.

2) “LGBT” is the hijacking of the original Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement by lesbians when they were not the dominant group of the moment so why are they getting “top-billing?” and

3) I saw a few people recently asking: “What’s wrong with you gay guys? Why are you giving “top billing” to lesbians? Why are you allowing that when you did most of the work during the Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement?” Agreed. Yes, I fail to understand why lesbians get top billing. That makes no sense to me. Also recently, I read that the “L” was put first by one of those corporatist gay media organisations because lesbians were feeling neglected. (roll eyes) Oh the poor things. It grieves me so to hear that. [sarcasm intended] Well if their ass had done more during the Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement they wouldn’t feel neglected. They deserve what they get, which is second billing as in GLBTQ, if one must use any acronym. That’s the way it should be written: GLBTQ. But personally, I’m starting to use the word Queer instead of any letters at all since this topic and acronyms feel like a lost cause to me.

3. The Queer community to me and other Queers now seems dead and closeted, hence the title of this article. The Queer community has gone from proudly-radical and “out and proud” to proudly discreet which means either you’re closeted and/or cheating on somebody.

As I’ve written many times before, looking at men-for-men personal sex ads on the site I call ClosetList, most Queers (guys) describe themselves as “discreet” (translation: closeted and/or cheating on someone). Most Queers also describe themselves as “bi” when they’re really gay. Why do I say that? Because human sexuality does not change so drastically and so quickly to where thousands and thousands of guys worldwide go from being Queer to bi. That just doesn’t happen. But these fake-”bi” guys with their internalised homophobia seem to think that “bi” makes them sound more like a breeder, more masculine, more manly, more macho, and more obnoxious-jock even though these guys have no interest at all in females. But in today’s world, lying and deception are in especially in personal sex ads where hardly anything is real about those. Again, for the thick people, calling oneself “bi” when one is really gay is a form of internalised homophobia because one is ashamed of the word “gay.” To be clear, I’m not talking about the guys who are genuinely bisexual. I’m talking about the “bi” frauds. Didn’t most Queers work through this years ago during the decades of the Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement? Apparently not. And some of us see a major rise in internalised homophobia in the Queer community today. It’s really pathetic what the Queer community has turned into. Mi amigo said the other day: “I get the impression that most Queer people are back in the closet.” Uh huh. That’s the impression I get too in the former Gay Mecca of San Francisco.

4. Just like with the breeders, most Queers today are wearing all-black or black and gray. What happened to the pretty Rainbow Flag colours, Queer boys? You’re now ashamed of those because the breeders don’t wear them? Why are you so adamantly trying to be like the breeders? Again, internalised homophobia? Just because some misguided los pendejos in some corporate Queer (media) organisation(s) told you to “assimilate” after gay marriage became legal in The Cesspool/the US? Today, it seems that most Queers consider the Rainbow Flag to be “too gay.” Yet another example of what I mean by going back in the closet with internalised homophobia. It’s as if Queers consider wearing colour an indicator that they’re Queer rather than a breeder, and we can’t have that! No, the breeders are wearing all-black and/or black and gray and looking like white nationalists and/or depressed zombies, so the conformist Queers apparently think they must do the same to “fit in” and “assimilate” with/be like the boring and conservative breeders. Translation: Going back in the closet.

5. In tech-zombie San Francisco, no one cruises anyone any longer. One’s phone addiction has replaced all cruising. Mi amigo (a Queer boy) has told me repeatedly about how he has made the mistake of fleetingly glancing at another guy on the sidewalk who apparently turns out to be a breeder and the guy gives mi amigo a very disapproving, snarling angry look as if he’s about to say, “don’t you look at me you faggot.” Sigh. This anti-Queer behaviour did not happen often in the former San Francisco of the expired Gay Mecca. This behaviour is happening in the new Breeder and Baby Stroller Mecca and here which has taken over and replaced the former Gay Mecca. I should point out that people who are secure with themselves and their sexuality would not respond the way these breeder basura respond just because another guy happens to fleetingly look at them. Los pendejos.

[The following paragraph was added after I posted the article to respond to some e-mails enquiries I received.]: One may be asking: Who is directly responsible for this (new) closeted behaviour? Well, other than the Queer community itself, in large part I and other Queers lay this directly on those Queer US corporatist (media) organisations with their bloated executive $alarie$ who serve as self-appointed omnipotent authorities on all matters related to wealthy(ier) Queers. Some of them are the same basura who threw the Transgender community “under the bus” some years ago. These national corporatist Queer organisations (who shall remain nameless) worship the wealthy and that’s who they serve. Basura. In fact, one of those corporatist Queer organisations recently honoured a billionaire tech company owner here in San Francisco at their annual bougi lah-ti-dah dinner. This dinner came with an outrageous price tag per plate while some homeless people — some of them Queer homeless people? — with nothing to eat were lying on the streets within the vicinity of this elitist event. These class-ist Queer organisations couldn’t care less about poor Queers. These Queer corporatist organisations are the same corporatist trash that served as shills and hacks for their messiah Obama for 8 years and the thoroughly corrupt and imperialistic Democratic Party. These one-issue organisations served as cheer-leaders for their messiah Obama even when he was expanding the heinous policies of the illegitimate Bush/Cheney regime — or were los pendejos of these Queer organisations oblivious of that? — and when Obama was killing Queers and breeders in other parts of the world in his 8 wars. Mr Nobel Peace Prize Obama left office with 8 wars in progress or did these corporatists Queers not know that either? Or did they justify and excuse his wars because with partisan Democrats war is only bad when there’s a Republican in office? Hypocrites! (I can’t stand partisans). From what I and other Queers gather, these Queer organisations are the same corporatist basura who dreamed up that “LGBT” nonsense which is spammed all over the internet. I and the Queers that I know have no use for any of these well-known, disciples-of-the-wealthy national corporatist Queer organisations for many reasons, including the reasons I’ve listed. We Queers get the impression that one or more of these Queer corporatist organisations sent out a memo or some communication to all media and news organisations ordering them from henceforth and forever more to use “LGBT” whenever they write anything having to do with Queer topics. Also, some if not all of these Queer organisations told/ordered Queers to “assimilate” with the breeders when Queer marriage became legal in The Cesspool/Los Estados Unidos/The US. That’s the worst thing they could have done because many, if not most, Queers misinterpreted “assimilate” to mean go back in the closet. And I say that because that is what has happened. There was some direct correlation between Queers going back in the closet and Queer marriage becoming legal, which is damn odd and very ironic. As some of us Queers see it, it’s as if Queer marriage/same-gender marriage has backfired. Rather than remaining the proudly-radical and activist Queers that they were of the now-dead Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement, since that US Supreme Court ruling most Queers have tried their best to become the opposite of who they were, as if ashamed of and apologetic for their past. They have become more like the mainstream/conservative breeder sheeple, as if the breeders are to be modeled after and to be set on a pedestal as an example to be followed. Screw that! Why should the breeders be modeled after considering their dysfunctional relationships, their dysfunctional behavior and their constant arguing as can be seen in San Francisco’s Castro, and their over 50% divorce rate in the US? As history has shown, when Queers are in the minority among the majority (and in many cases anti-Queer) breeders, many Queers go back in the closet not feeling comfortable being themselves among the majority breeders, as is now the case today in The Breeder and Baby Stroller Mecca of San Francisco, formerly known as the Queer Mecca.

So in conclusion, to me this all seems like “an uphill battle” led by one person (me) and supported by a few other concerned people. But no one else seems to give a fuck. I’m tired of it and tired of wasting my time writing about it when clearly things continue to keep going backwards towards the 1940s. (Related: Gay “Assimilation:” Back to the 1950s). I do have one other Queer article I’ve written and already posted. It’s about mi amigo/my friend and his experience with the fake-Queer Trump supporters. You can read that at that link.

From our experience, all we see are breeders making out, or Queers (both guys and females) trying to pretend to be breeders and heteronormative so that no one will possibly think that they are Queer because we know how awful that is, right? More internalised homophobia. I was in a store the other night and this guy ahead of me in line had to lean down and give this female he was with a lengthy kiss at the register. I thought: Oh here we go. He had to let us all know they are breeders. I told mi amigo about it and he said: “Well, the female always needs attention and that’s probably what he was doing. He was just doing his obligation otherwise he’d never hear the end of it!” In today’s San Francisco’s Castro, I now do a double-take when I see two guys kissing or making out because it is so rare to see that. I even stop to watch briefly and appreciate them because it’s such a rare sight to see these days here in The Breeder and Baby Stroller Mecca. (Have these breeders never heard of birth control of any kind?) These days, when I see two people from a distance, I expect them to be breeders kissing or making out or nearly uncontrollably having sex on the sidewalk (as if they just met) in The Castro.

San Francisco’s Castro has been ruined. The Castro today is nothing like it was when I moved here during the height of the Gay Mecca days. Get this: Can you believe that a group of Queers a year or so ago started a project to Queer The Castro? It hasn’t worked and it’s not about to, but that’s how bad it’s gotten here with prudish and in some cases anti-Queer breeders taking over The Castro. And the local conservative Queers have served as their accomplices and enablers. The local conservative Queers clearly prefer living with other breeders rather than with other Queers. More internalised homophobia?

In the Old City of the Gay Mecca, it used to be that Queer boys and Queer couples walked by my window talking. Now it’s breeders with loud and/or screaming children walking by my window talking. Or more baby strollers going by. And it seems to be a requirement with breeders that he has to be 3-4 feet taller than she — from my research that’s her ridiculous requirement — and she has to be submissive to him as if she’s living in the Victorian era where females are supposed to be dainty, submissive and subservient to guys (in order to get his attention that needy and high-maintenance her constantly demands from him).

Our little group of non-closeted and proudly-rad Queers have been discussing among ourselves whether the majority of Queers will have to have their rights eroded or removed completely to get them out of the closet again and off their electronic leashes and to return to the vigilance and activism of the decades of the former Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement? But from what I see of the apathetic and closeted Queer community today, I’m not holding my breathe that any of that is about to happen anytime soon. Because the attitude of most Queers today seems to be, “I’m like whatever like” and “I got the most hysterical text message just now…where’s the next party?” And the most overused word in The Castro today is the ubiquitous word “like.” Most people have completely ruined their speech to integrate the word “like” throughout their speaking in order to “fit in” and be accepted by the stupid-is-in majority. The most stupid-sounding people live here now. It’s extremely rare to hear any intelligent or intellectual conversations at all. Intellectual is out. Stupid is in.

As of this writing, one of the US corporate media networks is doing a mini-series — some of us consider it another “flash in the pan” — being billed as a LGBT Queer (my word choice) mini-series. Will they be interviewing the heteronormative, self-appointed corporatist authorities that dreamed up that “LGBT” crap? Mi amigo and I don’t plan to watch it. I think the thing is probably a superficial programme about the now-dead Gay Rights’ Movement, and they’ll likely give the false impression that the Movement is still going. Yes of course it is [sarcasm intended], that’s why Queers are “discreet” and back in the closet, or at least behaving that way. It doesn’t really matter what this mini-series is about as far as some of us are concerned. As soon as I read “LGBT” in the headline for it, I clicked off. I’ve had it up to here with that. When they use that, you know it’s going to be corporate and especially considering it’s on a corporate network. No gracias. Frankly, I don’t care what this mini-series is about considering who’s doing it. I’m so disgusted with it all. I’ve seen a couple of billboards for this programme in San Francisco’s Castro. Apparently clueless advertisers don’t know that The Castro is now the Breeder and Baby Stroller Mecca and no longer the Queer Mecca. I wouldn’t think there would be much, if any, interest in this programme in today’s “discreet,” conservative and heteronormative Castro. When it airs, they’ll probably have media crews in The Breeder and Baby Stroller Mecca talking with some of the remaining Queers still living here to “get their take” on this mini-series. Before their cameras will likely appear the usual “celebrities” that are dragged out on cue and seen as “authorities” on all Queer matters. Some of whom consider themselves to be “progressives” — even though they vote just like Establishment Democrats at election time — and they also use the conformist/pro-Establishment non-progressive/corporatist “LGBT” acronym in their writings and speaking.

I remember when “Milk” (the story of Harvey Milk) was filmed here and all the hate the producers received from conservative locals (including conservative Queers), and the many merchants who would not cooperate with the producers. I and the people I know were disgusted and embarrassed by the behaviour of The Castro during the filming of Milk. And Milk was filmed during the Gay Mecca years. That experience was very revealing to some of us Old City people. It told us how The Castro was becoming very conservative and was clearly losing itself and heading in a negative direction, and has led us to the sanitised, cold/unfriendly, fake, lobotomised and very conservative Castro of today despite all the Rainbow Flags around here solely for tourist/marketing purposes to give the illusion that The Castro is still a Queer Mecca. Chau.—el barrio rosa

The fake-Queer guys supporting The Orange Man

Hola a todos. FYI: I’m now using the word “Queer” instead of any acronyms. That’s because there’s no hierarchy or politics involved in the word Queer, as opposed to the hierarchy of that corporatist “LGBT” nonsense that’s saturated all over the internet. When an acronym is used, I prefer GLBTQ which reflects the original Gay and Lesbian (GL) Right’s Movement. Also, Queers and the word Queer make breeders nervous, and we enjoy every minute of it. (smile)

The other day, mi amigo/my friend who is a Queer boy had an online encounter with a person claiming to be: “gay with a partner, a veteran, and a Trump supporter.” A Queer guy and an Orange Man supporter seems to me to be an oxymoron — or perhaps just a moron — and an obvious case of self-hate.

Mi amigo asked this guy how he could possibly be supporting The Orange Man when it appears that The Orange Man is very anti-Queer, despite any deceptions/words/lies to the contrary. The people around The Orange Man are very anti-Queer, particularly Pence, and The Orange Man’s nominee to the US Supreme Court (Gorsuch) says, “it should be illegal for gay people to have sex.” That doesn’t sound very Queer-positive to me.

Well, none of that mattered to this fake-Queer guy. Why do I describe this person as a “fake-Queer guy?” You’ll understand that in a moment. This fake-Queer guy replied by saying that Trump was the only presidential candidate who held up a Rainbow Flag during the 2016 campaign. Can you believe anybody would say that as some flimsy reason for supporting a candidate? Mi amigo responded by saying: “You fell for that stunt? Any anti-Queer person can hold up a Rainbow Flag to dupe stupid, gullible people like you. Unlike yourself, I look at what people do in the context of laws they favour or executive orders they write which can change people’s lives (not silly photo-op things), their voting record, their actions and the people they surround themselves with — that’s what’s important — not who holds up a flag to give stupid people the illusion that they’re pro-Queer.” I told mi amigo: Well you should have told him that Hillary — whom neither of us supported — went to the Pride Parade in Manhattan, which should carry more weight than some insane candidate holding up a Rainbow Flag the wrong way. Mi amigo accused this fake-Queer guy of having internalised homophobia considering his support of anti-Queer people. The fake-Queer guy/Orange Man supporter responded by saying, “When my partner gets home, I’ll tell him that we’re both homophobes.” Mi amigo pointed out to this fake-Queer guy that The Orange Man held up that Rainbow Flag upside down with purple at the top. When the flag is displayed correctly, red is at the top like in a Rainbow. This mistake was also pointed out at the time of The Orange Man’s stunt, that the flag was held wrong-side up. But in typical stupid-is-in style and in his continued defence of his hero, The Orange Man, this fake-Queer guy justified The Orange Man’s mistake by saying that actually he (the fake-Queer guy) wouldn’t know which way the Rainbow Flag should be held up either. Loco. Stupid-is-in. He didn’t know the order of the Rainbow Flag colours either so that justified The Orange Man’s mistake. Yeah, you’re some Queer guy all right. Liar. I’ve never known a Queer person who didn’t know how the Rainbow Flag should be correctly flown/displayed and who didn’t know the correct order of the colours. Even the child across the street from me knows the order of the rainbow colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

At that point, the fake-Queer guy started back-tracking. He said: I didn’t vote as “a gay.” (“A gay?” That’s the language I read and hear from the ignorant breeders. You’re not a Queer boy at all. All of this has exposed you as a fraud, Mr Breeder). He continued on: I voted as an “Amurrrrrrkkkan” (that’s not how he spelled it; that’s my spelling to emulate a redneck breeder). I said to mi amigo: Well then why did he bring up the gay topic in the first place when it was really irrelevant to his vote for The Orange Man? Again, “stupid is in.” That was the end of their conversation. Mi amigo and I concluded that he was dealing with an anti-Queer breeder pretending to be a pro-Orange Man Queer guy. You’re not fooling anyone here, Mr anti-Queer Breeder.

The Orange Man’s cult followers — these basura must be paid trolls — have taken over all message forums in their blind supporter for their hero Trump. They remind me of the Obamabots. They are very thin-skinned people and want complete lockstep allegiance to their almighty god, The Orange Man. Mi amigo told me that the other day he read a pro-dictatorial comment from one of The Orange Man cult members saying, “The people who do not support Trump deserve to be kicked out of the country.” Mi amigo didn’t respond to that comment but if he had he would have asked: Did you feel that way when Clinton, Obama and the Bush Crime Family were occupying la casa blanca/the white house?

From my experience with The Orange Man’s Cult, they are extremely anti-Queer, extremely anti-ethnic/racists, some of them are proud Nazi and white supremacists. Their ignorant trolls use any excuse to anti-Queer bait other commenters. I suspect there are many fake-Queers out there supporting The Orange Man. Just thought I’d alert readers to that. And as I’m completing this article, The Orange Man has removed some rights for Transgender individuals, labeling them “special rights” which is the typical far-right lie about any Queer rights. Queer rights are equal rights. Queer rights are not “special rights.” Chau.—el barrio rosa

What happened to the renowned University of Maryland Chorus?

Hola a todos. After writing my article titled “Musicians need to stand for something!” and after the commenting period on that article ended, I received some e-mails from international readers enquiring about what happened to the University of Maryland Chorus? As readers pointed out, I wrote about the Chorus in past tense. Their question is answered in my tribute article to The Maryland Chorus, but some people wrote back saying they didn’t see anything about that (even though it’s there; it is a very long and thorough article), so I’ll answer their question here.

Back in the Spring of 2009, the University of Maryland at College Park decided to disband their University of Maryland Chorus. Dr Paul Traver, the founder and director of the Chorus, had already retired and the new Director of Choral Activities was their Chorus Director. A publication in the District of Columbia wrote that several area Choruses in the Washington Metropolitan Area had undergone financial problems in recent years and were forced to disband. The writer listed (I think it was) four choral ensembles, including the University of Maryland Chorus. He wrote that The Maryland Chorus had been liquidated, which is a legal term, which also means dissolved. I don’t have any more information about that. The University said that the University of Maryland Chorus (also known as The Maryland Chorus and the UMD Chorus) had accomplished their goals and was being “retired,” and the name “University of Maryland Chorus” was also being retired to respect the Chorus and its long legacy.

I realised a few years before I had the opportunity and privilege (and a goal achieved) to sing with the University of Maryland Chorus that they were outstandingly superb. They were an example of choral excellence at its finest. I and mis amigos/my friends who moved to the District from the Conservatory of Music where we had graduated compared the UMD Chorus to Margaret Hillis’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus. They were that good. Margaret Hillis recommended them to conductor Claudio Abbado for performances of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. The Washington Post classical music critic wrote about their performance: “Paul Traver’s University of Maryland Chorus was glorious throughout.” One of my musical friends in the District who worked at the classical music store on Wisconsin Avenue over in Georgetown often said after one of Maryland’s performances with the National Symphony Orchestra or a guest international orchestra, “that Maryland Chorus can sing the shit out of choral music!”

When I sang with them, I think we were mostly a student-based Chorus of students from the School of Music. But I sensed from what the University wrote upon their retirement that this was no longer the case and probably had something to do with the disbanding of the Chorus as the University wrote that the mostly community-based Maryland Chorus was being ended. They could have just kept the name “University of Maryland Chorus” and changed the requirements to an all-student based Chorus.

In those days, from my experience, it was possible for the general public to sing with the local University Chorus if a chorister qualified and passed the audition requirements. Such a choral ensemble is known as a “town and gown” Chorus, meaning town’s people and university students. I think that was also true at that time at the University of Virginia’s School of Music with their choral ensemble called The University Singers, and the same was true at the University of Maryland. At Maryland, non-students had to pay a nominal fee to sing with The Maryland Chorus. But in hindsight, I get the impression that the University of Maryland was possibly never quite pleased that the University Chorus was not a student-only Chorus and perhaps that’s why they wanted to end them since Dr Traver was no longer there. Even from their founding, they were not an entirely student-based Chorus. They were started when the National Symphony Orchestra asked Dr Traver at the University of Maryland’s School of Music to form a Chorus for a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (“Choral”). He did — and the Chorus was comprised of students from the UMD School of Music and auditioned choristers from the community, rehearsing in the School of Music — and their performance achieved so much critical acclaim that they decided to stay together. Good idea. They became known as the University of Maryland Chorus and over the years performed with many of the world’s finest orchestras and in major concert halls (Kennedy Center Concert Hall, London’s Royal Albert Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall and so forth). When they were “retired,” they were down to about 90 voices from what I read. The Chorus that I knew and loved when they were at their height — when one got the impression they were almost the Official Chorus of the National Symphony Orchestra especially under conductor Antal Doráti — had roughly 140-150 voices, so they had lost a lot of choristers over the years. Was this because the Chorus did not have the same appeal to choristers because they were not performing with the National Symphony Orchestra and guest international orchestra as often as they once did? Or, did the new Director of Choral Activities deliberately want the University Chorus to be smaller? I don’t know. Or was this reduction in their size part of the classical musical arts dying? If that were not the case, weren’t there enough qualified choristers in the School of Music — which is an excellent music school (and an all-Steinway school) — to meet the requirements of the University Chorus to keep it up to size of 140-150 voices?

I do know that many people on the UMD campus were not pleased with the decision by the University to disband their University Chorus. Ending your University Chorus does seem weird, doesn’t it? I haven’t heard of any other universities ending/”retiring” their University Chorus. Just the idea of that seems loco. Well there was one (although not a University but rather a Conservatory of Music): Decades ago, the New England Conservatory Chorus was “retired”/disband by the NEC and they performed regularly and recorded with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Symphony Hall across the street. This was before the Tanglewood Festival Chorus (TFC) became the “Official Chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.” The TFC is not one of my favourite Orchestra Choruses in main part because of their fluttery/wobbling vibrato soprano section. Sopranos: Could you possibly “get a grip” on that annoying fluttery-vibrato you have? jesus!…You’re not an Opera Chorus, you’re a Symphonic/Orchestra Chorus. There’s a difference; that’s why they have two different names. John Oliver thinks that fluttery-wobbling vibrato you have sounds good, does he? Maybe his ears are beginning to fail him. In their early days, I liked the Tanglewood Festival Chorus very much. They were one of my favourite Choruses, but not now. And when they perform, they look like a motionless bank of zombies regurgitating on cue what’s been drilled into them. That’s because John Oliver, the Chorus Director, has this ridiculous requirement that they perform without their vocal scores, even though everyone else on stage has their scores! What exactly are they trying to prove with that and is this intended to impress someone? I’ve heard his reasoning for this but I find it rather ludicrous. I much prefer to see a Chorus use their scores. Well really, I feel that way about all musicians, especially pianists. Using the score, makes musicians look more involved in their performance. It shows that they’re reading music and interpreting the markings in the score.

But back to UMD, upon the retirement of The Maryland Chorus, the University of Maryland Concert Choir (an all-student based Chorus) replaced the UMD Chorus as the Symphonic Chorus on campus. They have performed with the National Symphony Orchestra in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall as well as with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on occasion (Britten’s War Requiem was one of their performances). But the UMD Concert Choir (I’ve not heard them) has not performed nearly as frequently with the NSO as the University of Maryland Chorus did, particularly during the Antal Doráti years. After Doráti left and Rostropovich took over, the UMD Chorus had fewer engagements with the NSO from what I noticed, which was disappointing. I sensed that Rostropovich preferred the Choral Arts Society of Washington. If I’m not mistaken, I think the Choral Arts Society was the first Orchestra Chorus Rostropovich worked with after arriving there. I also think that the first Chorus that a new conductor works with becomes his/her favourite/preferred choice.

One might find it interesting to know that before The Maryland Chorus was “retired,” the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra dissolved/disband their Symphony Chorus. That’s true. Can you believe that? That’s another weird one. I’ve not heard of another major symphony orchestra disbanding their Symphony Chorus. I read they weren’t that good although I never heard them. So the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra began inviting the University of Maryland Chorus to perform with them. One of my commenters said that the orchestra management must have had a meeting and asked why they were wasting money on a Symphony Chorus (paying a Chorus Director) when they could be inviting the best Orchestra Chorus around, the University of Maryland Chorus, to perform with them. Since the UMD Chorus was “retired,” the BSO has been inviting the UMD Concert Choir to perform with them, as well as the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. I read one excellent review for the University of Maryland Concert Choir. They were described as having a very clear tone and excellent diction in one of their performances of Händel’s Messiah. I hope this helps answer readers questions. Chau.—el barrio rosa