- Why does anyone listen to music, anyway? Evolution-wise, what is all that blasted noise good for? (No, this is not another in our happy series on why everyone hates Christmas standards.) There are two traditional, sociobiological answers: We use music to mate (“Birds do it, bees do it … let’s do it”) or to bond with others (“Everyone rise, please, for the National Anthem”). There’s a third theory — that it’s all auditory cheesecake. What each theory tries (and possibly fails) to answer remains something of a mystery: How does music manipulate our emotions?
- When even the chestnuts aren’t selling: The Texas Ballet Theater isn’t the only dance company that has had to economize on Nutcracker or sell tickets at significantly lower prices. (The TBT cancelled a contract with the Fort Worth Symphony to use recorded music. The TBT production runs through Sunday at Bass Hall and then opens Tuesday at Fair Park ). The New York Times found two others.
- But it could be worse: The ballet company could get its bank account frozen and have it used to pay off credit card bills, as happened to Ballet British Columbia.
- Traditionally, Broadway shows often close after the holiday rush — the out-of-town theatergoers decline and the shows can’t struggle until Tony Award time in the spring. But this January is seeing one of the biggest kill-offs in years, says the Washington Post:
“Such brand-name productions as the two-year-old “Young Frankenstein,” three-year-old “Spamalot” and six-year-old “Hairspray” are among those saying bye-bye. “Spring Awakening,” winner of the 2007 Tony for best musical and one of the most innovative shows to hit Broadway in years, is closing its doors. Departing, too, are “Boeing-Boeing,” this year’s Tony winner for best play revival; the tepidly reviewed musical “13”; the universally praised “Gypsy” with Patti LuPone; and the revival of “Grease,” whose leads were cast on a TV competition program.”
- But take heart: If you visit Britain in the next couple of months, you can perform in what amounts to a countrywide, neural-electronic symphony. Or a kind of giant, musical brain — thanks to the Fragmented Orchestra:
- “The shed acts as a “neuron”, feeding sounds picked up at the Haworth tool shed to a central computer installation – the brain – at FACT gallery in Liverpool. The sounds are replayed almost immediately on one of the 24 speakers in the gallery. Then they are bounced back to speakers at each of 24 sites across the country – the other “neurons” – whereafter they vanish into the ether. The other neurons are sited in locations ranging from the nave of Gloucester cathedral to the main stand at Everton FC’s Goodison Park stadium. Anyone who makes a sound in the vicinity of these sites effectively becomes a player in a huge national orchestra.”
Image from Neuronal Music.