Ye Olde Fireside Chat
The Choral Contrarians
by Eric Barnum and Richard Robbins
2M ago
Richard and Eric gather round the old fireplace to chat about a variety of things, including reading a wonderful note from Swedish composer Mattias Sjöberg.  High-back chairs and a roaring fire is a wonderful time to reminisce and celebrate hygge during the dark, winter season ..read more
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Wandering the Choral Backrooms
The Choral Contrarians
by Eric Barnum and Richard Robbins
2M ago
Eric and Richard ask the question no one is asking (and maybe for good reason): Is there an intersection between the concept of liminal space and choral music?  They discuss this fairly defined aesthetic phenomena and posit if any aspect of it can be seen in the light of music performance.  Oh, and they rank their favorite solfege syllables.  Just riveting in every way ..read more
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The Future of Music?
The Choral Contrarians
by Eric and Richard
3M ago
Richard and Eric dive deep into an article in The Critic, entitled "Have I Seen the Future of Music; On a performance in three dimensions for all five senses," by Norman Lebrecht.  The article largely reviews pianist Yuja Wang's recent collaboration with renowned English artist David Hockney.  The author posits that, through the use of technology and three-dimensional space, this performance hints to not just a navigable way forward for music and music performance, but an exciting possible future filled with multi-sensory elements.  Are there issues to think through with this ty ..read more
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The Wallpaper of Spacetime
The Choral Contrarians
by Eric Barnum and Richard Robbins
4M ago
Richard and Eric look into a quote about art and music that has been making the rounds of social media recently.  Formally attributed to postmodernist/neo expressionist artist  Jean-Michel Basquiat, it reads: “Art is how we decorate space, music is how we decorate time.”  Why does the statement illicit a strong response from those in the fine arts?  What could it actually mean, or does it perhaps mean something that people are misinterpreting, en masse ..read more
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The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
The Choral Contrarians
by Eric and Richard
4M ago
Richard and Eric have returned from the proverbial grave! They catch up a bit and then briefly tackle the difficult task of creating a discernible ethic an ensemble can utilize and rally around on a practical level.  They look specifically to a recent movie: "The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse" directed by Peter Baynton and Charlie Mackesy (adapted from a book of the same name by Mackesy) for inspiration.   Are there ground level ideas or simple philosophies that can be implemented 'below' the music making that can effect the entire process for the good? To watch on AppleTV: h ..read more
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The Nihilism of Accomplishment. Feat. Dr. Jeremiah Cawley
The Choral Contrarians
by Eric Barnum and Richard Robbins
1y ago
Richard and Eric are joined by returning guest Dr. Jeremiah Cawley to discuss a special and controversial quote from Fyodor Dostoevsky's "Notes from Underground."  The thought process of the examined quote is guided by a YouTuber "Thoughts on Thinking," and the road leads to some broad and substantial questions about a human's relationship to process, purpose, goals, accomplishment, and despair.  Is  what you think you want not what you want at all?  Is the process of completion a hidden key for satisfaction or a trap?  Does this topic relate somehow to music making ..read more
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Perfection(ism)
The Choral Contrarians
by
2y ago
Richard and Eric take a look at perfection within the context of our choral experiences.  What actually is perfection as it relates to choral rehearsal and performance?  Is it an attainable goal, or is it actually a shadowy, distant mountain in which the closer we get to it, the farther away it becomes?  How do our individual contexts play a role in our conception of perfection?  Can we be driven so hard by the idea of perfection that it finally becomes either a harm or absurdity ..read more
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Sacred Cow Tipping: The 'Warm-Up'
The Choral Contrarians
by Eric Barnum and Richard Robbins
2y ago
Richard and Eric ramble on in attempting to tip over a perceived 'sacred cow' of the current choral scene: the 'warm-up'.  What is a choral 'warm-up,' and what are the various ways it could be seen to be a positive or negative tool and experience?  Are we being thoughtful in our time 'warming up' an ensemble, or is this a time of ritual and routine? Jordan, J. (1994).  Rehearsal Technique: A Guide for Planning the Choral Rehearsal.  Up Front.  EC Schirmer Music Co ..read more
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The "Antifragile" Choir
The Choral Contrarians
by Eric Barnum and Richard Robbins
2y ago
In this first discussion, Richard and Eric examine "antifragility" (a concept developed by essayist and scholar, Nassim Taleb), and its relevance within a choral context.  Can the metaphors and terms used by Taleb regarding antifragility's usefulness in the fields of risk analysis, engineering, economics, and biology create new ways of thinking about a myriad of issues in the choral ensemble? Taleb, N. N. (2012). Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder. New York: Random House.  'musica obscura' highlights Johannes Brahms' 13 Canons, Op. 113 'Readings and Writings' is taken from ..read more
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A Moderately Meritorious Return
The Choral Contrarians
by Eric Barnum and Richard Robbins
2y ago
Richard and Eric make a grand (well, not-so-grand) return to the airwaves after a long hiatus!  They once again, effortlessly, reach the pinnacles of podcasting mediocrity as they catch up a bit and discuss some of the challenges and victories of making music this fall ..read more
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