I think therefore I am

Okay, I’ve been tagged. Daniel Wolf at Renewable Music has tagged me as he was tagged by Matthew Guerrieri at Soho the Dog. It’s official- I’ve won the Thinking Blogger Award.

Here’s how it works

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

I’m guessing that it’s bad form to include bloggers who were previously in the chain, as that is slightly redundant and doesn’t necessarily help the cause of calling attention to worth blogs. Otherwise, both Daniel and Matthew would be on my list.

Also, I don’t want to fall into the trap of simply trying to pick my favourite blogs- we’re talking thought-provoking here.

One other concern, is that as I assembled this list, I kept noticing a distinct prejudice for blogs that are new to me. I think it’s hard to stay thought provoking when your reader has heard your point of view in countless postings.

Still, life is tough. Being able to make tought choices like this is why I make the big bucks.

Here are five blogs that are making me think this week.

1-       We Love Katherine Jenkins. Brilliant, close-to-the-bone satire. So close to the bone that the Guardian didn’t appear to realize the author of the blog was a “Mrs Senzatalento” and quoted from it as an actual KJ fan site. Were they in on the joke too? Here’s a link to the Guardian’s article defending the poor, misunderstood, naturally-blonde millionairess against the unfair barbs thrown at her by those mean old critics, who even rebut Mrs Senzatalento’s claim that KJ is singing Tosca at the Met on the grounds that her voice is too small for it. Never mind she’s a pseudo-mezzo, not a pseudo-soprano. Of course, if there’s money to be made on it, you can bet she’ll be there on the Met stage doing Visi d’Arte down a major third and cut. Also worth checking out is Miss Senzatalento’s real blog, Mad Musings of Me.




2-       David Byrne. I know I’m a child of the 80’s, but I can honestly say that Talking Heads were a band that I liked but wasn’t obsessed with, so I can fairly say that my fascination with DB’s blog is not merely nostalgia. Reading DB you get a great look into the world of a brilliant guy who has an endless curiosity about life, art and our cultural future. People often ask why most rock bands seem to peak early and never manage to do anything as compelling as their first few albums. I think it’s because by skipping out on some musical fundamentals, many pop artists never learn to learn. Byrne is clearly an exception- he makes me want to read and go to galleries and listen to new music. Check him out.

3-       CSO Bass Blog. The single biggest frustration for me as a blogger is that I have to remember I’m not just a working musician, but the public face of the orchestras I work with, and that I have a professional responsibility to make sure I don’t alienate possible subscribers or donors, or offend colleagues. As a result, I have to pretty much focus narrowly on the good things about life as a musician. Michael Hovnanian’s blog is refreshingly tell-it-like it is, with wonderfully honest and blunt assessments of concerts and conductors good and bad. Everything he says (at least what I’ve read) is fair and seems to come from his professionalism and love of what he does. I wish more musicians would tell it like it is- it’s a refreshing balance to most music criticism, which can be, when not at its most elevated, awfully subjective.

4-       Glenn Greenwald. (Registration or watching a commercial may be required) For the same reasons I don’t let myself talk about which soloists were good or bad, or which player in the woodwinds of that one orchestra plays sharp, I usually avoid politics on this blog. As the wise man said, don’t piss people off. My friends who read this, however, will know that I’m quite passionate about current affairs and social and economic trends, and that it’s actually a struggle and a sacrifice to stay on musical message here when I’m so troubled by what’s going on in the world. Nevertheless, I have talked here about how changes in media ownership laws and the blurring of lines between the economics and the editorial ethics of broadcasting and publishing have left everything of value in our society at risk. Greenwald, who writes for the online newspaper Salon, is the most astute, thorough, fair and on-topic critic and analyst of media coverage of public discourse. It should be required reading for everyone who wants to vote- there is so much blatant manipulation of public opinion by organizations who have not only blurred but obliterated the line between reporting news and repeating propaganda. Even if you come from a different political point of view, reading Greenwald is an invaluable refresher in the forgotten field of journalistic ethics and responsibility.

5-       On an Overgrown Path. Always interesting, always worth reading. I’d like to see him take readers even further inside the political machinations of the modern music business, a topic that working musicians like yours truly would never dare touch. Please Bob, give ‘em hell.

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at www.kennethwoods.net

All material in these pages is protected by copyright.

2 comments on “I think therefore I am”

  1. Kenneth Woods

    After several emails calling attention to the fact my original first paragraph says that I’ve “one” the thinking blogger award, I’ve decided irony is not working for me today, and changed it to the less funny spellllling


  2. Jim Drummond

    Hi Ken. Great site. Just tried the Radeo internet player. Really useful bit of kit! The rest of the ‘on an overgrown path’ blog is extremely thought-provoking. Thanks for flagging it! Jim

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