Friday, December 23, 2016

Year In Review, 2016 Edition

2016 is coming to a close, and as I do each year at this time, I will indulge in a long-winded editorial about what happened in our many platforms this past year, and discuss what I plan for next year. At the end, as a pale form of compensation for my readers, I will share my yearly YouTube mashup of quips and quirks amassed throughout the year.

2016 Highlights

Under my new “reduced workload policy”, we provided our fewest number of Friday montages yet for a calendar year – 24 in total. As many of you noticed (I hope) though there weren’t specific “thematic arcs” exploited this year in any of our platforms, we did introduce montages and playlists that “fed” our long-term Project 366.

As I will get into later, this long-term project serves as “prime motivation” behind the montages and playlists I assemble. By doing so, in an admittedly biased way, I am trying to provide a more “holistic” view of the repertoire, rather than focus on more spontaneous offerings.

The reduced workload has meant cutting back on Tuesday blogs, reducing those to twice a month and mostly focused on two main “series”: Once Upon the Internet and Vinyl’s Revenge. This formula will morph somewhat over the next year, primarily because I am running out of OUTI material.

Opera (and lyric selections) has made a return in the fall, and for the foreseeable future, I plan to issue monthly OTF posts on OperaLively. For those, I will continue “mining” the Public Domain sites LiberMusica and the MQCD-Musique-Classique library of old vinyl recordings.

In terms of readership, listenership and social media feedback, I can tell we have a few “avid followers” because I can recognize the names on Facebook! Our page views and plays/downloads on our different platforms are consistent, which is heartening to me. I’m always humbled and at times surprised by the response to posts and music shares, and I thank all of you for taking the time to sample our wares as it were, and provide your reactions.

A couple of noteworthy (and surprising) things I stumbled upon… One of our montages from 2016 was used as background music for a lengthy YouTube video (LINK) and I saw one of my posts “recycled” on one of the sites I often consult, discogs (LINK). There may be more, but these are a pair I am aware of. Don’t be shy to spread our material, that’s what it is meant for! All I do ask is to get some form of “attribution” for the material…

Coming in 2017

As I said earlier, Project 366 serves as the main motivation for most of the stuff we have planned for this coming year. For the record, I have planned out the entire series, which will take us all the way to December 2018 – that is, of course, if I hang on doing this for a couple more years…

I plan on sharing more montages this year, and to do so, I will be trying something new: on months where there are 5 Tuesdays (four times a year), I plan to post a first-run montage as part of the Tuesday Blog. I’ve always posted those on Fridays (with very few exceptions) but never on the TalkClassical site. However, since I’ve been doing dual-posts of Tuesday Blog contents for the last couple of years, I think this isn’t something I consider out of character… My first such “Fifth Tuesday” podcast will be in January.

Going back to Project 366 for a moment, we are well-into our first 122 “Listener Guides”. There are about 60 remaining to that first set, and these are planned to be dispatched by September 2017. As was the case this year, I plan a pause for the Tuesday Blog over the summer, but montages will continue, at the typical bi-weekly pace throughout the year.

It has been long-held policy to avoid “repeat works” in montages we share. There have been few exceptions to this policy – providing single movements vice the entire work being one that comes to mind. As we feed our long-term project, and since we’ve been at this for over 5 years and 230+ montages, I think I will be less strict in applying this policy in the future, especially if we haven’t programmed a work for a couple of tears. In the coming months some “repeat works” will find their way into montages – I hope you won’t mind…

Before I get any further into my musings, I wanted to share some of my more recent “adventures in music collecting”. I discussed earlier the fact I am mining LiberMusica for all its worth, having already posted some of the music I uncovered this past year. As I look for material for Vinyl’s Revenge, I do stumble from time to time on some surprising material on YouTube, performances from legendary performers or composers I am discovering. It should come as no surprise to many of you that there is a ton of material posted on YouTube – sometimes flagged and removed through Copyright Police intervention – and certainly worthy of discussion in these pages. I may introduce a series on “Mining YouTube” and share some of these discoveries. That may be a worthy “replacement” for Once Upon the Internet. This is just an idea, let’s see where that goes!

As I prepare Vinyl’s Revenge material, I plan to turn a few of these into a series on Mozart’s “Last Piano Concertos”, folding in some Podcast Vault selections and at least one of my 5th Tuesday montages.

Video Favourites for 2016

Before I step aside for our YouTube mashup, I wanted to thank all of you once again for reading and sharing the music we love so much. Please continue providing me your comments and reactions here and on social media!

Happy New Year 2017 from your friendly music blogger