Friday, December 26, 2014

2014 - Year In Review

This is the time of year where I traditionally take a few moments to write to all of you, to express my sincere thanks for your support during the almost three years that we’ve been involved in this adventure in Classical Music and Blogging.

Every week it seems, somebody provides feedback on one of our posts, or comments on a Video we added to our YouTube Channel, or reviewed one of our Internet Archive submissions. In past years, I took the time to look at statistics, but I find that to be, for one, a lot of trouble and, two, misleading

Our Social Media footprint is always increasing and we have anywhere between 150 and 200 people reading our stuff on a weekly basis – and that’s just the “new” posts. People find our stuff and “binge” on a bunch of posts! I still get views of stuff I posted two or three years ago, either on the blogs or on the Archive.

New subscribers to the Blog, the Facebook feed or the YouTube channel pop up every week! It’s hard work trying to put the word out on this little initiative, but it looks like we have quite the modest fellowship!

It will sound odd to bring it up this way, but I wonder how much longer I can keep this up.

At the time of writing this post, we have banked about 180 podcasts, and about 50 other playlists of MP3 files of music and opera. That’s a lot for one guy! When I look in my little notebooks and crib motes I write with ideas for more podcasts and playlists, there’s certainly at least one more year of it in me. After that, I’m not sure.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy it – I do. But it’s the time investment that is becoming the problem. Not only because I chose to maintain several platforms (here, the Tuesday blog, OTF, the French stuff…) , but because I hold firm to the principle that if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it right, and do my research and write stuff that isn’t bland or curt.

So far, I’ve been able to do a lot of things in my spare time, over lunch at work, or during business trips, when I have “alone time”. As time goes on, using the computer at work becomes a problem, as our administrators block off non-work related websites in an effort to protect our corporate network.

Everything in balance, they say… The need to balance “personal” time and “together” time is something I am more and more aware of. As I said a few months back, my wife and I have become empty nesters, and she needs more of my attention, since she is still dealing with not having the kids around, and looking for outlets for all that extra bandwidth. Some of those outlets are things she – we – want to do “together”. How can I say “well, I have to work on my blogs, and then we can go to the movies”…

I have a goal, and it is to get to the “five year mark”. I’d like to keep this up at least until April 2016. Five years, that would be a great run, wouldn’t it? Then, maybe I could put my blogging pants in the closet, at least until I retire and look for things to do to fill up my days. I still have “miles to go” before retirement, though…

So, don’t worry, I’m not planning to stop these adventures, at least not yet. But nothing lasts forever…

This year, I did something different, and slowed down during July and August. I may well do that again next year. We focused on Beethoven during the summer of 2014, maybe we’ll do Mozart during the Summer of 2015.

Another thing I did less of this year is podcasting “fragmentary works”. In fact, we dedicated an entire month of podcasts to “unfinished business” and completed some work fragments we’d posted over the last couple of years. We also did “one work montages” for a whole month, and even added a few in the Fall (with Mahler’s 9th and Britten’s War Requiem). I could do something like that again next year, I haven’t quite decided yet.

Do you like the blog’s new look – which we unveiled in the Fall? I did that, in part, to make the site experience a better one for “mobile” users. Does it work for you? How about my new Tuesday Blog feature “Vinyl’s Revenge”? Is that something that you like?

As always, I’m keen to hear from you either directly, through comments on our platforms oir event through our Facebook and Google + handles.
So what about 2015? What’s in store? Here are some themes (and arcs) that I have planned for next year:

  • A Mendelssohn series (that’s coming in January);
  • A series on great pianists;
  • A look at Max Bruch’s concertos (in fact, there is some cross-connections with the Mendelssohn series that will make this quite compelling)
  • I’d like to take a serious bite out of the Mozart Piano Concertos – maybe as part of that Summer series)
  • I see lots of works for two soloists or two performers in our future
  • I’ve been thinking about “concertos” in a traditional and less-traditional sense
I think that’s enough teasing our upcoming programs…

Usually, this post is where I provide my “mixed bag” of YouTube fillers for the year. As I said earlier, there wasn’t much filler material because we didn’t program fragmentary works. So, to grow the mixed bag, I’ve thrown in some works that will remind us of some of the themes we considered in 2015: some Themes and Variations, maybe some “F”’s and “9”’s, Some Vinyl selections from my collection…

Also, at the end of this post, links to some updated directories to podcasts, playlists and featured works.

Podcast Directory -

Once Upon The Internet Directory-

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