Evgeny Kissin plays Valley d'Obermann by Franz Liszt on February 25 2011 at Boston Symphony Hall concert.

Vallée d'Obermann (Obermann's Valley) is the 6th suite from Années de pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage) by Franz Liszt. It belongs to Première année: Suisse.

Japanese Philharmonic prescribes classical music medicine

A new initiative from the Japanese Philharmonic Orchestra sees their audiences 'prescribed' certain pieces of classical music to suit their needs, winning a prestigious award along the way.

The Japanese Pill-harmonic aims to cure all musical ills with a custom-prescribed piece of classical music. Concerned by falling concert attendance and general engagement with their audience, the orchestra has commissioned a series of pharmaceutical 'pills' for listeners to take.

Each pill is actually a micro SD card pre-loaded with specially selected classical music, prescribed for particular ailments. Those wishing to have younger-looking skin will be given Vivaldi's Four Seasons, people having trouble sleeping are given Mahler's Symphony No. 10, and those who wish to enhance their appetite will be treated to Rossini's music from The Barber Of Seville.

Slightly strangely, constipation sufferers will hopefully recover thanks to the sounds of Brahms' Symphony No. 1.

A spokesman from the orchestra explained the project: "We started prescribing classical music as an alternative medicine – namely, Japan Pill-Harmonic. The ‘pills’ are actually classical music data, put in small packages that looks like an envelope for prescription drugs. Different ‘pills’ are prescribed for each ‘symptom’ – like sleeping, vitamin effects or stomachache."

"People are healed by listening to the prescribed classical music data in micro-chips on the device they prefer."

The project has since been named a Gold Winner at the Cannes Lions Design Awards.

Playing Mozart — On Mozart's Violin

The violin and viola that played himself are in the United States for the first time ever. The instruments come out of storage only about once a year at the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria. The rest of the time, they're kept under serious lockup. Musicians who got to play them aearlier this week before the violin's New York premiere on June 14th. 

Reader's Haven Reviews Dr. Fuddle and The Gold Baton

"Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton" by Warren L. Woodruff

About the book: When the dark musician Jedermann and his fierce Seirens of Dis gain control of the legendary Gold Baton, Tyler, his sister Christina, and their friends are drawn into a perilous adventure foretold by an ancient prophecy.  Guided by the mythical Dr. Fuddle, the explorers must leave earth and journey to Orphea. Will the Messengers of Music be able to save the world of the immortal composers from chaos and destruction? For them to have even a chance at victory, they must master the most difficult instruments of all—themselves. Both children and adults can enjoy this delightful tale of the beauty and power of music. Both educational and entertaining, readers are drawn into an experience with composers, instruments and music that are in the end victorious.

Review:  Children of all ages would enjoy this book, but it is especially suitable for upper elementary readers.  This novel is a wonderful mix of fantasy and information about classical musicians and their works.  The book reminds me in many ways of the C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books or the mystical world of Harry Potter.

The story centers around Tyler and his sister Christian along with three of their friends who have been swept into a perilous adventure foretold by an ancient prophecy.  Dr Fuddle guides The Messengers of Music as they work to be able to save the world of the immortal composers from chaos and certain disaster.  To be victorious, the explorers must master the musical instruments they have been chosen to play, but more importantly, they must learn to master themselves.

Throughout the novel the reader is introduced to famous classical composers from ages past as well as a myriad of instruments and musical terms.  The reader finds him/herself learning much about music history and theory through the pages of this book.  I would recommend this book with the warning that the reader needs to be aware that it indeed is a fantasy filled with beings and notions that are not reality in this world. (reviewed by J. La Tour)

Classical music makes New Zealand hens lay larger eggs

A New Zealand vineyard has discovered that playing classical music to its resident hens has made their eggs noticeably larger. 

The Yealands Wine Estate 's owner, Peter Yealands, initially started playing classical music on his estate in an attempt to make his wine-producing vines stronger and less prone to disease, but he discovered that it actually made the estate's resident hens lay larger eggs instead.

He told Stuff.co.nz: "There's a line of thought among a few cranks like me that plants respond to music." But when he began playing the works of Mozart, Bach and Strauss in the hen houses, he noticed a remarkable change in the size of eggs they were laying.

"I've weighed the eggs singly and by the dozen to compare them and there is a 19 per cent difference," claims the vineyard's resident bird expert Peter Funnell. "I've never seen anything like this. Apart from the music, I really can't explain why these chooks are producing such big eggs."

classical music makes hens lay larger eggs

According to the estate, eggs produced in hen houses with no music played into them tended to weigh 52 grams each, while eggs laid in the house with classical music were closer to 62 grams each.

Suggestions for more hen house repertoire include Oeufenbach, Beethoven's Eggmont Overture and the complete works of Pecktor Berlioz.

Green Frog Reviews - Five Stars!

Green Frog Reviews







  "Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton" by Warren L. Woodruff ~ Book Review

*Disclosure: I received the below product(s) from the Author in exchange for an honest review and in no way was I asked to give a positive review. I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Book Description:

When the dark musician Jedermann gains control of the legendary Gold Baton, Tyler, his sister Christina, and their friends are drawn into a dangerous, mysterious adventure. Guided by the mythical Dr. Fuddle, these explorers journey to Orphea, saving the land from chaos and destruction, and return to earth with the gift of harmony. 

Twelve year old Tyler Harrington and his younger mute sister Christina have been living with a bone-chilling mystery. After nearly giving up hope, Tyler finally receives the clear, unmistakable sign his mother had promised him. The sign leads Tyler, Christina and three of their friends into the town’s most mysterious residence. There they meet a former resident of the manor, Dr. Fuddle, who offers them the solution to the mystery, but at a great price: they must leave earth and enter the land of Orphea and help him find the legendary Gold Baton.

Once in Orphea, Tyler and the others learn that their mission had been foretold in a prophecy, that they are the Messengers of Music, destined to save Orphea from the dark forces of Jedermann, who is quickly gaining control of Orphea, replacing all harmony and beauty with discord and chaos. Turn by turn, the mission becomes more dangerous, and their only weapons are sacred instruments which they must master, harnessing their secret powers against the enemy. At the final battle, Tyler discovers the solution to the mystery and meaning of his mother’s final words.

About the Author, Warren L. Woodruff:

Dr. Warren Woodruff is a long-time music instructor whose passion for classical music led to the conception of Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton, which follows the adventures of five young teens aided by the redoubtable Dr. Fuddle to retrieve the gold baton from the dark side using it for cacophony and chaos, and restore its rightful function of bringing harmony to the world.

“My goal is to inspire a new generation to the wonders of classical music,” says Woodruff, who received his Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Miami School of Music; Master's and Bachelor's degrees in Piano Performance.


Dr. Warren Woodruff pens "Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton" in an original and unique plot filled with adventure and a bit of magick, in a musical fantasy world. His characters were well developed,  interesting and relate-able. This is one read that I couldn't wait to get to the next chapter to see what happens. A truly entertaining read that is highly recommended for all children and adults alike.

I give "Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton" a 5 star rating.

Kinect and Classical Music: A Match Made in Disney Heaven?

Rock Band maker Harmonix will bring interactivity to Disney’s Fantasia franchise on Kinect. Image courtesy Disney Interactive

In creating his masterpiece Fantasia, Walt Disney hoped to use gorgeous visuals to enhance audiences’ appreciation of music. In creating games like Guitar Hero, game developer Harmonix hoped to use interactivity to accomplish much the same thing.

Is it any wonder that the two companies have gotten together to produce a Kinect game based on Fantasia?

Harmonix and Disney have high hopes for Fantasia: Music Evolved, to be released on Xbox 360 and Xbox One in 2014.

“The inspiration is the moment of Mickey on the cliff, conducting the heavens and conducting the sea,” says the game’s creative director Matt Boch, referencing the classic “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment from the 1940 film. The game aims to put players into that oversized starry blue hat of Mickey Mouse’s, letting them conduct a virtual orchestra with their hands in front of the Xbox camera, changing the feel of the music to fit their whims.

Today, Wired can exclusively reveal that “Night on Bald Mountain,” the classical piece by Modest Mussorgsky that ends the original film with a dark, demonic climax, will be playable in the game. But Harmonix and Disney aren’t limiting themselves to the pieces of music found in the film, which was classical music from the likes of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky. Players will be able to conduct orchestral performances of contemporary music like Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

...  “When Disney came to us and said hey, what about doing a game around Fantasia, I immediately had this moment of awe and excitement that was a great spark,” said Egozy.

Nicholls, too, is a big fan of the original film. “I think it’s the most beautiful representation of Disney storytelling in existence,” he says. “It’s much more allusive than any other movie that we did.”

Creative director Boch, who says he is such a big Disney fan that he wears a Mickey Mouse necklace every day, hopes Fantasia: Music Evolved‘s creative features will make gamers into classical music fans.

“Exposing the complexities there, and taking something that people can often ignore, or think is elevator music, and expose to them all of the interesting nuances that are in there is I think a big part of what the game will be able to do for people,” he said

Read more

Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton Can Enthrall Your Kids This Summer!

Bless Their Hearts Mom


twd flourish

i'm bored button
Synopsis: When the dark musician Jedermann and his fierce Seirens of Dis gain control of the legendary Gold Baton, Tyler, his sister Christina, and their friends are drawn into a perilous adventure foretold by an ancient prophecy.

Guided by the mythical Dr. Fuddle, the explorers must leave earth and journey to Orphea. Will the Messengers of Music be able to save the world of the immortal composers from chaos and destruction? For them to have even a chance at victory, they must master the most difficult instruments of all—themselves.

You can check out a sneak peek at the book online!

Review: This book has been described as Harry Potter meets Beethoven, and I think that is a pretty good 4 word description. If your kids love the mystery kingdom of Harry Potter and music, they will love this book. It is my understanding that it may be being adapted for the movie screen and that would be a lovely thing, as the book is full of faith, intelligence and striving to excel at whatever you undertake, Add in the classical Greek undertones and you have a book that educates as it entertains and perfect for light Summer reading for preteens!

About the Author: Dr. Warren Woodruff is an Atlanta-based music teacher and performer whose love for leading his students to excel at classical music was the inspiration for this story.

Dr. Fuddle's Musical IQ Quiz #31

Verdi or Wagner?

As Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner both celebrate bicentenaries in 2013, Ivan Hewett asks opera experts from Philip Hensher to Mark Elder who the better composer is.

It’s apt that Wagner and Verdi were born in the same year. They are romantic opera’s two great antipodes, united in stature, but divided in almost everything else. They embody two completely different outlooks on life and art, which are rooted in the cultures of their respective nations. That’s why every German city has a Wagnerstrasse, and every Italian one a Corso Giuseppe Verdi.

Rodney Milnes, former editor of Opera Magazine
Quote I grew up at a time when the canon of acceptable taste was: German music good, Italian music bad, French music worse. So I was a fanatical Wagnerite, and could sing and play (with fistfuls of wrong notes) Acts I and III of Wagner’s Valkyrie almost by heart, and I assiduously attended countless Wagner performances. 
My Damascene moment came in the 1960s, when after two Ring cycles at Covent Garden I heard Verdi’s Don Carlos at ENO and thought, well, Verdi says as much as Wagner about the impossibility of power and love, but in a quarter of the time and with real tunes. So I immersed myself with pleasure and instruction in all Verdi, while being disrespectful to Wagner in print. Now I’m more balanced: what Wagner did he did very well, and what Verdi did, ditto. Both were very great 19th-century composers.

Antonio Pappano, music director, Royal Opera
Quote I’m very amused by the need to pit Verdi and Wagner in opposite camps ready to do birthday battle. What they share is much more interesting, a seriousness of purpose allied with a natural temperament for the theatre. They were born out of long traditions, and both pushed the boundaries of those traditions to probe, question and create a theatrical future. 
Naturally Wagner is seen as the revolutionary in this regard, but Verdi’s slow-growing, organic development led to truly remarkable breakthroughs also. They shared a love of language, and declamation, in their hands, becomes the true communicator of the deepest human feelings. They both created unparalleled excitement in the theatre, and to that end used the orchestra to transmit gut-wrenching intensity. 
Crucially, they both challenge performers in the extreme, a sure-fire guarantee that Richard and Giuseppe will be here for ever. Evviva!

Mark Elder, music director, Halle Orchestra
Quote I couldn’t live without either of these two colossi. For me Verdi’s greatest gift is the humanity he poured into the essentially melodic style of his predecessors like Donizetti.
Every one of his operas has its own special tone and atmosphere, what Verdi called a tinta. It’s amazing to think he worked on Traviata and Il Trovatore at the same time, and yet each lives in its own unique world. 
Wagner was born on the other side of the Alps, and that makes a profound difference. For me Wagner is one of the great symphonic composers of the 19th century, and it allows him to capture infinite fine shades of feeling, but on an epic scale. Whereas Verdi catches a feeling in one pithy phrase. 
For a conductor they’re utterly different. Verdi is very physical – you get sweaty conducting his music – whereas Wagner needs small movements. Traviata is a three-shirt opera, Parsifal I can do in one.

Read More

Barenboim plays Beethoven Sonata No. 31 in A flat Major Op. 110 3rd Mov.

El Sistema USA Lands in the Tough 'Hood of West Philadelphia

“If you put a violin in a child’s hands that child will never hold a gun.”                                    -Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu

Jose Antonio Abreu’s insight 35 years ago led to the creation of El Sistema, Venezuela’s wildly successful, intensive social rescue program that uses orchestras to transform at-risk youth into focused, compassionate adults.

EL SISTEMA USA, shows what happens when a global movement lands in a tough neighborhood of West Philadelphia.  Stanford Thompson, a visionary 23 year old African American trumpet player from Georgia, started the Play On, Philly! program two years ago. Our cameras were there on day one, following 13 year old Zebediah, shy behind his dread locks; 11 year old Raven, always in motion; and all the other kids as they go from the first squeak on their instrument to navigating Beethoven and Brahms.

A message from Jamie Bernstein, Producer

My father, Leonard Bernstein, believed with all his heart in the power of music to transform the lives of young people.  I wish he’d lived long enough to see El Sistema – a Venezuelan youth orchestra program that is bringing social transformation to thousands of disadvantaged children, all around the world.

Two years ago, El Sistema arrived in a tough neighborhood of West Philadelphia.  We’re telling the story of the kids, the teachers and the community as the music begins to change all of their lives.  Leonard Bernstein isn’t here to see what’s happening, but you are.  I hope you’ll join us on our amazing journey.

Five Star Review For Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton

Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton by Warren L. Woodruff is an unique musical fantasy children's novel. The book follows the adventure of five kids getting back the Gold Baton and saving the mythical land of Orphea. Each of the kids have a unique personality and the plot features them each having strengths and weaknesses and highlights them working together to succeed.

Rating for DR. FUDDLE AND THE GOLD BATON by Warren L. Woodruff

The classical music nature of the novel may make this a boring read for some, but for those interested in music and/or learning more about music this is an interesting read. Throughout the book there are references to musical terms and in Orphea music is basically magical and can do all sorts of things. The inclusion of historical figures involved in making, playing, and supporting music also makes it a good read for those interested in music history

While the descriptions of the music can sometimes slow the plot down too much, overall the flow of Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton is steady with great peaks for the final battle and ending. The main strength of the book is the unique personalities of the kids making it easy for many different people to relate to at least one of the main characters. For example, there is a scientific skeptical boy, a fashion conscious girl, a boy overcoming fears, a boy tempted by the cool kids/wrong crowd, and a mute girl.

Five Great Classical Music Scandals

A century since the Rite of Spring caused a riot in Paris, Ivan Hewett picks five other classical and opera scandals.  

The Battle of the Sopranos

The opera house has always been rowdier than the concert hall, but even so the riot at the King’s Theatre Haymarket on June 6 1727 has gone down in history. On stage were two great rival sopranos, Faustina Bordoni and Francesca Cuzzoni, who fought a “horrid and bloody battle”, according to one eyewitness. As did their supporters.

Belgium in uproar

Auber’s opera La Muette de Portici (The Mute Girl of Portici) caused barely a murmur when it opened in Paris in 1829. But when it was performed at La Monnaie Opera House in Brussels in 1830, revolutionary feelings were in the air, and the aria “Sacred Love of One’s Country” sparked the July revolution that led to Belgian independence.


Scandal in Vienna

Just two months before The Rite of Spring opened in Paris, the venerable Musikverein concert hall in Vienna was rent with cries of “Send them to the madhouse!” and “Throw them out!” The police were called and one man prosecuted for throwing a punch (which according to one observer was the most musical sound of the evening). The cause of the upset was Alban Berg’s magical Altenberg Lieder.

Listen to some of Alban Berg's Altenberg Lieder 

Edgard Varèse
Paris rocked again

The Théâtre des Champs-Elysées was the scene of another scandal, 41 years after The Rite of Spring premiere. This time the cause was Déserts, the latest work by the wild-haired visionary Edgard Varèse, who’d already caused quite a few scandals in the 1920s. What upset the audience was the mixing of electronic and orchestral sounds, which at that time was beyond the pale.


Reich fails to rock

Like Auber’s Muette de Portici, the first performance of Steve Reich’s Four Organs, in 1971, passed off without demur. But at a performance in New York in 1973, audiences were less patient with its relentless repetitions. One of the performers was the young Michael Tilson Thomas, who recalls that one woman “walked down the aisle and repeatedly banged her head on the stage, saying 'Stop, stop – I confess’.” 

Listen to Steve Reich's Four Organs

 Read More

Watch A Mind-Blowing Visualization Of 'The Rite Of Spring'

Composer, pianist and software engineer Stephen Malinowski has created one brilliant solution to an age-old problem: how to communicate and understand what's going on in a piece of music, particularly if you don't know standard musical notation. Over the course of some forty years, he's honed what he calls his "Music Animation Machine" from a 20-foot printed scroll to the software and iPad apps he's created — but the results are art.