RIGHT END – FranJo Haydn, “FJ” to the media. Long with deceptive strength, this 6’6”, 294 lb. former All-Pro bench presses 104 reps of four movements. In college, FJ also lettered in basketball and track & field, not so much by his native talent, but by relentless storm and stress, perfecting his skills, until, to the surprise of everyone but him, he broke the school record in shot put. Innovative, has been moved all over defensive line in both odd and even fronts. A bear of a pass rusher, meaning he doesn’t gain much ground with his first steps, gets hands in passing lanes when rush stalls, and relies on hustle sacks. Team-first attitude.
LEFT END – Gorgeous George G. Coming out of college, Gorgeous George heard from scouts, coaches and sportswriters alike that he got plenty of nuttin’ as an interior lineman. A run-around athlete still learning the ...
Center – G.Stav Mahler. Awesome athletic skill set for a center, even after a decade wayfaring from team to team. Quick interior lineman, a titan who can single-block defensive tackles in pass protection. Intelligent, with a work ethic that is the very song of the earth. Snaps the ball with erratic velocity. At this age in his career you expect Mahler to be scheme versatile, but last off-season he heard the magic horn’s call of youth and resurrected his blocking skills. He can still match up on speed rushers, and anchors well against the blitz. Strength: hammer blows blockers at the point of attack.
Right Guard – Yan Sibelius. A throwback interior lineman, from the days of leather helmets and bald domes, an anti-modern modernist. Slow moving, but a severe road-grading run-blocker with heavy hands. His bullying of defensive linemen is en saga around the league. Stonewalls bull rushes. Sustains ...
As 2015 passes before our eyes, let us remember those in the classical music community who passed in the passing year.
• January 12 – Elena Obraztsova, Russian operatic mezzo-soprano, 75.
• January 13 – Frank Glazer, American pianist and champion of Satie, 99.
• January 19 - Vera Gornostayeva, Russian pianist and piano teacher, 85; and Ward Swingle, American singer, founder of the Swingle Singers, 87.
• January 29 – Israel Yinon, Israeli conductor, 59.
• February 1 – Aldo Ciccolini, Italian-born French pianist and another Satie advocate, 89.
• February 28 – Ezra Laderman, American composer, 90.
• March 1 – Jennifer Ward Clarke, British cellist, 79.
• March 19 – Peter Katin, British pianist, 84.
• March 22 – Norman Scribner, American choral conductor, 79.
• March 29 – Ronald Knudsen, American orchestral violinist and conductor, 83.
• April 27 – Rolf Smedvig, American trumpeter, 62.
What are the most popular Christmas carols? If popularity can be determined statistically, we would do well to examine the number of times a Christmas carol is recorded by artists in America. If they like a carol so much as to record it, it must get a rise out of people. The more artists who record the carol, the more popular it must be. Anyway, this was the instrument of measurement used by Time Magazine as it examined the stats from 1978-2014 and found there was a runaway winner. Merry Christmas!
SILENT NIGHT – 733
JOY TO THE WORLD - 391
O HOLY NIGHT - 374
WHAT CHILD IS THIS? – 329
AWAY IN A MANGER - 300
O, COME ALL YE FAITHFUL – 296
WHITE CHRISTMAS – 283
THE CHRISTMAS SONG – 254
JINGLE BELLS - 254
THE FIRST NOEL – 234
LITTLE DRUMMER BOY - 213
Let's face it, most Christmas music is lame. And it's that same lame Christmas music that gets blared over loudspeakers in shopping malls all across this great country of ours. Ask most people about classical Christmas music and they'll probably say something about that horrifying version of Pachelbel's Canon in D by an electronic group that calls itself an orchestra. Ugh. But fear not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all classical fans. For unto us is born this day in the City of Angels a playlist, which contains more than five hours of actual classical Christmas music that doesn't suck. It's embedded below. I'll point out some of my highlights:
- There are a few of my favorite bits of The Nutcracker because it's The Nutcracker and The Nutcracker is undeniably awesome.
- "Bethlehem Down" is a Christmas carol by Peter Warlock and Bruce Blunt ...
Last week I attended a noteworthy concert, which was nearly note-perfect and attended by local notables. The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA) opened its eighth season under its indefatigable founder Charles “Chuck” Dickerson III, at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, on 31st Street near Jefferson.
If you are not familiar ICYOLA, I recommend you get to know them, for the good work they do. The orchestra says it “transforms the lives and minds of young people in Inner City Los Angeles through high quality and rigorous music training and reading enrichment.” These young people, I elaborated to my own children, grew up in homes and communities that are impoverished in ways that go even beyond the lack of food and comforts we take for granted. They face intellectual and aesthetic impoverishment. Yet, despite everything, there they are with their violins and their winds, playing great ...
1 – Johannes Brahms, Symphony #4 in E Minor. A teacher I trusted once said to me, “I can’t trust anyone who doesn’t like Brahms.” Brahms represents a base line of cynicism. Go beyond the base line, into the world of idealism, and you encounter the gritty optimism of Beethoven, or the stalwart carry-forth stick-to-it-ness of Haydn, and you end up feeling ridiculous. But with Brahms, pessimism is your friend and compass, most especially needed to guide you through the darkness of his final symphony. RECOMMENDED RECORDING: Carlo Maria Giulini, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
2 – Maurice Ravel, Piano Concerto in G. Ravel remained a curious artist, that is, an artist who remained curious, even after achieving great success. Following his visits to the Apollo Theater in NYC, and other venues where jazz reigned, Ravel found himself with renewed vigor, his acute curiosity restored by these new sounds in the new ...