Suspense in Classical Music (and Books!)

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“But Mr. Tate said, “This court will come to order,” in a voice that rang with authority, and the heads below us jerked up. Mr. Tate left the room and returned with Tom Robinson. He steered Tom to his place beside Atticus, and stood there. Judge Taylor had roused himself to sudden alertness and was sitting up straight, looking at the empty jury box.”

-To Kill a Mockingbird

Suspense is obviously in horror stories (“No! Don’t open that door!!!”) but it’s also all over the other books we read whenever we find ourselves holding our breath to Continue reading

The Who’s Tommy: A Rock Opera (As Experienced by an Assistant Director)

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Last week Northwestern University saw its last performance of a concert production of The Who’s Tommy and I was fortunate enough to be able to serve as the assistant director for the incredible Geoff Button. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, the rock band The Who released a concept album in 1969 called “Tommy” which was later made into a musical (or rock opera if you will). It’s a story about a young boy (Tommy) who witnesses the murder of his mother’s lover by his parents after his father returns unexpectedly from war. Although his mother turns him away from the fight he sees everything through a mirror, and when Continue reading

Hyperbole in Literature…and Classical Music!

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“The players all played at once without waiting for turns, quarrelling all the while, and fighting for the hedgehogs; and in a very short time the Queen was in a furious passion, and went stamping about, and shouting `Off with his head!’ or `Off with her head!’ about once in a minute.” —Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

 A man wearing a top hat in a crowded Continue reading