The 19th and 20th centuries witnessed unforeseen human ingenuity. The historian Walter Russell Mead describes that ingenuity, writing, “The Industrial Revolution and the scientific revolution that accompanied it made it possible for ordinary people to live lives of affluence and security that would have astounded the court of Louis XIV. Automobiles, radios, vacuum cleaners, televisions, and so on transformed the material existence of the masses as well as of the elites. At the same time, the revolution in health care brought a multitude of diseases under control, extended life spans by decades, and found new ways to dull the pain of surgery and childbirth” (Foreign Affairs, May/June 2018). One of those incredible feats of human ingenuity was to capture live sound on disk-like objects. The sound “recorded” on those disks could be recreated on mobile speaker-like instruments, effectively freeing live sound from time and place and transporting it into the future. Recording has always been the essential characteristic of Western music: we are taught that Western music began when Carolingian monks were dispatched to European cathedrals, armed with written musical “notes” to Gregorian chant. If the standardization of written recordings is considered the birth of Western music, then mechanical reproductions of soundwaves must be Western music’s 20th-century rebirth. Judith Sherman has worked as a producer in the music recording industry for over fifty years now and, for her contributions to her profession, has been awarded fifteen Grammys by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (now called the Recording Academy) – seven of them for “Producer of the Year”. Judith joins Vienna Live to give us an exclusive look at what a classical music record producer does. Come welcome Judith to our show!
What is a chamber orchestra and how is it different from a symphony or philharmonic orchestra? Since 1946, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra has been a household name, leading that conversation as a classical music trailblazer. Before the Pandemic, the Chamber Orchestra toured the globe monthly, offering high-profile audiences the signature mix of native cosmopolitanism that makes Vienna, Vienna. What lies ahead for the dynamic post-War chamber orchestra and Viennese classical music, more generally? Whom better to ask than violist John Moffatt, a Viennese of Canadian descent who has been a member of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra since 1976 and – as one would expect from a representative of this city of arts, science and international cooperation – spent decades managing “isotope-specific radioactivity monitoring services, primarily in nuclear power plants, but also in mine, oil fields and anywhere else radioactivity may be measured.” Come welcome the Vienna Chamber Orchestra to our show!
The evening before the operation, she sat alone on the floor of her living room, held her left leg in her hands and silently said goodbye. The doctors had mentioned that, after the operation, she might have some kind “phantom” syndrome in which her young, twenty-year-old body would forget to remember that part of her was missing. A kind of “tingling” feeling might be left in place of her leg, they foresaw. What the doctors didn’t anticipate were the screams of pain Rochelle would endure long after the operation; they continued to cry out in the days, weeks and years thereafter. Her body struggled to accept the loss of her left leg. Since that evening when she last held her leg, she has become a leading scholar of the Environmental Humanities and a fierce opponent of the industrial desecration of natural habitats. Professor Rochelle L. Johnson, Chair of Environmental Studies at the College of Idaho and President of the Thoreau Society, joins Vienna Live to talk about how the climate crisis is more than just the “tingling” response of an amputated biosphere.