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May 6, 2009

Mobtown Modern in crazy mood for season finale

Just a reminder that Mobtown Modern, the coolest thing to happen to Baltimore's musical life in years, wraps up its 08-09 season Wednesday night at the Contemporary Museum.

The theme of this program is "Out to Lunch," referring to composers whose sanity was questioned by some listeners when confronted for the first time with their work. It's also the name of a noted 1964 LP featuring jazz great Eric Dolphy, whose bass clarinet version of "God Bless the Child" will be on the concert.

The Mobtown bunch will also tackle Octandre by Varèse for winds, brass and bass; an arrangement of a score by Stockhausen that will combine sax, toy piano, turntables and more; a blast of Zappa; and a piece by Lucier for "enormously amplified brain waves and percussion."

I'd say be there or be square, but that would date me terribly, so I'd better just say it sounds awesome.

To get you in the mood, here's Eric Dolphy performing his take on "God Bless the Child" in 1961:


Posted by Tim Smith at 10:43 AM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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