Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Not new year resolutions

The Apothecary's Rose, from my garden. It should work magic, if I only knew how.

I decided not to make any new year resolutions because they're expected to be gloriously positive and, as you'll know from yesterday's Mood Ludwig, that's not where I am right now.

So I'm not going to do it. Not going to think about practising the piano and then not do it. Not going to decide not to eat chocolate. Not going to promise myself to go running three times a week. Not going to stop procrastinating - you can't teach a middle-aged catwoman new tricks. And I'm not going to not post as many cat pictures. So I'm not going to pledge to do anything except be myself to the best of my ability. 

Current mood: KAPUSTIN

Here is the annual reminder of what JDCMB is and isn't.

Darlings, a very warm welcome to all readers, whoever and wherever you may be. JDCMB is Jessica Duchen's Classical Music Blog. It's a relatively random and succinctly spontaneous collection of content involving words and music. 

I'm a writer with a musical training (academic/piano). In my twenties and early thirties I held jobs on music magazines, including spearheading the creation of the UK's first independent piano magazine. Later I was with The Independent as a music journalist and critic for 12 years. Now I juggle different kinds of writing: novels, librettos, articles, reviews, programme notes and more. I often give pre-concert talks and also present narrated concerts, often based on my novels (you'll find upcoming the dates in the sidebar). I enjoy the adventure of these different activities, and others besides: it keeps me on my toes, or at least my fingertips. And JDCMB is simply...my blog.

Things you might think you know about JD: I'm pro-feminism and anti-Brexit; I have cats; I'm married to a violinist; I've written biographies of Korngold and Fauré; my latest novels are Ghost Variations (about Jelly d'Arányi and the Schumann Violin Concerto) and Odette (swan-girl).

Things you might not know: I'm an absolute, total, utter piano nerd. I adore historical recordings, especially slidey violins. I love a massive range of music including Boulez, Bartók, Beethoven, Bach, Barbara Strozzi. I have a 'thing' about Hungarian musical traditions. I go to a lot of opera, ballet and orchestras, but my favourite pieces are mostly chamber music. I have some great roses in the garden.

JDCMB has:
• News, reviews, interviews, occasional select guest posts, think-pieces, personal experiences/memories/chronicles.
• Values about music, art, quality, equality, passion. I believe everybody deserves to have great music, art and creativity in their lives.
• A feminist slant, because people are people are people, but the music business and related fields (actually, most fields) still often treat women as second-class citizens. There's been good progress recently, but not enough.
• English English. I'm in London, UK, so please don't expect American spellings.
• An internationalist outlook. Music is an international art and depends on its internationalism for its very existence. 
• Bollocks to Brexit.
• A personal slant.
• Irony and sarcasm, so please be prepared.

JDCMB doesn't have:
• Sexism, racism or other prejudices.
• Porn.
• Comments boxes. For discussions, please come over to Facebook - I put all the links on my author page and we have some lively chats, but you do have to say who you are.
• Pro-Brexit writing.
• Conspiracy theories.
• Personal attacks.
• Pop music. I've nothing against it, but I don't cover it, because I do other stuff.

If you want coverage on JDCMB:
• I receive a lot of requests, but even with the best will in the world, I can't do it all.
• Stats tell me that what you respond to the most, darling readers, is strong, personal think-pieces. So the slant for 2019 will be towards this.
• Advice for PRs:  a) Please don't approach me about "classically trained crossover" artists. Yes, I once interviewed Bocelli. That doesn't mean I like crossover. It just means my editor wanted a piece and I was curious. b) Please try not to start your emails by saying "My name is...". Nine times out of ten I'll already know that's your name because it's in your email address.