Now that the kids are back in school and uncle Earl has decided to scrape his corns, it's time once again to crank up the old classical music machine. After three years of writing about dead guys, methinks it's time to take a different route whereupon I discuss the various opportunities to hear classical music being performed around Fort Wayne as well as my favorite methods for eating mechanically separated meat products.

One of the most exciting performances this month will be at the Embassy courtesy of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. On September 16 at approximately 8:00 pm, Edward Tchivzhel and his happy throng of musicians will start the evening with an orchestral version of Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor". This is the same piece that opened the film "Fantasia". C'mon... I know you've heard it! It's got that creepy Halloween feel, especially when played on the organ as it was originally written. After a brief break with Marvin Suggs and the amazing Muppetphones, patrons will be treated to Beethoven's Ninth symphony. You've heard this one too, well, the last two movements at least. Does "Ode to Joy" ling any burrs? This is a fun piece with Beethoven having different sections of the orchestra "talking" to each other (Strings to percussion: "The second chair flutist better be careful walking through the... Oooo, the brass section needs to be more careful about their spittoons.")

Just one week later, after the second chair flutist has undergone intensive therapy, they philharmonic will gather again at the Performing Arts Center (September 23, for those without calendars) for the first concert in the Chamber series. Yes it does sound like some midevil torture session (to my wacked brain at least) but the people are actually very nice and do very little bloodletting. On the program will be a violin concerto by Viotti (don't worry, I haven't heard of him either), a piano concerto by Shostakovich (some solid Russian music), and Shchedrins' (nho, that whas nhot a thypo) version of Bizet's "Carmen Suite", another popular "you've heard this" piece. Where the concerts at the Embassy are huge, full orchestra blow-outs involving symphonies and small rodents, the concerts in the chamber series are more intimate... sometimes if it's crowded the musicians will sit on your lap (a regular occurrence at a Dane Wilkins and the Average Lovers show... watch out for that bass player... he's extra greasy). You may have heard such music called "chamber music" because it requires fewer musicians and can be played in an 18th century chamber (or a pit if you dig one deep enough... mama loves her precious).

Next month I hope to have more events but I've yet to contact the local colleges for their musical schedules. Often they have student recitals where the music is good and the food is plentiful and free. Also be sure to check out my web site at classicalgas.tripod.com where I have posted all my past articles and a schedule of classical music events in and around Fort Wayne, as best as I can decipher. For this year I plan to add links to MIDI files (them thar's music files) to my articles online so the curious among you can actually hear snippets (or snappets... I'm not particular) of the pieces being played. So now when I say "you've heard this before" you can log on and see if I'm right. If I'm wrong you have the right to come to my house and ridicule the cat for an hour. Be forewarned, he's got some snappy come-backs.

Another feature I plan to implement is a process where you, the reader, can send me large sums of cash or valuable coupons and I send you a goat. Wait... that's this month's special for my other web page dailyjournal.tripod.com . Each month I plan to look at an album that I think would be of interest to Joe Schmoe Rock Fan. Hey, I know that most of the readers of WhatzUp are not tuning into WBNI for a nice Tchaikovsky symphony or to hear the quiet drone of the announcer. But it's also been my experience that small children will not stick to a wall no matter how much gum is in their hair. I've also found that most people want to listen to classical music (like it will make them a better person or more refined... I'm clear proof that if this is your goal, turn the WWF back on... it ain't gonna happen) but just don't know where to begin. Due to there being a guitarist in nearly every corner of Fort Wayne, I thought I'd start with a piece by Italian violin demon Nicolo Paganini... 24 Caprices, to be exact. I wrote about this piece a while back (it's on the web site, folks) and want to reiterate that these twenty-four short pieces are like a primer for guitarists on creating melodic, sizzling solos that blow the pantaloons off your listeners. Pick up a copy at Wooden Nickel or the library and you'll be infused with new ideas that will impress your band mates, the screaming fans of the opposite sex, and makers of all manifestations of mechanically separated meat products.

Copyright 2000 Jason Hoffman

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