Saturday, January 22, 2011

Marco Minnemann and DT rumors

Several months ago Mike Portnoy announced he needed a break from the band he co-founded. The rest of Dream Theater felt they had momentum and did not want to stop, so they are moving on without him. I would be surprised if Mike stayed out more than several years, but in the interim DT will be recruiting a new drummer; but how do you go about replacing one of the most respected drummers in music today?

Well, rumors are flying, and nothing official has been announced. One of the rumors I've heard is that the new DT drummer may be Marco Minnemann. This was a surprise to me, as I hadn't heard of him -- and now after watching, listening, and reading about some of his music I'm almost embarrassed to say I hadn't heard of him until now. He's played with many prog musicians, like Mike Keneally, Trey Gunn, Eddie Jobson, and Tony Levin. He's also toured with drummers Terry Bozzio and Chad Wackerman. He's written several educational books and videos.

There are quite a few videos of him playing out there, but this is one of my favorites. Be sure to watch it the whole way through -- it gets more and more amazing the longer you watch.

Regardless of whether or not he joins DT, I'm very happy to have discovered him and look forward to hearing more of his music.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Shostakovich String Qtet No. 3, 3rd movement; Emerson String Quartet

The amazing (and very famous) Emerson Quartet performing exciting music written by the genius Dmitri Shostakovich. Full of fire and power, no electric amps or special effects needed here! Anyone who says they don't listen to classical music because it puts them to sleep obviously needs to hear this!

Sibelius Symphony #1, Leonard Bernstein conducting

A beautiful recording of one of my favorite symphonies, conducted by one of the great modern musical masters. The concert was recorded in 1990 -- Bernstein died later that year, so this is one of the final video recordings made of him.

I've embedded the entire symphony playlist -- fans of progressive rock will find the Third Movement immediately appealing for it's aggressive power and brevity, but it's certainly worth taking the time to enjoy the entire symphony. However, if you want to skip directly to the third movement it begins in video clip 3/5 at 5:50.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bartok and Resolving the Classical Disconnect

I've been doing this blog now for quite a while, and as I review my posts I see a problem -- a glaring lack of classical music. Since this is all about the connections between the two genres, I've decided that I'll start posting some of my favorite classical music that is sure to appeal to prog fans.

And I'm going to start it off with one of my favorites pieces for small ensembles: the final movement of Bartok's 4th String Quartet. I found several videos of it on Youtube, and while this version by the Carducci String Quartet was not the best video quality I enjoyed watching and listening to the performers the best -- they really get into the spirit of the piece. Especially that cellist -- she's attacking her instrument with a vengeance! This has got to be one of the hardest rocking pieces of classical music ever written...but stay tuned for more.

You can learn more about the Carducci String Quartet and their recordings at their website: