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An Orff-beat style of music

Putting together a story on Carl Orff (pictured above at 21) and his well-known "Carmina Burana," being performed Saturday by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, I listened to a lot of Orff.

There was a lot more to Orff than "Carmina Burana." Here are some Orff-beat selections you might want to hear.

Here are the cute "Tanzlieder" -- "dance songs" -- sung by a boys' choir.

These are a lot of fun! You can tell how Orff loved to use rhythm.

Here is a video someone made of a road trip accompanied by Orff's teaching piece "Gassenhauer," which means "street song."

Ha, ha! I love the moment when they bring the dog in. "Gassenhauer" and other of Orff's teaching pieces were written in collaboration with Gunild Keetman, his collaborator. They are ingenious little works. "Gassenhauer" was based on a song by a Renaissance German lute player. It was famously used in the Sissy Spacek movie "Badlands."

Here is a sweet video of "In Trutina" from "Carmina Burana" which gives you translations.

That is such a little gem. Orff gets it right in that piece. I like how between the verses it pauses for that second, before the pulse starts up again.

All kinds of celebrated sopranos have recorded "In Trutina" including Lucia Popp and Kathleen Battle. Here is a kind of freaky clip from the 1975 "Carmina Burana" movie where you can watch Lucia Popp singing it.

It is fun to watch an Orff kids' ensemble in action.

This is a group of kids from Malaysia. Goes to show how far Orff's influence extends! It would be fun to get an Orff ensemble together and play with your friends. Why should kids have all the fun?

I even see Carl Orff's name used as a verb, "orff-ing."

I am looking forward to some Orff-ing on Saturday!

-- Mary Kunz Goldman


The Pink Floyd Experience heads to UB

The Pink Floyd Experience presents Wish You Were Here Live (the follow up to Dark Side of the Moon) at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 in the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts Main Stage Theatre on the North Campus in Amherst.

Tickets are $34.50, $44.50 and $64.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Sept. 23 through the box office, online at, all Ticketmaster outlets or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, call 645-ARTS (2787) or visit


Review: Wilco at Toronto's Massey Hall

Wilco lead singer Jeff Tweedy performs Saturday at Toronto's Massey Hall. Photo by Joseph Popiolkowski / Buffalo News

Toronto is usually bursting with activity — but especially so this weekend. The Toronto International Film Festival was in its final two days. The New York Yankees were in town to play the Blue Jays.

And rock band Wilco performed a two-night stand at storied Massey Hall.

Buffalo was abuzz this weekend, too, of course, with Curtain Up! on Friday and the annual Music Is Art Festival on Saturday.

But if you wanted to catch what News Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers recently called “the most interesting U.S. band of its generation” on its fall tour then you had to head north on the QEW Friday or Saturday.

Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Glenn Kotche, Mikael Jorgensen, Nels Cline and Pat Sansone gave us six tracks Saturday from their new album “The Whole Love,” due out Sept. 27, including three in a row to kick off the set (see entire set list below). 

The new material finds the band honing in on its signature blend of sonic whirlwind and traditional narrative rock-pop. “Born Alone” has one of Wilco’s most dire phrases "born alone, born to die alone" and ends with an ascending/descending musical trick called a Shepherd tone. How's that for taking it to the next level?

Clearly the band is perfecting its craft at the Chicago loft it writes/records/lives in when not on the road.

One of the band’s many strengths has always been to quickly initiate the uninitiated with its work going back to the late 1990s. Wilco’s nearly two-hour set  held the near-capacity crowd’s rapt attention. An especially long (and well-deserved) round of applause for guitarist Nels Cline after his masterful solo on “Impossible Germany” surprised even the band. 

“Look, you’re making him blush,” said Tweedy. “His shirt was black when we came out here.” It was red. Tweedy seemed to be in a jolly mood as he wisecracked and bantered with the crowd.

He let the audience handle vocal duties on “Jesus, Etc.” from 2002 masterpiece “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” during the first encore. On Friday night he wanted to sing it.

Then he dedicated “California Stars” to a guy way in the back of the house wearing a cowboy hat who danced all night like he was riding a horse.

The band emerged later for a second encore where it expended everyone’s last bit of energy on “I’m a Wheel.” Whew.

Legendary producer/singer-songwriter Nick Lowe got a standing ovation after his opening acoustic set. 

Lowe’s set hit its stride beginning with “I Read A Lot” from his new album “That Old Magic.” He followed it with timeless classic “Cruel to be Kind,” a tender cover of Elvis Costello’s “Allison,” “When I Write the Book” and "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding” — a song written by Lowe but made famous by Costello.

The silver-haired and bespectacled Lowe said he was ailing from a throat infection but he still sounded great. It’s clear today's up-and-coming singer-songwriters have people like Lowe and John Prine on heavy rotation — their influence is clear.

A side note: No trip to Toronto to see Wilco would be complete without a stop at Sky Blue Sky Sandwich Company on Bloor Street, which offers a wide variety of the lunch staple named after Wilco songs.

I had an At Least That's What You Said, which is described as “A tasty cheese sandwich that consists of basil pesto, thick pieces of roasted red peppers and avocado between slices of provolone and toasted.” It was exactly that.

My companion Derek had their popular Casino Queen, which is “Slices of smoked turkey topped with a balsamic onion marmalade, bacon, and avocado served on our whole wheat or honey-nut whole wheat bread.”

Couple those with some sides including potato wedges, Mandarin orange salad and Minestrone soup and you’ve got a hearty lunch fit for a chilly September day.

The last time Wilco came to Western New York was July 2009 at Lewiston’s Artpark. The last time it graced Buffalo’s city limits was the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Rockin at the Knox in 2005.

Shea’s would be a more than suitable venue for them — it’s not unlike Massey Hall. Here’s hoping the stars align for that some day.

--Joseph Popiolkowski

Here’s the set list from Saturday’s show:

One Sunday Morning (Song For Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend)

Art of Almost

I Might

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart


Company on my Back

Born Alone

A Shot in the Arm

Rising Red Lung

Impossible Germany

How to Fight Lonliness

Pot Kettle Black

Dawned on Me


Encore #1


Jesus Etc.

California Stars


Outta Mind (Outta Sight)

Encore #2

I’m a Wheel

Review Critics Corner chat with Jeff Miers at noon

News Arts Editor Jeff Simon is reviewing a movie today, so Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers will be handling the live chat on his own.

A Curtain Up! wrap-up

Tonight marks Curtain Up!, Buffalo's annual celebration marking the opening of a new theater season. Last Friday, we published a run-down of all the shows, many of which opened last week. We're reprinting it below (with the addition of one we regrettably left out last time), along with new videos with some local directors to help you get the lay of the land. Here goes:

"Cool Blues"

Through Oct. 9 in the Paul Robeston Theatre, 350 Masten Ave. (884-2013 or


This play, directed by the respected Edward G. Smith, tells the legendary story of the final days of jazz musician Charlie Parker's life and raises questions about race, conformity and overcoming a troubled personal history.

"The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron"

Though Sept. 8 in Shea's Smith Theatre, 658 Main St. (800-745-3000

Robert Dubac's one-man show on the age-old comic trope of the difference between the sexes, has collected rave reviews during its recent tour. It features Duban performing several dreamed-up archetypes, each of whom offers a different (and, from the looks of it, equally absurd) idea of what women actually want.


Through Oct. 16 in MusicalFare Theatre, 4380 Main St., Amherst (839-8540 or

With music arranged and performed by The Albrights, a Buffalo rock and blues band whose popularity has skyrocketed in the past year, this version of Lionel Bart's beloved classic will transport Dickens' lovable orphan to the American Dustbowl in the 1930s.

"La Bete"

Through Oct. 2 in the Irish Classical Theatre Company's Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. (853-4282 or


Irish Classical co-founder and artistic director Vincent O'Neill calls this 1992 play by David Hirson, recently revived on Broadway to critical acclaim, "a tour de force for an actor of comic genius," referring to local favorite Brian Misliwy, who takes on the role of the quirky Valere. "It's like Torn Space versus the Royal Shakespeare Company."

"The Ghost of Fort Niagara"

Through Oct. 1 in Alleyway Theatre, One Curtain Up Alley (852-2600

Legend has it that at Fort Niagara, a headless apparition stalks the grounds, scaring the wits out of visitors at opportune moments. To Alleyway Theatre founder Neal Radice, the oft-repeated tale of the Fort Niagara ghost seemed the perfect backdrop for this spooky musical, which had its world premiere Thursday night in Radice's Main Street theater.

"Elegies: A Song Cycle"

Through Oct. 2 in O'Connell and Company's theater in Gleasner Hall at Erie Community College North Campus, 6205 Main St., Williamsville (848-0800 or

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, artistic responses abounded. One of the more enduring is "Elegies," a popular and frequently performed song cycle by the typically quirky composer and lyricist William Finn ("Falsettos," "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee").

"Internal Continuity"

Through Oct. 2 in the Road Less Traveled Theatre, 639 Main St. (800-745-3000 or

If comics are your thing, the world premiere of local playwright Shaun McLaughlin's "Internal Continuity" could be right up your alley. The show is about adult comic book fans struggling to break free of their latent dorkdom. "It's about growing up and thinking outside the box a little bit," said director Scott Behrend, "but also still being yourself.

"42nd Street"

Through Oct. 9 in the Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. (829-7668 or

This classic musical, which includes the song "Shuffle Off to Buffalo," is an unusually large undertaking for the Kavinoky, and features an extensive cast of local favorites, including Debbie Pappas, Kelli Bocock-Natale, Peter Palmisano and Kelly Jakiel.


Through Sept. 25 in the Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster (683-1776 or

This musical version of the beloved fairy tale, featuring a score by Rodgers and Hammerstein, comes to life on the Lancaster Opera House stage in a production of Coop's Spotlight Productions.


Through Oct. 15 in the Subversive Theatre Collective's Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave. (408-0499

The Subversive Theatre Collective is going for broke with its production of Peter Weiss' breathless 1964 play that it calls a "watershed work of 1960s experimental protest theater."


Through Oct. 9 in the Theosophical Society of Buffalo, 70 Military Road, in a Torn Space Theater production (812-5733 or


Local theater producer and playwright Dan Shanahan is hellbent on introducing local audiences to unusual spaces. This time, he's inviting crowds to see his original, largely wordless piece (which includes, perhaps unexpectedly, krumping and live music) in an old church that serves as the headquarters of a local Theosophy society.


Through Oct. 1 in the Buffalo Laboratory Theatre's space in the Swan Auditorium at Hilbert College, 5200 South Park Ave. (202-9033 or


This original piece by BLT founder Taylor Doherty is a Beckettian (or maybe Kafkaesque) rumination, which focuses on four detainees trapped in a single room.

"In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)"

Through Oct. 8 in the New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park (853-1334 or

Sarah Ruhl's provocative play, which got an ecstatic reaction during its recent Brodaway run, deals with an unlikely topic: the invention of the vibrator in the late 1800s. This production, directed by Robert Waterhouse, features an impressive cast and a series of curious, powered props designed by Franklin LaVoie.


Through Oct. 16 in Theatre of Youth, 203 Allen St. (884-4400 or

Various Allentown businesses will help turn the entire neighborhood pink for this production of the kid-friendly musical "Pinkalicious," in which a young girl contends with her seemingly incurable sweet tooth for pink cupcakes. In addition to its message about proper nutrition, the show, which is sponsored by Roswell Park, will help to raise breast cancer awareness.

"Barefoot in the Park"

Through Oct. 1. A Kaleidoscope Theatre production in the main building of Medaille College, 18 Agassiz Circle (479-1587

This Neil Simon play, a prototypical romantic comedy very much of its era (that is, the early '60s) focuses on the high jinks of a pair of newlyweds. This production, directed by Don Gervasi, stars local faves Margo Davis and John Buscaglia, among others.

--Colin Dabkowski

The best music to go

Bach What did you listen to this morning, on your way to work, class, whatever?

You're better off if you listened to music instead of talk.

So says a new study that bounced up at me on Yahoo when I piously logged in to read my email. This study, the latest of a number I have seen, appeared in Oprah Magazine.

On your commute home, don't read or listen to the news, but opt for listening to your favorite tunes instead. Oliver Sacks, MD, the noted neurologist and author, says that research suggests that the simple act of singing can be good medicine—especially as we age. Research has shown that improvements of mood, behavior, even cognitive function once created by music can sometimes persist for hours or even days.

Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus director Doreen Rao has been very vocal, if you will pardon the expression, about the benefit of singing. But it never hurts to hear it corroborated. You may want to sign up for one of our terrific choruses around town!

And as far as what to listen to on your commute, I am the classical music critic so I am obviously biased, but I suggest the Baroque and Classical masters -- Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven. They stir you up but at the same time they keep you focused. Also they inspire you without jangling you. I would not want something that deliberately irritated me. Or anything ugly.

As an example of what you could choose, off the top of my head I could see how Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," here sung by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge ...

... would help. The music has that ethereal beauty, and it carries you along with its gently twisting, turning triplets, and you know it, and it directs your mind upward and puts you in a good place.

On the other hand the music does not have to be so overtly calming. Just thinking out loud here, I think certain brainy jazz pieces could also be good. Years ago when I was working a stressful bank job I used to listen to a Duke Ellington tape as I rode home on the Metro Rail. It left me feeling calm and focused which is what you want. Hahaha... I still remember everything on that old commuter tape I made! It had "I Let a Song Go Out Of My Heart," "Take the A Train" (very appropriate," the deeply relaxing "Mood Indigo," "Creole Love Call," and "Cotton Tail," which I loved...

Wow, listening to that takes me back! I know every note of every solo. I know, nerd!! But that was how much I loved it. Hearing it now in light of our Oprah study, I think what makes this good commuter music is that you have those witty, high-flying solos, but at the same time that steady beat and orderly structure. It put me in a good frame of mind.

Listen to music by somebody smart, is I guess what I am getting at. Don't listen to anything stupid. This is not technical language, I realize, but in a way I do not want the power of music explained to the letter. I like it to remain something of a mystery.

The little Oprah writeup directs us to this essay by Dr. Oliver Sacks that gives you the power of music from a physician's perspective.


-- Mary Kunz Goldman


Music Is Art 2011 schedule!

The Ninth Annual Music is Art Festival takes place on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. at Delaware Park, in the area surrounding Hoyt Lake and Shakespeare Hill.

Multiple stages and tent areas will keep the music, dance, visual and real-time fine art going all the day long, with local bands, performers, dancers and DJs celebrating the broad variety of vibrant art in our humble little town.

Want the full schedule so you know who to see, where and when? Check this out. Have a blast, and see you there!
- Jeff Miers

The Type Truck rolls into Buffalo

The Type Truck makes a stop in Boulder, Colo. Photo from

We've all  heard of the mobile food truck phenomenon that has made its way to Buffalo, at long last and to the delight of foodies across the 716. But chances are you haven't heard of the Type Truck, a mobile letterpress shop founded by Kyle Durrie of Portland's Power and Light Press.

The truck will pull up to the Western New York Book Arts Center on Thursday at 6 p.m. for a two-hour stay in which visitors will be able to make their own print. And in a bit of mobile-movement solidarity, Lloyd Taco Truck will also be on hand at the event.

--Colin Dabkowski

Start chilling the eggnog...

The holiday season has begun!

Just this morning I heard the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's commercial hyping its Christmas show. You have probably heard it too. It is here to stay! We are going to be hearing that "Carol of the Bells" daily until Christmas. Matter of fact we will be hearing it after Christmas. The show is not until Dec. 27!

You definitely cannot beat this thing. So let's join it.

We surrender. It is Christmas!

Here is one creative video of "Carol of the Bells."

A person commenting on that video points out testily that the composer of "Carol of the Bells" was Mykola Leontovych. The actual name of the tune is "Shchedryk." That is good knowledge to be armed with when you go to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's concert! When they blast off with this song you may turn to your neighbor and say, "Ah, 'Shchedryk.'"

Here are the Muppets singing "Shchedryk." I am sitting here laughing at my desk!

The Vienna Choir Boys give us a traditional take.


Are you psyched yet for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra? If you're not yet, that's OK. You still have three months!

Meanwhile let's get started with that eggnog.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman




Author Wendy McClure joins The News' Vogel for live chat at 1 p.m. Wednesday

Wendy McClure, author of "The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of 'Little House on the Prairie,'" will join The News' Charity Vogel for a live chat at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Weigh in with your comments and questions in the chat console below.

Earlier this month, Vogel profiled McClure and her latest work as part of The Buffalo News Book Club series.

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