Saturday, April 3, 2010

Musings for an Easter weekend in Niagara

This being Easter weekend and all the pre-Easter concerts are done and done, I thought I'd round up a few random thoughts on a number of topics I have had swimming around in my head the last few days, and we'll get back to the usual business of talking about music next week.

First of all, have you ever seen an Easter weekend like this one when it comes to the weather? I don't know if it is global warming or not, but judging from the smiles on the faces of almost everyone I meet these days, I say let's enjoy it for the time being! Two years ago, when Easter was near the end of March, we still had some snow on the ground here in Niagara; this weekend people are wearing shorts, and in spite of the proliferation of bare white skin, no one seems to be complaining too much. Bring it on!

I have written much over the years about the state of the recorded music industry and whether it is at death's door or not, and the fact last year was a terrible year for sales for just about anyone due to the recession. Well, so far this year, things are looking up ever so slightly. The first quarter sales for my music business, A Web of Fine Music, are up slighly on last year's totals, with the first three months this year posting modest gains over the same months last year. Why? I have no idea. Hopefully more consumer confidence has something to do with it, and perhaps more people willing to actually buy hard copies of music again. I hope so; being my business' bread and butter, I want people to buy CDs and DVDs for the foreseeable future.

Speaking of music and Easter, I don't have anything hot on my CD player at the moment pertaining specifically to Easter; however, on my website ( you'll find my feature item this month in the Mike's Picks section is a wonderful 7-CD box set of Great Choral Favourites featuring a host of English orchestras and choirs. Along with Mozart's Requiem and Bach's St. Matthew Passion sung in English, the set includes Mozart's own arrangement of Handel's oratorio Messiah, which premiered, incidentally, not at Christmas but at Easter in 1742 in Dublin, Ireland. Of particular note is a wonderfully English recording of Stainer's The Crucifixion, his celebrated oratorio for the Easter season performed last weekend by Choralis Camerata. The entire set sells for only $ 40 plus tax, and is well worth it. You can order it through my website or order directly from me by emailing

Finally, April is Cancer Awareness Month, and pretty soon we'll be seeing the yellow daffodils on sale wherever we go; this year I plan to buy my share of yellow dafs to honour those who have died in the last year from cancer, which hits everyone in one way or another in their lifetime, it seems. Either directly or indirectly, I know of few people who have not been affected by the disease. For me personally, I have lost two senior, dear cats to cancer in the last six months alone, and this week I attended a funeral for a very dear and long-standing friend who had battled the disease for a number of years and finally succumbed last weekend at the young age of 56. It has been a hard week for a lot of people, this writer included, so rest easy now, Linda, your battle is done.

Have a wonderful Easter with those you love, and make sure to tell them you do love them. It seems especially timely this year. Oh, and chocolate, too. My lenten abstinence from chocolate ends tomorrow and I can hardly wait!

Happy Easter!

April 3rd, 2010.

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