Author Archives: Neil Kurtzman

Spike Jones

Spike Jones (1911-65) was a percussionist of considerable skill who got bored playing the same music over and over again. He gradually drifted into an anarchic style of comedy and music that has never been equaled. He assembled a group of players and singers who were equally adept at performing and inspired silliness. This madness…


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The Ghost in the Machine – A Cautionary Tale

This article is almost a quarter of a century old. I wrote it for a print magazine and then published it here more than a decade ago. It’s buried in the site’s archives. I thought I’d give it fresh exposure and accordingly am resurrecting it. There’s a companion piece that I may also renew. It…


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The Case Against Children

Fertility rates are below replacement levels in every country in the developed world except Israel. While the leaders of these countries view this decline with alarm, it represents a logical response to the realities of the modern world. Below are a few reasons for this infertile phenomenon. My discussion is pertinent only to the modern…


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Finale 27 – The Marriage of Figaro Act 2

The famous finale to Mozart’s comic opera begins when the door to the closet in a room Count Almaviva’s estate is opened. Both the Count and Countess think Cherubino, the Count’s page, is in the closet. The Count is about to break down the door and then decides to use his sword on the page…


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Happy New Year

A few thoughts to start the New Year. 2020 was an annus horribilis – the worst since 1968; a year that had riots, the murders of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, and a presidential election accompanied by civil unrest about as bad as the year just ended. COVID-19 appeared and kindled both the best…


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Richard Crooks

Richard Crooks (1900-72) was an American tenor. Born in New Jersey he started his singing career as an oratorio specialist. He studied with baritone Leon Rothier and vocal coach Frank La Forge. In 1927 he went to Germany where he made his operatic debut as Cavaradossi in Tosca. In 1930 he made his American operatic…


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Megan Marie Hart

Megan Marie Hart (b 1983) is an American soprano based in Germany. [Thanks to a German reader (Franco) who alerted me to Ms Hart’s impressive voice] Born in Eugene Oregon, she studied with Mignon Dunn and then with Marilyn Horne. She won Horne’s Song Competition in 2010. She began her career more than a decade…


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Brief Medical Updates

Three recent medical reports. The first is from Science. A conference held by Biogen in February of this year was a superspreader event. Phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 in Boston highlights the impact of superspreading events reports the spread of SARS-CoV-2 following an international business conference in at the Marriott Long Wharf on Feb 26-27. By…


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Nonets and More

Writing for nine distinct voices in opera is rare. I can only think of two examples without a deep dive into opera arcana [If there are other examples, let me know]. First, Act 1 scene 2 of Verdi’s Falstaff. And if that’s not enough Verdi goes on to write for 10. This complex writing occurs…


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Lead Browser

Like much of humanity, I use Chrome as my internet browser. I started out using Netscape as did almost everybody in the 90s. Microsoft bullied Netscape out of existence by bundling its late to the game browser Internet Explorer with its operating systems which were included on OEMs. In a few years Netscape was fit…


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