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Chamber Music By Opera Composers

Most opera composers are specialists. There are only four greats who are equally noted for both operatic and instrumental music – Monteverdi, Handel, Mozart, and Strauss. Chamber music is defined as: “Instrumental music played by a small ensemble, with one player to a part, the most important form being the string quartet which developed in…


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Nilsson in Italian Opera

Birgit Nilsson (1918-2005) was one of opera’s miracles. If you heard her during her prime, which roughly coincided with the first decade or so of her 22 years at the Met, you heard a unique voice. At its fullest, it was a Jovian thunderbolt. No technical challenge was too much for her. Vocally, she could…


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Porgy and Bess in HD

The Met’s new production of Gershwin’s opera which opened its current season was telecast around the world today. Before getting to the performance, a few words about the opera. Though 80 years old, it is still under copyright as the Gershwin family has proved to be master manipulators of the relevant US law governing intellectual…


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On Tolerance III

You have to be a grown-up to be able to hear opposing view while remaining calm and granting these views a dispassionate analysis. Such behavior is beyond the capacity of most people – certainly those with strongly held beliefs. There are many people with such beliefs who feel compelled to insert them into ordinary conversations…


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On Tolerance II

As threatened last year, here is the continuation of my exegesis on tolerance. Our country’s founding document refers to”unalienable rights.” While only three were stated, it clearly indicated that there were more. In the almost quarter of a millennium since Jefferson’s Declaration the number of rights claimed by many has undergone an exponential expansion. Note…


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A Christmas Message

You may think the title of this article presumptuous as I’m not a Christian. Nevertheless, most of the country still observes Christmas is some form. Jews have taken an obscure holiday, Hanukkah, and packaged it into Xmas Lite so they can partake of the holiday fun. Pagans had a holiday centered on the winter solstice….


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Prostate Cancer Screening Recommendations Change Yet Again

The US Preventive Services Task Force is as fickle an organization as can be found in medicine. Consider their position about prostate cancer it seems to change more often than an infant’s diaper. Their latest pronunciamento on the subject is summarized below. Their full statement is at the end of this piece. Part of the…


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You Cannot See My Face

              The Universe is not only stranger than you think; it’s stranger than you can imagine. Richard Feynman The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. WB Yeats And he (Moses) said: “Show me, now, Your glory!” He (God) said: “I will let all…


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What is Drug Addiction?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) believes that drug addiction exists, while the psychiatrist’s handbook, the DSM 5, doesn’t use the term. The public and their political representatives believe addiction to be a major problem. Though there’s no reason to think they understand the issue any better than the doctors who make a living…


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Viva Rossini!

During his active phase as an opera composer Gioachino Rossini (1792-1968) was the most popular composer of operas throughout the Western World. After his premature retirement from the stage at age 37, he was eclipsed in popularity first by Verdi and then by Puccini. For a while the only opera of his to be regularly…


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