Category Archives: Uncategorized

Recording of the Month – Benvenuto Cellini

Hector Berlioz (1803-66) was a composer of such unique gifts that he deserves a place among the great composers all to himself. So original were his ideas and talents that even after more than a century and a half after his death, we still struggle to keep up with him. He invented the modern symphony…


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Dickens on Elections

In chapter 13 of The Pickwick Papers Dickens describes an election for the House of Commons in the borough of Eatanswill. There are two parties – the Buffs and the Blues. The two candidates, Slumkey (Blue) and Fizkin (Buff), have only one concern – getting elected. They and their supporters will resort to any chicanery…


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Heather Mac Donald on Medicine

The outstanding public intellectual, Heather Mac Donald has written a penetrating analysis of the current state of medical education, practice criteria, and organizational structure. Appropriately called the Corruption of Medicine, it details the horrible pit the profession has thrown itself into. Gone is first do no harm. In its place is the patient be damned…


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Unsettled – Book review

Steven E Koonin has written a book Unsettled: What climate science tells us, what it doesn’t, and why it matters. The volume is not very long consisting of mostly data (yes data!) and endnotes. It is a sober analysis of a subject that has been a field of landmines maiming the facts that underpin an…


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Limmie Pulliam

Limmie Pulliam is an American tenor who is just emerging to operatic prominence. As you’ll hear from the excerpts below he is a dramatic tenor ideally suited for the big Verdi tenor roles. Later this month he is due to sing three performances of the master’s Otello in a concert version with the Cleveland Symphony…


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Schumann Piano Quartet – Andante Cantabile

The third movement of Robert Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E flat has one of the greatest melodies found in music of any variety. It’s comparable to the best of Bellini or Verdi. His opus 47 was written in 1842. It closely followed his Piano Quintet (opus 44) in the same key. Both works influenced Brahms…


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Eurydice

More operas likely have been written, including the one that introduced the art form, about the Orpheus myth than any other subject. Today the Met’s HD series presented Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice set to a libretto by Sarah Ruhl based on her 2004 play of the same name. The story in this version is told from…


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Too Much

Winston Churchill remarked that a dominant characteristic of Germany and its people was a tendency to too much. I don’t think the great man was being fair to his Teutonic cousins as the trait seems universal, even more so with every change of the calendar. The descriptor seems to best apply to those parts of…


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Trio Balkan Strings

The Trio Balkan Strings is a father and his two sons team – all acoustic guitar players. They are based in Belgrade. The three players are Zoran Starcevic, Nikola Starcevic, and Zeljko Starcevic. They seem to be very active in central Europe. They are virtuosos of the highest proficiency. The video below is called Stampedo….


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Sports

 Sport: Vary from normal structure in a singular spontaneous manner. This is the definition of sport as applied to biology. It can be extended to include any event that is extraordinarily different from the norm. Below are a number of musical selections that could be called sports if one were generous with the appellation. If…


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