Recent comments

  • Running with Steve Reich   6 years 47 weeks ago

    Tell Brenda I read her blog and am glad she runs to my music. That's a good use for it. She also points out how classical music; doesn't keep a steady beat and is no good for running. Well, tell her that's true for Brahms, Mahler and many other romantic composers of the 19th century, but she should give JS Bach a shot. Something as easy to find as the Brandenburg Concetos. He - if correctly played - certainly keeps a steady beat and would seem like a natural joy to run to.

    All best,

  • Running with Steve Reich   6 years 48 weeks ago

    I didn't anticipate running to Steve Reich. It was only after I got the album that it occured to me it would be great excerise music. I think it's the percussion that works for me, so Vivaldi might not. I'd like to know what you think of the Reich if you have the inclination to explore. You seem to have excellent taste in music. I'm working on the perfect work-out playlist, so please send the names of your top recommendations. I'm finding myself a little bored with the same stuff I've been listening to. I have no aforementioned familiarity requirement!

  • Running with Steve Reich   6 years 48 weeks ago

    When I exercise I tend to listen to albums, favorites that I know by heart. This is because my morning ride lacks the interesting scenary - it's in my basement on the stationary bike. That's why I like music that I know so well - the songs become the landmarks along the way. Lately I have been stuck on Foo Fighters, but I go with classic rock (e.g. AC/DC) and some 80's modern rock standards (New Order, EMF). I don't necessarily need a fast tempo, as long is consistent throughout a song I can assign some number of turns to it and stay moving. I haven't thought of classical music to ride to. Maybe The Four Seasons (mine is Gil Shaham with Orpheus) would fit my aformentioned familiarity requirement....

  • Running with Steve Reich   6 years 48 weeks ago

    I've been reading Alex Ross' blog and was happy to see Roberta Flack mentioned. Alex excerpts a Jason King essay that refers to Roberta's "predilection for spaciousness". If you want a good example, you should listen to "Quiet Fire". It features what I consider to be the definitive reading of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and a hypnotic and heartbreaking version of Van McCoy's "Sweet Bitter Love", neither one much good for running, I'm afraid.

  • the classical flipside   6 years 48 weeks ago

    I saw this band open for someone at Water Street last year and thought they were great. The crowd seemed to really enjoy it. The group's made up of three cellists and a percussionist and they call themselves a rock band, but one that combines "the beauty of classical music with the energy and chaos of rock". It could just as easily be the beauty of rock and the energy of classical. Maybe that's the point.

  • culture clash   6 years 48 weeks ago

    It was OK. They sang a song I can't think of at the moment - a familiar carol that they recorded with Sarah McLachlan several years ago. In the middle of it, one of the singers said, "Please welcome... Sarah McLachlan!!" The camera scanned the excited crowd. You could see one flabbergasted young woman saying, "No way! No way!". Then they cut back to the stage and the singer said, "Wouldn't that be great? That would be awesome if she was here!" or something to that effect. Got a big laugh.

    Anyway, the crowd did look younger than your average Boston Pops crowd, even compared to other shows I've seen with guests like Alison Krauss. There was some patter between Keith Lockhart and the band members before the song so maybe he scored some points with the kids. Who knows if he lost any with the usuals.

    Boston Globe reviewer Joel Brown found BNL and the Pops to be a good combination, since "both aim for crowd-pleasing fun rather than deep artistic exploration." He also mentioned a Pops show with My Morning Jacket, which is an even more intriguing match.

  • Reading + Writing + Family = Loads of Fun!   6 years 48 weeks ago

    My daughters are 17 and 12 now. Both avid readers, but only the younger one still feels like reading with her dad on occasion. Your suggestions for younger readers made me fondly recall several books by Michael Dorris. "Guests" is particularly timely. It tells a Thanksgiving story through the eyes of a young native boy. "Sees Behind Trees" and "Morning Girl" are also set within indigenous cultures. "The Window" is a modern tale but also worth a read. For me the books were remarkable because they didn't talk down to kids, gave them credit for profound and subtle feelings, and acknowledged that life can be very difficult. And the writing is just beautiful.

  • the savage breast   6 years 48 weeks ago

    Funny notes! And a beautifully clear explanation of why you love to sing. The effort does end up being worth it (one hopes) for that sense of community, I agree.
    Ta, Suzi

    PS "All WL Sheep" note made me laugh very, very hard. Now it's going through my head though. Back to the iTunes for some Threepenny Opera!

  • And the winners are . . .   6 years 49 weeks ago


    Thanks for your refreshing geekiness.

    Nicole and I just discovered that when the games were new, we were BOTH Nationally Ranked Kaboom Champs. I mean, we even took pictures of our TVs and mailed them in and EVERYTHING.

    Great minds . . .

  • And the winners are . . .   6 years 49 weeks ago

    I am so glad the Atari 2600 won. Video games keep you inside glued to the TV screen intead of outside getting fresh air and exercising and I don't care!! I loved that game system, and what Atari's (and Activision's) developers accomplished on that limited platform was nothing short of genius.

    I'm going to continue to "geek out" for minute longer and point out that my favorite Atari game of all time is Adventure, written by Warren Robinett. There is a great story behind the game. When his boss heard what he was working on, he was told it couldn't be done and to stop working on it. He ignored his boss and wrote the game anyway. He has a web page about Adventure here, and it goes into even more gory detail.

    Adventure is also the first example of an "easter egg" in a computer game - if you found the hidden dot you could enter a secret room with with the message, "Created by Warren Robinett" in it.

  • culture clash   6 years 49 weeks ago

    What do you think of the clip you saw?

  • culture clash   6 years 49 weeks ago

    Just saw a preview clip of the Barenaked Ladies (who are considered hip by some) performing with the Boston Pops. The new holiday special will be on WXXI-TV in December. Maybe they included a plea for support during the performance of 'If I Had a Million Dollars'.

  • And the winners are . . .   6 years 49 weeks ago

    "I'm a nerd who doesn't like video games."


    The Today show also picked up the toy story, I heard.

  • And the winners are . . .   6 years 49 weeks ago

    One of the articles on Salon today is about this "award." Great pub for the Museum! I'm a nerd who doesn't like video games, but as gamers helped to put a stupendously powerful machine on my desk, my hat's off to y'all.

  • And the winners are . . .   6 years 49 weeks ago

    If your brother still has that Odyssey, he might take it to the Antiques Road Show. I love your story about the doctor. That's a switch.

    How about PONG?

  • And the winners are . . .   6 years 49 weeks ago

    So I know that Atari won the war, but in my family, we were Odyssey devotees for years. I think my brother still has our old, old system. Brenda, you'll find this amusing: I was not a coordinated child (still can't ride a bike, which is practically sinful in the Pacific Northwest), and our doctor recommended that I take time out from reading to PLAY VIDEO GAMES and improve my hand-eye coordination. How many people can say that? :-)

    But I wasn't playin' on any Atari. It was all on the old Magnavox Odyssey (updated in my childhood to the Odyssey 100 etc.). I'd like to see THAT win someday. (Like Betamax. Unh hunh.)

  • And the winners are . . .   6 years 49 weeks ago

    The Atari 2600 (even though I had the Sears-branded version) was an important part of my childhood. It's simple controller, with one stick and one button, is so different from the advanced game systems of today, but it still brought the player into some excellent game experiences. You can still see the influences of those first simple games on so many of today's modern games. I think it was a great choice.

    Andrew Wheeland
    Director of Interactive Services

  • Geiger   6 years 49 weeks ago

    I haven't heard him live, but I know he's a gifted singer. I checked his first album out of the library this summer.

    The scenario in my blog is an imagined one, of course. I hope that's clear.

    The question is, does an orchestra need the endorsement of anyone, whether he's a teen heart-throb, hip hop artist, or spike-haired hipster?

    How can Oregon's or Rochester's or Cleveland's orchestras attract the Culturally-Aware Non-Attenders? What gives a concert a sense of occasion? Does classical music need to be cool? And when will I ever stop being a Band Geek? I lie awake at night wondering.

  • Geiger   6 years 49 weeks ago

    He is just musically gifted every way. Teddy can write a hit pop single and still have taste for classical pieces. You can't even grasp his wide range of style by listening, you have to be at a concert. This way you can take in every facial expression, every note. I applaud his musical diversity.

  • Secret Confessions from Skitty   6 years 50 weeks ago

    I don't know if the NY Phil charging is standard, or if that was special for Conlon.

    The Creation chat and concert was great prep for Haydn's "Lord Nelson Mass," which the Lexington Singers are doing this weekend.

  • Secret Confessions from Skitty   6 years 50 weeks ago

    Hi, Rich,

    Do you know if the New York Phil always charges an extra five bucks for the chat?


  • Secret Confessions from Skitty   6 years 50 weeks ago

    I'm one of Brenda's fellow NEA Fellows, and the funny thing was the next day I went to the free pre-concert talk for the London Symphony's performance of "The Creation" at Lincoln Center, and it was packed.

    Hope you're doing well Brenda, and I love the black velvet and microwave macaroni image. I've definitely had those high-low nights.

  • Secret Confessions from Skitty   6 years 50 weeks ago

    Hi, Sharon,

    The New Jersey Symphony is a fine orchestra. The NJSO's artistic director is a former classical producer for NPR. I met him during the NEA conference. He had nice things to say about Rochester's pops conductor, Jeff Tyzik. It's a small world in the classical realm -- just like New Jersey politics!

  • Secret Confessions from Skitty   6 years 50 weeks ago

    The NJ Sympnony Orchestra occasionally does pre-concert "Classical Conversations." They only do them on certain performances and they don't charge any extra for them. I've been to a couple; they were very interesting, expecially on nights that we didn't know the performer or the piece of music very well. The conversations also had a light attendence, I'm guessing because folks often had dinner plans or such before the concerts.

    With an extra charge, I'm not at all surprized that the chat had a low attendance!

  • Secret Confessions from Skitty   6 years 50 weeks ago

    Yes, you think the NYSO would throw in the free chat. My colleagues at the NEA Institute were outraged, even though they weren't footing the bill.