Ed's talk

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I am trying to get my blog  back on Safari but so far haven't been successful.

I'd wanted to write about my mentor at Yale, Mel Powell, who was very helpful to me in my earlier days there. At that time, I was writing atonal music and even wrote my Masters thesis  on "Rhythm in the Muaic of Anton von Webern".

I have long since returned to tonality when I left Yale with my Masters degree. I have not found that atonality has been a sustaining means of creative endeavor.

Nevertheless, more recently I have been a help in updating Mel's Wikipedia page with the help of others.

Monday, March 19, 2018

My 3/18/2018 comment on Times web site

I like to think that Maureen, in her previously snarky columns on “Barry” Obama and Hillary Clinton has perhaps regretted writing them and with her pushing DFT as “entertainment” for us plebes after realizing what a monster she had helped create!
But though looking to Robert Mueller to correct the situation, while thinking of it as still a possibility, I have been thinking it less and less likely as time goes by.I hope I am proven wrong but 45’s willingness to fight as dirty as necessary to save his own backside as shown recently in the case of Andrew McCabe’s firing shows what we are up against.
Only the ballot box shows what we should do and hope we are clever enough to avoid the result of the last election.
I like to think that we should vote as Americans and not as followers of “Vlad the Impaler”.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The death of Stephen Hawking

I first heard of Hawking's death last night on the TV and I found it shocking, even though Hawking was a long time survivor of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.) which generally kills its vicims much earlier than it killed him.

(There have even been doubts that Lou Gehrig was killed by "Lou Gehrig's disease"!)

Despite his many years in a wheelchair and his severe physical limitations, he was the most famous physicist and scientific thinker of our time as, for example, Albert Einstein was of his.

And, appropriately as scientists, they both expressed skepticism concerning the existence of god, a skepticism which I share and which my parents also shared with me.

My utter lack of interest in the evangelist Billy Graham after his recent death stood in contrast to these more recent deaths, even with the persistent and puzzling attention to it played by the media.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Still another school shooting in Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida

It seems that Wikipedia that earlier gave more information on the suspected shooter Nikolas de Jesus Cruz.
 "At approximately 2:40 p.m. EST on February 14, 2018, a mass shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in the Miami metropolitan area. At least 17 people were killed and 14 others were hospitalized. The alleged shooter is in custody of the Broward County Sheriff's Office. He was taken to a local hospital before being incarcerated.[5] The mass shooting is among the deadliest in modern U.S. history.[6]"

Update: March 7th, 2018: It seems that this shooting has finally gotten some of our young people to respond wi†h their own "never again" reaction and I hope †hey will stick to their own guns (no pun intended!) and continue to oppose the NRA and the do-nothing pols in Congress who hope the whole thing goes away.


Thursday, January 25, 2018

further on the current sex scandals

My posting on WQXR is shown above but with a Wikipedia photo, for copyright reasons.

I can attest to the fact that Gelb initially tried to kill the story but couldn't. I can also say that the story is really quite an old one and has only become current due to other stories which persist on the internet involving Hollywood, starting with Harvey Weinstein, as well as the world of music, politics and other fields.

As victims, females have come first (the "Me-too movement") and here, our President himself who cannot keep his mouth shut if his life depends on it, has boasted about his successes with women especially on the "Access Hollywood" footage.

But males of all ages have also been victims, not only of Levine and Kevin Spacey but of religion as well and one can only hope that Pope Francis can eventually allow priests to marry a mature spouse of their gender choice. Nothing else will do!

It won't completely solve the problem but it ought to help!

E.G. from New York City

This is definitely no "witch hunt". 
Going back to the early years of Levine's tenure, many of us have been aware that the Met board has been buying the silence of the young victim's families by paying them off to remain silent as well as buying the silence of the police. 
Even most recently, Mr. Gelb seems to have tried initially to silence criticism of the Met's handling of the long-running scandal, having only given up that attempt after the drip, drip, drip of accusations became a torrent.
 It is time for the Met to act responsibly towards its public as well as its artists!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Le Nozze di Figaro from post-Levine Met

I had many reservations about this production of “Le Nozze di Figaro” including the unnecessary added visuals which included the servant girls “cleaning and setting up the stage” during the overture but, considering the many other  ”sins”, this may only have been a minor rather than a “cardinal “sin”!, (I have never liked the Met’s modernization of time periods, sets, costumes and attitudes.)

But I was impressed with the Met’s physical setup as I hadn’t been there in many years, and was very much taken with the revolving sets.

I thought the Count (the baritone Mariusz Kwiecień ) was underpowered (especially compared to the greatest exponent of the part, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau who unfortunately can no longer sing the part having died in 2012 ) but liked the Susannah of Sierra and especially the Countess of Ailyn Pérez. The Figaro (Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov) was just ok in the part. At one point (we were sitting close to the stage) he repeatedly shined his flashlight (!) directly into my eyes but I think he eventually spotted me and stopped shining it. (an example of my own audience participation?)

Maybe Marcellina (Katarina Leoson) could have been made up to look like the old crone she is supposed to be, as is necessary to the later plot developments. (Yes, I am now deliberately avoiding a major “spoiler”!)

Isabel Leonard was very satisfactory in the famous “trouser role” of the perpetually  lovesick Cherubino and handled the musical, acting and athletic demands of the role adeptly.

Where we sat, I felt that conductor Harry Bicket did overpower the smaller voices at times, but mostly kept the ensemble under control.

But, by and large, I don’t think we are living in the golden age of great voices!!!

Addendum, March 7th, 2018: After asking several more experienced opera-goers, I found that they mostly seem to think the best place to sit at the Met is towards the first row of the balcony even if these seats are not inexpensive. But I suppose that, in addition to avoiding Figaro's notorious flashlight,  one hears a bettter sound mixture and experiences fewer visual obstructions that seem inevitable while sitting in the orchestra seats.