Ed's talk: Feb 2, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

death of Lukas Foss

In 1954, when I was 17 -18, I spent the summer in Tanglewood as a member of the "Study Group". I don't remember the circumstances very well but, for some reason, Leonard Bernstein was not there that year and Lukas Foss was. And it happened that he was the one who gave me my first conducting lesson, in effect, by showing me how to give a downbeat for an ensemble to start a piece.

Mr. Foss was one of the most eclectic of composers and often his compositions were rather atonal. In his later years, he returned to tonality having never been that dedicated to the twelve- tone system. Though I listened to many of his works with pleasure, I was reminded today by the friend who showed me the obit, that he was often booed, especially by the blue-haired ladies of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's audience.

As I recall, though Foss was often audacious, he never lost sight of what pleased an audience even if the audience was often not pleased. I especially enjoyed his "Time Cycle" and "Song of Songs". If he was not startingly original, (these days who is?) I still think he deserved better.

I was pleased by the extent of his recognition in the Times obituary!

Put a Libertarian on the <em>New York Times</em>' Op-Ed Page

From my, admittedly, somewhat limited contact with the Libertarian philosophy, I find their opinions on most everything social and economic to lie in the realm of pure fantasy.

If their opinions on healthcare ("let the market set the prevailing rates and we'd all be able to afford to go to a doctor"), for example, were allowed to prevail, none of us would ever be able to get any healthcare. Or, "the government should stay out of regulating anything including the banks!" Well, in effect they have been doing this for many years and look where it's gotten us!

Perhaps all these "laissez-faire" views would work fine in an ideal capitalist society where everyone is utterly honest but when has such a society existed? Anything like it would be a right-wing utopia.

We've had Bill Kristol who has been wrong on virtually everything and he is now gone; do we need another loony commentator to take his place?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost