Music Monday #18 – Recycling

I had an outing to Boston yesterday for another Handel & Haydn concert, the last of this season.  The program featured a number of pieces with ‘regal’  connections.  Thoroughly enjoyable.  A soprano soloist booked for the concert had to withdraw which allowed a member of the chorus to take the soprano solo slot.  In the first half of the program Teresa Wkim sang the popular Mozart  Exsultate, jubilate, K. 165 and then it the second half she again soloed in the Mozart Coronation Mass in C, K. 317.  Now somewhere in that Mass, I am going to venture to say in the Gloria,  despite the distance between the Köchel  catalog numbers I found myself thinking ‘sounds an awful lot like something I already heard today’.  Now a quick and simple Google search doesn’t turn up anything about a melodic/harmonic/rhythmic relation but I still believe I heard it.  However my search did lead to a note stating that Mozart reused materials from his Mass in C minor (1783)  in a 1785 oratorio “Davidde penitente”.  So perhaps my ears did indeed catch a bit of “recycling”.

  This clip is in no way similar to the concert performance I heard yesterday.  I selected it because I have had the pleasure of hearing services & performances in Salisbury Cathedral where this rendition took place.  And there is just something endearing about English choristers carrying on their long tradition.



Thoughtful Thursday # 17 – Art

What type of art do you appreciate most?

I am going to address this question in terms of visual art.  I am fond of landscapes, still life paintings, and portraits (people or pets).  I like watercolors and pastels best.

I live in an area full of artists of all types.  I am not a deep pocketed collector so I tend to appreciate the works of people who manage to produce moderately priced work that reflect this region.  I have several watercolors by Deborah Holmes.   My husband and I purchased a couple of her winter scenes and pictures of sheep over the years as Christmas gifts to us.  To see what she has available for sale now click here.  My favorite picture in my home however is a pastel portrait of Zoe, the cat who graced my home for 17 years.  My next art purchase?  Easy, that will be portraits of my two new cats,  Thunder and Lightning.

Wacky Wednesday # 17 – Sky Awareness Week /Astronomy Week

Growing up on the eastern side of Vermont there was often a school field trip in the spring  to the Fairbanks Museum.  The natural history aspect of the museum did not inspire me much.  In fact to this day my husband has a hard time getting me into natural history museums.  What I did enjoy were the planetarium shows.  The presentations were live and always reflected exactly what was happening in the sky at the time.  I really did not understand how good the planetarium shows were until I went to a big city planetarium and found that the presentation was simply a generic prerecorded program.

Below is some info the Fairbanks Lyman Spitzer Jr, Planetarium from the website:

The Fairbanks Planetarium opened in 1961 to stimulate interest in astronomy. The pursuit of this mission continues today through the Museum’s ongoing astronomy programs, including Eye on the Night Sky radio broadcasts on Vermont Public Radio, Star Quest astronomy outreach programs, and our annual Perseid Star Party in August. The planetarium welcomes about 15,000 visitors annually through programs for schools and the public.

The projector is the original Spitz model A-2 installed in 1961, with bench seating for 45 people under a 24-foot domed ceiling enhanced by sound and image systems. Immediately adjacent to the Planetarium is the Exhibit Hall, featuring displays on many aspects of astronomy and space travel, including the exploration of the Solar System, and a diorama of the Moon’s surface and the Apollo Lunar Lander from 1969.

I have been to the planetarium presentation within the past three years and can report the quality continues.  The presenters have a real knack for engaging both children and adults.  So if you find yourself in St. Johnsbury, VT on a Saturday or Sunday at 1:30 pm  I recommend you take in the show.

The bug actually bit me

It is spring yet rainy (which we need) and cool.  There was been a lot of sickness, or late season flu going around.  So far I have been lucky but another kind of ‘bug’ got me.  I am usually exceptionally immune to this one — the spring cleaning bug.  But it got me.  I have rooms where the area rugs have not been taken out in too many years and the furniture has not been moved for cleaning the baseboards behind pieces.  So if my blogging appears even more skimpy than you are used to blame this bug.  I know it will pass well before I have done half the rooms in my home.  Large houses are a blessing but also a curse.  Back to my ‘strength training’.

Travel Tuesday # 17 – Robert Burns

Today I am once again sharing scrap-book pages from my September 2009 trip to Scotland.  These pages reflect a day at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and nearby area.  I remember it was real Scottish weather, rainy and cool.  One of the unplanned highlights was listening to a piper outside a church and watching the people, dressed up in their finest — many a man in a kilt, walking in for a country wedding. 

Music Monday # 17 – The Birth Date of Two Sergeis

April 23, 1873 is the birth date of Sergei Rachmaninoff and April 23, 1891 is the birth date of Sergei Prokofiev .  Both men would be important in 20th century music.

Rachmaninoff was the son of two amateur pianists and came from a noble family that had been in the service of Czars since the 16th century.  He is regarded as one of the finest pianists of the 20th century, while his reputation as a composer is more controversial.

Prokofiev has the only child of a pianist and a relatively wealthy agricultural engineer.  At a very young age he was inspired by his mother practicing the piano and would start composing.  Prokofiev would study along side older students at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and  be viewed as arrogant and eccentric. Musically he would develop the reputation of a rebel.

Both men would spend time living as exiles in California.  Rachmaninoff would die in California and be buried in Valhalla, New York.  Prokofiev would live in Paris and in the Bavarian Alps for several years. But in 1936, Prokofiev returned permanently to the Soviet Union.  He is buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

You Tube links:  Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev plays Prokofiev

Thoughtful Thursday # 16 – Retail P.O.S

What companies provide the best customer service?  The worst?

Oh, why did I select this prompt way back at the end of 2011?  Because I was trying to select 52 different ones and I must have figured I would have something to say about it when the time came.  Looking at it now, at nearly 9:30 pm after two Zumba classes today plus some gardening I am thinking it isn’t really about  companies when it comes to service; at least not for me when it comes to retail shopping.  It comes down to individual sales people.  But that said a company can really hinder an otherwise terrific sales staff.  I find it very annoying to be having a fine time shopping right up until the ” P.O.S.”  – or point of sale.  That is when company policy and computer programing prompts can spoil it all.  I just want to pay for my stuff, the way I want to, and get on with the rest of my day.  Most often I believe that the human being waiting on me can read my face and body language and know that BUT they have these questions they are required to ask:  will you be paying with X-store or company card, would you like to apply, do you know you will get Y discount, points, free-shipping.  Oh if only that were all.  They probably have irritated me already by asking for a zip code, email, or phone number to track me by.  I know the company requires them to ask this stuff and the computer system makes them enter answers to proceed with my payment.  There has no doubt been big bucks spend on studies and consultants showing these queries will yield more gross sales.  But I remember clerking in a store as soon as I was ‘legal’ to do so.  The store has very old fashioned even for the long ago time I worked.  Sales were written down on paper and added, only the total was rung in the register.  Money was counted back to the customer, change first.  And I was taught to keep the money tendered on the far side of the register until after the customer accepted that money, just in case they claimed to have handed a green young person a $20 when it was really a $10 they had given me.  Automation may make companies feel safer about employee actions but it really treats those employees as not human enough to respond in a human way to individual human customers.  No wonder we happily order things online, without seeing or touching them to avoid the lack of personal interaction in a brick and mortar store when it comes to “P.O.S.”

I am writing this as I intend to make an over an hour journey tomorrow to a mall that has stores not found any closer to me.  Sometimes you just want to try on the clothes, or touch the towels before buying.

Wacky Wednesday #16 – National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month and has been since 1996.  You can find an incredible amount of information by clicking the link above. One of the things I found interesting was that there is a National Poetry Map that will lead you to a page for each state telling you about the poets of the state, poems about the state, and which poets are buried in the state.  Robert Frost is buried in my home state of Vermont, in the Old Bennington Cemetery in Bennington, VT.  I am not sure if I have been there or not, although there are other sites related to Frost even closer to where I live that I have seen.

Last year I posted about my visit to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, MA where the poets Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau keep company with other famous literary residents along …  So with 12 more days remaining in April you still have time to observe National Poetry Month.  You can check any of the links above, pull a favorite volume off a shelf, or if you are so inclined put pen to paper (or given that it is the 21st century fingers to keyboard — although that doesn’t strike me as too poetic.)