Thursday, May 28, 2009

Free Day

Don't you hate those days that have big gaps in them so you can get all those things done that you have been avoiding for weeks?
Then you get blogged down in Facebook etc and the morning seeps away like sand in an hourglass.
My son has joined a Facebook group "telling Dick Cheney to shut the hell up". There is a grassroots movement to declare a National Day of Joy that George and Dick are gone.
It is 9:38 and I am still in my pyjamas. Yesterday I got a GPS thingy (the Germans call it a Navi) which I am hoping will be useful on my bicycle.
Last night we played a Mozart Mass at the cathedral. Mozart is amazing and magical. It was a benefit concert and was (surprisingly) a packed audience.
Mozart is there to remind us that humans are not all bad.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

View from My Window

The sun is shining, I cancelled my teaching this morning, I want to get a whole lot of stuff done but I feel nothing but inertia. I just want to sit still and resist the urge to get dressed. Anyone else ever feel like this?
I live high up in a fine old house, and this morning I can see others being industrious..
or perhaps not...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Scandal. Almost.


Our latest opera production nearly didn’t happen… the director saw fit to fill it with so many scenes of violence and rape and pillage --and dozens of people running around the stage half and full naked --that we got national notoriety even before the premiere performance.

I don’t know what the director had in mind. Most of the cast are of the opinion that he had a very miserable childhood and needs round-the-clock psychological counseling. My own theory is that he was hoping for a scandal for the publicity angle.

In any case I don’t intend to help his career by mentioning his name in this post.

We were all geared for the worst on opening night, but in the end the violence was no worse than you see on an average TV evening what with various war news and your run-of-the-mill crime series. The singers were good and it actually had good reviews. The director got a lively mix of cheers and loud boos, no worse than usual at a premiere.

Why anyhow is it considered worse to depict sex onstage than any number of murders? Can someone explain this to me?

Monday, May 11, 2009


What do these movies have in common?

The Mission
Young Guns
Field of Dreams
The Patriot Games
Clear and Present Danger
Legends of the Fall
Apollo 13
The Devils Own
The Mask of Zorro
The Shipping News
The Missing
Mighty Joe Young
Beyond Borders
Four Feathers

They all have a musical soundtrack featuring my old friend from my London days Tony Hinnigan, who was the cellist in my string quartet. We were quite successful in a student kind of way and had visions of world fame but the quartet fizzled out as we all realized that we actually had to make a living somehow or other; and playing chamber music, lovely as it was, was not the way to put food on the table, especially if you had a growing family-- which I, at that point, did not yet have, but 2 of the others did.

Tony just has to be about the most versatile musician I know-- classically trained cellist who found his international niche in playing whistles. You know, like "penny whistle" or ocarina or pan pipes or any of those things... he has hundreds of them. He also plays dozens of obscure ethnic drums and other things you hit, but in a musical way. Any time a movie composer of international repute needs something that is neither rock guitar nor piano nor straight symphony orchestra, he may end up needing Tony. His first big success was playing all the flutes in the movie Titanic, and of course single-handedly making the film the world-wide blockbuster it became.

He has not lost sight of his roots though, and still teaches master classes in classic cello repertoire, doing Beethoven and Mozart-- but if you are lucky enough to attend one of his classes, make sure to follow him to the pub afterwards, where over a beer or 3 he will tell amazing stories and probably at some point pull a whistle out of his pocket.

And his blog is amazingly funny and well written.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sad Days for the GOP

Headline this evening:

Cheney Says He Favors Limbaugh Over Powell as Model Republican

This says a lot about how our former Vice-President sees the world. A bigoted hate-monger is preferable to an intelligent and respected military man.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Preserving History

Am trying to back up my pictures onto an external harddrive... it is taking a long time; apparently I took some thirty thousand pictures in 2008 alone.

Took my daughter to the Roman History Museum here this afternoon. It is a splendid place filled with artifacts from the pre-historic and Roman periods found in and around Cologne.
She said, wonderingly, "Isn't it amazing that something becomes more valuable the older it is?"
After but a tiny pause for thought, she added, "I guess it is nearly time to sell you!"
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