26 November 2014


Winter Storm Cato and day-before-Thanksgiving traffic. Fair enough, one keeps cool, and is grateful that the delay is not more serious.

Crawling (the bus, I mean) down the length of Manhattan to Penn Station. Another bus-like vehicle, essentially a moving advertisement for a big-name designer, blocks the grid.

Bad PR. Ask me if I'm ever buying anything bearing that designer's name.

25 November 2014

The biggest rehearsal known to November

My choir have consented, not only to a Tuesday rehearsal this week, but to adding half an hour's rehearsal time from now to the concert.  There will perforce be a few absentees tonight, and we shall need to pace ourselves;  nevertheless we should be able to spend good time not only with the "major" pieces (and with Sunday's anthem, which poses no challenges) but with a few of the lesser with-congregation numbers (which, after all, we should lead the congregation in singing. Looking forward to a good time and productive rehearsal.

Perhaps an everyday thought

If ever I am on a beach, and I should see before me a brass lamp, and if by chance I polish that lamp a bit, and should there appear (to my wondering eyes) a most improbable and accommodating genii, and if contrary to all reason and expectation he grants me but a single wish . . . most days, the feeling runs high that I should wish that all who use English may at last understand the difference between "everyday" and "every day."

Yesterday, indeed, I very nearly tweeted (upon reading the slate in front of a café), "Almost I should give this place my custom, simply for correctly inserting a space in every day."

22 November 2014

Only the truth

Leslie Banks's Russian in 1932's The Most Dangerous Game is appallingly poor. Fay Wray looks good, though. I don't recall any such feminine distraction in the source story.

To be sure, it is high time I re-read the story ....

On Fruit, and an unnecessary alarm

Light work as yet this morning, bringing sketches for The Mysterious Fruit into the Sibelius file, and adding touch of marimba here and there. More work on this later. After a grocery run.

From the Ministry of Movies I Haven't Seen in Decades, last night I watched the 1945 And Then There Were None. Very amused that I recognized in the actor who plays the Russian "professional guest," Mischa Auer, the same man who played a similar "professional guest" in My Man Godfrey of almost ten years earlier. Just a curious bit of type casting.

When I play Thoreau in Concord Jail, I make an extra effort to keep myself honest in terms of the passing of time. Pictured below is the inexpensive time keeper which I have been using, and which therefore traveled to Atlanta with me recently.  I find it useful both as a visual reminder not to be in a hurry, and also to ensure that I do not draw the time out overlong. On my way traveling back to Boston, the alarm feature on this clock somehow managed to switch on, as I learnt the first Monday morning after my return, when its beep beep started sounding ten minutes before my proper alarm would have waked me.  (That was not a bad time for me to have awakened, so the good news is that the alarm didn't go off at something like three in the morning.)  I could not figure out either how I had switched the alarm on, nor how to switch it off;  but I did somehow manage to reset the time that the alarm goes off, so that it sounds later in the morning, when it would not be a great inconvenience. Thus today the alarm sounded off at noon, the first I had heard it since last Monday;  and as I am at ease today, I had time to fiddle with the "soft buttons" so that by dumb luck, I did hit upon the combination to switch the alarm off. I know, I know: life's tiny, tiny successes.

21 November 2014

Just the odd thought, really

Finished watching the Tim Burton Planet of the Apes a second time. I do rather enjoy it. Curiously, I did not notice that I did not know the name of Mark Wahlberg's character, until I watched the end credits scroll along, this second viewing. Nice that the credits mention Rod Serling as a contributor to the old 1968 script.

This week saw some progress on The Mysterious Fruit;  relaxing this evening, and recharging, the better to make good progress tomorrow.

Much more than I had expected, I've been enjoying the '80s incarnation of The Twilight Zone.

Home Stretch Approaching

Excellently productive choir rehearsal last night.  The Concert Order is in its third draught, and it was time to share it 'round;  and for the most part, no panic ensued.  We also found, in the Timetable which I had prepared (apparently, a shade hastily) an omission and erratum ... the omission being Christmas Eve (!!!), the time of which service remains t/b/a.  The erratum was the date of the Concert (the dangers of copy-&-paste). Still, all was sorted out, or as much as it was necessary at this point to sort out.

We began (after warm-ups) with the Wassail Song.  Now, I tried in earnest to rustle up a free download of The Typical Harmonization, and repeatedly came up empty-handed, so I fell back on The Oxford Book of Carols.  (For ease of my choir's reading, I prepped an edition with just the four verses we shall sing.)  One slightly tricky wrinkle in the tenor, but I can sing along with them.

Next we rehearsed Calypso Christmas, with our young electric bassist.  A page here and there is on the high side for my sopranos, but when warmed up they should do fine.

We then reviewed Lord of the Dance. We hadn't looked at it since the Sunday we sang it with the handbells; so, a shade rough, but not at all in bad shape.

There then followed a sort of "sing-along" rehearsal of Sweetest Ancient Cradle Song, as I had brought a CD with a MIDI sound file of the brass (and choir), the better for everyone to hear all that's going on, earlier than our rehearsals with the brass. We listened (and more or less sang) once; then talked a bit ... I assured the choir that we shall be taking the Vivo section less briskly, though of course we could not adjust the tempo of last night's CD. Naturally there were a few places where we slid out of sync with the playback, but everyone went more or less with the flow. We did the same a second time, and a bit better; and I think everyone found it a productive communal exercise.

We then had just sufficient time to go over Sunday's anthem a bit, and we shall be able to polish that well come Sunday.

Next week, since the holiday erases our Thursday rehearsal, my choir have graciously agreed to rehearse on Tuesday evening.

In the spirit of the Concert Order not yet being etched in stone, one item of Tuesday's business will be to make a decision concerning 'Round the Glory Manger. I'm fine one way or the other: whether we decide that we only need a little refining rehearsal to get the piece into shape, and we keep it; or we decide that the effort is a bit more than our schedule will allow, and we drop it. There is music enough in the program, that dropping the piece will not by any means make the concert too short.