Wednesday, January 31, 2007

NYRO's next concert: Britten, Prokofiev, and Beethoven

The next NYRO concert is on February 10, at the orchestra's usual performance space in the Good Shepherd-Faith Church on West 66th St. Here's the message from our music director about the program. If you haven't gotten an e-mail from me about the concert, consider this your notice/invitation/summons to appear and applaud.

Dear Friends of the New York Repertory Orchestra,

Happy New Year and welcome to the second half of our 2006-2007 season!

NYRO gratefully thanks all of you who made our First Annual Benefit Concert in December such a great success, both musically and financially. Our performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 was a landmark for NYRO and we were thrilled to see so many of you in the audience. We are hoping to post the recording of the concert on our web site (in mp3 files) very soon. We’ll keep you posted.

AND...You are
cordially invited to our first concert of 2007!

We are continuing our wonderful season of great music, fantastic soloists, and the exciting music-making of the New York Repertory Orchestra - New York's leading all-volunteer, community-based orchestra! We look forward to seeing you at our next concert. Here are the details:

When: Saturday, February 10, 2007 – 8:00 p.m.
Good Shepherd-Faith Church @ 152 West 66th St. (between B'way & Amsterdam)
Admission: FREE


  • Britten: Four Sea Interludes from “Peter Grimes”
  • Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor – Rachel Lee, violin
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 8 in F Major

Here's some info about the program:

  • Making her debut with NYRO, violinist Rachel Lee joins us in Serge Prokofiev’s haunting Violin Concerto No. 2. Full of lyrical melodies, sparkling orchestral colors, and exciting virtuosic writing, this concerto has been a favorite of audiences since its premiere. (See below for more information about our wonderful soloist.)

  • The major work on the program will be the Symphony No. 8 in F Major by Ludwig van Beethoven. Often (undeservedly) overshadowed by his Seventh and Ninth Symphonies, but no less a work of Beethoven’s mature genius, his Eighth Symphony is full of optimism, humor, and enthusiastic good spirits. Sunlight radiates from every measure of this wonderful piece.

  • The concert begins with the evocative Four Sea Interludes from British composer Benjamin Britten’s ground-breaking opera “Peter Grimes.” With an elegant economy of means, Britten poignantly evokes the secluded fishing village in which the drama unfolds. From the rising sun, to distant church bells, to a raging storm, the composer uses the orchestra to create vivid sound pictures.

  • Violinist Rachel Lee is regarded as one of the most prodigious and promising talents on the concert stage. In January 2006 she made a successful debut with the Seattle Symphony, of which the Seattle Times wrote: “[she gave] a performance that was polished and technically assured, with a pure, strong tone and supple phrasing”. Rachel also recently made her European concerto debut with the Berlin Staatskapelle to overwhelming enthusiasm. She will make her Chicago Symphony solo debut in February of 2007. should be a wonderful concert and we hope to see you there on February 10.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

skiing in Vermont

I haven't done a weekend wrapup in a while, mostly because my weekends haven't been interesting lately. This past weekend was a bit of an exception. I went up to Killington on a weekend ski trip. It was the first time I'd been skiing since I was in college. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I hadn't forgotten how to ski. It was like riding a bike -- it came back to me immediately. I hadn't been to a mountain like Killington before, so I wasn't used to having six different lodges to choose from, or so many different slopes and trails. And I'd never even seen a gondola lift before. The conditions were perfect: it snowed lightly all day Saturday so there was a layer of fresh powder, it was cold but not bitterly so, and on Sunday we got out early enough that we were among the first people on the slopes after the lifts opened. I was disappointed that I had to leave on Sunday afternoon, but my legs were tired and my arms and back ached from using ski poles. I'm already thinking about another trip up to Vermont before the end of winter, and I'm considering buying my own skis again. I could save a lot of money on future trips by investing in my own equipment.

One big difference between Killington and the resorts I used to frequent in high school (Seven Springs and Hidden Valley in western PA) is that Killington doesn't have nighttime skiing. When I used to go skiing after school on Fridays, we'd get a twilight lift ticket that was good from midafternoon until 10 PM, and after 5 PM the resort turned on the artificial lights. Killington doesn't have any lights, so the lifts shut down at 4 PM. Maybe it's cheaper and easier to install lights at the smaller resorts. Killington's peak is 4200 feet, while Seven Springs is just under 3000 and the overall resort is much smaller. I didn't miss skiing at night, however. It's easier to see the icy patches and other skiers during the day, and artificial lighting doesn't provide the same visibility. Besides, after skiing from 8:30 AM to 3 PM or so on Saturday, I was too tired to think about the possibility of skiing any later in the day. And if I'd had the option of skiing at night, I'd have missed relaxing in the outdoor hot tub and soothing those aching muscles.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Vladimir Catelinet, 1998-2007

I honestly can't believe I have to post this message. I'm still in shock. I wrote most of this post as an e-mail this morning to my friends and family. Last January, my cat Magenta passed away after being ill for several weeks. I guess his illness gave me time to prepare for him to die. But nothing prepared me for what happened last night.

Vladi died suddenly last night around 1 AM. I don't know what happened to him. I hadn't seen him for about an hour but that wasn't odd. I was just about to go to bed and I went in the bedroom and found him lying there on the bed like he was asleep. But he wasn't breathing and his eyes were wide open. I just knew he was gone as soon as I saw him. I rushed him to the vet center near my apartment but there was nothing to be done for him. When I first got him as a kitten the vet said he had a heart murmur, but my NY vet said he couldn't hear it and couldn't confirm it. Maybe that had something to do with it. Whatever it was, I hope he didn't suffer. He'd had a happy Sunday evening hanging out with my girlfriend and I, and even an hour or two before he died he was sitting quietly dozing on the couch with me as I watched TV. That's why I think it was a sudden heart attack or other problem that took him. He wasn't suffering at all, he didn't seem sick, so I think it was something that just couldn't be prevented or helped.

Still, I can't believe he's gone. It happened so fast, and so strangely, that it was like a dream. I'm going to miss him so much. He was my first pet. I wasn't a cat person or even a pet person before Liz and I got Vladi as a wedding gift from a friend. It didn't take long for me to love him. He was so sweet, the way he would curl up in my lap for hours or sit next to me on the couch. He was always so crazy and rambunctious, and he was never sick. We called him "Officer Vlad" for the way he would patrol the apartment and meow if he found anything out of the ordinary. He followed me around the apartment like a puppy would. He'd meet me at the door when I came home after work. He was my alarm clock if I didn't get out of bed to feed him, and he'd wake me up by knocking things off my dresser until I got up. Lately he'd been sleeping on my pillow, sometimes on top of my head. He was so small and light that he sometimes jumped from the ground straight to the top of a door seven feet above him. When he did that as a kitten he was too scared to jump down on his own, so I'd hold up a book and he'd use that as an "elevator" to come down. He used to wrestle Magenta all the time, and when I saw them fighting I used to sing the Kirk vs. Spock fight music from the old Star Trek episode "Amok Time." After Magenta died last year he and Starlite would chase each other all over the apartment, usually right in front of me while I was watching TV or using my computer. One of his favorite tricks was to jump on my back when I wasn't expecting it and he'd sit on my shoulder like a pirate's parrot. He was "that little bastard," but he was also a really special little friend.

When he was a kitten, Vladi didn't mind his carrier or car trips. That changed after we took him to Johnstown with us for Thanksgiving in November 1998, when he was just a few months old. He hid under my bed the entire time he was in my room, and he destroyed a shelf of old toys when he tried to climb onto it. After that we had to fight with him every time we had to go to the vet. When we moved to the Upper East Side in 2003, we couldn't find him after the movers had left, and we thought maybe he'd escaped out an open window. We finally found him curled up in the back of his litter box, scared out of his mind. But a few hours later, he was out and exploring his new home and back to bossing the other cats around. He was the alpha cat until last year when Magenta died. Then he and Starlite shared the role of head-cat-in-charge, and not without friction. Like two siblings competing for a parent's attention, they would fight over who could sit in my lap.

Now it's just me and Starlite. He slept next to me last night, which isn't always something he does. I know he knows something happened to his kitty pal. I'm going to have Vladi cremated and I'll get the ashes back to scatter them somewhere in the city along with Magenta's remains. I'll miss that little guy.

Here's a set of photos of Vladi over the years.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

new idea for NYRO publicity

Actually, I kind of like the idea of handing out CDs or flyers outside Lincoln Center. We could go over there after rehearsal one night.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

finally, some winter-like weather

I had to bust out the heavy winter parka this morning for my commute, as it was 19 degrees out when I woke up. Yesterday morning I went to the gym wearing a fleece and a light jacket. Tomorrow morning I think I'll be bundled up on my way there. As is typical of my apartment, now that it's actually cold outside, the heat isn't keeping pace. When it's 50 degrees out, the heat is on full blast and I'm schvitzing. But when it's cold, the heat comes on sporadically and doesn't really warm up the living room. It doesn't help that my air conditioner lets cold air in through the window cracks, despite my best efforts to seal it off with weatherstripping. I guess I'll get out a blanket to keep warm while watching TV.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Not with a bang, but with a whimper

We turned off the last of my firm's Novell NetWare servers this morning at 11 AM. That marks the final, real end of an era for me as a Novell network administrator. Now I'm just a Windows network guy, with some Linux and VMWare management tasks as well. The occasion feels like it merits a eulogy of sorts for NetWare, but I grew weary of defending NetWare for so long that I just don't have the energy. It was a great OS in its day with a superior directory system, but it couldn't weather the lack of support from 3rd party software developers, who preferred Windows and its ease of integration with the desktop. With the advent of Linux as a viable alternative to Windows on the server side, NetWare was finished as an OS. Novell figured this out and bought SuSE Linux a few years ago, so my firm will continue to use some Novell products. But NetWare and its directory are gone now.

Maybe I'll listen to Verdi's Requiem this afternoon in memoriam.