Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I may not be the best source of information about Windows Vista

I got a tech support call from James last night. His Linksys router may be flaky, and it wasn't connecting him to the Internet. After about 15 minutes we figured out that the cable modem was fine and that the router was most likely the problem, so I gave him a few suggestions and we got off the phone. I don't know yet how everything worked out.

The bigger issue was that James was relaying to me what his Vista laptop was telling him about his network connections. One status message was "local only," he couldn't find the menu box where he could get to a command prompt, and he couldn't even tell me his IP address. I don't have Vista on my PC at home, and I bought the Macbook Pro so I wouldn't have to deal with Vista at all. So when he was telling me about these various error messages, I couldn't help him with them. I realized that I'm going to have to learn Vista eventually if my friends and family are going to continue calling me for computer help. And that's not likely to change. But I don't want to upgrade my home PC to Vista. Maybe this is where I get a copy of Vista and install it on my MBP with Parallels (a virtual machine manager) so I can just find my way around. I don't think I can get everyone to switch to Macs.

Monday, March 17, 2008

NYRO's next concert: March 29, featuring Stravinsky, Strauss, and the Dvorak Cello Concerto

For those of you who aren't on my e-mail list, here is the concert announcement from NYRO's music director about our next concert in two weeks. It's going to be a hell of a show.

Dear Friends of the New York Repertory Orchestra:

Spring is in the air and our March 29th concert is fast approaching – and you’re invited!

Once again, we have a great program planned and hope you can enjoy it with us. Here is all the information:

Date: Saturday, March 29, 2008
  • Time: 8:00pm
  • Place: Good Shepherd-Faith Church (152 West 66th Street)
  • Admission: FREE

  • Igor Stravinsky: Octet for Wind Instruments
  • Richard Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks
  • Antonin Dvorak: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra – Eric Jacobsen, cello

A few notes on the music we’ll be playing:

In “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks” German composer Richard Strauss depicts, with great good humor, the jokes and tricks of the legendary prankster, Till Eulenspiegel. Written for a dazzlingly virtuosic (and huge!) orchestra, Strauss uses all his considerable skills to bring to life Till’s madcap adventures in a delightful musical romp that is be sure to bring a laugh and a smile to all.

The main work on the program will be the glorious Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak. This concerto is one of the most popular works for solo cello and orchestra, and the touchstone to which all other solo cello works are compared. A monument to the composer’s incredible gift of haunting melody and rich harmony, the concerto is more than a showpiece for the solo cello – the depth of emotion and range of expression combine to make this, in actuality, a magnificent symphony for cello and orchestra. And taking on the virtuosic solo cello part will be the spectacularly talented cellist Eric Jacobsen. I know that this will one of the high points of this or any season. You won’t want to miss it. (Read more about Mr. Jacobsen below!)

The opening work on the program will be the delightful Octet for Wind Instruments by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. This sprightly work is full of charm, wit, and sly humor and is a most appropriate companion to “Till Eulenspiegel” Also, it gives us a chance to showcase our wonderful NYRO woodwind and brass players.

A word about our soloist:
In the fall of 2003, cellist Eric Jacobsen appeared with Renee Fleming at the opening of Zankel Hall, at Carnegie Hall and on the Late Show with David Letterman. He has worked with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project and traveled to Japan where the ensemble had residencies in the National Museums in Nara and Fukuoka. Mr. Jacobsen has collaborated at The Tenri Cultural Institute and The Angel Orensanz Foundation in performances with musicians from Armenia and Iran. Mr. Jacobsen is a regular presenter and performer at Brooklyn’s Bargemusic and he has recently been appointed curator and musical director of the 92nd street Y’s Makor Center Classical CafĂ©. Also, Mr. Jacobsen has appeared as soloist with the Chamber Soloists of Austin in Texas , the Riverside Orchestra, the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, the Greenwich Village Orchestra, and the Lake George Chamber Orchestra and he has been heard on NPR programs ‘Sound Check’ and ‘Performance Today.’ This is his first appearance with NYRO.

So...we anticipate another great evening of music with New York’s finest all-volunteer, community-based orchestra – the New York Repertory Orchestra. I look forward to seeing you on March 29th.

Best regards,
David Leibowitz, Music Director
New York Repertory Orchestra


PS - Don’t forget to mark your calendar for our Season Finale on May 17, 2008

  • Vincent d’Indy: “Karadek” Suite
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor – Anna Polonsky, piano
  • Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in E minor “From the New World”

Friday, March 14, 2008

My current reading list

I've been reading a lot of non-fiction lately. I finished The Mask of Command a few weeks ago, then took about a week to read Will Leitch's God Save The Fan (during which time the author signed my copy at a book reading downtown). I'm currently enjoying Alex Ross' The Rest Is Noise, an overview of music of the 20th Century. Normally I try to alternate fiction with non-fiction, but I received a number of books as holiday gifts, all of which were in the non-fiction category, so I'm working my way through those now. In particular, I am fascinated by Ross' recounting of the history of atonality and the popular reaction to innovations in composition by Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, and Bartok. (I'm only 120 pages in, so no spoilers!)

When I'm done with The Rest is Noise, I have Stephen Colbert's book on my shelf, and the book about the guy who spent a year reading the Encyclopedia Britannica. My non-fiction parade looks like it's going to continue for a few more months.

Saturday, March 08, 2008