April 26, 2013
Photo of the Orchestra by Sergio Rodriguez
It has been a while since I’ve written about the Saltarelli String Orchestra. We’re still rehearsing every Monday night and giving concerts the last Monday of most months. The location is the First Mexican Baptist Church in San Antonio at 201 Meredith Drive. Occasionally, due to the way holidays fall, the concert will be a week earlier. For April the concert is on the 29th starting at 7:30. There’s plenty of parking and the concerts are free. You can always check classicalendar.com for the concert schedule.
We have some new members and there is renewed energy and enthusiasm within the orchestra. One of our new members has gotten us some great publicity, adding the concerts to online calendars and creating a Facebook page for the orchestra. Be sure to visit and “Like” the Facebook page!
This month one of our selections will be the Capriol Suite by Peter Warlock (pseudonym of Peter Heseltine, 1894 − 1930). Composed in 1926, the suite is based on 16th century dance music. The movements are short and of dramatically contrasting tempos and moods. The stirring final movement is a sword dance and has some surprising dissonances toward the end.
I hope you can join us for an evening of music Monday night!
March 8, 2013
The San Antonio Symphony has released the concert schedule for the 2013-2014 season. For the last few years I’ve been making an informative map of the works in the classical season. Here is the post for 2012 – 2013. A very successful Brahms Festival just concluded a few weeks ago. A Dvorak Festival is in store for next season. Here’s the new map, click on the image below to see the full size, legible version:
SA Symphony 2013 – 2014
I’ve also created a timeline using the same data, showing the approximate dates the compositions were completed. Click here to view the pdf file.
The data map and timeline were created using Tinderbox software. Each new season I make minor modifications and the software does the work of creating the map based on the data I enter. The addition of a StartDate for each work was all that was required to generate the timeline.
By the way, the dates for the timeline came from either Wikipedia or Naxos Music Library.
August 25, 2012
Last season (2011 – 2012) the musicians of the San Antonio Symphony did an extraordinary thing. Lacking a new contract, they made a gentlemen’s agreement with the symphony administration to perform the season under the same terms as their previous, expired contract. They did this in hopes of encouraging the momentum new conductor Sebastian Lang Lessing brought to the symphony. Now, with the opening concert of the season on October 5, the players are once again without a contract. Jack Fishman, Symphony CEO and President, was reported as saying the contract negotiations will start “very, very soon”.
The San Antonio Symphony Players Association has a website and a Facebook page. John Clare of Texas Public Radio interviewed the members of the players’ negotiating committee. The full interview can be found at the bottom of this page. On that page you’ll also find a link to the letter the players’ negotiating commitee sent to the symphony board.
The negotiations cannot start soon enough. The players have shown incredible dedication, sacrifice and patience. We all hope the organization will be able to move forward into an era of stability and fair compensation for these vital members of our arts community.
August 11, 2012
If you use liquid laundry detergent you may be using a lot more than necessary. Let’s take a look at the measuring cap from some Tide Liquid.
There are three lines, numbered 1, 2, and 3. The instructions on the container recommend for a medium load, fill to Line 1; for a large load, fill to Line 2. Use more for heavily soiled loads. So ordinarily we shouldn’t need more than Line 2. What volume, in ounces, does each line represent?
I’m glad you asked that. Here are the answers.
Line 1 1.6 ounces
Line 2 2.0 ounces
Line 3 2.7 ounces
Shoulder 4.0 ounces
Top 5.8 ounces
I’m defining shoulder as the line where the threaded part of the cap begins. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if most people routinely fill above Line 2. I would guess that it isn’t unusual to fill between Line 3 and the Shoulder. If you do that you’re using about twice as much product as the manufacturer recommends. Good for the manufacturer (why do you think they supply such large caps?) but bad for you. Pay attention to the instructions and save some money!
The 50 ounce bottle of Tide is supposed to be enough for 32 loads of laundry. What volume, then, are they using for a typical load? 50 divided by 32 gives 1.6 ounces, Line 1 for a medium load. Now you know why the bottle never seems to last for the labeled number of loads!
August 11, 2012
Many arts organizations have announced their 2012 – 2013 schedules. We’re going to have a lot to choose from! I’ve been busy updating Classicalendar.com with all the events. So far I’ve listed concerts for the San Antonio Symphony classical series, the San Antonio Chamber Music Society, the Mid-Texas Symphony, Olmos Ensemble, Tuesday Musical Club Artists series, Symphony of the Hills, and the Hill Country Chorale. I’m eagerly awaiting the Camerata San Antonio schedule.
Of special interest, the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio is currently selling tickets for their inaugural concert. The concert covers an astounding range of music. As the website states:
The Perennial Contest will explore rarely experienced but engaging pieces that address the continuing debates among music and philosophy enthusiasts: tonality in music and the essence of being. Join us on October 26th for an evening of rich and exciting music that stirs the mind and invigorates the senses!
They’re setting themselves a high standard. I hope the performances can conform to the standard.
February 25, 2012
The San Antonio Symphony has released the schedule for the 2012 – 2013 series. The last few years I’ve used Tinderbox software to create an informative map of the works in the series. Click the map to open the larger, legible version:
SA Symphony 2012 – 2013
December 17, 2011
Beethoven, W.J. Mähler, 1804
Classicalendar.com now lists EVERY OFFICIAL BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL EVENT! That’s right, all 35 events from early January 2012 through mid-February. The Beethoven Festival will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear so many Beethoven masterpieces within a six week span of time. Experience all of the symphonies, all of the works for solo cello, all of the piano sonatas, most of the violin sonatas… along with avant-garde and Beethoven inspired jazz. Make your plans now and let Classicalendar.com be your guide!
December 17, 2011
This recipe is from Make it Paleo by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason. The whites and yolks are separated, then the whites are beaten and combined with unsweetened coconut. The yolks are nestled into the resulting mounds and the assembly is baked until browned. The yolks turned out about medium and the dish was a welcome change from the same old eggs.
November 12, 2011
I’ve been fascinated with the idea of electronic books for a long time. I was an early adopter, buying a Rocket e-book reader about 10 years ago. It never really caught on. I knew an ebook reader from Amazon probably had the greatest chances of succeeding due to Amazon’s extensive connections with publishers. I bought the first version Kindle for almost $400. The electronic ink display really was almost like paper and the 3G connectivity made it ridiculously easy to buy and download books from Amazon. Compared to later Kindle versions the first unit looked more like a prototype than a finished product. I describe the sad loss of my first Kindle and my impressions of Kindle 2 here.
Amazon recently announced the introduction of a new line of three Kindles. None of the models have physical keyboard, which I think is a big step backward. I don’t use the keyboard much for annotating, but it comes in handy for entering search terms. The Kindle Fire has sparked the greatest interest. It is a color tablet beautifully designed not only as an ebook reader but a web browser and multimedia viewer. The $199 price is very appealing in the increasingly crowded tablet market. I don’t think Amazon expects to compete with the iPad, but the Kindle Fire may have many of the essential features consumers are expecting from a tablet computer.
The new Kindle Fire Tablet
Ultimately it doesn’t matter how great the hardware is if the books you want to read aren’t available for the device. I think this is where Amazon has pulled far ahead of the competition. Amazon currently has about 765,000 books available for the Kindle. Recently Kindle books have become available through public libraries. They are checked out just like physical books, typically for two weeks, and are no longer readable after the expiration date. Locally Kindle ebooks are available through the Lone Star Digital Library. Amazon has now made another feature available to Amazon Prime members. They call it the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. It allows Amazon Prime members who own a Kindle device (applications for personal computers or tablet computers are not included) to borrow one book a month from a list of about 5000 titles. Unlike books borrowed from a library there is no time limit, but you can only have one book at a time. The titles are divided into categories and subcategories and can be browsed from the Kindle device. This feature is in addition to unlimited Netflix-like movie streaming and free 2 day shipping for Amazon Prime members. Maybe I should have titled this post It’s a Great Time to be an Amazon Prime Member!
November 4, 2011
In September I posted some thoughts concerning Andre Rieu and his October concert in San Antonio. Steve Porter attended the concert and came up with some advice for the San Antonio Symphony, which was published in the San Antonio Express-News. The advice can be summarized as: look happy, play happy music, make your audience leave the concerts happy and your financial troubles will be over. Here is that formula in action:
I challenge you to watch that and not finish feeling a little queasy. All the fake smiles, the blatant insincerity, the seasickness inducing swaying.
San Antonio Symphony CEO Jack Fishman responded to Porter’s advice with a blog post. Fishman concludes:
There is nothing wrong with happy, but isn’t life far more complex and rich than just one emotion?
Thank goodness symphonic music is too.
Local blogger bgreinhart has a very perceptive posting taking exception to Porter’s advice.
Genuine emotion is so much more moving than fake happiness and smarmy enthusiasm. I’m so thankful for the San Antonio Symphony and the happiness and challenges that combine to make up a full and rewarding life.