Category: Music


Merry Christmas and a Snow Carol

3 snowflake basblgrnMerry Christmas (or happy whatever solstice holiday you celebrate.)

In honor of the season I’m posting one of my Geophysical Christmas Carols, and to help the words go with the music, a recording of my singing it. I’m not much of a singer, but this might help you hear how it goes together. (I’m still trying to figure out how to do this sound thing, so you may have to go through several clicks.) Meanwhile, to see the words while listening to the song, open the blog in two windows, click the audio link in one and then switch back to the other. (And you’ll catch me making a couple of mistakes that way!)


In the air, vapor’s swirling,535basblyel
On the pond, folks are curling,
The vapor makes drops, the drops freeze and pop,
And six-sided snowflakes fall down.

On the lake, skates are gliding,
Overhead, clouds are hiding,
Ice in the sky is growing, oh, my,
And six-sided snowflakes fall down

snowflakeSnowflakes could be square or five pointed,
Or octagons, or spherical, you know,
But water with water is jointed
So that only six arms can grow.

On the slopes, skiers swish on,
Snowflakes hide stars to wish on,
They fall through the air, and catch in your hair,
The six-sided snowflakes fall down.baslev

(The snowflakes were Photoshopped from those included on the CD-ROM with Bentley’s book.)

Opera Fairbanks Concert

La Boheme posterOne of the things I really miss is concerts. Oh, I go to the Fairbanks Symphony concerts when I can, but I can’t drive in the dark (which is most of the day here in winter) and their concerts are all in the winter. So when the Opera Fairbanks orchestra offered a free concert last Thursday, I jumped at the chance to go at a time of year when I can drive. Especially since they were performing a piece by one of my favorite composers, the Mahler Symphony number 4.

I am not a music critic, and do not pretend to be. I did at one time play the trombone in youth symphonies, though I didn’t have the time once I was in college. Because of this, I was particularly interested to see that the program included a trombone concerto, a relative rarity. The remainder was Mozart, the overture from The Abduction from the Seraglio, and J. S. Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in C Minor.

Run of the Valkyries posterHaving played the trombone, I have to say I was a little disappointed in the Concert in e flat for Trombone and Orchestra, by Ferdinand David. Not that I could have played it; Mr. Becigo is a far better trombone player than I ever was. But knowing the instrument, I was considerably more critical of tone and intonation than most, and I have to say that his tone was not as good as it could have been. That said, it was nevertheless a good performance of a difficult piece.

The Mozart and Bach pieces were well played, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. But the piece de resistance was the Mahler.

It’s a long piece, around an hour, with a beautiful soprano solo in the fourth movement. Jamie-Rose Guarrine sang the solo, and – well, I can’t say the solo alone was worth the price of admission, since the concert was free. But it would have been worth the price of admission to a normal symphony concert, and then some.

Opera Fairbanks is putting on La Boheme next Thursday, and I am certainly planning to go. I trust they’ll forgive me for scanning their advertising posters! The Run of the Valkyries, a fund-raiser for Opera Fairbanks, I’ll have to skip.

500+ posts is too many for me to keep track of, and quite a few are “reference” posts, such as the ones on planet building or horse coat color genetics. So I’m putting in a new feature, an index page that links to posts linking to the posts on a given topic. (Sound confusing? Try doing it!)

These indexing posts start today (see below) and will appear occasionally until the reference posts are all indexed. After that I’ll just be updating the index posts, which will be accessible from the Index tab above.

With 550 posts as of today, I’ve started to have problems remembering what I’ve already put on here. This is particularly a problem with posting existing content such as poems, short pieces from the Summer Arts Festival, or science explanations originally written for the Alaska Science Forum. I can’t remember which books or DVDs I’ve posted reviews on. It also is starting to be a problem when I want to link to a previous post and can’t remember when it was put up or what the title was. And there are posts on this blog that have permanent information, like the series on planet building and the one on horse color genetics, or the book and DVD reviews. I want to make it easier for my readers as well as myself to find things.

I made a start some time ago by adding an index page, which can be accessed from the menu at the top of any page. Right now, the only links are to index pages on my author site. This takes you out of the site and sometimes back in, which is rather clumsy. The index list is also incomplete.

I’m going to start posting an occasional entry which is strictly an index of past posts on a particular topic. These posts will be linked from the index page, and will link forward to the individual blog posts. As it takes a while to find all the posts that belong together, this will be a slow process—probably extending over the next few months. The first in this series, on DVD reviews, is already queued for January 3. Others will follow, most on Thursdays.

I probably won’t be indexing every post. Some, like those early posts which were simply glossary entries for my books, are on the author site and really belong there. Others, like the regular Monday updates on North Pole weather starting in November 2010, can be found easily enough just by using the calendar on the site. But I hope that by the time I have finished this, older posts of interest will be easier to find.

Very short entry today, I’m not much of a music reviewer. I do know what I like, and Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, “The Resurrection Symphony,” is definitely in the “like” category.

When I watch TV, it’s generally PBS, and Performance Today is one of my must-watches.

Sunday night they had A Concert for New York, actually performed and taped at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center on Saturday, but shown on 9/11. I don’t think I can actually put it up on the blog, but it is available online.

This is one of those symphonies that has not only the orchestra, but solo voices and a chorus. They sang in German, but with a translation on the screen. All that is created dies. All that dies is resurrected. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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