In this week’s The New Yorker, Alex Ross tweaks the nation’s flagship orchestra and opera company for their stale repertoire in this newly opened season. Conservative programming at major performing arts presenters is nothing new; but, I think Ross makes a clever connection to another kind of conservatism that lends a bit more bite to an otherwise worn critique.
As the nation contends with its racist and misogynist demons, New York’s leading musical institutions give us canonical pieces by white males, conducted by white males, directed by white males. The Met’s productions this season feature no female composers, no female conductors, and no women directing new stagings. The Philharmonic’s main schedule, at David Geffen Hall, has one female conductor and one female composer.
Alex Ross: The Met and the Philharmonic Look Backward
Very clever post from Chris Bolin on the value of disconnecting, even when you’re engaging with stuff you find through connection. People are neat.
Happy Eclipse Day!
In 2007, I set a poem by Archilochus about a total eclipse visible in Greece in the seventh century BCE.
Nothing can surprise me now, nothing can astonish
or alarm me now the god of gods has galled the midday
into night and trimmed the light of the westering sun.
Surely anything can happen now, anything at all,
so brace yourselves for the sight of milk cows grazing
the dolphin-crowded seas, of sure-footed deer
and mountain goats crossing the talus of a cresting wave.
The performance above is by Joseph Baunoch, bass-baritone; Marissa Olin, alto flute; and Kawai Chan, piano.
Where possible, recordings are available in the Spotify playlist. Otherwise, there are links to listen elsewhere.
- Week 1
- Du Yun: A Cockroach’s Tarantella (2010) – Soundcloud
- Du Yun: an empty garlic (2014) – YouTube
- Week 2
- Week 3
- Tristan Perich: Surface Image (2014)
- Week 4
- Olivier Messaien: Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time, 1941)
- Week 5
- Steven Mackey: It Is Time (2010)
- Week 6
- Week 7
- Ken Ueno: On A Sufficient Condition For The Existence Of Most Specific Hypothesis (2008)
- Week 8
- Augusta Read Thomas: Jubilee (2010)
- Week 9
- Julia Wolfe: Dig Deep (1995)
- Week 10
- Andrew Norman: Play (2013)
- Week 11
- George Crumb: Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale, 1971)
- Week 12
- Luciano Berio: Sinfonia (1968)
- Week 13
- Jennifer Higdon: On A Wire (2010)
- Week 14/15 (Includes Thanksgiving break)
- Missy Mazzoli: Tooth and Nail (2011)
There’s a plugin for that. Express sarcasm and condescension in a way normally reserved for face-to-face interaction, all while working from home.
UPDATE (18 Aug 2017): You can now install this plugin directly from the WordPress plugin directory. Just search for “So-Called Air Quotes” from your WordPress dashboard. Now, it’s official.
Anne Midgette, following on her review of the new Steve Jobs opera by Mason Bates, compares recent trends in new, big-budget operas to the era of “prestige television”.
… it led to the libretto of an opera called “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” which had its world premiere at the Santa Fe Opera on July 22, in which Jobs’s wife, Laurene, sings, “You were never easy./ But once you found your way,/Discovered you were ‘human,’/ We found a way/To connect.”
One of these things is not like the other. In a book or a movie, the lines Laurene sings would be scorned as Hallmark-worthy, romance-novel sentiment: A woman turns the bad boy good. In opera, it seems, we’re willing to tolerate it.
This strikes me as the direct result of opera companies’ focus on past repertoire. The saccharine plot turns in Mozart and the melodrama of Puccini just seem stupid when people are singing about iPhones.
… Opera — which is considered one of the highest forms of art — tends to uphold its formulas, sticking to tropes a century or two old. And opera audiences are willing to hold opera to a different standard — which effectively means that the bar is set a lot lower.
Sometimes, your opera is Two Broke Girls. Sometimes, it’s The Wire.
Anne Midgette: “New opera wants the same appeal as television. If only it could be as smart.”
Philip Rothman at Scoring Notes:
Sibelius 8.6’s new engraving feature is magnetic glissandi lines — lines that snap to both their start and end note, updating their positions if the notes change.
Magnetic glissandi lines are quite intelligent, expanding and contracting to move out of the way of augmentation dots and accidentals. They will even slope in the correct direction between two pitches that share the same space or line.
You’ve got to check out the examples in this post. Two years after the disappointing launch of Sibelius 8, this is the first new feature that has me interested in upgrading from Sibelius 7.5.
I try not to cry wolf about technology things. We can only shut down the Internet so many times. Electronic Frontier Foundation today:
Should President Donald Trump sign S.J. Res. 34 into law, big Internet providers will be given new powers to harvest your personal information in extraordinarily creepy ways. They will watch your every action online and create highly personalized and sensitive profiles for the highest bidder. All without your consent. This breaks with the decades long legal tradition that your communications provider is never allowed to monetize your personal information without asking for your permission first. This will harm our cybersecurity as these companies become giant repositories of personal data.
This wouldn’t be such a big deal if you could switch your ISP to somebody else. However, according to the FCC just last year, the vast majority of US households have only one option for broadband service. This is in addition to the roughly 10% of households with no broadband at all, which disporportionately affects rural areas and tribal lands.
As the EFF points out above, this is also a huge security problem. These companies have not always been great stewards of user data in the past, and they haven’t cared due to the lack of competition. You can’t switch easily like you can on mobile broadband, where competition has driven prices down dramatically just in the last six months. Other companies are using your data as well, like Google. But, you can pretty easily avoid using Gmail if you want to. You can’t choose a company other than your local ISP if you know they have a history of data breeches. Now, they’re going to suck up all that juicy user data and make themselves even bigger targets, with no benefit to consumers and no oversight.
This is bad. Support the EFF. Call your Congresscritter.
Update 30 March 2017: I made a neat (I think) little tool for generating these iframe embed codes automatically if you don’t want to keep digging around the iframe code.
With the update to Keynote 7.1 (27 March 2017), Apple added the ability "post interactive presentations on Medium, WordPress, and other websites". It’s a little bit tricky to find. Here’s how to do it.
If you don’t have the Collaborate button in your toolbar, you can also go to Share > Collaborate With Others. I know. It doesn’t make a ton of sense, but stick with me.
Set your sharing options.
Select "Copy Link", and under Share Options, set the access to "Anyone with the link". Set the Permission to "View only". Click Share and wait for Keynote to do a little iCloud dance in the background.
Depending on how large and complex your presentation is, it may take a while. When this is done, you have a URL on your clipboard. Keynote doesn’t really tell you anything about that, but trust me. It’s there.
Post on Medium
In any part of a Medium post after the title, paste the URL and hit Enter.
After a few moments, the URL will be replaced by an embedded slideshow. Looking good!
Post on WordPress.com
Same as Medium. Just paste the URL into the Visual Editor and hit Enter. It will be replaced with a shiny new embedded slide show.
Post using an iframe elsewhere.
You can also post your Keynote slides as an iframe anywhere else, such as a self-hosted WordPress site like this fine establishment. It takes just a little looking around the code from the WordPress.com embed, and the formula is pretty clear. Start with the URL straight from Keynote’s share menu. Mine looks like this:
Remove the # and everything after it from the URL.
Now, my example looks like this:
Place your new link as the source of an iframe.
Here’s the basic formula:
<iframe src="[[[ICLOUD URL GOES HERE]]]?embed=true" width="640" height="500" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="1" referrer="no-referrer"></iframe>
So my example now looks like this:
<iframe src="https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0BnBgSWdHQbQDKsC4gq1mUbZA?embed=true" width="640" height="500" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="1" referrer="no-referrer"></iframe>
You may want to tweak the width and height numbers to suit your needs. Apple made them 100% and 100%, but that isn’t going to work for this kind of context.
Note that this feature does not currently do much more than a straight-on shot of each slide. It doesn’t do transitions or even simple builds. So you may have to design slides expressly for this purpose. Also, if you’re using any fonts outside of the collection available on iCloud Keynote, they probably won’t render correctly. But even with all those caveats, this is still a dang cool feature that I’m hoping to use a lot.
Usually, Sibelius Blog is where I go to learn about how to do something awesome in Sibelius with a new plugin, or what I’m missing in Finale, or what’s exciting and new in Dorico or StaffPad. But the one time I spoke with Sibelius Blog’s proprietor Philip Rothman, my compatriot Sam was completely taken by his paper folding machine. Sam and I have spent years learning how to make the software dance in all kinds of twisted ways, so it was the level of care in the final production we found most novel.
Today, Philip posted a fantastic tutorial on folding parts the right way, complete with video and his own fantastic dry humor.
So now if you were wondering how to show your affection this Valentine’s Day holiday, there’s something called a bone folder on my Amazon Wish List.