News of the week of September 16, 2014

Meeting report

We played:


We continue to meet as usual on Tuesdays at 7:45 pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge.

Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed

News of the week of September 9, 2014

Meeting report

We played:


We continue to meet as usual on Tuesdays at 7:45 pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge.

Upcoming concerts

Jody Wormhoudt writes:

I don't know the extent of Wellesley College's publicizing, so I wanted to mention to you (for yourself and for passing on) a couple of events next month of interest to Renaissance wind players, both at Houghton Chapel, and both free as far as I know -- Google for more info from the Wellesley website:
Bruce Dickey, cornetto with Liuwe Tamminga playing the Fisk Organ Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - 7:00pm
Piffaro Saturday, October 25, 2014 – 8:00pm
Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed

News of the week of September 2, 2014

Meeting report

We played:


We will be meeting as usual tomorrow, September 9, at 7:45 at 233 Broadway, Cambridge. David has agreed to open up and start the rehearsal; I will be there as soon as I can after the polls close.

We will continue to meet as usual on Tuesdays.

Playing opportunities

The Boston Recorder Society is now taking registrations for the 2014-2015 season. They will be continuing their loud wind band, for those who want a friendly place to play while learning a brass or reed instrument.

The West Gallery Quire will be meeting as usual on the second Sundays of the month, starting on September 14.

Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed

News of the week of August 26, 2014

Meeting report

We played:


We will be meeting weekly on Tuesdays at 7:45pm, at 233 Broadway, Cambridge.

On September 9, there's an election, so as usual we will meet then only if someone else opens up or hosts.

Monte, circa 2001 -- August 25, 2014

I am sad to report that Monte, my sister's australian shepherd mix, passed away on Monday. He was a great lover of music until he lost his hearing. He especially liked singing duets with cornettos, but long-time Cantabile members remember the cello/serpent/Monte trio fondly.

Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed

The Prado

We had only three days in Madrid, so we planned to spend a big chunk of one of them at the Prado. Of course, it’s a big museum, so even in a whole day it’s impossible to see everything. For some reason, as I walked into the first gallery, I decided to limit my viewing to only pictures with dogs in them.

Of course, I wasn’t dogmatic about it, but it did seem to be a good thing to do. I walked into a room, looked at the bottoms of all the pictures, and went over and looked carefully at the ones with a dog. Of course, sometimes I ended up looking at one with a sheep instead. There were a lot of Adorations of the Shepherds, and a lot of hunting scenes, but my favorites turned out to be:

  • The Entry of the Animals into Noah’s Ark
    [loading Noah's ark]

    The Entry of the Animals into Noah’s Ark by Jacopo Bassano, ca 1570

    There are two pairs of dogs here. Three of them are looking at the pair of ducks as if they are thinking of them more as dinner than as fellow passengers, but one has gotten tired of waiting in line for the ark and has curled up to take a nap.

  • Easily the most disturbing dog in the museum is, unsurprisingly, Goya’s Half-submerged Dog.
    [goya's drowning dog]

    Half-submerged dog by Goya, 1820-1823

    This was especially upsetting to us because of how much the dog looks like my sister’s current dog, Monte.

    Monte, June 2009

    I can’t find links, but there were actually several other Goya paintings of dogs — he apparently was a dog-owner, and we have lots of letters to his friends discussing his dogs.

  • I can’t find a link, but there was also a very nice Last Supper with a dog and cat fighting under the table.
Posted in Spain14 | Comments closed

Valencia Botanic Gardens

I’ll be writing more posts about this trip to Spain, but I’m putting this one up first, because I got the most pictures here.

This was Tuesday, August 12, my last full day in Spain and the day on my own in Valencia. I had considered going to the cathedral, or taking the bus to the beach and saying hello to the Mediteranean Sea. But I had seen several cathedrals and museums, and decided that a walk to the river and a stroll around the was the right thing to do.

[mother, with carnivores]

My mother, in the last year of her life, at an exhibition of carnivorous plants.

It was unexpectedly sad — my mother, who died last year, would have really loved it. It was the best cactus collection I’ve ever seen, and she loved cactuses. There was also a very nice greenhouse, which reminded me of the one at Kew Gardens which I spent a lot of time in with her in 1984.

So since I can’t show her my pictures, you have to look at them instead. Here they are:





[prickly pear]

This one reminded me of the time my family stopped by the side of the road in Texas and tried to eat a prickly pear fruit. The fruits are prickly, too.

[prickly pear fruit]

[caucasus elm]

We had seen a tree like this in a park previously, and not been able to identify it.

[fuzzy palm trees]

The palm tree collection is also renowned.

[palm tree cross-section]

Cross-section of palm tree, showing no growth rings.


Explanation of the lack of growth rings in previous picture.

2014-08-12 11.31.00

[Water lilies with sculpture]

There’s not a lot of sculpture, but what there is I liked.

[flowers, with cat]

At least in August, there weren’t actually all that many flowering plants. But there were lots of cats.

[jungle foliage]

There was exactly one plant that looked anything like what’s in my back yard, so here it is:

[trumpet vine]

This trumpet vine in the Valencia Botanic Garden looks much like the one in my back yard.

Posted in Spain14 | Comments closed

News of the week of August 19, 2014

Meeting Report

We played:


We resume our regular weekly meetings on Tuesdays at 7:45pm, at 233 Broadway, Cambridge.

On September 9, there's an election, so as usual we will meet then only if someone else opens up or hosts.

Note that if you aren't registered to vote where you want to vote, today, Wednesday, August 20, is the last day to do so. Most towns will have their offices open late for this.

Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed

News of the week of July 29, 2014

Meeting report

We had an all-Dowland meeting this time:


We will not meet either on August 5 (when you should go to the West Gallery workshop) or on August 12.

The August 19 meeting will be dedicated to working on the program for the August 22 performance, so if you aren't planning on performing, you should count on being a test audience some of the time if you come.

After that, we resume our regularly scheduled meetings on Tuesdays at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge.

Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed

2014 Hugo Award votes


This category was difficult this year -- they nominated the 14 volume sequence "The Wheel of Time" in it's entirety. It's about 6 times the length of War and Peace. I only had time to read 2 times the length of War and Peace between when they sent out the voter packet and when I had to vote.

It's possible that when (if, but I'm sort of enjoying it) I finish it, I will be bowled over and wish I had voted for it over the three I ranked ahead of it, but really, if anyone had ever said anything about it that made me want to read it, I would have read some of it by now. The first volume was imitation Tolkein by someone with a tin ear for language. I'm sort of glad I pushed on -- it improves pretty fast after that. But I'm not finding reading the online summaries is anything like reading the books, so I'm going to just continue reading them in order.

So my choices are:

  1. Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross
  2. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
  3. Parasite by Mira Grant
  4. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
  5. Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles

The first three of those are what I consider "normal" science fiction -- examinations of the impact of some kind of technology on the lives of the characters. The Stross got first place because I thought both the technology idea (how do you do banking over interstellar distances?) and the characters were a bit more interesting than the Leckie and the Grant.

I voted for "The Wheel of Time" over "Warbound" because if it does turn out to be a good fantasy series, it will be much more the kind of thing I want to read than the "Grimnoir Chronicles". (I should mention that in addition to the 14 volume series nominated as a whole, the publishers of Warbound also gave us all three volumes of this series, and I'm not sure I'd have wanted to read Volume III on its own.) It seems to be SF for the video games generation, and in spite of some good writing in between the action scenes, I found it difficult to slog through.

I considered voting for "No Award" ahead of "Warbound", but I decided that it was well enough written to justify an award if that's the kind of SF the voters really want.


  1. "Equoid" by Charles Stross
  2. Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
  3. "Wakulla Springs" by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages
  4. "The Chaplain's Legacy" by Brad Torgersen
  5. The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells

The top three of these are all excellent stories. The other two lack characterization. I voted for the Stross over the Valente and the Duncan because I thought the Science Fiction (a proposed life cycle for the Unicorn) was better. "Wakulla Springs" is a well-written story, but really not SF at all. "Six-Gun Snow White" is brilliant in spots, but doesn't really hang together at the end.


  1. "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling" by Ted Chiang
  2. "The Waiting Stars" by Aliette de Bodard
  3. "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal
  4. "The Exchange Officers" by Brad Torgersen
  5. "Opera Vita Aeterna" by Vox Day

Again, any of the top three would be a good award winner. I didn't remember until I'd filled out my ballot that the Vox Day was controversial, but I figure it doesn't matter because I didn't like it without any political motivations.

Short Story

  1. "The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere" by John Chu
  2. "Selkie Stories Are for Losers" by Sofia Samatar
  3. "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" by Rachel Swirsky
  4. "The Ink Readers of Doi Saket" by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Here, I do feel strongly that my number one vote is better than the others, although I certainly won't be surprised if something else wins. I don't feel strongly about the ranking of two and three.

Posted in reading | Comments closed

News of the week of July 22, 2014

Meeting report

We played:


We will meet as usual on July 28 at 7:45 pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge..

We will not meet on August 5. Consider going to the West Gallery workshop by Francis Roads, instead.

I will be in Spain on August 12. Stuart has offered to host a meeting at his house in Somerville. Let him know if you want to come, and he'll post a message to the list if there's a critical mass.

After that, we will resume our usual Tuesday night meetings.

Performance opportunity

We have been asked to play at the Women's Lunch Place from 11am to noon on Friday, August 22. Let me know if you're interested in playing. I would expect anyone who wants to play to also come to the meeting on Tuesday, August 19, and we can decide on repertoire when we know who we have.

Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed
  • Support this Site

    Buy Serpent Publications books from

    [Buy from the laymusic store]

    Or do your Amazon shopping via the
    shopping page.

  • Most read posts — last 6 months

  • 4 days ago New Year's party at my place.  Come and tell everyone you know to bring everyone they know.
    December 17, 2014
    4 days ago Christmas carol from Middle Earth.
    December 17, 2014
    2 months ago Sign in a library.
    October 12, 2014
    3 months ago I'm starting to get some posts up about my recent trip to Spain.
    August 25, 2014
    5 months ago I'm at the Amherst Early  Music Festival.  I'll be blogging abou the experience frequently this week...
    July 13, 2014
  • Goodreads

  • Random Quote

    America, where you’re free to say anything you want, and you’d better not say what you’re not supposed to! — Tommy Smothers, quoted by Cory Doctorow on the Boing Boing blog

  • Categories

  • Tags

  • Subscribe
  • Meta