News of the week of October 14, 2014

Meeting report, October 7

We played:

Meeting report, October 14

We played:


We will be meeting as usual on Tuesdays at 7:45 pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge, MA. On election day, November 4, we will meet only if someone volunteers to open up and get the rehearsal started.


The New England Conservaroty of music is having a Festival of Music and Dance this week. John Tyson, who is one of the organizers, especially recommends tomorrow's concert, which will include Renaissonics playing both Renaissance and Baroque dance music, as well as world-famous exponents of other dance styles. All events are free.

Performing opportunities

There are two events this weekend which could include performances if enough people wanted to go to them.

  • A memorial gathering for Helen Conrad, where we will scatter my mother's ashes under a ginkgo tree planted in her garden in her memory, to the accompaniment of music, poetry and remembrances by her friends and family. This will be in Fall River at 4pm on Saturday, October 25.
  • The Wort Processors Ciderfest will be in Amesbury on Sunday, October 25 from noon to 3pm.
Posted in Cantabile | Leave a comment

News of the week of September 30, 2014

Meeting report

We played:


We continue to meet as usual on Tuesday evenings at 7:45 PM at 233 Broadway, Cambridge. Next Tuesday, October 7, will probably be a small, intimate one, if you've been thinking of coming but are intimidated by the idea of a crowd.

Upcoming concerts

The Loring-Greenough House will present Mignarda playing a lute song program centered on the music of John Dowland on Sunday, October 5, at 3pm. For more information see the Loring-Greenough website.

The Boston Early Music Festival presents a program of Monteverdi madrigals on Saturday, October 11 at 8pm in Jordan Hall.

Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed

News of the week of September 23, 2014

Meeting Report

We played:


We continue to meet as usual on Tuesday evenings at 7:45 pm.

There is some question about whether there will be a quorum on October 7, so if you want to come then, let me know, or it might get cancelled.

Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed

Two pieces of science fiction criticism

I mentioned a few months ago how difficult I found it to write well about Science Fiction, although I enjoy reading it.

I realized this morning that this week I've read two really good pieces of criticism that were science fiction related, so I thought I'd pass them on to you.

  • Here's the piece Jo Walton wrote about Mary Renault. You should read it for its description of why trying to sell her work as genre Romance is a doomed strategy:
    Romance makes assumptions about the value and nature of love that are very different from the assumptions Renault is using. Romances are set in a universe that works with the belief that love is a good thing that conquers all, that deserves to conquer all. Renault is starting from an axiomatic position that love is a struggle, an agon or contest—a contest between the two people as to who is going to lose by loving the other more, which certainly isn’t going to lead to inevitable happiness.
  • Here's an interview with Peter Watts where he explains why there's so much torture in contemporary science fiction:
    Need to deliver a three-page neurophilosophical infodump at the climax of your first-contact novel? You could always have Spock and McCoy trading debating points in the med lab. Or you can have your protagonist assaulted so violently that his very consciousness shatters into profound autism, that he perceives all external input as a deafening disembodied voice from the heavens. (That was Blindsight.) Pretty much any infodump becomes more – immediate – when you sheath it in pain and jeopardy.
Posted in reading | Comments closed

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
  • 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

  • 1 week ago Sign in a library.
    October 12, 2014
    1 month ago I'm starting to get some posts up about my recent trip to Spain.
    August 25, 2014
    3 months ago I'm at the Amherst Early  Music Festival.  I'll be blogging abou the experience frequently this week...
    July 13, 2014
    4 months ago I felt misled by this New York Times headline: World’s Oldest Man, Though Only Briefly, Dies.  To be...
    June 9, 2014
    1 year ago If you vote in Cambridge, you're welcome to come to my house on Wednesday, October 9, to meet Dennis...
    October 5, 2013
  • Goodreads

  • Random Quote

    I’m suspicious of that notion of adventure. It belongs to earlier centuries, and somehow fizzled away with, let’s say, the exploration of the North and South Poles, which was only a media ego trip, unhealthy and unwise, on the part of some individuals. The Polar explorations were a huge mistake of the human race, an indication that the twentieth century was a mistake in its entirety. They are one of the indicators. — Werner Herzog, interview in the Paris Review, May 2, 2011

  • Categories

  • Tags

  • Subscribe
  • Meta