Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

This year, we did the Corona and Bowtie hike on Sunday morning.  The light was not spectacular for photography.   The path was icy/snowed only on the back side of the hill past the railroad crossing.  I practiced walking on the slickrock all the way to the moqui steps, and this year at Corona and Bowtie I crossed the steep slick between the steps and the pipe ladder.  Last year, the vertigo was too much and I had to stop after the moqui steps.

Corona Arch, Moab, Utah

Corona Arch, Moab, Utah


Corona is a very typical arch.  I mean, if you were to “draw an arch” from the Arches area, although there are arches of all sorts, this is the shape and type of arch you would draw.  For one thing, it sticks out nicely from the rock face and one can easily see daylight through it from almost all angles.  For scale, those dark bits under the arch are bushes that are taller than people.  There are people under the arch, but they are kinda tiny.

Bowtie Arch, Moab, Utah

Bowtie Arch, Moab, Utah

Bowtie is a pothole arch, where the cavern of the arch has been pierced by a pothole.  It is harder to photograph on an overcast day, and it is probably not a morning arch.  Noon might suit it better.

These arches are not within the Arches National Park (which I guess an Easterner like me is agast at).  Therefore, pets are allowed on the trails.  Many human parties (including ours) were accompanied by dogs.  (Yeah, cats have so much more sense.)  It was interesting to watch the dogs as well as the humans navigate the steep slip rock, the moqui steps, and the ladder.  Those who have been walking on this kind of ground since childhood and youth are easy to spot.  Our Max is new to the land and its hazards, so stepped on a patch of dried up cactus and had to have his paws cleaned up.  (He is OK. Of course we felt terrible.)

eArches-MaxCactusFoot2013Moab 016

In the afternoon the kids and dog left for Denver, and the 5 of us and Bill and Margaret went into the valley below the Island in the Sky onto Shaefer and Potash roads.  It is impossible to take bad photos in the canyon, unless the jeep bounces too hard when you are pushing the shutter.  We went to Thelma and Louise Point and then my sister and I jeeped on further while the others shimmied down into a wash for a hike toward some petrified wood.

Island in the Sky, from the canyon

Island in the Sky, from the canyon

Tomorrow I fly out from Denver to Maryland, just ahead of a much-longed-for snowstorm.  Monday was a shopping day, and the drive back on I-70, beating the traffic jams by perhaps and hour.  Today went to telecommuting and medical appointments for several family members, with me as the driver.  While waiting in a surgical center I rehearsed Gerry Muller’s Seven Last Words arrangements and started study files for some other Triduum liturgies.  I am going home with nearly 500 photos to edit, and a card of videos, too.




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On January 5, pianist Alexander Paley presented a most wonderful  concert at the Westmoreland Congregational Church, sponsored by the Washington Conservatory of Music.  He played on the Conservatory’s Bluthner piano.  The program included

• Sonota No. 1 in C Major by Carl Maria von Weber

• Concert Paraphrase on Verdi’s Rigoletto, by Franz Liszt and Alexander Paley

• Polonaise No. 2 in E Major by Franz Liszt

• And 3 of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies (No. 4 in E-flat Major, No. 10 in E Major and No. 2 in C-sharp Minor)

Paley’s performance was superb. He plays with great emotion, strength and charm, using dynamics and tempo in a way that younger ‘technical’ pianists have not mastered. Because of the intensity and joy of his performance it almost seems he plays the instrument to the limits of its capabilities.

He has performed at 13 concerts of the Washington Conservatory in the past and has performed a very diverse range of works. I was not familiar with any of the works he played at this concert with the exception of the Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 in C-Sharp, but Paley made all of the works feel like old friends.

The Bluthner Piano

The Bluthner grand piano is beautiful both to see and to hear. The high and middle range notes are pure and sweet and clean. Bluthner Pianos are very special. 300 are hand-made each year using special wood harvested from a Romanian forest.

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In answer to Holly’s question, the Acer netbook needs off-and-on use of an optical drive, one that reads and writes CDs and DVDs, and the wee thing has no room for an internal one. I have ordered an LG external drive that reads and writes three flavors of DVDs including double-layers, plus CDs, plus has Lightscribe capability, to write labels on CDs that are of that sort.   It is a handy feature I have not used on my HP laptop, but am willing to consider (as with most things nowadays.)  It is also Vista compatible.  I am not Vista compatible, but my scouts tell me that hardware that’s Vista compatible has a better chance of being Windows 7 compatible.  May we live to see the day.

The external drive will be used by other computers around here, so the toy will have to share it.  If the Lightscribe feature is to be utilized, then the toy will also need Lightscribable discs.  Which, again, might have to be shared, we’ll see.  (I rather think that Sharpies are cheaper — just sayin’.) 

The toy also will need a mouse, and I prefer a wireless one.  The touchpad is OK, and the mousebutton arrangement is not all that reeky, but it could be better.  Anyway, I want a mouse, it’s what I’m used to.  Although, when you get right down to it, the toy could just as well borrow the wireless mouse of the HP laptop.  The toy also might need a better headphones/microphone set than I got with the Rosetta Stone Arabic course.   I’ll be experimenting with how much sound leakage there is.

I’ll have some music to listen to, including two extraodinary recent CDs by Chanticleer.  Our American Journey includes an interesting and pleasing assortment that includes shape-note songs (David’s Lamentation gives me shivers), Spanish Catholic chant from the California mission period, Stephen Foster, the Gershins, and the music of a modern Mohican composer, Brent Michael Davids.  The Mission Road is a CD/DVD set consisting of music unearthed from the old California mission churches. 

Chanticleer is so amazing.  I am a fan.  I was blessed to receive a ticket to see them when they performed at the amazing Music Center at Strathmore Hall in Maryland.  (If you are anywhere near Strathmore, you must attend a concert there.  It is a beautiful place, and especially wonderful for listening to acappella singers.)


Miss N needs to attend many concerts and recitals as a requirement of her music major, so we have also attended a excellent performances at Montgomery College.  (Molly Donnelly is Nina’s voice professor, and is an outstanding mezzo.)

My little avatar, Odin, is not sure he likes the HRH title.  He’s thinking of something along the line of “Your Worship” or “Supremely Cool Being”.  Anyway, he’s hiding in the quilts until he gets a bit more respect.


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