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What are your other interests, music related or just interesting!

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Showing 201-225 of 245 posts in this discussion
Posted on May 29, 2012 3:00:00 PM PDT
Edgar Self says:
That's why I stuck it in, Wouter. Soucient will understand. A small revenge is better than none. Very small. For an adopted Scot and Dutch transplant you do extremely well, better than some of our tulips. There! I just got out of that, I think.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 3:40:05 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2012 3:43:55 PM PDT
carnola says:
OK--a short bio for me:

Born in Maryland, son of a coal miner (who turned butcher when his back was hurt in the mines). Family moved to a Pittsburgh suburb when I was 4. My mother did not finish HS, but got a diploma through the local educational TV station. My dad did have a HSD and had a few light classical albums--Oscar Levant/Rhapsody in Blue, Nutcracker Suite, Fiedler/B Pops/Ritual Fire Dance. He also had Spike Jones' William Tell Overture, which I loved as a child (until I broke it). Only a mild interest in CM through secondary school. Big interest in reading (Sci-Fi and history), pop music, and sports, especially basketball.

Went to college, majoring in Education with a mathematics concentration. In my sophomore year, I went to a Pittsburgh Symphony concert when they performed on campus:
Respighi - Fountains of Rome
Brahms - Tragic Overture
Debussy - La Mer

I was never the same after that. Borrowed records from the library; read High Fidelity and American Record Guide; picked up Copland's What to Listen for in Music plus (over the next few years) the Penguin series on CM: The Concerto, The Symphony I & II, Chamber Music, and Choral Music. I think Robert Simpson edited the Symphony. When a record store on campus went out of business I scooped up some LPs dirt cheap. That included the Ormandy-Tchaikovsky Symphonies on Columbia. Most of the recordings I bought, though, were on Seraphim, Victrola, Odyssey, London Stereo Treasury Series, Nonesuch, and other budget labels. There was also a 3-LP set of Karajan on Angel (EMI's American label of the time) with Pictures, 1812, Les Preludes, Pines of Rome, Roman Carnival, Hung Rhapsondy #2, etc., that I played to death.

After graduating, I taught HS mathematics in Pittsburgh area and got my first decent stereo: Sansui receiver, Dynaco A-25 speakers, and Garrard turntable. When I went to a mathematics teachers' conference in NYC, I got to make a pilgrimage to Sam Goody's. I saved up $100 to spend and came home with a haul of about 40 LPs. Also got to attend a few concerts with the Pittsburgh Symphony at the Syria Mosque including Alexis Weissenberg playing the Beethoven 4th PC and Isaac Stern playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto.

While teaching, I picked up my masters' degree in mathematics. However, after 5 years, I wanted to do something more, so I joined the Air Force, went to Texas for Officer Training School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. When I joined, I had the opportunity to select a field to work in--I picked meteorology.

My first assignment was to go to Penn State and get a B.S. in Meteorology in one year. While there, the Pittsburgh Symphony performed. William Warfield was the narrator for the Lincoln Portrait and they also did the Mozart PC 24--can't remember the soloist--but they got all screwed up shortly into the slow movement and had to start it over. The Waverly Consort also performed its Christmas program.

From there, I went to McGuire AFB in NJ where I gave weather briefings to pilots, produced forecasts, briefed generals, etc. A fellow officer and I went to an outdoor Metropolitan Opera performance in Philadelphia where Levine conducted Tannhauser--my first opera.

After 3 1/2 years there, I was assigned to the United States Military Academy at West Point, Mathematics Department--great experience. One year, the Concord String Quartet performed a Beethoven series. Rostropovich brought the National Symphony there, too. Also, every summer, the West Point Band (top-notch musicians) played concerts for six weeks every Sunday night in the summer--great view. The band was set up in a band shell; we all sat on the hillside. Looking up the Hudson river was the backdrop. Most concerts had at least one band arrangement of a CM piece: Finlandia, Rossini overture, etc. Last concert always featured the 1812 (complete, not the truncated versions you see on the 4th of July these days) with cannon, of course.

After West Point, I went to Beale AFB in California and switched to the computer field (season tickets to Sacramento Symphony), then to Tucson, AZ (got to see PDQ Bach while there plus Anthony Newman played the inaugral concert for a newly installed organ at a local church).

Then to Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH. Taught at the Air Force Institute of Technology then moved over to work in the Air Force Research Laboratory. Lots of concerts at the Dayton Philharmonic, some at the Cincinnati Symphony, some recitals at Wright State University (including Joshua Bell back in the 90s and a wonderful concert by Joan Morris and William Bolcom on the development of the American popular song). Retired from the Air Force in 1998 and currently work for a defense contractor supporting the Air Force--hope to retire at the end of the year. Then I'll finally get to catch up on my backlog of reading, CDs, classic movies & TV shows, and travel a bit.

Sorry to be so long winded!


Posted on May 29, 2012 3:57:33 PM PDT
Edgar Self says:
Chris Carnola, what a great career, and arallel concerts wherever you went. I'm very impressed, and can identify as I heard Pittsburgh SO play in old Syria Mosque when I was there on hemispheric defense with an anti-aircraft battalion. You were lucky to see Weissenberg play a concerto, which I never managed ... just about one-quarter of a recital before he cancelled the rest due to unsatisfactory acoustics in Chicago Theater.

If you ever think of the name of the pianist ho messed up Mozart's 24th, call me collect, night or day. Do you recall who conducted?

Soucient is going to be awfully proud of you.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 5:45:56 PM PDT
carnola says:
It wasn't Steinberg, although he was music director. I'm trying to recall who was the associate conductor--possibly Donald Johanos. The pianist was not a top-flight soloist. The name totally eludes me.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 5:59:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2012 6:00:37 PM PDT
Edgar Self says:
Chris, if you think of it, I'd be interested to know. Wasn't Walter Hendl an assistant conductor in Pittsburgh once? No idea which years. He was also asst. in Chicago, and music director in Dallas following Dorati, and I think later in Buffalo or Rochester.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 6:22:10 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
Piso & Chris

Walter Hendl was very peripatetic. He was assiociate conductor with and conductor at the Berkshire Music Center under Serge Koussevitzky. In 1945, he became associate conductor of the New York Philharmonic. In 1949, he was appointed music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and he held this position until 1958. In 1953, Hendl became the music director of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. He remained with Chautauqua until temporary ill health necessitated his resignation in 1972. He was also active in the Symphony of the Air and conducted its 1955 tour of east Asia.

ALSO Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra,

The closest he got to PITTSBURGH was as such. In 1976 Hendl was appointed music director of the
Erie Philharmonic in Erie, Pennsylvania.


In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2012 6:34:59 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 30, 2012 6:38:42 AM PDT
carnola - I enjoyed the heck out of reading your brief bio. What grabbed me the most was how quickly and totally you were brought into the Classical Music world. One concert and BOOM!

Isn't it interesting how a single event can sometimes change your life - or at least some significant aspect of it. Also I think it is just another reminder of how powerful music can be.

Oh and one more thing - meteorology? Really? That was something I considered going into but was discouraged by just about everyone. They said the math would be too hard and there's no money in it and it is hard to get a job.

As a teenager, I used to keep a notebook on the weather in Cleveland where I grew up. I would cut out the weather map from each day and note the statistics for temp, humidity, pressure, wind speed and direction, etc. I got fairly good at understanding the weather patterns. To this day, I usually know what's going on from the wind speed and clouds. Do you remember much about your interest in meteorology?

Thanks for sharing. If I may, I feel like I know you a little more and think, that is good thing!

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2012 6:48:18 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 30, 2012 11:26:31 AM PDT
carnola says:

Regarding meteorology--my mathematics background helped a lot in the dyanmics and thermodynamics related to the atmosphere--divergence aloft means convergence at the surface. A lot of math in those courses!

An interesting sidelight: I took two forecasting courses while there. They were taught by Joel Myers, the founder and owner of AccuWeather. The course had the perfect "tests." Daily, we were required to predict various weather parameters for State College (high & low temp, precip-- plus for the next day at 2 PM, temp, dew pt, cloud cover, 500 mb height and temp, plus some other things). Eventually we had to do three-day forecasts for S.C. and other locations around the country (Lake Charles, LA, and Caribou, ME, seemed to be favorites). So the grading of the "tests" were perfectly objective and nobody knew the answers ahead of time!

EDIT: I didn't really respond to your question: "Do you remember much about your interest in meteorology?" I was given three choices when entering the Air Force: computers, mathematics, and meteorology. I wanted something applied, so I chose meteorology. What I especially enjoy about the web is that I now have access to upper air charts--they're extremely useful in forecasting. One key indicator I recall for winter forecasts is the 850mb-500mb thickness chart. When that layer is greater than 5400m, precipitation will likely be rain; less than that and it's snow. (i.e., thicker implies warmer air) I use to enjoy plotting Skew T-log P diagrams for forecasting convective activity (based on weather balloon soundings). But everything's gotten rusty over the years (last worked as a meteorologist in 1979).

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2012 7:58:48 AM PDT
Edgar Self says:
Many thanks, John Ruggeri, for your summary of Walter Hendl's storied career. I saw him only in Dallas.

Posted on May 30, 2012 10:31:17 AM PDT
Edgar Self says:
Considering that many of us got here just by shopping at Amazon and scrolling to the bottom of the page by mistake, it's a surprisingly distinguished group, don't you think, aside from a few curate's eggs and one or two genuine bad apples?

Posted on May 30, 2012 11:05:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 30, 2012 11:52:00 AM PDT
Flavius says:
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Forum: this is certainly an interesting and accomplished group of people. I have nothing, really, to say about myself of any interest, my life having been spent doing nothing but keeping myself reasonably occupied in out of the way places, on obscure Pacific beaches, in mountain villages of the Tierra Mixteca Alta of Oaxaca where Spanish might hopefully be spoken, in resort areas off-season. At least, I might have been useful as an anthropologist. This is to say, I have spent my life on a limited income that has spared me the incentive to do anything, thankful for my freedom to do as I chose: an introverted, one might say self-preoccupied existence that has lasted for eighty-six years, of very little interest or importance to anyone. My one regret, however, has been that often I have spent long periods of time where there was no electricity, and no music! No Beethoven, no Bach or Brahms or Mozart, or Monteverdi!

There is one thing I'd like to ask, after having read these postings and having a tentative impression of most of you: what compliment has given you the most satisfaction? Don Piso, what one expression of praise or admiration has pleased you most?

(As I write this, a dove has landed in my outer patio. Though I'm just off the beach, with the usual shore birds, there are doves, with their neck rings. It just gave me the eye: maybe it visited my house last year on the mountain up from the bay. I live across from Ensenada, in a gated community--though, really, no decapitated bodies around here!)

Posted on May 30, 2012 12:24:04 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 30, 2012 12:26:29 PM PDT]

Posted on May 30, 2012 12:24:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 30, 2012 3:28:42 PM PDT
Edgar Self says:
Dexter, you are being modest in a characteristically supererogatory way. No one in this life lives inter-continentally for eighty-six years, with electricity or not, without hiding bodies and attracting the interest of Interpol.

You know how to ask pleasant questions. We get precious few compliments to warm our hands over in declining years. Sam'l. Clemens allowed he could live several weeks on a good one. Most of them come by imitation following, and preceding, violent opposition. I can remember two, one early, one late. By way of preface, a jazz great said "It isn't braggin' if you can play it."

1. For the college newspaper I wrote a review of Liszt's "Totentanz" and "Hungarian Fantasia" played by our provincial symphony orchestra (P. Mohado, 2nd horn ... we got pretty good reviews), with the Dohnanyi pupil Dr. Erno Daniel as piano soloist. When the paper appeared, Dr. Daniel stopped me on the campus with it in his hand. "Did you write this review?", he asked me accusingly. "And did you say that in the fugato section of the Totentanz, I evolved tones of exquisite beauty, and that the last part of the fantasia was encored by demand?" I allowed that I had. His eyes boring into mine, he said, :Is true. Is TRUE! Every word!" He regarded me suspiciously ever after. He later succeeded Lotte Lehmann as director of the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.

2. When the Czech Philharmonic visited Chicago, their conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy came in my Tower Records shop with their tall manager and 15-year-old piano soloist (Dvorak concerto). He wanted Shostakovich's chamber symphonies in Barshai's version for string orchestra, which I easily found. While he shopped and chatted with others, I went to the cut-out table where I'd seen CDs by his Moscow associates Igumnov , Oborin, and Zak, and held them up before him. His eyes went from ont to the other as he reached out. "I take them." As he left he turned and asked "How long have you been ini this business?" I told him. He put out his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet a real pro."

These may have been the only two other than a few at my other job, but I am younger than you. And you, Dexter, your compliments? With my compliments, naturally.

Posted on May 30, 2012 1:44:09 PM PDT
Flavius says:
Don Piso,

Re compliments. After a private showing of an amateur German film shot in Africa, Dr. Richard Hertz (German consul general in Los Angeles at the time, later ambassador to Mexico) told me that in our conversations he had the sense of walking in a large hall, in an amplitude of thought, of imaginative possibilities. (Dr. Paul Pisk was a member of our little group.) It was a profound reassurance.

Posted on May 30, 2012 1:50:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 30, 2012 2:15:45 PM PDT
Edgar Self says:
That is a rare homage, Don Dexter, even cinematique! It's as if he were to say, you are vast, you contain multitudes. I patiently await the advantage of your further advices, with agreeable assurance of distinguished sentiments, votre, Piseau.

Posted on May 30, 2012 2:07:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 30, 2012 2:34:08 PM PDT
Flavius says:
Don Piso, your kindness is only exceeded by your perspicacity! There are moments in our lives when a passing comment is decisive, in all seriousness, however. No one else seems to be forthcoming. I'm sure there were more instances of affirmation in your own life, passing compliments that were elixirs. But perhaps these are private instances...but it does give a deeper insight into a personality, more than the mere sliderule affinity. I've known a number of mathematical prodigies who didn't know when to cross the street. (And railroads are fascinating, but I have been drawn to trucking routes, the first inroads into areas such as the Peten, where there had never been entry before.)

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2012 2:46:10 PM PDT
Dexter Allen writes: "There is one thing I'd like to ask, after having read these postings and having a tentative impression of most of you: what compliment has given you the most satisfaction?"

Dexter, I'm dazzled by the life you've led---except for the sometimes-lack of electricity, depriving you of the chance to hear recordings of, say, The Goldberg Variations...
You've had the will to use resources in order to live as you've chosen to live. Few of us, given that opportunity, would have that kind of will.

As for the compliment that has given me the most satisfaction, it came from Don Piso himself, here on this thread in January. Don Piso wrote to me: "...somewhere along the way you picked up the priceless ability to write well, interestingly, engagingly. One of the best and hardest things anyone can do".

I cherish that compliment, and I'm everlastingly grateful for Piso's generosity of nature in giving it. You know, I come back to these threads at night sometimes, when I think everybody has gone to bed, and I edit some of my posts, removing gaucheries, bad constructions, sloppy thinking---all the things I do in the heat of discussion. I don't always succeed.

One day Don Piso was in a confessional mood and disclosed that he does that kind of late-night editing too---which explains in part why his posts are so uniformly good. The principal reason why they are so good, however, is that he manages to distill from his vast experiences the observations that we will remember with pleasure and profit. He knows how to point a moral and adorn a tale. And he's a bloody good writer!

Many thanks for your post, Dexter, and for the question.


Posted on May 30, 2012 3:00:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 30, 2012 3:03:20 PM PDT
Flavius says:
Angelo, re Don Piso's compliment that you have the priceless ability to write well, interestingly, and engagingly. I remember the post, and second it. I think you are a careful thinker, and have the priceless gift of good taste, which, unfortunately, can't be taught. But as they say, the grandfather stubs his toe, and the grandson feels the pain. No one has made me chuckle like Don Piso. I enjoy your posts.


Posted on May 30, 2012 3:03:20 PM PDT
MacDoom says:
Dexter Allen writes: "There is one thing I'd like to ask, after having read these postings and having a tentative impression of most of you: what compliment has given you the most satisfaction?"

We once had a Michelin-starred chef in our B&B. The breakfast we made him was the usual fare (the British cholesterol-special, of course; bacon, eggs, suasage, black pudding et al.!), but: he ate the lot. It just doesn't get better than that.

Complimentary words have hardly any impact on me anyway. It's effects of your actions that you can see - much more important. In that vein: in my days as a software engineer I once wrote a source-code control system for Philips (in the days when they weren't yet ubiquitous). When I spoke with former colleagues over ten years later, it was still in use. Ten years is a loooooooong time in software. No compliment can ever beat such an experience.

Posted on May 30, 2012 3:13:23 PM PDT
K. Beazley says:
Piso/Dexter/Angelo (not necessarily in that order),

You know, there's times like this when I can only sit back & bask in the light of your conversations, with your wealth of tremendous life experiences, & your wits & insights writ large. It is, at times like this, like eavesdropping on Socrates, Plato & Aristotle. I cannot thank you three august gentlemen enough!


Posted on May 30, 2012 3:20:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 30, 2012 3:29:57 PM PDT
Flavius says:
MacDoom, your point is well taken. You are obviously a man who marches to his own drum. After all, it's the results that bear us out: we answer to ourselves. "My heart's in the highlands....' Could you give a little idea of where you are in Scotland? During the last credible war, a friend of mine and his battalion were given the option of crossing Scotland on foot, prior to the Normandy invasion. He said he had never seen such beautiful country. The majority of my own ancestors were of Scottish descent.

Posted on May 30, 2012 4:04:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 30, 2012 4:09:12 PM PDT
Flavius says:
Kim, The order, Piso/Dexter/Angel is acceptable. Don Piso can drink the cup, I'll write the eulogy, and Angelo can have the last word. Let's have a commendable word of praise for yourself. You are steadfast, forthright, and...and principled. And a very good judge of men, as evinced by your last post. (And let me give a definition of hope, re your comments on another thread: the anticipation of something quite uncertain.)

Posted on May 30, 2012 4:39:12 PM PDT
Soucient says:
First, my life story--Brace Yourselves!!

Born in Oklahoma. Yes, I said Oklahoma! Wanna' make something of it??

Seriously, my father left my mother with four children to raise. She and all the rest of us were very sick, so we were parceled out to various orphanages until Mother got well. I was two at the time. While at the orphanage I was overheard singing to myself (I was so lonely and grieved a lot because missed my family terribly, they said). The orphanage was having a large fundraising program in a huge auditorium in Tulsa, and they had me sing for that. I vaguely remember the event, but I still remember the song I sang.

When I started first grade I sang in a school production, and from then on, I was officially a singer. I had a professional job at fourteen, singing for a Christian Science church and was taking voice lessons from an old fellow, Mr. Schmidt, who, by the way, had studied with Leschetitsky (spelling?).

After high school I joined the Tulsa Opera Company, stayed for two years during which time I sang the High Priestess in "Aida" and Michaela in "Carmen. After that time, three or four rich ladies from Tulsa sponsored me in New York while I studied at the Manhattan School of music.

(Oh, I forgot to tell you that while I was in Tulsa Rose Bampton, a former star at the Metropolitan, came to town to give some master classes. I went to one, sang for her, and she took me aside and told me that if ever I was in New York I must come to see her And later, when the local newspaper interviewed her about the master classes, she told them about me and said that my voice had the quality of greatness!)

While in New York (three years, from 1957 to 1960) I studied and sang here and there--too much to chronicle, and aren't you glad? I did go see Bampton, who tutored me, got me all sorts of singing jobs, introduced me to her husband, conductor Wilfred Pelletier, and both of them sort of took me over, musically and socially.

Ultimately, Bampton urged me to apply for a Fulbright to Germany. She and John Brownlee, with whom I also studied, said that I was likely to become a Wagnerian soprano, an opinion which pleased me enormously. Ich habe Richard Wagner so gern!

I did get the Fulbright but then declined it and went to Iowa to get married. I know! I know! Stupid, okay? But that's another topic.

I lived there and did a lot of singing ( soloist in Honegger's "King David," the mother in Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors". I also did a lot of performing while standing outside on the steps of City Hall, with the audience sitting in cars parked all around. Instead of applause they honked their horns. Wierd!

(Oh, and once while I was singing outside I swallowed a moth. They're somewhat salty.)

Later we moved to Kansas City where I sang with the Tulsa Opera company in the chorus of "Medea" with Magda Olivero. She was BETTER than extra good. And I also gave a few recitals to help raise money for the Tulsa Philharmonic. But by then I had two bambini and just sort of quit singing entirely except at local churches and music clubs.

Well, that's it, folks, except to say that I ultimately went back to college, earned a PhD in English, specializing in Victorian and Edwardian fiction, and began a teaching career from which I retired in 2001.

It was a good life and still is. I've been very lucky, having two careers, both of which I truly loved.

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2012 5:14:53 PM PDT
Edgar Self says:
Soucient, what extraordinary and impressive careers, all three of them, Just to have sung on-stage with Magda Olivero would be glory enough for any lifetime. I'm glad you nudged this thread along, just look what's happening, and we're not done yet. What a really unusual group of people. But, people are like that. Everyone has a story, everyone is someone, and none more so than those who really love music.

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2012 5:32:50 PM PDT
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
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Initial post:  Jan 8, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 1, 2012

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