Briefly noted

April 27th, 2005  |  Tags: , ,  |  5 Comments

Kenny G vs. Machaut

Because I usually find the opinions about early music expressed by “Pliable” at On An Overgrown Path to be fairly agreeable, I was shocked to see what appeared to be an endorsement of the Hilliard Ensemble’s work with saxophonist Jan Garbarek. The Hilliard Ensemble is one of the finest early music vocal ensembles in the world; their work with Garbarek, however, is worthy of anathema. (The Hilliard/Garbarek CD Officium has the overall affect of Kenny G getting in a fight with Guillaume de Machaut.)

I was so curious by what seemed to me to be an inexplicable lapse in taste that I read Pliable’s review of Officium, which clarifies the issue somewhat by presenting the Garbarek disc as a means to an end:

Although it is sacrilege to say it 75 minutes of continuous medieval polyphony can be too bland a dish for some tastes. Garbareck’s saxophone adds the spice to the Hilliard’s main course. And yes, I would say I sometimes wish the sax took more of a back seat, but that only sharpened my appetite for polyphony without the spice, and there is a lot of that on my shelves.

Listening to “lite hits” radio while getting a haircut sharpens my appetite for nearly anything else (up to and including Gaussian noise), but I’m not going out and buying Celine Dion CDs just so that I can more fully appreciate the rest of my collection. Indeed, Pliable’s Officium verdict seems to be akin to “Cancer is great, because now we have all of these really smart oncologists.”

(In any case, the Norwich and Norfolk festivals, which Pliable describes in the first linked article, sound great. I wish I could attend!)

On Wisconsin!

An Appleton, WI woman was convicted of embezzling $3000 from her labor union. She requested leniency, citing financial hardship, so the judge presented her with an option of Solomonic proportions: either serve 90 days in jail or donate her Green Bay Packers tickets to charity. If I were her, I’d take the jail time — she might be able to get autographs from Packers players Ahman Green and Al Harris. Green was arrested last night on his fourth domestic violence charge since 1999, and Harris has been accused of assaulting a stripper.

Productivity notes

Merlin Mann points to a thoughtful 43Folders mailing list post, which advises to “park on a downhill slope”:

Each day, when I wrap up whatever I’m doing, I jot down (on paper when I remember, otherwise I do it mentally with lesser effect) exactly where I need to start. And that is usually a question I’m still pondering/researching…

As long as I’m mentioning 43Folders, I should note that Joe Carter has adopted the Hipster PDA, Mann’s lo-fi index-card-based organizer for the cool kids. If you have a near-prurient interest in personal productivity aids, you should check out the set of HPDA-related photos on Some are quite clever.

I’m currently listening to Suite No. 1 in G Major – Menuets I & II from the album “Cello Suites BWV 1007-1012” by Lynn Harrell