Harold in Italy
I haven't posted any updates for a long time, so I decided to post an entry tonight.
I went to hear UNT's orchestra concert tonight. They started with Allegretto movement of Beethoven Symphony No.7 (devoted to a former faculty who passed away recently), then did Strauss' Don Juan, and then Berlioz's Harold in Italy with Susan Dubois playing the viola solo. Naturally, Susan sounded fantastic. She has a great sound, and is really fun to listen to. She almost makes me like that piece!
Sadly, I think nothing will ever change my mind on this piece. It has really wonderful moments in it that make me think, "Oh, wow.. this is really nice." But then it has other moments where I remember why I always thought this piece falls distinctly short of being "good". The prime example is in the second movement where horn and flute play single long notes back and forth at one another. I'm not going to bother to describe exactly how ridiculous it sounds here on Advogato, but take my word for it or go listen to a recording (either Tabea Zimmermann's or Pinchas Zukerman's, since they are both fantastic enough violists to almost pass this off as a decent work). The outer movements are not that bad, but the inner movements are very unsatisfying.
For me, Berlioz is like the definitive mediocre composer. We know who the Great composers are, like Beethoven and Schubert and Brahms. But if you look at some of Berlioz's works, you realize they're all "pretty okay" pieces. And those are just the few that are actually heard. I can't help but notice how few of his works are ever performed at all. "Mediocre" might be overstating his value.
...I don't know how I always get off on these little rants. My intention here was to say that I went to the concert and that Susan sounded awesome. =)
Bill is coming to Dallas tomorrow so we're going to gether together and he's going to crash over here for a couple nights. That's pretty cool. He's going to the ASTA convention that's over at SMU I think.
Cameron is off in Singapore now for some fellowship thing from Peabody. Yi-Ping and Amy just did the same thing not too long ago, I think, and now Cameron is doing it. I think he's going to be there for like three weeks. That's pretty cool. And he gets some money as part of it, which is never a bad thing.
I've almost got the new mip terrain system finished for NeoEngine. We're going to try to get the 0.8.0 release out very soon (supposedly on March 15), so I've been trying to find time to work on this to get it totally done for release but I've been busy practicing and teaching. Maybe I'll manage to get it done on time. I hope so.
I registered on Orkut not too long ago, when it first started up. But then I didn't really pay much attention to it after that. Lesley invited me onto Friendster the other day, so I joined that but it seems to be not quite as cool as Orkut so I sent her an invitation to join Orkut. Miguel, Sopwith, Cesar, Duncan, and a lot of other people I know from Gnome are on Orkut so I started my little friend network on there. And I found Daphne, so I added her to my friend list. I searched for her because for some reason I just thought I would find her there, and I was right. Anyone else who is on there, please feel free to connect me onto your friend networks there if you want. =)
Orkut/Friendster are sort of weird, but sort of cool. Maybe it's just a neat little gimmicky fad thing right now, I don't know.