Friday, August 29, 2014

Spam Roundup, August 2014

There's spam, and then there's spam so oddly written it's somewhat amusing. Here's a roundup of some of the "best" comments I received this month from spambots around the world.

File under sequitur, non
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[electric pig?!]

"Lumbering along " gets more love
 The Straco Layout, Part 23 - Lumbering along, a short post about small vintage Japanese tinplate toy remains one of my most commented-on posts -- by spambots.

Not really seeing the sexiness here.
- WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for erotic arts on The Straco Layout, Part 23 - Lumbering along
[I'm hoping that search wasn't successful.]

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[Oh, well, if you're normal visitor, that's just fine then.]

- Generally I do not learn article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.
[Thanks. I like to think my writing taste is quite great, also.]

A Flurry of Fastidiousness
Spambots still seem to think the word "fastidious" is the way to appear more human. See if any of these fool you:

- Every weekend i used to pay a quick visit this website, because i wish for enjoyment, for the reason that this this web page conations really fastidious funny stuff too.

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And that's just a sampling of the over 5,000 spams this blog received this month. Until next time, I fastidiously urge you to keep your arguments real, your writing taste quite great, and stop looking for erotic arts in all the wrong places!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Poul Ruders, Vol. 9 -- Amiable Atonal Chamber Works

Poul Ruders, Vol. 9
David Starobin, guitar; Daniel Druckman, percussion; David Holzman, piano; Amalia Hall, violin; Hsin-Yun Huang, viola, Sara Rothenberg, piano
Bridge Records


The two words that sprang to mind as I listened to this collection of Poul Ruder's chamber music was "amiable atonality." These chambers works move well beyond tonality, without a hint of academic dryness. Every work had real personality, often full of warmth and gentle humor.

Guitarist David Starobin and Poul Ruders have enjoyed a long and fruitful collaborative relationship, and Starobin brings his deep understanding of Ruders' music to two works. The "New Rochelle Suite" for guitar and percussion is a witty composition, and Starobin and percussionist Daniel Druckman perform it with a sometimes wink at the audience. Ruders scores imaginatively for percussion, making non-tonal instruments such as the castanets and tom-toms (among many other) add nuanced shading to the guitar's wide-ranging melodies.

"Schrödinger's Cat" is a set of 12 canons for violin and guitar that reflect the ambivalence of the title. In quantum mechanics, Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment illustrating the paradoxical concept that particles can be in two states simultaneously until observed. So, too, these canons seem to shift back and forth until they suddenly collapse into a final cadence. Starobin and Amalia Hall perform these canons in an unadorned fashion, just presenting the facts -- which seem to change before our ears.

"Romances for viola and piano" is romantic in nature, but the expressive yearnings of the melody get their poignancy from decidedly post-tonal chromatic inflections. Violist Hsin-Yun Huang and pianist Sarah Rothenberg make a great team, though, bring out the emotion in the music without being too emotive.

David Holzman performs "Twinkle Bells - Piano Etude No. 2" with a light, deft touch. He makes the cascading thirds that make up the bulk of the etude shimmer and tinkle like tiny bells. He also brings the album to a close with Ruders' "13 Postludes." These are wonderfully-crafted short little works that evoke the spirit of Chopin -- in an amiably atonal way.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Meyerbeer: Overtures and Entr'actes - light entertainment from grand opera

Meyerbeer: Overtures and Entr'actes from the French Operas
New Zealand symphony Orchestra
Darrell Ang, conductor
Naxos


When I mentioned I was reviewing this new Meyerbeer recording, I discovered just how low my colleagues held his music. Robert Schumann didn't care much for it, but I think he -- and others -- miss the point. Giacomo Meyerbeer wasn't out to make pronouncements from God (like Wagner) -- he wanted to write entertaining, successful operas. He achieved his goals, and the music in the collection demonstrates why.

Included are instrumental works from Meyerbeer's biggest hits -- "Robert le Diable," "Les Huguenots," and "L'Africaine" -- along with selections from "Dianorah and Le Prophete. Meyerbeer wrote almost exclusively for the stage, and his works are unfailingly catchy and tuneful.

Darrel Ang conducts the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with a certain amount of brio, never failing to bring out the drama of the music (without overplaying it), and keeping the energy level high. To me, this was a great collection of classical music for casual listening and I enjoyed it. I just need to be careful who I play it for.