Saturday, March 26, 2005

A Rediscovered Gem

I spent the evening listening to a concert version of Act III of "Siegfried" performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Sir Georg Solti on April 16, 1980, which I haven't heard since I recorded it off the air 25 years ago. It's a pity the CSO doesn't release something like this on CD because it's a fabulous performance. Dennis Bailey as Siegfried; Berit Lindholm as Brunhilde; Franz Mazura as Wotan/the Wanderer; and Birgit Finnila as Erda. I don't believe any of them made commercial recordings in those roles, although I could certainly be wrong.

For those who are interested, the recording is in the Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, AV-CSO-360. Tell them I sent you.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A New Toy

Amazon recentlly made a curious addition to its "Search Inside" feature: Statistically Improbable Phrases. Amazon explains:

Statistically Improbable Phrases, or "SIPs", show you the interesting, distinctive, or unlikely phrases that occur in the text of books in Search Inside the Book. Our computers scan the text of all books in the Search Inside program. If they find a phrase that occurs a large number of times in a particular book relative to how many times it occurs across all Search Inside books, that phrase is a SIP in that book.

The phrases for James Joyce's "Ulysses" include tooraloom tooraloom tooraloom, quaker librarian, absentminded beggar, matrimonial gift, base barreltone

For "Ivanhoe":
eighty zecchins, hundred zecchins, green cassock, our holy order, thy ransom, good yeoman, thy tribe, sayst thou, good youth, wounded knight, most reverend father, hundred crowns, good knight, thy choice, your valour

Alas, there is no way to search "Tristam Shandy" or "The C Programming Language."

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ledes I Never Finished

THE second "Greater New York," the youth-besotted, cheerful, immodestly ingratiating jumbo survey of contemporary art....
Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, March 18, 2005

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