Thursday, October 15, 2020

musical and literary activities

1-2) I didn't watch either of the competing town hall meetings; my evening was too busy. First was the regular Zoom meeting with my fellow wizards, just about the only easeful socializing I get to do these days; then a rush out to get my dinner, while B. claimed the camera and microphone attachments for her theology class, so that I could be back at the computer in time for an online concert from the San Francisco Conservatory with their resident ensemble, the Telegraph Quartet.

Most of the online concerts I've attended have been somewhat abbreviated, maybe an hour long without intermission. This was a full two-hour concert with intermission, with an intriguing heavy-duty repertoire: Korngold's Third Quartet, the first of his remarkable run of post-WW2 concert works; the Second Quartet of Eleanor Alberga, a contemporary composer from the UK; and Beethoven's Op. 131, a piece I can't claim to make any sense of without the score, which I dug up to follow along. The Beethoven was somewhat fragmented, pieces that didn't quite add up, but the playing was impressive, and even more so in the two modernist works, both of which sat somewhere between Bartok and mid-Schoenberg in their general ambiance. Performance and compositions both caught the attention despite neither being easy, and I felt as if I'd had a real workout.

3) A stranger and more challenging musical activity came up when I noticed in my calendar that it's getting close to the first concert date on my subscription to the chamber music provider up in the city. I'd received no notification of whether it was on or off, and on checking I found that I hadn't received my season's tickets either. Looking up old e-mails found that the last notification was that tickets were to be mailed in August; and a lookup on their web site showed that the concert date had disappeared without any indication of where it had gone, though other dates were marked as cancelled or rescheduled.

So I phoned them and found that, yes, the concert had been moved out, and no, they hadn't sent tickets, but they'd elected not to inform their subscribers about any of these things. Because, working from home, they thought they weren't equipped to handle the flood of inquiries they'd get if they did. Of course I pointed out that, if they had informed me, I wouldn't have been talking with them on the phone right now, but that argument made no impression.

Contrast this hopeless behavior with that of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which has been forced through about five complete revampings of their plans over the course of the year, and for each one they sent out a mass e-mail to subscribers clearly and succinctly explaining what was going on, with links to their website for more detail.

4) Physical copies of Tolkien Studies 17 have made their appearance, so my next job is to mail out the overseas comp copies, as some odd postal regulation prevents the publishers from doing that. Some of my fellow wizards confirmed they'd received theirs.

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