This was the day that all nine of the Banff string quartet competitors got to play a half-hour set of their own choosing. And what basically all of them chose was something modern, 3 of them Bartok. I got a little tired of listening to the unending screeing and scrawing. I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten quite so impatient if I were there in person, thus showing the disadvantage of remote listening.
Two half-points to the Abeo Quartet for choosing, for its modernist entry, half of the Shostakovich Third - and doing a much better job on it than they did at Menlo last month - and prefacing it with half of a Mozart, a composer rarely heard at Banff as the required Haydn takes up most of the 18th century air space.
And three quarter-points to the Dior Quartet for picking one movement each out of four recent quartets: less screeing and scrawing than alternation between slow, soft, and gentle; and loud, chaotic, and vehement, though never harsh and dissonant.
And a couple more partial points to the Karski Quartet, whose modern piece was the Debussy, which sounded awfully tame in the circumstances, and who followed it with a wild and woolly arrangement of the Beatles' "Come Together."
Everybody else, despite the brief incursions of Bach, Purcell, Grieg, and Schumann ... nah.
Being up for part of the middle of the night enabled me to hear a couple of Oxonmoot and WD papers. One of these the presenter spent more time fiddling with his electronics than giving the paper. WD had turned the Zoom chat function off, otherwise I'd have written "Get -on- with it!" Unfortunately for the sake of hearing them, I'd fallen back asleep by the time anything I as really interested in was on. Maybe they'll be available later; I await word from the conferences on that.
But I did get to a couple of afternoon (my time) Oxonmoot papers, including a presentation on computational analysis which was almost a parody of the "all about the method, not a penny for the results" kind of analytical speaker, but also including a robust defense of the male heroes of The Lord of the Rings as the kind of sensitive, showing their emotions, willing to emotionally support and bond with each other, males that a young female reader (as the presenter had been when she found the book) could identify with. Her number one choice is Sam, a pick which I think Tolkien would have approved of.
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