Music Post: Russian the season, Part I

The German conception of the symphony was largely built around the idea of taking a musical kernel and developing it. Like Miles Davis, who said, “Never finish a phrase,” the typical German composer would work with the kernel of an idea (like a fugue subject) and build something with it….


Remembering Auntie

Everyone who comes to Hawaii and manages to fit in with the unique island culture has someone local to thank, and for me the one I thank most is Colleen Aguiar, who would have been 92 this month. Her memorial service is this weekend. In 1978, when I was 24,…


Gerard Schwarz and the Hawaii Symphony

One of the first CDs I ever acquired – when CD players were so new that it cost $2,000 to get a decent one – was a recording of Gerard Schwarz and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra performing string works by American composers, including David Diamond’s Rounds for String Orchestra,…


Music Post: My Wild Irish Shows (Part II)

Two weeks ago I sampled music by composers who were ethnic-Irish or fell in love with Ireland, in search of any common aspect that makes music sound Irish. This week, some of those composers will be sampled further, but I’ll also introduce music by Walter Beckett and Frederick May, two…


OPEC might actually pump less

OPEC has kinda-sorta agreed, at an informal meeting in Algiers, to come up with a for-real agreement to reduce production, with details to be worked out at its next formal summit, in November. So: how much of a deal is this? Let’s start with the situation we’ve been in up…


Music Post: Hot hits of the 1780s

I work weeks ahead in preparing “Howard’s Day Off.” It’s not unusual to have shows worked out three months in advance, in part because I record promos a month at a time, so I need to know what I’m doing at least five weeks ahead when I go into the…


How the writers made “Bull” likable

When I read that Michael Weatherly would be leaving “NCIS” and starring in his own series called “Bull,” I had my doubts. Like most households we watch “NCIS” and think it has held up well all these years. The premise of “Bull,” on the other hand, sounded like it might…


Music Post: My Wild Irish Shows (Part I)

I was listening to a piece of music by an Irish composer and found it not unlike the music of Faure and Debussy and Ravel, the so-called Impressionist composers – they all rejected the term but, to paraphrase Erik Satie, their music accepts it – and this made me wonder…


The real meaning of the birther controversy

Hawaii is not a big place. The population is maybe 1.4 million, and when Barry Obama was born here it was less than 1 million. Furthermore, because of our geographical isolation, more of the population stays put. For me, having grown up in Maryland, it’s a very different scene. In…


The disaster, the problem, and the solution

In the very early 1980s, my family and I drove to D.C. to New York to take advantage of a great deal on a room in a brand new Wall Street hotel. Maybe it was an Omni. It had just opened. It was a nice weekend. The hotel had free…