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Music Post: The Renaissance of the Renaissance

The first reasonably complete edition of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach didn’t come out until the early 1900s. The widespread use of original instruments to perform Baroque music didn’t really catch on until the 1970s and 80s. Vast amounts of Renaissance music, including the songs of John Dowland, were…

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How people in need really get fed

When “Sunrise” goes on the road, producers book guests and assign members of the show cast to conduct them. We don’t always know who we’re interviewing until a few days before, when we’re given minimal background information on an interview with someone we may never have met before. For our…

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Who’s afraid of the big, bad movie?

At first, I didn’t especially care whether I saw “The Interview,” because the trailer didn’t really leave me with the impression it would be that funny. Now I really want to see it, if only to show someone in North Korea he can’t tell me what to watch. Sony Pictures…

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Music Post: The French mother of American composers

Even considering Handel’s King George and Haydn’s various Prince Esterhazys, even considering the most important music critics, even considering all the masterpieces commissioned by Diaghilev and Koussevitsky, the most important person in the history of classical not remembered chiefly as a composer has got to be Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979). Boulanger, who…

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Ben Jay’s lesson

UH Athletics Director Ben Jay says he might not have taken the job had he known more about the circumstances here in Hawaii. Behind this little remark is an important lesson in the business of recruiting employees for any posts. It seems so obvious now, but it was apparently not…

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What are your all-time favorite books?

Like many people who read a lot of books, I tend to enjoy reading book reviews, especially when the writer just wants to tell me about the book and isn’t hung up with his own review-crafting art. Jonathan Yardley, retiring from the Washington Post after 33 years, says he always…

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Music Post: Romantic music of the 20th century

Historical periods stubbornly refuse to stay neatly in the time boundaries we set for them, and music is no different. Bach was composing “Baroque music” while younger composers were already writing in the “Classical” style that we associate with Haydn, Mozart and early Beethoven. Schubert was still writing in a…

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Music Post: Discussion of a single theme

One of the most fundamental principles of classical music is that you can sustain interest by building a piece, or a movement, around two themes instead of one. They set each other off, and each can relieve any tedium created by over-repetition of the other. Yet there are some excellent…

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Let’s have Thanksgiving four times a year

We’ve been talking, here at the aerie in Wild West Waikiki, about my proposal that Thanksgiving be celebrated four times a year. It started with my saying on the air that turkey and stuffing was my favorite food. And most years I only get to eat it once. Occasionally I…

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Thanksgiving and the nationalization of American culture

Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not going to diss Thanksgiving. Turkey and stuffing is my favorite food, and as far as I’m concerned Thanksgiving should be held once per fiscal quarter. I just want to observe that there are comparatively few regional differences in the cuisine employed for this…