Music Post: Mountainous music

Classical composers, like songwriters, have long been inspired by nature, including, and sometimes especially, great mountains. Saturday morning on “Howard’s Day Off” I’ll sample some of the peaks. Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler both loved hiking in the mountains, and both had cabins in the Alpine foothills where they did…


Tempest in a tweetspot

The New York Times has started to ask the question, whether it’s always a story when the president-elect has a hissy fit on Twitter. The implication is, perhaps we should relegate the tweets to footnotes and focus on what Donald Trump is actually doing. Sounds good but I notice the…


The OPEC deal: Who will be affected and how

Benchmark crude oil prices rose almost to $50 a barrel Thursday after OPEC, surprising analysts, agreed to its first production cut in eight years. For this to happen, political rivals and theological foes Saudi Arabia (Sunni) and Iran (Shi’ite) had to agree, which most observers doubted would happen. Before running…

hd outdoors

Music Post: Have traveled, will compose

Two of the most interesting works by Russian composers are “Capriccio Espagnole” by Rimsky-Korsakov and “Capriccio Italien” by Tchaikovsky. In both cases these Russians were inspired by actual journeys to places with musical traditions very different from their homeland. Both Spain and Italy have provided musical inspiration for lots of…


Music Post: The “level playing field” show

Some of the people who listen to “Howard’s Day Off” on Saturday morning are professional musicians or music aficionados with conservatory training. That makes me happy. But mostly I do the show for people like me, people who love music and like exploring new sounds but don’t have any formal…


Music Post: The music of Prokofiev

In recent programs I played “the minor Russians” who worked in the shadows of Tchaikovsky, and the toadies and dissidents of the Soviet era, but left out Sergei Prokofiev. I was saving him for now. This week: a whole show of Prokofiev’s music. Even people who don’t think they know…


So: Now what?

The older I get, and the more stories I cover that turn out differently from what everyone expects, the less patience I have for speculative news stories, except where we’re all clear that we’re guessing. Clearly we’re guessing what Donald Trump will do, in part because he said wilder things…


Let’s get this thing over with!

After months of having our hot buttons pushed from all sides, we finally get to pull our own levers, so to speak, and then, if the one we vote against is the winner, we can begin to “Get over it,” as the Bushees said to the Gore Patrol years ago….


The biz buzz in Hilo

The organizers of HIPlan, the Hawaii Island business plan competition in Hilo, offered to fly me over and put me up Friday night if I would be a judge in the final round of their contest. They had me at “Hilo.” The trip didn’t start auspiciously. I got stuck in…


Music Post: The need for steed – music that gallops

A painting based on the story “Mazeppa,” the subject of a Liszt tone poem. You can easily fill two hours with music depicting horses, oxen and donkeys. I won’t come close to getting it all in. For example, I won’t squeeze in the donkey music Camille Saint-Saens wrote for “Carnival…