Bad student! 

Returning to The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study' Take Note exhibition, I was amused and impressed by William James's vividly imagined cat fighting it out with his medical school notes on writer's palsy.

A voice of living water 

Julianne Baird's singing has everything: a beautiful instrument, seemingly flawless technique, thoughtful control, but above all a sensibility that takes you from great depths to great heights in the little space of this brief Italian song.

Saving a vanishing Paris 

It wasn't possible to save it, but the old Paris that was vanishing away 100 years ago was documented in thousands upon thousands of beautiful photographs by Eugène Atget, a failed painter and actor who never thought of his photography as "art". The National Gallery of Art has a series of pages on Atget and his photographs with essays and illustrations. Clicking on one of the photographs will enlarge it, and you can click on the right or left side to go to an enlargement of the next or previous photo. The…

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The Loathly Lady 

While fishing for Julianne Baird videos I ran across the YouTube channel for The Loathly Lady, a comic opera on the theme of Freud's question "what do women want?" How could I resist linking to a work that references so many of my favorite women, real and fictional: Jane Austen and her Emma, Virginia Woolf, Eliza Doolittle, the Wife of Bath, and the divine Julianne too.

Baird is capable of the most lusciously lovely singing imaginable, and she gets to show that off as the Lady of Shalott––here she gets to…

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A treasure on the other side of the world 

As it's very unlikely I'll ever visit the Daijyoji Temple in northern Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, I'm grateful for this virtual tour even though it takes some tinkering to figure out how to use the controls. The Hyogo International Association has kindly provided an explanatory page with some nice photographs. If you click on the small image here it will take you directly to the east wall of the Peacock Room in the tour.

If you don't care for the peacocks, be aware that each room is quite different in style…

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Opera illustrated 

I love illustrated books, and this edition of W.S. Gilbert librettos for The Pirates of Penzance and others (again via the Open Library) reminds me of solitary childhood pleasures: puzzling over my parents' Gilbert & Sullivan with its cartoon-like pictures and confusing plot summaries; perusing my grandmother's elaborate book of paintings of Sir Walter Scott's heroines, each illustration with its protective sheet of translucent paper; staring at the now-vanished 1920's style murals at the big public…

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Praetorius's theater of instruments 

Via the Open Library and Google Books, you can download a pdf file containing images of the entire text of a 19th-century German reprint of Michael Praetorius's De organographia (1618). As best I can tell from a quick look, this is a composer's handbook of instruments, with special emphasis on the organ. Aside from some interesting tables setting out the ranges and types of instruments, the real delight here is a section entitled Theatrum Instrumentorium (go to page 267). Here are engravings of the major…

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Coming events

Previous events


Vocal Week daily morning warm-ups

Augusta Heritage Center, Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, WV

Once again I have the good luck to be running the morning warm-ups for Vocal Week at the Augusta Heritage Center!


8th Annual Friends Benefit Concert

Quaker Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA


Raging Grannies
Sarah Bowen-Salio and Chuck Bowen
Pittsburghers for Public Transit presentation and song (Dean Mougianis)
Penny Anderson
Casa San Jose presentation (and song?)
Chie Togami and friends
Smokestack Lightning and friends

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Penny Anderson: Music At Home