Thanks for all the looks at the site and the comments (none of which would have occurred without the referrals by Derek Lowe and Megan McArdle). I’ll be at a weeklong adult amateur chamber music festival, which the grandchild of one of the participants calls, with the usual clarity of childhood — band camp for adults.
I’ll be looking at comments and responding to them until the 23rd at noon and be back on the 30th.
For the musically inclined — find and listen to a Cello concerto written by a young Russian Cellist — Nina Kotova. It’s quite dark without being dissonant and very beautiful and tonal. I’m doing this partially out of guilt because I bought the CD for under 2 bucks. I’d love to hear what she’d do with a Piano Cello sonata I wrote years ago.
She’s a former model, which may explain the sultry photo and the decolletage on the CD cover. But this sort of thing seems to be required of any female classical musician. We had the pleasure of listening to Hillary Hahn when she was a cute frisky teenager years ago. Look at her CD covers now. Yo Yo Ma has never appeared in a Speedo to my knowledge. It just doesn’t seem right.
I posted the following on the “Skeptical Chymist” before going off last year about this time. It’s written for chemists. Enjoy
Chemiotics: Apologies to Borodin
Posted on behalf of Retread
Can you picture yourself spending a week with a group of people who can’t tell an Angstrom from arugula, some of whom are wary of all “chemicals”. Many highly analytic types (mathematicians, computer scientists, physicists, electrical engineers and even chemists) do just that and enjoy it immensely. I speak of adult amateur chamber music festivals (or ‘band camp for adults’ as one of my friend’s grandkids calls them). After 35 years of them, I only met the 5th chemist this year. They are vastly outnumbered by the other analytics, particularly mathematicians and physicists.
Participants are highly educated for the most part, but the most talented cellist this year was a moving-company man who hauls furniture around for a living, and I still remember playing with a marvellous 300-pound violist years ago who was a jail matron.
If you were an aspiring organic chemist in the early 60s, the bible was “Mechanism and Structure in Organic Chemistry” by Edwin S. Gould, a physical chemist amazingly enough. He also happens to be an excellent violinist and I had the pleasure of playing with him a few years ago. He’s still active in research although he received his PhD from UCLA in 1950. Who says chemicals are toxic!?
Occasionally the two cultures do clash, and a polymer chemist friend is driven to distraction by a gentle soul who is quite certain that “chemicals” are a very bad thing. For the most part, everyone gets along. Despite the very different mindsets, all of us became very interested in music early on, long before any academic or life choices were made.
So, are the analytic types soulless automatons producing mechanically perfect music which is emotionally dead? Are the touchy-feely types sloppy technically and histrionic musically? A double-blind study would be possible, but I think both groups play pretty much the same (less well than we’d all like, but with the same spirit and love of music).
I wonder why chemists are so outnumbered in this group? It’s been downhill ever since Alexander Borodin. Perhaps a larger sample is needed. Any thoughts?