More services to music

Where’s my OBE?

I rather indulged myself recently and bought six albums of music by Telemann played by Collegium Musicum 90 which have been on my Classics Online wish list for about a year. These are mostly albums which were released throughout the 90s, which meant that none of them had any catalogue numbers. Once again, it was time for Mr Bamboo to don his deerstalker, take up his magnifying glass, and do some musical detective work.

Classic Online made some of the work a little easier because they usually include TWV numbers on the website, and sometimes in the file names. But on this occasion, the cover was patchy, and I had to resort to this website to track down the rest.

As a valuable [Opinion! –ed.] public service, I present my findings below.

  1. Telemann Vol. 1 ‘La Changeante’ (CHAN 0519, 1991)
      1. Violin Concerto in A minor (TWV 51:a1)
      2. Flute and Violin Concerto in E minor (TWV 52:e3)
      3. Concerto in G major for Four Violins Unaccompanied (TWV 40:201)
      4. Concerto in A major for Four Violins (TWV 54:A1)
      5. La Changeante: Orchestral Suite in G minor (TWV 55:g2)
      6. Violin Concerto in E major (TWV 51:E2)
  2. Telemann Vol. 2 Ouverture burlesque (CHAN 0512, 1991)
      1. Ouverture burlesque: Orchestral Suite in B flat major (TWV 55:B8)
      2. Violin Concerto in G major (TWV 51:G7)
      3. Concerto in D major for Two Flutes, Violin and Cello (TWV 54:D1)
      4. Violin Concerto in F sharp minor (TWV 51:fis1)
      5. Concerto in G major for Two Violins (TWV 52:G2)
  3. Concerto in D major for Three Horns, Violin and Orchestra – ‘La Bouffonne’ Suite – Grillen-Symphonie – Alster-Ouverture (CHAN 0547, 1993)
      1. Concerto in D major for Three Horns, Violin and Orchestra (TWV 54:D2)
      2. ‘La Bouffonne’ Suite (TWV 55:C5)
      3. Grillen-Symphonie (TWV 50:1)
      4. Alster-Ouverture (TWV 55:f11)
  4. Music of the Nations (CHAN 0593, 1996)
      1. Suite in G major ‘des Nations anciens et modernes’ (TWV 55:G4)
      2. Concerto for 2 chalumeaux in D minor (TWV 52:d1)
      3. Concerto for viola and orchestra in G major (TWV 51:G9)
      4. Sonata for 2 chalumeaux in F major (TWV 43:F2)
      5. Suite in B flat major ‘Völker-Ouvertüre’
  5. Ouverture comique (CHAN 0661, 2000)
      1. Concerto in E minor for recorder, flute and strings (TWV 52:e1)
      2. Violin Concerto in B flat major (TWV 51:B1)
      3. Ouverture in F sharp minor (TWV 55:fis1)
      4. Concerto in A major for two oboes d’amore (TWV 52:A1)
      5. Ouverture in D major (TWV 55:D22)

The sixth album, which need not be included here, is last year’s Autograph Scores (CHAN 0787), the accompanying booklet including the catalogue numbers.

In addition to this lot, I also bought Albinoni’s Opp. 7 and 9 by Collegium Mus­ic­um 90 (CHAN 0792(3)), which have just been released as a three-disc set. I already had the original, separate albums on my wish list, but this particular release puts the works together rather than mixing them up, which seems often to be the fashion.

At the moment, though, I’ve only reached Leclair’s flute sonatas, which means it’ll be awhile before I get as far as the new stuff by Telemann and even longer before I listen to the Albinoni. Something to look forward to.

[11.05.14. Until now, the so-called Sonata for 2 chalumeaux on Telemann’s Music of the Nations has remained an enduring puzzle. I’ve long suspected I was missing something, but the title implied that it belonged to the TWV 42 series where there is a sonata for 2 cha­lu­meaux, which happens to have an alternative catalogue number for an overture that bears no re­sem­blance to what is on the album.

I was listening to the work again today and thinking that it sounded famili­ar, but couldn’t recall where I’d heard it.

I went to Presto Classical where I tried a search for “Telemann” and “cha­lu­meaux”, which sent me to the Music of the Nations and the correct iden­ti­fi­c­a­tion. The work is Quartet for violin, 2 chalumeaux and b.c. in F major (TWV 43:F2). Where had I gone wrong? I’d been misled by the title in the album booklet which says nothing about a violin.

The piece is also on Wind Concertos Vol. 7, which is probably why it sounded familiar.]

When the empress is musical

Checks and imbalances.

For some reason, certain music sites have been being slow. I went to Classics Online this morning, whose main page appeared without much bother, but after that it was excruciatingly slow. I tried the Chandos site, which was also clunkingly slow. However, the moment I switched Astrill on, there were no problems. So, what was the problem?

My answer is that I don’t know, but it seems odd that two music sites should both be being slow; and knowing that the new empress is a singer, I wonder whether the sites are being subject to an extra level of paranoia. National security, of course.

My browsing led me to The Trio Sonata in 18th Century Italy, played by London Baroque. This is the seventh album in a series dedicated to trio sonatas from the Baroque era.

I’ve also been browsing the Hyperion website quite a bit, but shy away from buying stuff because the prices there are higher and subject to VAT. I’m damned if I’m going to let that twerp, George Osborne, get his incompetent hands on any more of my money than I can avoid. However, if the UK’s credit rating gets cut again, sterling might drop in value sufficiently to make their albums less pricey.

I seem to have hit a whole bunch of harpsichord albums on my Walkman: three of pieces by (François) Couperin, one of pieces compiled by MRN Couperin, and two albums of keyboard sonatas by Scarlatti (because my Walkman alphabetises by “Domenico” and not “Scarlatti”). I prefer not to listen to so much harpsi­chord music all at once and usually alternate between keyboard albums and something else. In this case, it’s going to be lute music by Dowland.


Satan’s Panamera.

As I was heading to 远东百货 from Carrefour this morning, I was just passing the bus stop when I heard a turbo-charged engine roaring away. I was a little concerned because I was just passing the bus on the inside as it sat at the stop, and had to swing out to get round some car when this happened.

Some idiot in a white Panamera drove past at speed followed by his retarded friend in one of those hunch-backed BMW SUVs. I was waiting for one or both of them to have an accident, but they hurtled towards 中山路 and turned left long before I reached the intersection myself.

When I reached the side gate into Jinma, I saw another white Panamera, but as the reg. plate revealed, this one was being driven by Satan. I feel a little sorry for Satan for being made to drive such an awful car.

Lacking the drive

Google down the gurgler.

Sometime this morning it became apparent that there were issues with Google. gmail was refusing to appear, and Google image search was dead slow and stop. In the course of the day gmail has been appearing intermittently, but more off than on.

According to this story on The Register, the problem is with Google Drive, which is presumably the source of problems with the rest.


The hole in the wall.

My esteemed colleague and SOAS graduate, Mr Tucker, recently received a manual of Tibetan, which he’d bought from Amazon. In normal countries such an event would scarcely raise an eyebrow, but the Empire isn’t exactly normal. The Lexilogos website is almost certain blocked because it has links to grammars of both Tibetan and Uyghur. Yet Daniel’s book doesn’t appear to have tripped any alarms.

I might’ve sent it back myself because any book which describes a voiceless palatal stop (presumably) as a “moist” k is unlikely to meet Mr Bamboo’s demanding standards.

Painting the windows black

And bricking them up as well.

The news from Google is that Reader is being killed off in July. The reaction to the news provoked this G+ post from some Google dude who was asking what people liked about Reader. I saw this too late to add a comment myself, but might’ve said the following.

I’ve probably been using Reader for longer than I realise, having started in the days when blogspot, for example, was usually accessible in China. But when the lights went out after the 2008 Olympics, Reader was a small window into a world which was largely blocked until I had the means to get a VPN. Pictures and YouTube videos did not get through, but text did, and I could read articles from sites which had fallen off the radar. Most of them have little to do with China, but they have fallen victim to the blanket block which the country imposes on a lot of sites.

So well done, Google. You’re helping the Chinese government suppress information because if I didn’t have a VPN, I wouldn’t be able to read most of the feeds I have.

I see things developing in this fashion. First, I’ll probably use reader-like functions on blogspot and WordPress to continue reading some blogs; but other sites are independent of these sources, which will mean visiting them. Google Reader, by contrast, was immediate and convenient where visits to individual websites will be slow and time-consuming. Second (and finally), I’ll stop bothering altogether except when I happen to be on blogspot and can be bothered tracking down WordPress’s ids-integrated reader service.

Along with the demise of iGoogle, the death of Reader seems to stem from the belief that the world is all mobile phones and wireless. I wouldn’t be surprised if the decision was based on, “I surf the Web on a mobile. My mates surf the Web on their mobiles. That means everyone does what we do.” It gives no thought to people who don’t have the means or inclination to spend yet more money on some other way of surfing the Net.

Are there other reader service out there where I could gather everything? Probably, but I’ve never had to consider their existence. Are they accessible from China? Smart money says no. Feeds to the browser? Perhaps, but I’ve got overspill with Chrome, and I know that certain RSS feeds are blocked. Although I have a VPN, there’s no guarantee that it’s always going to work.

The end of Reader and iGoogle is going to be a colossal, inconvenient nuisance.


Bite of the Apple.

There’s some consumer programme on CCTV called 3.15 which takes an annual pot shot at one well-known company or another, criticising it for its shortcomings. This year it’s Apple.

The scam has to do with faulty phones for which a replacement is offered. The “new” model is nothing of the sort, being a refurbished phone with an old back cover. The report about it on Tea Leaf Nation says, “This practice does not exist in the U.S. and Europe, claims CCTV, and thus is discriminatory against Chinese consumers.”

Whenever there have been complaints about foreign companies in China (e.g. Carrefour has come in for flak for one reason or another), I’ve wondered who is to blame. If the boys at Apple’s head office have authorised this particular practice in China or if those at Carrefour’s head office have been discriminating against Chinese consumers, then they deserve to have a few rocks thrown at them. But I’m a little sceptical about the source of such bad practices, suspecting that local management is to blame for the mischief. For example, the case which affected Carrefour was in one city, but the same thing was not reported from others.

It seems that the company gets blamed when it’s more likely that some unscrupulous regional manager is the true villain. However, I’ll shed no tears if Apple really have been trying to diddle people in China.

(The article also notes that 3.15 has also been used by CCTV to bully companies which have apparently declined to advertise on it. There is further evidence that this may be the case because some whiny celeb appears to have been under orders to post a tweet [?] about Apple on Weibo at 8.20pm; unfortunately, it included that particular instruction. Other celebs also posted at the same time, but it’s also been claimed they were victims of hacking. Paint me a deep shade of sceptical.)


That dissenting vote.

Democracy with Chinese characteristics has seen Xi Jinping ascend to the Jade Throne with one dissenting vote. Instantly the brave censors were on Weibo to stop people from wondering who didn’t vote for the Son of Heaven. As one report suggested, he could’ve been the dissenter. Such modesty. Why a discussion about the dissenting vote needed to be censored is beyond me, but I don’t really understand paranoid governments.

Those TWV Numbers in full

Now if they’d been included in the first place…

I was having a look at my albums by Telemann last night and filling in the catalogue numbers which went missing after I re-ripped my music while I was on holiday. Thanks to my diligence, it was not difficult to fill in most of the gaps from records I made. In some cases it was rather too easy because, for example, the content of the album “Wind Concertos” by Musica Antiqua Köln is also found among the eight volumes of “Wind Concertos” played variously by La Stagione Frankfurt and, er, Musica Antiqua Köln.

I managed to identify the content from “Sonatas from Der Getreue Music-Meister and Essercizii Musici” by Camerata Köln without too much bother (not true – see further comments on this below), but their album of “Trio Sonatas” was more problematic. Back in the olden days when I bought these albums, they didn’t include TWV numbers, which is unhelpful for collectors trying to decide whether the piece in F major is TWV 41:F2 or 42:F9 or 52:F1 or etc.

However, with a little detective work using this catalogue site and YouTube, I was able to identify the TWV numbers for the pieces on Camerata Köln’s album of “Trio Sonatas”. As a public service, I supply them and the details below.

  1. Sonata in C minor (Essercizii musici) (TWV 42:c2) – Largo – Vivace – Andante – Allegro
  2. Sonata in F major (TWV 42:F9) – Allegro – Affettuoso – Presto
  3. Sonata in A minor (TWV 42:a6) – Largo – Allegro – Cantabile – Allegro
  4. Sonata in E minor (TWV 42:e6) – Affettuoso – Allegro – Grave – Allegro
  5. Sonata in F major (TWV 42:F15) – Largo – Allegro – Largo – Allegro
  6. Sonata in C minor (TWV 42:c7) – Adagio – Allegro – Adagio – Allegro

As an additional public service, I can reveal that the mystery sonata in F minor on “Sonatas from Der Getreue Music-Meister and Essercizii Musici” by Camerata Köln is TWV 41:f2. This track is from Sammelhandschrift, but quite how it should be included in this album, I don’t know.

22.06.14. I’ve been editing and revising my catalogue of music by Tele­mann, and surveying what’s available via Presto Classical. I like to listen to more recent recordings of my older music because that goes back about thirty years and I like to compare the two. I decided to listen to TWV 42:A6, which is a sonata in A major and allegedly on Camerata Köln’s 1984 album “Recorder Sonatas from Der Getreue Music-Meister & Essercizii Musici”. But what I heard was definitely not what I’ve had all this time, and the hunt for the truth was on.

It was not a sonata in A major (although the booklet and Camerata Köln’s website both claim that it is), and I ended up trawling through the online catalogue of works by Telemann looking for something with the right movements. I found TWV 41:B3, a sonata in B flat major from Der Ge­treue Music-Meister, and went off to YouTube to see whether I could confirm which sonata it was.

As it turned out, I had found the right piece. The sonata isn’t for the re­corder in particular, but can be tackled on any one of a number of instruments. For example, the recording on YouTube featured a viola da gamba. Ironically, that was played by, er, Camerata Köln.

Temperature, temperature quite contrary

Make your mind up.

The high of 27° on Saturday was answered with a mere 8° yesterday. This morning was wet, contrary to the forecast, but has turned dry since. Tomorrow it’s meant to reach 20° or 21°, which seemed quite promising until I saw Wednesday’s high of 9°.


Take it onto the road.

Another episode from Moronic Chinese Motorists this morning. I was heading along the cycle lane past Vanguard and Suyou only to run into two outstanding specimens of motoring stupidity. One car was heading north and the other south, with little more than the thickness of a credit card between them. Instead of one (or better still, both) of these drooling halfwits reversing, they both persisted in driving forwards. I manoeuvred around them and continued on my way, but I shouldn’t have to be manoeuvring around cars on the cycle lane; or, Access Road as the petrol-driven plonkers call it.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting to turn down 解放路 at lunchtime on my way to Yamazaki when I hear some turbocharged engine approaching, and through the intersection comes this BMW (probably an M3), which is going far too fast. The car is also hot pink. Eek! Now while a Matchbox BMW M3 can be hot pink and get away with it, this is just hugely ghastly. I saw it parked outside the hot pot place as I was heading back to school where it was scaring the other cars away.

Meanwhile, back in the control room

Nanny hit a switch.

The news this morning, which has no doubt caused outpourings of joy and hap­pi­ness across what China thinks is the Internet (but is just a ship in a bottle), was that the IMDb has been unblocked. I don’t know why it was ever blocked in the first place, but it’s been off the menu for about the past two and a half years.

Since the IMDb is a useful source of reference, but not much else, this wouldn’t seem to be heralding a more mature approach to the Internet. I have been won­der­ing if Ang Lee’s success at the Oscars perhaps led to the site being unblocked as a weird sort of reward.


The weather. A perennial favourite.

The temperature has reached its high-water mark today after steadily increasing every day for about the past week. Tomorrow, it’s meant to fall by about half to a mere 14°. A couple of weeks ago, that was quite pleasant, but it won’t be fun this time round. The weather this year has been unseasonably warm since I’ve noted in recent years that it’s not until the week of the speaking exams in April that it really improves.


Cough, splutter.

It seems that the old laptop (an Acer 6920G) is dying in spite of the hours I spent reinstalling Windows 7 and patching it. Since then, it’s got even slower, and the e­vid­ence sug­gests that the HD is dying. The D:\ drive is there, but impossible to access, and the machine’s performance is dismal. I tried running Excel 2007 on it, but every key stroke was taking seconds to have an effect. The HD light is often on as well.

I managed to install a whole bunch of patches on the machine last night, but there’s another one (.NET Framework patch) which is going nowhere. In addition, Ex­plor­er is often slow and cranky.

The entire problem seems to be down to a file called classpnp.sys, which I identified as the source of the original issue, and which seems to be the source of continuing problems. It’s a problem which has affected others (for example), and which seems to be highly resistant to being repaired.

I need to uninstall Acrobat and Office 2007 on the old machine before it gets to the point where I can’t even boot up at all.

It seems to be such an ignominious end for a machine which was such a solid piece of kit.

The next day. I uninstalled Acrobat last night, which took over an hour in spite of claims to the contrary. Office took a smidge longer – somewhere around six to seven hours, I estimate. I’ve packed up the old machine since the amount of effort required to maintain it far exceeds the value of such an exercise.

[04.10.14. After I resurrected the nine-year-old grandfather of my current machine and managed to get it working properly, I turned my attention back to its im­med­i­ate predecessor, which was still operating chronically slowly because the D:\ drive was there, but not there. (It’s a bit like my pupils’ intellects – supposedly there, but then they write something in English, and there’s no sign of any intellect whatsoever.)

After some unsuccessful fiddling with the Windows tools to see whether I could access the missing drive, I tried reformatting it from the command prompt. The process worked, and the machine is now chugging along about as well as a six-year-old machine can.]

A shepherd would be handy

But commonsense would do just as well.

It was chilly this morning, but after lunch when I went to the State Grid building to pay my electricity bill (“Next week,” said the woman by which she probably means tomorrow), it was feeling more pleasant out. The sky is not as clear as yesterday, though. There is a visible layer of grey filth over the city, and the hill to the east has vanished again.

The theme of my shopping expedition was groups of people, although “mobs” might be a better word. The local peasantry, it seemed, had descended on the town en masse. I watched a group of them crossing 解放路 in spite of a line of cars bearing down on them. Part of me applauded them for poking the motorists deservedly in the eye with a sharp stick; part of me cringed to watch another round of suicide-by-street-crossing which seems so popular here.

There was none of the nice Dutch Gouda in Carrefour, but Walmart did have some Taikoo sugar. The coffee sugar I bought from 远东百货 about a year ago has long since vanished from the shelves. (As an aside, did I mention that a jar of Nutella is twice the price here as it is in the UK? Daniel and I were talking about the price because Carrefour suddenly had the large jars on the shelves and I wondered how much it cost in the real world. I should note that the current exchange rate is now ¥9.35 to £1, which makes things even worse.)

When I went into 远东百货, the refurbishment of the overpriced chocolates and wines section was done. I was hoping for a new range of wines on the shelves, but it’s now become the the Kiddie Section. No more of the reasonably priced Spanish wine, I fear.

The Sheen of Spring

It’s winter. It’s spring. It’s winter. It’s spring.

It’s just been February, which is not a month I typically associate with warm weather, and yet this seems to have been the warmest February since I’ve been in Wuxi. March has just started and already there is a shimmer of green on the trees alongside the canal. There are some flowers out at school, and in general spring seems to be shoving winter out of the way without so much as a by-your-leave. In my mind, the weather doesn’t really turn warm until about the time of the speaking exams in April, but my mind is being proved wrong this year.

Winter, determined not to to be bullied off stage by some upstart, has been fighting back. A couple of days ago a storm blew through, and yesterday the fantasy temperature was 12°; the actual high was 7°. This morning it’s absolutely clear (enough to see the line of the hill to the east) and sunny.


School news.

I learnt the other day that we’re getting a new CP on Monday. At the moment, I know little about him – Dan, American, has been in Vietnam. I suspect he’ll find he’s replacing one chicken coop of unnecessary dithering with another.

With Peter’s departure, the triumvirate of Peters has been broken, but with the new CP’s arrival, we now have a triumvirate of Dan(iel)s.

The first week of term has seen two changes to the timetable. I’ve now been lumbered with an eight-lesson Friday, but my Wednesday and Thursday are comparatively light. I lost two PAL 2 classes, and my PAL 1 class on a Monday, which was originally third period after lunch and then switched to the second, has now gone back to the third. In past years, the timetable with which I started has been the one with which I’ve finished. This year it must’ve changed at least four times. It’s also been my worst timetable.

For reasons that we cannot fathom, the school dog has been hanging around at the main gate for the past week. Sometimes she trots through when the gate opens; other times she hesitates. I’ve also seen Wayne the School Cat a couple of times. He seems well fed.


Blogging.

I’ve been meaning to write another entry, but have felt no compelling urge to write another. Topics which swirled around in my mind were why the Pope’s abdication was called a resignation as if he’s the CEO of Catholicism plc, and why North Korea’s Mr Sexy said “Someone set us up the bomb!” the very next day. (Bonus points if you can recall the meme.)

The story about China being a source of hacking also crossed my mind, but as the savvy punters noted, the Empire’s role in all this was being played up, and there are plenty of other state-authorised nuisances out there, the US not being the least of them.


Music.

I’ve been trawling my way through the Classics Online website looking for albums to go on my wish list there. I’ve been doing a label crawl, which is all right for some of the smaller ones, but Chandos has 1804 albums, and EMI Classics puts that in the shade with 5008.

My searches have yielded a couple of albums of music by Telemann which consist wholly of tracks which I don’t have. I suppose (given the huge size his output) that such a feat is not impossible since I only have 137 works altogether. [Only 137? –ed. 05.09.14. 293]

I’m also keeping half an eye on less well known composers such as the French composers, Marin Marais, Jean-Fery Rebel, and various Italians such as Castello, Marini, Picchi, and others. I have some of their works, but they tend to be scattered across various albums.