Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Candlelight Concerts this Weekend ~ Appalachian and Kittamaqundi Spring

The New York Chamber Soloists will be in town this Saturday evening at Candlelight Concerts. The program focuses on American composers, and perhaps the best known work will be Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring". Note that this concert starts at 7:00pm.

The group of cormorants I spotted at Lake Kittamaqundi today (not far from Candlelight's home on the campus of Howard Community College) could be a sign that spring is arriving here at last.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

New Year's Dawn at the Conservancy

...the Howard County Conservancy, photo taken during a Howard County Bird Club walk that morning.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mergansers ~ Polovtsians

My best shot of common mergansers at Lake Centennial last Sunday afternoon. I'm told that the species is not so commonly seen at Centennial -- they prefer Triadelphia Reservoir, which is frozen over now. I'm also told that the open water at Centennial is thanks to the activity of the geese.

Perhaps the bird rearing up is doing its rendition of the Polovtsian Dances in Borodin's opera, "Prince Igor". That being a favorite opera of mine, I was persuaded to go to my first Met live broadcast at a local movie theater (Columbia AMC 14) to catch the Met's current and controversial production. As updated productions go, this one had much to like and much to dislike, and some people walked out*, and online discussion has been passionate. I like beautiful stage pictures, so I was impressed by the curious rendition of the Polovtsian Dances, here presented in something more akin to modern dance in a poppy field that was supposed to be someone's hallucination during post traumatic stress disorder. Well, in spite of the extra baggage added by the director, it did look pretty. Oddly enough, they were going for authenticity, too, and tried to sort out Borodin's original intentions and separate his music from what Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov put together to complete the opera after Borodin's death. So is that why the wonderful overture was omitted? Glazunov claimed to have composed the overture from his memories of hearing Borodin perform it at the piano.

So generally, I enjoyed this strange staging of Prince Igor, though my patience was tried by the mimed scene added to the ending, even if it was scored with some little-known music by the composer.

By the way, tenor Mikhail Vekua, who sang the small role of Ovlur, the baptized Polovtsian, in this production, was the heroic-voiced Orestes at Bard Summerscape last year (in Taneyev's opera, "Oresteia").

I joined the discussion on Lebrecht's blog.

*Clarification: I'm reading on line about people walking out. I didn't see anyone abandon the performance early at the movie theater.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Red-Necked Grebe Rescued in Columbia (link)

A red-necked grebe was rescued in Columbia earlier this month. That link to the Howard County Bird Club page shows some photos and a short video of the bird in the wildlife rehabilitator's tub before it was released at Sandy Point. Another red-necked grebe has been staying at Lake Centennial recently. Grebes are not agile at all on dry land, and a couple of species can't even walk if trapped on land. They need lots of open water.

Lake Kittamaqundi, close to my home, gets the small but rather cute pied-billed grebe during the spring and fall migrations, and the bird club has shown me a horned grebe during a walk at Wilde Lake.