Jaquandor, the blogger from the Buffalo area , posted a recording of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. He described it as “one of the towering masterpieces of all music (and probably of all human art).” Is this Beethoven’s greatest symphony? One could make that argument.

Beethoven’s 7th is among my favorite pieces of music. And the second movement, Allegretto, is one of the first pieces of classical music that I could identify.

7/2 seems deceptively simple. The melody line is the same note for a couple measures, and then another note for a could more measures. But the layers laced upon that melody line are absolutely gorgeous.

I remember a version of this section on one of those Warners Brothers Loss Leaders albums called I DIDN’T KNOW THEY STILL MADE RECORDS LIKE THIS (PRO 608, 1975), but I couldn’t remember who performed it until I looked it up.

Waldo de los Rios, an Argentine composer, conductor and arranger born in 1934, is “best remembered for his ability to transform European classical music into pop music.” Unfortunately, “a victim of an acute depression…, de los Rios committed suicide in Madrid in 1977.”

I became rather obsessed with finding a vocalized version of this movement, so much so that I actually purchased the piano music online and sang along several of the parts individually. The printed music is cited as being from “The King’s Speech.” It is heard in the movie as George VI (Colin Firth) delivers his first wartime speech.

I did not find what I was looking for – does it even exist? – but I discovered a couple of interesting variations.

LISTEN to:

Beethoven’s 7th Symphony in A major

La Chambre Philharmonique, played on period instruments and using period performance standards

The Proms

Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, 2nd movement

Waldo de los Rios

Sacris Solemnis – Son et Lumiere

Vocal Beethoven Seventh in the movie Zardoz

I contacted the Albany County Board of Elections on July 20 and received a list of all the folks who filed the petitions to vie for office this year. Of course, some are running unopposed in their respective parties.

But there will be some contested races on Primary Day, September 12. The primaries are closed in New York State, which means that only the people registered in the party will vote in that race.

And the deadline for changing party affiliation has long since passed. In fact, if you are an already registered voter in NYS who wants to vote in the 2018 primaries, you need to change enrollment by October 13, 2017!

People can still submit independent nominating petitions in August.

Albany Chief City Auditor

Glen P. Casey (D, I)
Susan A. Rizzo (D, WF)

No matter who wins the Democratic primary, the other candidate will still be on the ballot November 7.

Albany County Clerk

Bruce A. Hidley (D, C, I)
Howard M. Koff (R)

Albany County Coroner (2 positions)

Rahmar J. Lockridge (D)
Paul L. Marra (D, C)
Francis M. Simmons (D)
Charles M. Smoot (D)
Scott A. Snide (R, C, I, Ref)
Benjamin M. Sturges 3D (D, WF)

Why on earth is there such interest in a coroner’s race? Why is this an elected position at all?

City of Albany City Court Judge (3 positions)

Michael S. Barone (D)
Sherri J. Brooks (D)
Lavonda S. Collins (D)
Helena M. Heath (D, I)
James E. Long (D, WF, I)
John J. Reilly (D, WF)
Holly A. Trexler (D, WF, I)

The cross-endorsements might matter to some folks.

City of Albany Mayor

Frank J. Commisso Jr. (D, I)
Bryan J. Jimenez (G)
Carolyn McLaughlin (D)
Daniel J. Plaat (G)
Katherine M. Sheehan (D, WF, WE)
Joseph P. Sullivan (C)

The Democratic primary is going to get only nastier, I fear.

Then there were all the Albany Common Council races, which would take too long to list here. But my district has a primary race for the first time in my memory.

City of Albany Pres. Common Council

Corey L. Ellis (D, WF)
Christopher Higgins (D)
Mark A. Robinson (D)

City of Albany Treasurer

Darius Shahinfur (D, WF, I)
Roberta Sims (R, C, Ref)

There are also races in a half dozen towns in the county.

The designations are actual parties in New York State, based on the success of its candidate in the last gubernatorial election, in 2014. Often, but not always, it is the Democrat or Republican who is cross-endorsed. C is for Conservative, WF for Working Families, I is for Independence, WR is Women’s Equality, R is for Reform.

The Independence Party is one reason why I groan when someone identifies themselves as a “registered independent.” What they usually mean is they are not enrolled in a political party at all, which means they CANNOT vote in the primary in New York State.

The Women’s Equality Party is some weird invention of Governor Andrew Cuomo that’s only been around since 2014.

I’m a registered Democrat in the city of Albany because that’s where the contests are, and I don’t want to disenfranchise myself. It’s likely, OK, REALLY likely, although not certain, that the Democratic nominee will win in November, based on historic precedent.


The Uninhabitable Earth

An Iceberg the Size of Delaware Just Broke Off a Major Antarctic Ice Shelf

Senator Al Franken and David Letterman in Boiling the Frog

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Sends You Letters about Your Medical Condition

The End of the American Experiment

Pentagon study declares American empire is ‘collapsing’

Enraged by 18th-Century Custard Recipe: Orange Fool

Simply The Worst Human Being We Can Imagine?

Natalia Veselnitskaya was no stranger to Trump business; the timeline so far

Donald Jr. Reviews Famous Works Of Literature (satire)

Ivanka Inc

Crackdown on immigrants shakes upstate New York economy

He Became a Hate Crime Victim. She Became a Widow

So this one time at a journalism conference…

Emmanuel Carrère’s “The Kingdom” explores how a tiny sect became a global religion

Three Misunderstood Things, including Christianity and abortion

How to Talk With Religious Conservatives About LGBT Rights

The Religious Left is getting under right-wing media’s skin

The invention of heterosexuality

When Black Hair Violates The Dress Code

The Origin of ‘Husky,’ the Word That’s Traumatized Generations of Fat Boys

The Librarian Who Took On Al Qaida

Higher education and budget cuts

How One Leader Set a Toxic Tone, Spurning Allies She Needed Most (Shirley Jackson of RPI)

How Andrew Cuomo Keeps the Left in Check

Join in this first-of-its-kind citizen science project, gathering scientifically valuable data from the total solar eclipse that will traverse North America on August 21, 2017; here’s the eclipse simulator; ALB will only get 70%

The Rise and Fall of Toronto’s Classiest Con Man

Why Popularity Matters So Much—Even After High School

Leonard Maltin (Critic): If you’ve never seen silent films, or foreign language films, if your education with film begins with Star Wars then you’re handicapped

Oscar-winner Martin Landau, who starred in ‘Ed Wood,’ ‘North by Northwest’ and ‘Mission: Impossible,’ dies at 89 – before that, he was a cartoonist

Kermit voice actor Steve Whitmire devastated to lose job after 27 years and Jim Henson’s daughter and son respond; replacements?

A WICKED interview with Winnie Holzman, librettist

Chuck Miller gets a postcard from the 2017 Iowa State Fair Photo Competition

NOT ME: THE STAR spoke with Roger Green, who has been driving hearses for more than a decade. “He said nobody wants their dead in a ‘dead’ hearse.”

Mary Anderson, inventor of the practical car windscreen wiper

There’s No Crying in Professional Wiffle Ball

Now I Know: The New York Police Officer Whose Job is a Buzz and Who Was the Fifth Dentist — That Didn’t Recommend Trident? and A Profitable Way to Stop Telemarketers and The Internet’s Hidden Teapot and The Best Checkers Player in History

MUSIC

Sgt. Pepper – Big Daddy. The whole thing, live

The Strawberry Alarm Clock Celebrate 50 Years of “Incense and Peppermints”

K-Chuck Radio: Awesome and rare 70’s dance classics and Father’s Day Funk

Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly And Bryce Dessner Play ‘Planetarium’ Track ‘Mercury’

Beating the spread

Amat Te Mehercle: The 1960s Classics Teacher Who Translated Beatles Songs Into Latin

Rapp on This: The Slants’ SCOTUS victory


When Carlos Santana turned 60, I wrote a piece in my now long-abandoned Underplayed Vinyl series, albums I owned as LPs, which I used to play constantly, but because I didn’t have an easily accessible record player, they didn’t get much action.

The album in question that I posted about, 10 years ago to the day, was Abraxas, Santana, the group’s, second collection. “In 2003 [it] was ranked number 207 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time… Abraxas was deemed ‘culturally, historically, or artistically significant’ by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in their National Recording Registry in 2016.”

Like most of America, I discovered Santana at Woodstock. No, I didn’t go to the festival, but I saw the 1970 movie twice, in a row. Soul Sacrifice, complete with occasional feedback, was revelatory.

Carlos Santana and the various iterations of the group that bear his surname waxed and waned in popularity. For instance, the group was on recording hiatus for seven years in the 1990s.

In 1999, they released Supernatural, which debuted at number 19 on the Billboard 200, and 18 weeks later, topped the US charts. I bought it, of course, but I agree with some of the critics that found that the plethora of guest stars means there’s lacking a “consistent voice that holds the album together.” Yet it had good, and commercially successful, songs.

I’ve recently picked up Santana IV, the return of the core band from the first three albums.

The group Santana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

LISTEN, in roughly chronological order; numbers represent the Billboard pop chart action.

Jingo, a/k/a Jin-Go-Lo-Ba, #56 in 1969 here or here
Evil Ways, #9 in 1970 here or here
Soul Sacrifice here or here, at Woodstock

Abraxas, full album, 1971 : here or here (includes Black Magic Woman, #4 in 1971; Oye Como Va, #13 in 1971)

No One to Depend On, #36 in 1972, here or here

Primera Invasion, 1981 here or here
Searchin’, 1981 here

Hold On, #15 in 1982, here or here

Smooth, featuring Rob Thomas, #1 for 12 weeks in 1999 here (single) or here (album)

While My Guitar Gently Weeps, featuring India.Arie and Yo-Yo Ma, 2010 here (video) or here (album cut)

Anywhere You Want to Go, 2016 here or here

When I saw the Vox piece, The decline of American democracy won’t be televised, it made a lot of sense to me. Arthur has conveniently explained the premise further.

What I was really happy about in this piece, though, is what it does NOT contain: a reference to Adolf Hitler. It’s not that one cannot make parallels between what’s going on now in the United States and that prewar period “in which the Nazi party rose from obscurity to stand on the brink of complete power over Germany.” It’s that it has been used so often, in references to both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, among others, that it has lost almost all meaning.

The example used by Vox in the “democratic backsliding” is Hugo Chavez, the late leader of Venezuela, in his attacks on the courts, free press and other institutions designed to create checks and balances.

Not incidentally, his successor, Nicolas Maduro has thrown opponents in jail and now he’s pushing to rewrite the constitution, which will further consolidate his power. This week, his opponents organized an unofficial protest vote against the constitution change. Millions of Venezuelans showed up. Gunmen fired on crowd of protesters in Caracas, killing a woman and injuring others.

Another international story that’s caught my attention: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could lose his job. From, of all things, the Daily Skimm:

“Last year, the Panama Papers were leaked. They’re the millions of docs that outed some high-profile people for being shady with their finances to avoid the Tax Man. On the list: Sharif’s three adult kids. They allegedly used offshore companies to buy expensive London real estate. Pakistanis want to know where the money came from. So, the country’s Supreme Court asked a group of investigators to look into it.

“Last week, the investigators accused the Sharifs of forgery and hiding their financials, but the Sharifs say ‘not true.’ Sharif’s daughter – who also has political ambitions – gave investigators an ’06 document she says proves she doesn’t own these properties. But turns out, the doc was typed out in Calibri font…which didn’t come out until ’07. Oops.”

Of course, there are no parallels between these three children of a politician and any other three adult children of a public official. I just thought it was… interesting.

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