Synaphaï: Gene Gaudette's Blog

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Like garlic to a vampire

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I am not surprised at all to read this. New York City's Port Authority hub at West 42nd Street does the same thing.


Lee, Ling sprung by Clinton

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MSNBC reports that North Korea has granted a "special pardon" to Euna Lee and Laura Ling, two US journalists for Current TV, and will release them following a meeting between Bill Clinton and Kim Jong-Il. In a related story, the No Quarter blog reports on just about the last headline one would expect to see from the usually insufferable Drudge Report.


And We're Back

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Our beloved web host made a change to server security and forgot to tell us, in effect shutting down the site database. Well, we fixed it with the addition of three characters toa configuration file, and all is well. New stuff to follow by Monday. You'll like it!


Another Reason I Like Alex Ross

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His recent post on the best Bruckner recordings on CD comes pretty close to mine (though I'm not as sanguine about the Welser-Möst/Cleveland Orchestra Bruckner DVDs I've seen). Besides, how can I not like a guy whose first LP was Jascha Horenstein's mighty Bruckner Ninth on Vox?

I'll add two alternate first choices to Alex's short list: the Eighth with Herbert Blomstedt and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig on Querstand, and the Ninth with Evgeny Mravinsky conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic on Melodiya.


Is He the Greatest Recording Era Conductor You've (Probably) Never Heard Of?

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It was Ray Edwards – at the time buyer for Tower Records' legendary, late, lamented classical department on West 4th and Broadway – that recommended I check out the recordings of British-born, Russian-raised conductor Albert Coates (I believe we'd been talking about the ever-popular "Toscanini vs. Furtwängler" debate and my having come down decidedly on the side of Willem Mengelberg).


Rupertgate Goes Thermonuclear

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Breaking at The Guardian: Sean Hoare, the reporter who blew the whistle on phone hacking at News of the World, has been found dead.

This is the big tipping point: "Rupertgate" has now gone thermonuclear. Cue the fat lady for Rupert Murdoch — and News Corporation itself.

If the New York Post weren't owned by Murdoch, tomorrow's headline would be "NEWS CORPSE".


Cornell MacNeil, 1922-2011

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Word of operatic baritone Cornell MacNeil's passing had spread over the weekend, and this morning's NY Times obit by Jonathan Kandell provides the details — including comments from James Levine and a few details I hadn't known. MacNeil had a terrific international career — including over 600 appearances at the Metropolitan Opera.


Inside the New York City Opera Meltdown

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Opera Chic has a link-rich update on the rebellion going on among opera's artistic elite over the New York City Opera's decision to leav Lincoln center. Yes, it's ugly.


Well, that only took two years… this is

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The domain name became available at 3am Eastern Daylight Savings Time this morning; a few seconds later, despite being sound asleep, I bought it. I didn't think I'd ever snag it up, but patience and a good domain name auto-acquisition script paid off. For those of you asking, "Why synaphaï", click here.


Is There a "Mozart Effect"? Oliver Sacks Says No… and Yes

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An example of crass commercialism for which I blame myself — and it makes a great gift.

Does listening to Mozart make you a genius? Lest anyone forget, here is an example of a decade-plus-old product for which I take near-full responsibility.

Courtesy of the gang over at, Oliver Sacks has a detailed answer:


A "Das Lied" That Was Well Worth the Wait

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I'm listening to a recording of Das Lied von der Erde that has been much awaited among Mahlerphiles: the concert recording of June 14, 1968 with Fritz Wunderlich, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and the Vienna Symphony conducted by Josef Krips. Back when I was with Andante there had been talk about attempting to release the recording; alas, those plans did not come to pass. The good news is that it's finally been given an "official" release by Deutsche Grammophon. To say the extrovert, characterful performance transcends the boxy sonority (that sounds to these ears to have come from a true "taped off the Telefunken receiver" aircheck and not from a broadcast or archival master) is an understatement – the singing is stunning, and what a treat to hear Krips get such evocative playing from the Vienna Symphony. It's the most edifying and satisfying vocal release I've heard so far this year. Highly recommended.


Restarting the "Countdown": Keith Olbermann Tacks Left

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"Countdown with Keith Olbermann" is back on the air after its host walked out on MSNBC a little more than five months ago. The most notable difference is that Olbermann is letting his political hair down in the program's Current TV incarnation, revealing himself as far more liberal than he was on MSNBC. In a Special Comment following a segment with contributor Michael Moore, Olbermann laid out the underlying principle of "Countdown":


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