Wagner Ring journey

Over the past three weeks, I’ve been going through the 19-LP, 15-hour recording of Sir George Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic playing the full Ring Cycle. Tonight, I started opera number three, Siegfried

Here is the set I own:

It’s an amazing recording. Check out this background.

Like all Wagner, it’s beautiful, loud, sometimes boring, bombastic, and just exhausting. But I can’t help but be overwhelmed by it’s scope and majesty. Once you start hearing the different character’s liermotifs, it’s hard to go back just listening to the “songs” such as they are in Wagner.

All that musical foreshadowing and throwbacks that John Williams peppers his movie scores with? Wagner perfected that.

And try listening to the slow build up at the opening of Dad Rheingold with the appearance of the Rhine nymphs. It’s just an amazing gradual audio reveal.

Supposedly the wait for tickets to Bayreuth is over a decade. I’m signing up.


Podcast hint: Stephen

Magazine survey

What magazines or websites should I read on the regular that are not news focused? I’m looking for weird, different, esoteric, varied, beautiful.

Here’s a short list of magazines and sites I am already aware of so we avoid duplicates:

  • Monocle
  • Gray’s Sporting Journal
  • Afar
  • Sun Magazine
  • Oxford Magazine
  • Cabinet
  • Esopus
  • Put A Egg On It
  • Lucky Peach

Radio and the spirit of the future

Just like TV did not kill radio, I don’t think the internet will ever kill radio. (But, TV is *the* thing this year.)

What the internet has allowed us to do is cut through the morass of similarity in most terrestrial radio and go directly the stations that are doing something interesting, different or wacky. Yes, the internet allows us to “curate” (apologies) our listening, while still relying on others to pick and discover for us. As I explained earlier, I love music but I don’t have the time or patience to pick out everything I listen to. Hence my love of internet radio, Pandora, etc.

So here are some stations I love:

WDVX – old-time country, bluegrass, blues, Americana out of little station outside of Knoxville, TN

WDCB – Chicago’s Home for Jazz

WBGO – Jazz out of Newark, NJ

KPIG – Broadcasting out of Freedom, CA. What more do you need? It’s pretty random.

Music, Maximum Balloon, and the future


I am always woefully behind on music. I started listening to TV on the Radio just a couple of months ago. This, despite being told about them in 2005 or 2006, and being told I will like them by a trusted friend. I just ignored him. A decade letter, I finally listen and realize he was right.

So last night I wrote that friend an email saying, “Ugh, I didn’t listen, but you were right.” He said thanks and then promptly reminded me to check out Maximum Balloon. I did right away and he was right again.

So don’t spend your time fretting over whether you are missing something good. Just listen to your friends (both IRL and on the web) who enjoy digging through such things and follow their lead. Also don’t (as I sometimes do) get paralyzed by choice, especially in music, and just give up and listen to the same thing over and over again. Don’t get me wrong, I love it but sometimes the mere question, “what should I listen to?” just shuts me down.

Music: I like it but I want to spend zero time figuring it out.