Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bach's third Brandenberg, two ways: Advent Chamber Orchestra and Punch Brothers

The clip above is of the first movement, allegro, of J.S. Bach's third Brandenberg concerto, performed by the Advent Chamber Orchestra, using traditional instrumentation. Instead of showing the musicians playing the piece, this clip, made by smalin, presents a "scrolling, bar-graph score" that lets you visualize the notes being played by the various instruments.

Now, as the Pythons would say, for something completely different. Here's a performance by the Punch Brothers, a five man string band who use traditional bluegrass instruments--banjo, bass, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin--to play both bluegrass and classical music. The clip above shows them, along with Rob Moose on an additional violin, performing Rob's arrangement of the third movement, also allegro, of the third Brandenberg.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Football, finally: Gators survive, Bulls don't.

I've held back on my usual commentary on college football this season, waiting for the shoes to drop. As of now, one has, but the other hasn't. The one that has is that my alma mater, South Florida, has continued its pattern of starting hot, pulling off a stunning upset (this year of Florida State), getting nationally ranked, then losing. This year's nemesis is Cincinnati, which comes out of the game still unbeaten and ranked fifth in both the AP poll and the BCS. It wasn't an instance of the Bulls getting the vapors because of their previous week's ranking of 21st in the AP poll and being on national TV; Cincy was just a better team. What remains to be seen is whether USF can prove resilient instead of going into a funk, as they have after their first loss in the past two seasons. It won't be easy: their next game is away against Pitt, 6-1 and 20th in both AP and BCS, after which they come home to face West Virginia, 5-1, 22nd in AP and 23rd in BCS.

The shoe that didn't drop, at least not yet, was Florida losing to an unranked team, as they did last year to Ole Miss, though the Gators rebounded from that and went on to win the SEC and the BCS championship. While they dodged disaster in the Arkansas game, their next two have, in my view, high upset potential. Next Saturday the visit Mississippi State, which has upset their applecart in the past. A week after that, they face Ur-rival Georgia which, though thrice beaten and unranked, will be hungry for revenge after a string of losses and well-rested, having this weekend off.