Friday, 22 September 2017

Mozart Masterworks 1991 revisited

Last time we had a "syncro-post" on this blog which I hope you all enjoyed but today's post will be the complimentary post for a post on the other blog looking at classical music which was something I did blog a bit about on That Boarding School Girl because it was a childhood and school centred experience that included a woodwind group and lessons in music appreciation.
In 1991, to mark the 200th anniversary of the death of Mozart, the record label Deutsche  Grammophon at the time one of the leading labels issuing classical music, instituted a 25 compact disc series entitled Mozart Masterpieces that picked what they regarded as the most essential Mozart compositions in performances they regarded as being desirable all in what was a budget price which from recollection was around £5.49 per disc available separately or as a complete set. 
When compact discs first came out typically we paid £12.99 or more  and by around 1987 mid price discs often more generous when it came to content when it came to classical ones came out around the £7.50-7.99 mark so to have all these recordings at a low unit price really was a bargain for someone who only had a few recordings and many of them on tape or record.
There were however a few for various reasons I didn't get such as the recording of Symphonies 40 and 41 by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado that it was generally scarcely skated the surface of what was in the score to which I bought the mid 60's recordings by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  conducted by Karl Bohm instead and there was this one that I had the 1976 Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra recording by Karl Bohm I bought in July 1987 when it came out on the new Deutsche Grammophon "Galleria" series  with the Posthorn Serenade.
I thought it was time to revisit this series that was the core of Mozart collection and track down a copy for the 1960's recordings the Berlin Philharmonic did of this and two other works under the larger than life conductor Herbert von Karajan.

I did buy the Melos performed String Quartets disc but I bought later on a 6 cd set of the main String Quartets performed by the Amadeus Quartet at which point this single disc disappeared for some reason or other so I've picked up a replacement so I can enjoy their account of these two works.

Also included in the series was G├ęza Anda's recordings of his Piano Concertos 26 and 27 which for some reason I never bought although I did get a different recording of no 27 than the one in  this cd set which were from a complete series of them that currently are in a 8 cd set that I hope to get at some point being one the finest ever issued.
While the cover on my copy has the label "Privilege" not "Resonance" in the same font) it is from the very same stamper used for it so it is technically identical.
This series was the first one I followed rather had bought for me, providing an opportunity to replace a number of works I had on much played records and tapes, making available what had in some instances been full price discs cheaply such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Anne-Sophie Mutter recordings of the 3rd and 5th violin  concertos and the first time some recordings previously issued on tape and lp record came out on cd.
Revisiting it, playing some of the original purchases and these others I missed  brings back many happy memories that lead to the establishment of considerable collection of favourite works by many composers on compact disc and its higher quality form, the super audio cd.
As well I did get a complete set of recording of Mozart's violin sonatas that originally came out as separate cds at this time cheaply comprising of excellent all digital recordings to go alongside the collection.

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Best Bat in the School

As mentioned on my Introducing That Boarding School Girl post and its hopefully helpful questions and answers I said they'd be a few shared posts between this middles journal and my main little/middles blog  and so today we are having a 'syncro-post'.
We have been going through the St Brides/Maudsley series of classic girls own fiction by Dorita Fairlie Bruce and recently read a new book in the series but with a twist.
This isn't a regular 'series' book so much as a compilation of a series of short stories originally published for various Girls Own publications such as yearly annuals she wrote for and one which is more of a long short novel which is the main feature  and all involve the characters of we met in the St Brides boarding school  and Maudsley day school although there is sufficient information to make sense of the story if you hadn't.
The main feature, The Best Bat in the School, is set at Maudsley with Nancy, Phyllis, Lois, Charity and the gang and how measures the school adopted to deal with a severe outbreak of Scarlet Fever in the district-placing restrictions on the school girls movements lead  to resent and a girl disobeying them.
The focus of the story is on the cricket match between Maudsley and Larkiston which I'll be honest and say is not a game I have a clue about and the role Lois and Charity have as the girls in charge of making the teams selection.
The issue is Lois saw a girl who go to the theatre breaching the restrictions and feels by putting their own enjoyment over others respect for school rules should be dropped.
What unfolds is the lesson set out by the authoress  around  how a misunderstanding (which girl and why) leads to a condemnation of that particular girl unjustly, how that impacts on the relationships of all the girls bring various people under suspicion and puts into jeopardy the schools honour in the competition which with interventions by Charity working out the actual situation, they do win. 
It is I feel having read it, a very important lesson well told in  this story
Victoria Vixtrix is set at St Brides around a girl who badly needs to win a scholarship to go to University to complete her education when her family are through no fault of their own facing poverty.
We meet again Winifred Arrowsmith, disabled wheelchair user to use modern terms as I was for part of my childhood, crippled by polio, showing clear signs that the more regular, less pitied interaction has developed  into one more sympathetic, just one of the girls
A strength I feel of her work is both her clear understanding of social disadvantage such as poverty, the impact of illness and disability on family welfare and the emphasis on moral education which may perhaps to some today seem a little old-fashioned but one I wholly subscribe to so we better serve ourselves and others.
There is more to us than physical and intellectual abilities and needs.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Weekly update from "The Dorm"

I'm writing this in the aftermath of Hurricane Aileen that arrived over Tuesday night and rampaged into Wednesday morning here pulling down trees, causing localized flooding and causing a power out that lasted five and a half hours to which I don't known what is worse: being without the power or sheer cacophony of security alarms ring for hours as you try to get some sleep in.
Anyway, we're back up and running, nothing has blown from a power surge although it confused the main tv into thinking it had no antenna for some strange reason that took a bit of troubleshooting and I think the electric kettle's on its last days.
As you know I've always had a thing for Kawaii, almost an obsession even over the cutest of things having shared it on That Boarding School Girl pretty much from the beginning and indeed at one point I even had a very short-lived side blog devoted to 'cute stuff'.
If you'd of asked me in 2008 I could see my dorm looking just like the room illustrated then I'd have to of said yes cos while the cute bits and bobs are there I was very much into cutified technology replacing standard keyboard and mice and might of replaced the monitor too.
In 2017 it's different because of that technology, I use mainly a small Chromebook which is black and an aging Dell Windows laptop for music downloading and copying to files on and they have less customization as in making pink even if do liberally cover them in cute stickers because not needing separate keyboard and mice, I don't have the excuse to toss the supplied boring one to landfill and add something from the Hello Kitty range instead cos I don't like the look of 'boys toys' although I'm not exactly a technophobe.
I have finished with any luck the redesign of this journalling middles blog in conjunction with my middle/littles blog so they do match and have a less busy, more streamlined feel on the theme side.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Hits on cd

I was looking back yesterday tidying things up at clippings from such magazines as Smash Hits!, Big which was a music, movies and tv star teen magazine that came out before Bliss and Sugar with pictures on Adam Ant, 5 Star and New Kids on the Block that you pinned to your dorm or home bedroom wall.
It got me thinking back to how we listened to music back then.
When in 1983 the compact disc was introduced commercially in North America and Europe, there were a number of concerns beyond of that of the then high price for the actual players for those who had more than $700 to throw at this new technology.
One was the catalogue which on launch was minuscule and pretty expensive as I well remember and the other was connected with it was let's say you're a dealer so what could use to demonstrate it to broad customer base?
Luckily Philips, co-creators of the format through its then Phonogram music arm had the answer in form of a short lived compact disc series called simply Hits on CD

It was launched in early 1984 taking 14 to 16 tracks from the in print cd catalogue they owned in Europe one track per artist across a wide range popular music from Techno pop to Hard rock to show off the medium.
Nice touches included information about the album it was from and catalogue number and using full length versions of tracks from Trio to Kiss and all points between.
It was I believe the first place on compact disc the non album single Twisting By The Pool by Dire Straits was issued and one the few places anything by the very short lived trans pop star Marilyn was ever issued on cd.
I own the first four which work well with some of my other original 80's  compilations -hello Now '86! - and do sound very really good no doubt because they use little post studio processing in the way so many do today.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Nancy to the rescue

Seeing this is second post of the month following yesterdays entry about this blog's future we'll begin by catching up with a series of book reviews that by co-incidence is being printed at the start of the Autumn Term.

Following on The New Girl and Nancy, this installment is set at the start of the Autumn term with Nancy being moved to the Upper Fifth  Form with Desda (Desdemona) Blackett which is seen as being a more dull but worthy form more centred around academic work.
It is soon resolved however to do something about this not least by making a AM. group which is really an Amateur Dramatics and Arts group where they'd study to put on short productions, recitals and undertake some games.
Followers of the previous entries might recall this series started not at Maudsley Grammar school but at St. Brides and this past of Nancy's is a key theme in this edition as we are reintroduced to Althea who we learn has moved to Maudsley in somewhat distressing circumstances, her mothers ill health and given the era we are is the nineteen-twenties there is no Welfare State, they ate in a state of acute poverty where Althea and her mother at at risk of losing their rented home and from which Althea has had to leave St. Brides because of being unable pay the school fees.
Nancy's after school life involves her being in charge of ("Maid of Merit") of the Guildry where the adult Miss Knevitt, is talking about setting up a new unit and that it would involve some changes in unit leaders including Nancy.
It was coming back from a meeting where this was being discussed that Nancy hears a flute being played as it happened rather well and upon coming across her realizes this is her lost friend from St.Brides who is malnourished  and Nancy takes her to a cafe for a drink and food and soon realizes things are very bleak.
Disturbed by this, she takes a long detour to Lord Woodridge a local land owner and 'big cheese' of the town and discussed her friend and mothers plight with him suggesting with his mothers knowledge of nature that an offer of the post of Curator of a museum he is about to open soon be given to her and with it a place to stay.
Like many of her generation Althea's mother would feel they could not just accept a place out of charity, it would have to be seen as being in exchange for her services and this way is accepted by him.
Equally Althea herself needs to continue in her education but there is a stumbling block which is that while a 'scholarship' can be issued for any form it is not generally accepted for 'upper school' which is where she belongs but it is in his remit to award one he does and so Althea now goes to  Maudsley Grammar in the upper fifth like Nancy.
Unfortunately, a small rather voracious group of girls lead by Elma hold to the notion that having a Free Scholar rather lowers the tone especially one held to do something vulgar like play a flute for money even though Althea only did this to raise money where her Mom was down to her last three pence and facing eviction and make things difficult by having so they would not play games with her so she helps the Fourth and lower Fifth out instead and having made a big deal in bring her poverty stricken flute playing out so embarrasses her that an offer to join the AM. for which she has considerable talents is just too embarrassing for her to take up.
In time however Althea joins the Guildry, just at the point Nancy is pondering a change to the 2nd new unit as it's leader so she feels supported although the behaviour of those other girls is really bad.
Just before the Museum is about to open and Althea's Mom has moved in, a mysterious Japanese man comes in a demanding a Cedar tree that her Mom refused to sell, refusing to leave until he's gotten it. Nancy and Althea trap him and just by luck Lord Woodridge comes by and has him arrested. It transpires what was so desirable about the tree was a Crystal which was buried beneath it as an insurance against hard times for Althea's Mom.
Althea's new found status as an heiress impresses those who so rejected her as the Free Scholar, the shallow meanness thereof not lost on Nancy and clearly transmitted in the book to the reader.  
A area competition for the arts is held called the Rosebury Festival and Nancy's name is put forward as a soloist but Nancy feels strongly this is Althea's time and so puts forward to the Head Mistress that really a change of entry to Althea is really called for as her skills as flautist are the stronger but she'd accompany on piano.
This is accepted so the pair go in the competition judged at City Hall and Althea wins the gold medal  and Nancy awarded a special commendation for the accompanying so the pair have brought honour upon their form and school.
Although in some respects it's a relatively simple book in the series, I think it's strengths are that it tackles head on social prejudice, and poverty in a compassionate, thoughtful  way that reminds me very much of what it felt like being 14 or 15 felt like, caring deeply about issues and each other, wanting to help in the way Nancy did her friend and mother, trying to make a difference for the good.
Making a stand for decency, treating people fairly are important lessons we need to learn to keep our society holding to civilized values.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Introducing That Boarding School Girl

First post of the month where vacations end and school, college and university for some begin.

If you hadn't noticed there is something different about this blog from the last time or two since you looked at it although this has been on the cards for quite a long time, the last eighteen months really, so I think I'll explain it in question and answer form.

Q: Why did you change the title?
A: I changed it because in truth it was always the that bit more middle, more grown up version of my other (littles) blog dealing more with discussion of topical matters which came from the same spot that in English and General Studies we'd debate and present ideas from different angles that were to do with our world in a way that the other blog while marking events doesn't.

Q: Did you not like "Daytime Office Girl Crisis" as a identity for this blog?
A: I did, and I liked it heaps but that had no space for my middles side which is where I've always been at and the pressure of keeping that suppressed on a blog which is about my life rather than purely a hobby or interest was too much. That's what lead to having to explain this last year to you all.

Q: The blog layout looks a little different than it did. Why?
A: There a few reasons one is this blog goes back to 2006 and the displays on computers back then were smaller typically 1200 x 800 and 4:3 aspect ratio so the layout settings were narrower to accommodate people using smaller screens. Mine for instance was 800 x 600!
Also around that period some notebooks came out with screens of 1000 x 600  which may of widescreen but not that great. Today most are 1366 x 768 or better so I decided to more of that space for a less cramped presentation. This is set at 1050 so should be good for 1280 upward.
I have emphasized the page tabs for a more clearer easy to find look in line with my littles blog.

Q: Did you go to a boarding school at all?
A: Yes I did and I truly loved it, being an important part of what made me who I am.

Q: I see you kept a bit of that Shoujo Manga feel in this blog.
A: I couldn't think of a good reason to remove it as Manga art and anime as an animated cinematic art form all come from my middles side as no doubt teens and young people today develop their interest it too. As well, that was one the first communities to accept me as I am.

Q: You mention acceptance, was there any group that this blog was aimed at that played a part in this change?
A: Yes, the Angels who were the main group who read this blog to which I was very nervous talking about my middle side to but given how central it is to being me I talked at their forum about it and they just accepted it. I'd like to thank Jo Angel and the members for that.

Q: When you say it's a middles blog, are we going to see anything change much since I first started following you  a few years ago?
A: When it comes to the interest and hobbies that I'll be writing on, there won't be any  because that's always come from that side of me and those things that are more related to my middles lifestyle will go on the other blog. What it does mean is I can be more open about being me, allowing space for a fleeting reference to a  part of such as going away with like minded friends so while you won't get account of that, I can say I did or mention aspects of this life where it may help.

Q: Will there be any shared posts between your littles blog and this?
A: A few of which one is scheduled for tomorrow such as book reviews where my reading ability is badly impacted by my disabilities so I read more Junior Fiction and the odd music post. In general though the content on here will be unique to it.

Q: So it won't be 'littles' blog with post after post about toys, stuffies and age regression?
A: Exactly! The change  just allows me the space to be more open about this and where some sides of my life come from when it's needed.
Think of it as being the Journal of That Boarding School Girl, because there's little here than I'd of put in one at the time and that's my headspace.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Ideologies at war

Few things surprise me any more and at times frankly real life today seems beyond satire not least in so far as current affairs goes.
I had purposely left Charlottesville off this blog because I wanted to gather my reasoned thoughts together so any opinion over which there is a good number thereof is considered.
To me there are two aspects around this discourse, the reaction on the day and subsequent actions and statements.
I might begin with what may be obvious to some and not to others which is I am not an American, I have not lived in your society and by definition have an outsiders vantage point.
We may as well go back to a part of this discourse that matters, that triggered a strong emotional response from people of differing points of view because to an extent, they colour all else that has happened since.
The catalyst in this is the proposition that statues of people erected who fought for the Confederacy such as Robert E Lee be removed from public spaces because as we are all only too painfully away the Confederacy allowed and supported the right to own slaves and whose treatment was based on racial inequality something that remains a running sore in the South.
To those who understandably oppose such sentiments the continued presence of them they are seen as not so much commemorating the Civil War but celebrating the Confederacy  and a rallying point for those who hold those views.
Others feel notwithstanding their preference for the statutes not have been commissioned in the first place, that it is a remind of a historic factual event that morever may cause people to think about why the Civil War as bloody as it was, was necessary and why racist attitudes are wrong-headed.
Another question to ask is should a State have the power to remove any public moment that reflects its past especially in a light it seeks to move away from?
My feeling is actually one of we learn from the past and that learning is what helps us prevent the same mistakes occurring, the political liberty and autonomy of the constitution that the Southern States had a right to was bought at the cost in part to the liberty of what we call today African-American slaves who were denied theirs.  The Civil War settled that not that North was free from discrimination itself I would add.
Four miles from my home there are two moments originally destroyed by people who opposed a religious past of our town who only accepted one view point erasing all they disagreed with  and repaired and put right centuries later as part of the past  in the spirit of tolerance and respect for the past. This happened during our civil war.
It has a very profound message not lost on my people.
You need to remember your past, that how things are seen does change and the existence of reminders prompts intelligent debate from which all including the many wrongs are understood and addressed in way that removal does not.
Few, perhaps rightly would call for those statues to built today and for understandable reasons although the civil war and its local impact should be marked for all of you but as they are there now, far from removing them you need to use them constructively so the attitudes behind them are discussed and wrongs such as slavery are acknowledged.
To deny your history does no one any good long term.

The second is what happened was wrong, mowing down people leaving one fatality, the use of armed militias uniformed and carrying weapons in public does not have the moral equivalence of pushing forward, at times aggressively with banners. It goes way beyond that into a threat (implied if not necessary acted upon) of violence and life-taking.
Put plainly it simply were never ever be permitted here nor in most English speaking democracies.
Much of the widespread bi-partisan criticism of President Trump, revolves around that and his failure to be at least sufficiently clear that those actions and that incident where on person lost their lives could not and should be condoned and that was not conditional to his points around the States attempt to remove the moment and the right of peaceful protest by all.
They are seperate.