Sunday, January 22, 2023


 I remember the critics and reviewers posting articles in which the explained how society had moved ahead in the Twentieth Century and we were leaving the Western novel, stories of sharply defined right and wrong, in the paved-over dust of the modern prairie.

Life is interesting. I grew up reading Western novels, Louis L'Amour, others. Thirty years ago we were assured that the Western was dead. Elmore Leonard didn't agree and continued to produce noteworthy Western crime novels. Then along came Craig Johnson with his take on a Wyoming sheriff named Walt Longmire. Longmire is sheriff of a Wyoming county in the early Twenty-first Century. Johnson sold the books for a TV series which is available on various platforms. I recommend the books and the TV series.

And now I see Yellowstone a series growing in popularity and two more on the near horizon plus at least one feature film in production. The Western novel, a mainstay in early American literature is dead? I don't think so. Good stories, well-written will find audiences, and good stories well-conceived, produced, acted and authentic to their period will make good movies and good and popular television.

Saturday, January 14, 2023


 The new PBS duo anchor team is doing an excellent job.

Thursday, January 05, 2023


Thursday and Friday, Jan 5 and 6, 2023 the Minnesota Orchestra, in a (Thur) cold windy concert hall presented an interesting and well-designed program of live music. A live program on a sunny but snow-filled day has been and will be an excellent attention-getting relief from winter blues.

Under the fine competent leadership of guest conductor, Ryan Bancroft from Los Angeles, the Orchestra delivered an excellent varied morning concert of three pieces which will be repeated on Friday evening.

The opening piece is not unusual music. It is a ten-minute soliloquy. “Solemn Prelude” by a Black composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The path of the Opus is as interesting as the music, having been premiered At a British festival in `1899 and then not again p 2021 performed until 2021.

The piece sets up audience anticipation of the fiery pianist, Kirill Gerstein, whose intense interpretations skill and expertise were amply demonstrated in “Concerto in D minor” by Sergei Rachmaninoff. A brilliant Allegro and the fiery finale Alla breve showcased the brilliance of the soloist as well as the creativity of the composer.

The final piece of this concert, much appreciated by the morning audience, is Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures At An Exhibition.” Here is a piece of music, created as a piano solo in 1874, that is one of the most popular classical music  compositions ever created. It has been performed and recorded in more than 500 versions by almost every conceivable sort of musical aggregation.

This presentation displays the Minnesota Orchestra at it finest in technical, emotional and interpretative states. Orchestral versions of “Pictures” require a wide range of precise and excellent musical technique. So presented this orchestra. The emotional range of the composition is marvelously enhanced by the skillful interpretation and execution of this orchestra.

From stirring horns to the fulsome and soaring sounds of the strings the coordination and discipline of the members can only be celebrated and applauded. The chosen orchestration allows full demonstration of the expertise, discipline and coordination of the orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra demonstrates conclusively they are up to this or any challenge.