All I Know³
Information, transmission, modulation, and noise – 3rd Edition

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December 21, 1940
Happy Birthday, Frank
We miss you. We need you.

Yvonne Loriod (1924-2010) – Pianist

Yvonne Loriod in 1967 (NY Times)

Yvonne LoriodYvonne Loriod, pianist, and wife of the late Olivier Messiaen, passed away last week in Paris. She was 86.

Had there not been an Yvonne Loriod, much of Messian’s great piano music might not have been, for much of it was written for her.

Her recorded performances are formidable … powerful.  Another chapter on 20th century music closes.

»Obituary in the NY Times

»Daily Telegraph Obituary

»The Guardian Obituary

Hear her 1956 recording of number 20 from Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jesus:

XX – Regard de L’Eglise D’Amour 

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From “Des Canyons aux étoiles…” (9th movement) Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, piano

My First Car … was a SAAB

So today I do have something to blog about, so I’ll come out of hibernation for a few minutes.

I read this morning in the »NY Times that SAAB cars have come to an end.

My very first car was a »SAAB 96. That was in 1969:

My SAAB 96

I had bought it used from someone in Berkeley. I think it cost me $800. And I drove it all over. Even to Baja.

My SAAB 96

I loved this car. Not only because it was my very first car, but it fit me very well. And, it was cranky. A two-stroke, three-cylinder engine with a flywheel, you had to put oil in the gas tank before you put in gas, which baffled most garage attendants .. “Are you sure you want to do that?…”  (These were the days before self-serve.) Especially when I drove off in a puff of blue smoke.

My SAAB 96

When I arrived in Berkeley from New York City in 1968, I really didn’t know how to drive. I bought the car in ’69 with a friend. I had a learner’s permit, and he taught me how do drive it in the parking lot at Golden Gate Fields (how many people learned to drive in that parking lot?!).  I was 25 and up to then all I had was a motor scooter.

I had the 96 until 1973, when I sold it before moving to London for a year. And when I was in London, I bought a similar car there, altho  it was a newer V4 model and used regular gas. I sold that one when I left London and returned to Berkeley in 1974. And back home I bought a used SAAB station wagon. The first of two, I think.  I’ve had many cars, mostly old used clunkers. But that old 96 was always my favorite.

Once, in 1970, I drove down to San Diego, and on the trip back up to Berkeley the engine froze up on the freeway. I was able to coast to the next off ramp and stopped by the side of the road to call AAA. Amazingly there was a SAAB repair place nearby (I forget where .. someplace north of SD). I had to leave it there and it took almost a month to get it back after they replaced the engine. They were able to find a replacement!

Somewhere in the 70′s SAAB stopped making practical cars and went for the high end, competing with BMW and the rest. I lost interest. My first new car was a Honda, followed by many Toyotas, and finally my current VW Eurovan Camper. I never got the car lust, like my southern California wife. To me a car is just a tool, a mechanical necessity. But sometimes I wish I still had that 96, blue smoke and all.

So yet another memorial, but this time to a car company. RIP SAAB.

Cruelest Month

December is turning out to be the cruelest month.

We’ve already been stunned with:

Thomas Hoving, Remaker of the Met, Dies at 78

Mr. Hoving transformed the Metropolitan Museum of Art during his tumultuous decade-long tenure as director.

Stephen Toulmin, a Philosopher and Educator, Dies at 87

Mr. Toulmin was an influential philosopher who conducted inquiries into ethics, science and moral reasoning and developed a new approach to analyzing arguments.

Paul A. Samuelson, Economist, Dies at 94

Paul A. Samuelson, the first American Nobel laureate in economics and the foremost academic economist of the 20th century, died Sunday at his home in Belmont, Mass.

Now comes the word that local photographer Larry Sultan has passed away

Larry Sultan

Larry Sultan, California Photographer, Dies at 63

Mr. Sultan was a highly influential California photographer whose 1977 collaboration, “Evidence” became a watershed in the history of art photography.

63!!

Cruel month, indeed.

 

Leon the Lion

Leon Kirchner - photo by Jamie Cope

Composer Leon Kirchner died this week. He was 90 and lived in NYC. He  taught at UC Berkeley and Harvard, and studied with Arnold Schoenberg.

He taught many composers who came to public acclaim in the 1960′s-90′s.

Jeremy Denk has a farewell on his blog, Think Denk.

More at Sequenza 21.

Update: John Adams has written a recollection of his teacher on New Music Box.

Ali Akbar Khan 1922-2009

Xenakis

May 29 would have been Iannis Xenakis‘ 87th birthday.

And over the next weeks I’ll be including a work or two by Xenakis at the start of each upcoming MUSIC FROM OTHER MINDS radio program.

No other composer was as unique and revolutionary in his thinking about music, time, and space, as Xenakis.

There are a number of recent releases of music by Xenakis. We’ll play many of them.

Friday nights, 11pm Pacific, KALW 91.7 S.F.

Jack Schwartz (1930-2009)

Jack Schwartz in 1983 (photo NY Times)I learned yesterday that one of my mentors has passed.

Jack Schwartz was a professor of mathematics at NYU’s Courant Institute when I was there in the mid 1960′s. He founded the Computer Science department at NYU.

Jack also devised one of the first time-sharing systems, SHARER, to which he invited some brilliant NYC high school students to develop. Many of those students went on to important careers in the field.

But what I remember most about Jack was how warm and generous he was, even tho his reputation as a mathematician, as John Markoff  puts it in his obituary in today’s New York Times, was fearsome.

The three years I spent working in the computer center at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences (CIMS), from 1965-1968, were the most important three years in my life (so far). It started my career in computer programming for science and engineering. We were all quite young, and Jack, and the director of the CIMS Computer Center, Max Goldstein, were our “father figures”.  And as such, we mark his passing.

Max Neuhaus 1939-2009

Got word today that »Max Neuhaus has passed away. (»obit)  He was 69.

When I lived in NYC in the 60′s, I met Max when he was at his peak as a percussionist of the avant-garde. His performances of Morton Feldman’s King of Denmark, John Cage, Christian Wolff, and others, set the mark for perfection. His own music, like MAX FEED, where he played with electronic feedback by positioning himself between two enormous speakers, was legendary. His later work was as a sound sculptor creating dynamic sound fields in cities that you would literally stumble upon.

In the picture above, which I took at the great BE-IN in Central Park in NYC in March 1967, Max is the tall one on the right, with »James Tenney  in front of him, and »Carolee Schneeman with the flower in her hair.

Rest in peace, Max (and Jim).

Gerhard Samuel 1924-2008

Gerhard SamuelGerhard Samuel, conductor of the Oakland Symphony from 1959 to 1971, passed away in Seattle on March 25. He was 83.

He will be remembered as being the one of the most adventurous conductors the Bay Area has ever had. Those were the golden years of the Oakland Symphony.

There are memorials by Charles Shere, and Joshua Kosman.

About:


Richard Friedman lives in Oakland, CA, is a freelance tech writer/editor, web designer, photographer, is a Director of Other Minds, wrote his first computer program in 1962 for the IBM 650. It played dice. He is also a ham radio (AG6RF) operator, and he also takes a lot of photographs, composes music, and does a weekly radio program on KALW called Music From Other Minds.
He is not Kinky.

View Richard Friedman's profile on LinkedIn

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