|Randall Thompson at the pianoforte|
I did very well in one management test. According to the couple, the all-time record is held by a group of Catholic nuns who work with each other in a hospital. I didn't lead my team into getting it done as quickly as they, but, without giving away any details, I had a couple of flashes of insight which enabled my group to finish first - well before the others. It was sort of like the Kobayahshi Maru scenario in the second Star Trek movie; I began by challenging the process and the preexisting conditions. It was nice being praised for original thinking in front of my bosses' boss. So... my employer should give me a starship and some spare dilithium crystals, I guess.
As part of the instruction yesterday, we also tried some buttermilk. (It was part of an lesson designed to get people to try something new.) I tried it once as a child. I didn't like it then, and I don't like it now. But I still managed to get a couple of people to try it anyway.
Last night I watched an advertisement thinly disguised as a behind the scenes documentary about Disney's Epcot Center, produced, I think, by some surrogate of the Disney Company. No matter. I want to return. We were last there a decade ago; they've added rides since then.
Speaking of which, a new employee at this training I was at - yesterday was his second day on the job - once attended a month of Disney University. As I expected, he spoke very highly of it. When it comes to service and customer relations, I've never seen better than Disney. I wish I could attend that - not the least of which reason is that there's a facility in Burbank, CA, where I'm from.
My youngest daughter arrived home last night; I think she's going to hang out at the pool all day with her friend. (The weather in town is supposed to be at the 100 degree point.) When she was a girl she was a major pool rat, and a lifeguards' buddy. (One of the elementary school age kids who latch onto the older teen aged lifeguards because they think they're cool - as they are.) All three of my kids were lifeguards at the neighborhood pool; while it was difficult, responsible work, it was in most ways better than working at a hamburger place. Not that there's anything wrong with that; that's what I did at my parents' business when I was growing up...
I listened again to Randall Thompson's Second Symphony on the way in to work this morning, an energetic and tuneful work. I really like it. The fact that the main theme of the fourth movement reminds me of the Judy Garland song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is unfortunate, but it's not he symphony's fault. Thompson's work preceded the composition of the song. And there's a trumpet call in the third movement that sounds just like the trumpet call I use for a ringtone on my iPhone. When I get to that part I reflexively reach for my phone.
From some liner notes I found on the interwebnets: "When this work premiered on March 24, 1932 ... 'its direct, lyrical, almost pop simplicity,' to quote from the program notes accompanying the CD, endeared the work immediately to the audience. Music critic Virgil Thomson, a well-known composer himself, praised the piece, writing that 'it grows in musical interest from the first movement to the end.' ... Within ten years Randall Thompson's Second Symphony had received hundreds of performances. Now, for some unknown reason, the work and its composer have fallen into near-obscurity." What a pity! C'mon, herr Amerikan music direktors! Instead of scheduling the 5,762nd performance of a Beethoven symphony, why not play this once or twice?
I miss Leonard Slatkin at the National Symphony Orchestra in the Kennedy Center... he was known for his willingness to give new works a play. I once heard an interesting Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra under his baton. His replacement, Christoph Eschenbach, hasn't shown me anything. He seems musty, overly traditional, unimaginative, fuddy duddy... as is our local classical radio station, Classical WETA. It's my nearly constant experience that whenever I tune in they're playing something written prior to about 1830 - and it's mostly baroque, which I regard as musical wallpaper (to use Bob Greenberg's piquant phrase). Every now and then they get daring and play some Tchaikovsky. I don't think I have never heard them play any Prokofiev, Bartok, Ravel or Stravinsky. YAWN.
We were driving across the country once and I found Radio Kansas, that state's classical station. What a refreshing difference! Well. I vote with my tuning dial: I now listen mostly to the two good classical stations on Sirius/XM. Phooey on WETA!