Friday, October 17, 2008


Alright, for my consideration more than yours, I have here three different versions of the same piece of music, which is the Prelude from Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007.

Now, first of all, apparently Mstislav Rostropovich died in April of last year AND NO ONE BOTHERED TO TELL ME UNTIL LAST WEEK! WTF, guys? Here's his version:

(The youtube video I wanted to use was disabled so I had to find a different one so you have to wait through 23 seconds of introduction I'M SORRY).
While technically perfect, one of the tiny issues I've had with Rostropovich is that sometimes he plays these pieces as if he's brushing his teeth, which is to say, like he's so used to doing it that it requires no thought and he's just sort of going through the motions. "The Prelude, again?" he thinks, although in Russian. "Always the Prelude, everyone wants the Prelude." Also, would you like to slow down there Captain Flash Fingers? I'm kidding, Rostropovich, I love you and I'm sorry you're dead and I didn't know.

Then there is Mischa Maisky, who I have a weird fondness for, perhaps because his name is so enjoyable to say and not nearly as cumbersome as "Mstislav Rostropovich":

Now, I'm going to assume you heard the wild squawk in there at 1:12 and it totally harshed your mellow. However, I am willing to ignore this because Maisky's version has so much more feeling. Look at his expression. That man is totally concerned with doing right by the hourglass figure between his knees!

Ok, ok, I GUESS I'll throw in Yo-Yo Ma since everybody loves him so much:

Whoever made this video decided it would be way more awesome to intersperse far away shots of Ma playing in parking garages (?) with stills of children running around (??) than it would be to, you know, watch him perform the piece. Also, what's with the random inflection, Ma? I'm sure he's being hesitant for effect but there's sort of a flow to this piece and he is so not going with it.

I'm not going to post Pablo Casal's version because you have to wade through, like, seven minutes of black and white French blah blah blah to get to it and, um, it's not big on being worth it.

*Did you think I meant panties? Ha, oh, you silly thing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Weighty Matters

From Shapely Prose, this article from the NY Times:
Several studies suggest that if the aim is getting healthier rather than slimmer, then in the long run the “Health at Every Size” approach works better than dieting. In 2005, Bacon led the only randomized control trial to date that tested this hypothesis physiologically. She randomly assigned half of the 78 subjects, all women, to a “Health at Every Size” group; while they lost no weight, their healthier behavior led to lower blood-pressure and cholesterol levels, which stayed low even two years later. In the weight-loss group, more than 40 percent dropped out before the six-month low-calorie diet ended, and at the two-year follow-up, the average dieter had regained all her lost weight, and the only measurement that dropped was one for self-esteem.

Go read the rest and consider who would actually be losing out if we all stopped trying to force our bodies into the literally narrowest of ideals.