Grab bag: IE6 going down?

Programs of concerts past

Some new features on the Virginia Glee Club wiki. Pages have been added for selected Glee Club seasons which list the concerts, tours, and other events known for that season, and include information about the conductor and officers of the group, where available.

The most fun part of this section of the wiki has been the old concert programs. The administrator of the Virginia Glee Club has scanned quite a few concert programs, including the one from the premiere of the Testament of Freedom, and I was inspired to do the same, starting with programs and posters from the 1993-1994 season (that’s the group photo from the spring of 1994 above, as used on the poster for the Tour of the Northeast).

As always, contributions of information from other alumni are welcome as we build this record of the Glee Club’s history together.

Moving iTunes libraries from one hard drive to another

For the love of me, I don’t know how I ended up here again. The last time I moved my iTunes library to a bigger disk, I was able to use the Consolidate Library command and let iTunes do all the file moves. This time… not so much.

I was trying to do two things at once with this move: put all my music onto a larger external drive (a 1TB MiniStack from OtherWorld Computing. Can’t recommend the enclosure enough for form factor, ports, and reliability; my older 500 MB drive is in the same enclosure), and move to the new iTunes library layout, where there are separate top level folders for music, movies, podcasts, etc. This didn’t work, because partway through the process writing to the disk errored out. I quickly realized that the problem was that I was doing it over the network (the new 1TB drive and my older drive were both connected to my AirPort Extreme). So I directly connected the new drive via FireWire, left the old one on the AirPort, and tried to consolidate again. Only this time, it told me I didn’t have enough disk space. On the new 1TB drive.


Then I realized what was going on. The restructuring of the library wasn’t moving files, it was creating another copy of the files on the same drive. I had started consolidating before I did the library restructuring, so now it was trying to write a second copy of all my music on the drive. Since I probably have about 515 GB of music to work with (some resident on my MacBook Pro’s internal drive), two copies weren’t going to fit on the new drive.

So now I had: a full copy of my library spread across the old drive and my hard drive; one partial copy at the root of my new drive; and another partial copy in the proper location in a Music subdirectory. I didn’t want to delete either of the partial copies because songs in my library were mapped to both locations; I couldn’t reconsolidate on the old drive for lack of space. But I still had over 160 GB free on the new drive, so I could probably copy over the missing files by hand.

So I’m going the manual route to clean up. First, I went to the Terminal and ran the comm command, which compares two text files line by line; I fed it the directory listings of the old external drive and the new final destination, and it spit out about 165 differences, directories that didn’t get copied from the old drive to the new one.

Second, I’m going line by line through the results of the comm listing. For each line, I:

  1. Copy the missing files from the old drive to the new one.
  2. Delete the old files from the old drive.
  3. Go to the matching tracks in iTunes and do a Get Info. Amazingly, since I’m copying the new files into the correct directory structure, a lot of the time I don’t have to do any more work and the library automatically finds the files in the new drive. Sometimes I have to browse one file at a time to link up to the new files, which is a drag.

I expect I’ll be done with the process sometime next week. Painful, but at least no data is lost. Then I can repeat with any files from my laptop’s disk, a much shorter list.

The final cleanup may take some XSLT fu. I will need to triple check the final library to make sure no tracks point to locations on the old drives. I’m going to try using XSLT on the iTunes Library.xml file to see if I can cull out the problem tracks that way; if not, it’ll be a matter of trial and error, because there’s no convenient way to find the file system locations of iTunes tracks from within iTunes itself, other than one at a time.

I’d love to have this be  a more error-free process. I’m beginning to think that iTunes libraries on external drives simply isn’t a well tested scenario by Apple.

Grab bag: Rights, Neely Bruce, and LOC

Blast from the Past: Young TJ

I have quite a few updates to post about the progress of the history of the Virginia Glee Club on the wiki, but today’s item deserved a jump to the head of the line: the resurfacing of a lost recording of the 1993 Virginia Glee Club singing our commissioned work to commemorate Thomas Jefferson’s 250th birthday, Young T.J.

Some background: Thomas Jefferson is a Big Thing at the University of Virginia, the school he founded and one of only three accomplishments on his tombstone. When the 250th anniversary of his birth rolled around, there were a lot of stops pulled out to celebrate: Mikhail Gorbachev came to speak at the University, the Today Show did a remote from Monticello, Bill Clinton spoke at the Jefferson Memorial

And Judith Shatin wrote a setting of the Declaration of Independence that proved what the Testament of Freedom had hinted: setting Jefferson’s writing to music was full of pitfalls.

The Glee Club had begun commissioning new works for men’s voices in the 1991-1992 season, and for Jefferson’s birthday we wanted something special. So our fearless director John Liepold reached out to his old professor and mentor Neely Bruce for a Jefferson-inspired composition. They decided that, since the Glee Club had already gone down the Jefferson words path with Testament, the smart thing was to choose texts that inspired Jefferson instead. Bruce selected ten texts from Jefferson’s Commonplace Book and set them to music that Jefferson might have heard in his youth, songs heavily inspired by the Sacred Harp and other shape note music. The result was Young T.J., a group of short settings that try to imagine what influenced the young Jefferson.

The Glee Club performed the whole work a few times that year, notably at our spring concert, and used a short set of the works on a number of occasions, mostly notably during our trifecta of performances on April 13, 1993. We began the morning at Monticello, shivering in the pre-dawn light on risers, and using Young T.J. to provide music for the commercial cutaways during the broadcast. I also remember standing at a urinal under Monticello next to Willard Scott, and of course Katie posing for pictures with Tyler Magill, Paul Stancil, Scott Norris, Denis McNamara, and Mitch Harris (above). We also performed portions of the work at the Jefferson Memorial for Bill Clinton and a capacity crowd (after a frantic drive from Monticello to DC at top speed followed by a sprint across the grass to get to the stage on time). A final performance at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond that night was the capper.

So, the lost recording. This page, linked from Neely Bruce’s publisher’s site, has a full set of recordings of all ten movements. When exactly they were recorded is subject to dispute–the page claims they were recorded at Monticello on April 13, 1993, but there’s no background noise and we didn’t have time to run and record everything that day, I don’t think. But they are unmistakably a document of the 1992-1993 Glee Club under John Liepold’s direction. And since none of Liepold’s recordings have ever been transferred to digital release (only three tapes, the 1991 Christmas Concert, a concert at River Road Baptist Church, and the Dove in the Hall recording surfaced from his time with the group through the summer of 1994), this is a nice present to have, even if it’s not available for download.

Grab bag: Idiots and others

Grab bag: Miniature models, small resignations

Grab bag: Surrender, strip, Dubai

On winning a Grammy

Last night, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival Chorus, James Levine conducting, won a Best Orchestral Performance Grammy for our 2009 recording of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe. I blogged our nomination a while ago but am still delighted that we won. All the hard work seems worthwhile today.

Not that my work, as a member of the chorus, is onerous. In fact, I feel like one of the luckiest guys in the world today. We all come from our day jobs to Symphony Hall or Tanglewood, rehearse, and perform, and get to be part of something great together with musicians who train for decades to take that job.

So today, I’m grateful to the musicians of the BSO for letting us come along for the ride, and to our maestro James Levine for leading us down paths of excellence. (Even if, during the concert run for this recording, he did get mistaken for Keith Lockhart.)