Category Archives: Poll

Summer Concert

Here’s the promised poll to help decide whether or not the Summer Concert should proceed as scheduled in Ken’s on 11th June. You can only vote once, and the poll will close at the end of the month.

As mentioned in the circulated email, at least four members are definitely unable to attend on that date, so the audience could be sparse. We might get a better turnout if the Concert was scheduled for a different date. At this stage we just need to decide about 11th June: Concert or no Concert?


Adding privacy to our web site

Here’s a poll to help decision-making. You can only vote once, and the poll will close in one week, on 22nd March at 11:59 pm.

Continue reading for the background
Following on from the nasty hacking experience towards the end of last year, some members wondered aloud about adding a login feature to our site, whereby access to either the entire site or to individual pages would be restricted and would require registration and subsequent login using username and password. The group reaction was mixed, and I undertook to investigate options and report back, which I’m now doing.

First, let me stress that registration and login would do nothing to protect us from another hacking attack: it would add a privacy layer to the site, but do nothing to improve security. That said, my instinctive reaction to the idea was that this could be done quite easily if the members so desire — but…

The ‘but’ is a technical one. As you know, the re-design which I introduced in December is still not fully implemented. This is because the web-design software I used does not support what are known as ‘dynamic’ web pages. This is why the Presentations page brings visitors back to the old site, which I hard-coded and which is hosted on a server which supports database querying and retrieval. Databases are at the heart of dynamic web pages, but the re-design software doesn’t support them. A registration and login implementation also depends on using the same web techniques, so cannot be developed with the re-design software.

I am fully aware of the need to apply the re-design across the entire web site, and am currently familiarising myself with more sophisticated software which will enable me to generate dynamic content such as the Presentations page. When I master the necessary techniques, I could then also apply them to a registration/login system. What would then remain would be the integration of elements from both software instances into a single site.

In summary, yes, we can add registration/login, but it will be a while before that could be up and running. More fundamental, though, is the question of whether or not the group wishes to go down this road. Dermot came up with an answer to one aspect which concerned me, which was that contributing to our weblog (even to leave a comment) currently requires registration and login, and it would be even more off-putting if visitors had to login once to enter the site and then again to interact with the weblog. Dermot’s compromise suggestion, which is to eliminate registration/login for the weblog, solves this neatly. So that leaves the fundamental question: do we want to go down this road?

Time to vote

Okay guys, with European and Local Elections coming up, how’s about getting in a bit of voting practice?

It’s been a while since we’ve run a poll here (so long, in fact, that I had to stop a while to remind myself how to include one). The poll closes at midnight on Friday 28th February. The result will be announced the following day.

As is only right and proper, you will only be able to vote once. You will not be able to see how voting is going until after you cast your vote.

10 Greatest Pianists

Limelight magazine in Australia has just published one of those dreaded Ten Best articles, but this time it’s of interest to us and the list has been arrived at not by the general public but by people who should know what they’re talking about.

The article in question is The 10 Greatest Pianists of All Time and has the tagline “The most influential legendary pianists, as voted by modern-day masters of the instrument”. The list of modern-day masters definitely gives added credibility: included are Jonathan Biss, Cyprien Katsaris, Paul Lewis, Pascal Rogé, Stephen Hough, Cédric Tiberghien, Roger Woodward (?), Barry Douglas, Ingold Wunder (again, ?) and Leslie Howard (also involved in the nomination process were András Schiff, Ronald Brautigam, Garrick Ohlsson, Michael Endres, David Fray, Eldar Nebolsin Steven Osborne, Imogen Cooper, Till Fellner, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Fazil Say, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Alfred Brendel, Benjamin Grosvenor, Stanislav Ioudenitch, Alice Sara Ott, Olli Mustonen, Lars Vogt, Simon Trpceski, Jayson Gillham, Margaret Fingerhut, Howard Shelley, Anna Goldsworthy, Piotr Anderszewski, Freddy Kempf, Gerard Willems, Konstantin Scherbakov, Stephen Kovacevich, Denis Matsuev and Alexey Yemtsov — so there can be no quibble with the credentials of the ‘panel’.

The 10 Greatest list is interesting, with few surprises. All I’ll say is that I am quite surprised at which pianist gets the top spot.

Anyone need a hint or two? How about some photos, would that help?

Poll: Verdi operas

We have just one of the ‘big six’ Wagner operas left to watch in our DVD series (Parsifal remains). These six followed screenings of the four operas of the Ring cycle, so we’ve certainly done Dicky proud.

Getting together for these opera nights has proved to be a highly successful idea. Now, it’s time to move on to other composers. I guess the two most obvious to follow Wagner with are Verdi and Mozart, so shall we think about moving on to Giuseppe Verdi for our next batch? Deciding which operas to watch was very easy when it came to Wagner, since the candidates for the ‘big six’ list were obvious, but it isn’t quite as easy with Verdi. That’s why this poll is here. I’ve listed (in chronological order of composition) all but the most obscure and least seldom performed of his operatic output, and I’m suggesting that anybody interested in the idea of a series of Verdi Nights should choose six operas from the poll list. The poll is set to close at 8.00 pm on Friday 15th May, at which point we’ll see which ones come out on top. Perhaps the process will produce a consensus of which operas we watch.

Over to you guys!

Later note: Following feedback from Bernard, I’ve changed the display style for the poll. I’ve contacted, who provide the technology behind these polls, pointing out that it’s impossible to read white lettering against a white background. I’ll remember in future not to use the style I originally chose for this one.

DVD Screening of ‘Tristan und Isolde’

There are two operas left in the occasional series of complete screenings on DVD of Wagner’s ‘big six’ operas other than The Ring. Those remaining are Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal. Jim is offering to host a screening of Tristan in February, in or around the 21st in place of his usual monthly hosting.

The thing is … when exactly is the best time for this to happen? The last few screenings have been on Saturdays, in place of the usual music session, but it’s been suggested that this is perhaps not such a good idea. The problem is Wagner, though, and the fact that his operas tend to go on for rather a long time. Length is certainly a consideration in the case of Tristan und Isolde, and having the screening on Saturday afternoon means that it wouldn’t be too desperately late when the opera finishes, even allowing for a break for refreshments between Acts I and II and a more extended break between Acts II and III for a more substantial, sit-down meal. Indeed, staying on for a bit of craic afterwards would be well within the realms of possibility, especially with Sunday following as a recovery day.

Still, not everyone in the Music Group is an avid Wagner fan, and perhaps it isn’t fair to cancel the usual session just for the sake of a few members. So, I’ve put together a poll and I’m asking you guys to decide when you’d prefer this whole thing to happen. Some things to bear in mind when making your choice:

  • Starting time needs to be later on the Friday and earlier on the Sunday to facilitate gainfully-employed members with working hours to take into account.
  • Allowing for one short and one longer interval between acts, the complete screening will take approximately five and three-quarter hours.
  • Whatever the outcome of the poll, further information (production, cast etc.) will be made available closer to the time.

Closing date for the poll is 8.00 pm on Friday 5th December, but don’t be shy — get your votes in and let’s see if we can reach a clear-cut decision before that.

It’s Poll Time!

Six members have submitted shortlists of preferred destinations for next year’s trip away. Now it’s time to see if we can reach a decision about where we actually go. Basically, the choice comes down to four cities, which, in alphabetical order, are: Frankfurt, Hamburg, Milan and New York.

Things are complicated somewhat by the fact that, when shortlisting a city, some people have specified a timing preference while others have left this open. To cover all the options in the poll which I’ve put together, therefore, I’ve included a ‘general’ option for each city as well as the time-specific options which have been shortlisted. So the idea when it comes to voting is to select the general option for your preferred city if you’re happy with going there at either Easter or over the May holiday weekend. Select a time-specific option if you have a strong preference for a listed timing.

Full information about what’s on offer musically in each city is set out in Bernard’s wonderfully detailed document which he circulated back in June.

I’m not sure how all this is going to pan out. The poll is set up to allow one choice only per person voting, so who knows what effect the multiple options for each city will have on the result. Let’s just see what happens for now. Hopefully we’ll get some indication of a trend. We can continue to a second poll with less choices if it looks as if this will help.

So it’s over to you guys now. Get voting! The poll is set to expire at 8.00 pm on Friday 29th August.