Friday, 21 August 2009

Happy 1 Year Old Birthday to Interesting Music Stuff


Take a second and listen to the 1 minute composition by Igor Stravinsky called the Greeting Prelude (1955) performed by the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw. This concert on 6 June 2009 was to celebrate Louis Andriessen on the occasion of his 70th birthday, and with this selection pays proper hommage to a composer who has been deeply influenced by Stravinsky and whose writings can be found in his book, The Apollonian Clockwork. Just as this concert celebrates Andriessen, Stravinsky's work celebrates the reknown conductor Pierre Monteux by dedicating the work to him as a gift for his 80th birthday. Monteux had conducted among others, the premieres of Stravinsky's Petrushka and Le Sacre du Printemps. Like little burning embers which crackle in a fireplace, the listener hears permutations and fragments of 'Happy Birthday' emerging from the sonic texture, scattered throughout the orchestration and resolution of voice-leading across registers and between instruments.

I wanted to start with this short clip because it is the birthday of this blog and it has now been a year since I started this endeavour and wanted to take stock for a moment. When I began I was attempting to bring together data and other resources which were available amidst the flat world of e-mail and flat websites. RSS has changed much of our approach towards information retrieval and discovery and I wanted this information to be easily findable and searchable.

Initially there were only visitors from the UK and then at the 4 month marker there were visitors from just over 50 countries. Now at the 1 year mark, I can now see that there are now over 90 countries which is incidentally around the same number who participate in the Miss Universe Pageant. Although not a swimsuit or analytical competition to save world hunger, I do appreciate that the information and its usefulness is growing and getting more disseminated into the online world.

From the onset I've interconnected resources I've tagged through Delicious into the blog. As the number of posts have grown, so too have issues of findability and browsability. To organise tags, I added a tag cloud and later, a Google search function. Each of these has added more functionality to the blog and served the moment. Usability and friends have said that the tag cloud has been looking a little murky and in the name of better usability, I've finally uploaded a better script which keeps the list (sorted alphabetically) hidden until needed, providing less clutter but optimal and easier browsability. (As murky as that cloud gets, I just love the way it spins around so don't want to axe it.)

So here's to Year number 2. Let's see where this adventure takes us and what further improvements need to be made to keep searchability and retrieval as efficient as possible whilst the scales keep on growing. I love learning new things - whether they are new resources, java, or code - and if there is anything that this year's adventure has taught me, it is that 1) I have a lot to learn and 2) that I can still learn.

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and cite Colin J.P. Homiski, Interesting Music Stuff.