September 18th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Rachmaninoff's Vespers

Rachmaninnoff's settings of liturgical music for the Russian Orthodox vespers (overnight) service. 

About forty singers (guesstimate) in a church with perfect acoustics for that size choir.  A capella.  Russian sonority, Rachmaninoff's amazing lyrical ability.

Unimaginable beauty.  Breathtaking, goose-bump-making beauty.   I'm sure it's good on good equipment as a recording, but nothing--nothing--is like Being There.

We were there, and I'm very, very glad.

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

A new beauty

Richard called me outside to come see a big beautiful new butterfly.   I'll spare you the misidentifications and confusion...I was able to get a good photograph of it, and after looking into the books and online at, I am sure it was the black-form female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus.   Some of the females are black or dark (and sometimes  you can see the "shadows" of the tiger stripes) and some are male.  One book says the males prefer to mate with yellow females, but the dark females are less subject to predation, so the population maintains both color forms.  All the males are yellow.   The pale "epaulets" on this female are actually part of her underlying tiger-stripes.   Behaviorally, this butterfly acted like the male tiger swallowtails (strong rapid flight, alighting only briefly, always with wings spread, then flitting away) and not like the black swallowtails and pipevine swallowtails she superficially resembles.