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Cure for Footballitis (and related ailments)

Footballitis:  the all-American ailment.  Symptoms include backache, blurry vision, weight gain, headaches (from slapping the forehead forcefully), bladder dysfunction (from waiting for half-time), disregard of hygiene and personal appearance and, the most common symptom, beer and bean dip-induced burps.  Depending on the month, footballitis is also commonly known as basketballitis and, in some areas of the country, hockeyitis.

Long term effects of these syndromes affect a number of neuromuscular and psychosocial systems.  Flaccid muscles – except those used for grasping beer cans and chair arms – are common sequelae as is abandonment by family members.  Sufferers may also experience tooth grinding, changes in blood pressure, spinal curvature and lower extremity edema from lack of movement.  Unused joints – especially knees, ankles and hips – may develop stiffness, arthralgia and, possibly, cobwebs.

There’s a cure!!

Sunday, January 24th is the day your footballitis will be completely – and inexpensively – cured.  Imagine!  No one will ask for your Medicare card or your insurance carrier, you will not be asked to sign 35 consent forms.  All you have to do is extract yourself from that Lazy-Boy and hobble over to Temple Beth-el by 3:15.  In that beautiful, peaceful space, you will absolutely forget about that blasted team, you will relax and you will just listen.  Listening to a group of Canadians (who are NOT playing hockey) perform wonderful, soothing music.  Better than Ben-Gay is the Gryphon Trio.


– E Doyle


Reading through the SACMS program on November 8 and seeing the photo of the four members of the Zemlinsky Quartet on page 14, I anticipated a pleasing Sunday afternoon of classical music. But wait, the photo of the foursome showed one bearded face and three cleanly-shaven ones, not what I was looking at on the Temple Beth-El stage. Before me stood just the opposite, three beards and one cleanly-shaven (a later explanation was that the photo was taken before the group went on tour two weeks ago.)

Their energy and enthusiasm was palpably transmitted from the stage to the rapt audience.

The program, as anticipated, was powerful and melodious. The four members, playing two violins, one viola and one cello were outstanding in their delivery of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s String Quartet No. 1 in E-Flat Major, Op 12; Ernst Krenek’s String Quartet No. 7, Op. 96; and Leos Janacek’s String Quartet No. 2 “Intimate Letters.” Their energy and enthusiasm was palpably transmitted from the stage to the rapt audience.

And, as if icing were necessary, the group presented the final movement of Dvorak’s “America” Quartet as an encore for the enjoyment of the audience of some 300, who, judging by their spontaneous applause at every chance, were as enthralled as I was with the program.


I’ve never heard anything like the last set of Krenek—almost like a jam session.
– Audience Member

It is always interesting to learn about the instruments of the musicians—the viola was made for Petr Holman in 2013 while the other musicians perform with century old instruments.
– Nancy Shivers

Zemlinsky String Quartet

Coming to San Antonio on November 8, 2015

Founded in 1994 as the Penguin Quartet, the Zemlinsky String Quartet has become a much lauded example of the Czech string quartet tradition. The members of the ensemble grew up together and have a distinctive style that sets them apart from other string quartets.

The Zemlinsky Quartet performs regularly in the Czech Republic and abroad. Recent major appearances of the Zemlinsky Quartet include Wigmore Hall (London, 2012, 2014), Cité de la Musique (Paris, 2010, 2012), Library of Congress (2009), Place des Arts (Montreal, 2009, 2012), Prague Spring Festival (2005, 2009, 2011), and their New York debut on Schneider/New School Concerts (2009).

The repertoire of the ensemble is far ranging containing more than 200 works by many leading composers, including contemporary music. The group has made many recordings for Czech Radio. Most recently, the quartet has won the 1st Grand Prize in the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition (2010). The members of the ensemble also perform as soloists and are prizeholders of several individual competitions.

They were named after the Austrian composer, conductor and teacher Alexander Zemlinsky (1871-1942), whose enormous contribution to Czech, German and Jewish culture during his 16-year stay in Prague was underestimated for decades. Since 2005, the quartet has maintained a special relationship with the Alexander Zemlinsky Foundation in Vienna.

“The enjoyment of music-making is evident in everything these musicians play, and each is an exemplary performer”

Peter Johnson

Malvern Concert Club Review

“…immaculate intonation, amazing tonal variety, perfectly clear articulation and an exceptional sense of architecture…”

Harry Halbreich

Bohuslav Martinů Newsletter


František SOUČEK (1st violin)
Petr STŘÍŽEK  (2nd violin)
Petr HOLMAN  (viola)
Vladimír FORTIN (violoncello)


MENDELSSOHN String Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op.12

KRENEK String Quartet No.7, Op.96


JANACEK String Quartet No.2 “Intimate Letters”


Temple Beth-El
Address: 211 Belknap Place
Time: 3:15 PM

Memo to Ruth Jean

Dear RJ,

This was a concert you would have loved!  It was a progressive musical feast:

Hors d’ouvres –  Concertino Strings from YOSA, the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio, expertly directed by our friend Eugene Dowdy.  These young musicians (some so young that their parents are, no doubt, buying new concert clothes every six months) demonstrated their considerable talent and musical understanding.  Janacek and Purcell must be smiling – I certainly was!   I was thinking about the hours of practice that went into their performance; all the more remarkable when considering the electronic temptations that must pull at them.

First course – the YOSA Alumni String Quartet. This youthful foursome performed with confidence and mastery of the chamber music genre. Their abilities place them on the road to classical stardom. They are young, but very classy and professional.  Again, evident hours devoted to their craft.

The Temple filled with the glorious sounds of the music as I’m sure it was meant to be heard.  It left everyone with the feeling that they were hearing this music for the very first time.

Main course – the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Ensemble. Here, having exhausted my meager supply of adjectives, I defer to those around me in the audience: gentleman behind me trying to find a way to wrap the word “impeccable” around what he’d heard after the Rossini; lady next to me who could only say “Wow!”; a lady in the row ahead, who I know to be a professional musician, not saying a word – just smiling, enraptured. The Temple filled with the glorious sounds of the music as I’m sure it was meant to be heard.  It left everyone with the feeling that they were hearing this music for the very first time.

RJ, you would have loved this afternoon’s concert!  Even though we had a huge audience, in the pauses between movements, you wouldn’t have heard a sound – no one talking, no dropped programs, no coughing,  not even a hearing aid pinging!

And at the lovely dinner afterwards, the Academy violist, Robert Smissen, spoke of something near to your heart.  He said that the eight musicians who had provided such a splendid concert had been listening to the young musicians who had preceded them on stage and like me, marveling at their skills.  Then he talked about how important it is to teach the young the “language of serious music,” how, like any other language one learns, the young are quick to pick up the accents, the phrasing, the metaphors of music.  That is a truth I know you understood very well.

I’ve gone on,  rhapsodizing, long enough, my friend.  I can’t help but think you were there, too, smiling.

– E Doyle

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble

Coming to San Antonio on October 11, 2015

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is one of the world’s premier chamber orchestras, renowned for its fresh, brilliant interpretations of the world’s most-loved classical music. Their Chamber Ensemble will be opening our 73rd Season with an amazing program at Temple Beth-El on Sunday, October 11.

Formed by Sir Neville Marriner in 1958 from a group of leading London musicians, the Academy gave its first performance in its namesake church in November 1959. Their first three recordings led to a succession of long-term contracts and the Academy quickly took their place among the most recorded ensembles in history.

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble was created in 1967 to perform the larger chamber works – from quintets to octets – with players who customarily work together, instead of the usual string quartet with additional guests. Drawn from the principal players of the orchestra, the Chamber Ensemble tours as a string octet, string sextet, and in other configurations including winds. Its touring commitments are extensive and have included visits to France, Germany, Spain and Australia, as well as North and South America. Recording contracts with Philips Classics, Hyperion, and Chandos have led to the release of over thirty CDs by the Chamber Ensemble.


“What an awesome octet is the Academy Chamber Ensemble. Packing the punch of two quartets, their sound is vivid: bright and highly saturated”

Opus One, Nov 2013

“Their sound is sweet and pure, their ensemble work airtight, and the playing purred along effortlessly”

The Washington Post, Oct 2012


Tomo Keller (violin, leader)
Harvey de Souza (violin)
Robert Smissen (viola)
Stephen Orton (cello)
Lawrence O’Donnell (bassoon)
Lynda Houghton (double bass)
Stephen Stirling (horn)
Timothy Orpen (clarinet)


ROSSINI String Sonata in G Major

MOZART Quintet in E-Flat Major for Horn & Strings, K.407


SCHUBERT Octet in F Major for Winds & Strings, D.803


Temple Beth-El
Address: 211 Belknap Place
Time: 3:15 PM

*This concert will open with a musical tribute to Ruth Jean Gurwitz performed by YOSA

I’ll be the one smiling

I will never forget the very first classical music concert I attended – do you remember yours?  Well, then, I’m going to bore you with mine!

At the old Municipal Auditorium, I sat way up in the balcony, and I mean WAY UP in the balcony.  No one could even see my elegant little black dress (purchased for the occasion and creating a big hole in my meager budget).  I felt quite splendid, but must confess I didn’t know what was going on.  I kept looking around to see what other people were doing as the orchestra played.  What does one do?  Do you applaud ever time the music stops?   I had no idea.  Some people were even nodding off.  How awful!


But then the orchestra struck up the Overture of 1812, and I thought that was the grandest music I had ever heard.  After the last cannonade and the thunderous applause, as  I carefully navigated down the balcony stairs, I smiled and thought, “I have to buy a recording of that!”  And so I did.  And the reverse side of that old LP was “Gaite Parisienne.”  Over the years, I played it so often, I must have nearly worn through that wonderful record.

And so, in the era of Elvis, I learned the language of classical music.  And then, I discovered chamber music.   No more bombast and big sounds, no more nosebleed balcony.  Just sitting among a few hundred other classical music fans, quietly listening to some of the most beautiful music ever written.

In the era of Elvis, I learned the language of classical music. And then, I discovered chamber music.  No more bombast and big sounds, no more nosebleed balcony.

I still love the symphony, the original “Big Band” sound of over 70 musicians filling a huge hall with glorious sound, but now I have added chamber music to the top of my Favorite Things list.  It is simply incredible that just a handful of musicians can elicit such sounds and emotions from only a few instruments.  To help us along, our very own grand dame of chamber music, the 73-year-old San Antonio Chamber Music Society, has been enthralling us with the music of chamber ensembles from all over the world.  We have been gifted with the best – and there’s more on the way: starting with Rossini, Schubert and Mozart played by the beloved Chamber Ensemble of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields (yes, THAT Academy of St Martin in the Fields, from across the pond) October 11, 2015. Can’t wait!

That’s only the beginning!  You know about the great Czech string quartet tradition – the Zemlinsky Quartet from Prague will bring to life the music of Mendelssohn, Krenek and Janacek on November 8.  After the new year, the world-renowned Gryphon Trio from Canada brings a mesmerizing program of pure poetry:  Debussy, Ravel and Wijeratne (January 24). Next up, the Shanghai Quartet with special guest Wu Man on pi-pa (a kind of Chinese lute) transport you to an enchanting world of exotic sounds (February 28).  To round off the season, the young American Dover Quartet, winners of the Banff International String Quartet Competition, will dazzle and charm with the works of Dvorak, Berg and Shoshtakovich (April 3).

If you appreciate beauty, structure, harmony – and the unexpected – well, this is classical music at its finest.  These are concerts to be anticipated and let yourself be captivated by.  I know you’ll see me there.  I’ll be the one smiling.

– E Doyle

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