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Friday, September 13, 2019

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is going on strike Update 9/13

As some of you know, Ed and I have a double subscription (12 concerts total) to the BSO at Strathmore.

Update 9/13/19:

BSO musicians reject contract offer, jeopardizing season opening; no further talks scheduled

~ Baltimore Sun

BSO Musicians Say They're Not Performing At Meyerhoff Saturday, Reject Both Contract Offers

~ CBS Baltimore

Even record attendance wouldn't turn around the BSO. Other cities' orchestras show what could.

~ Baltimore Sun

Is It Now A Strike And Not A Lockout? Baltimore Symphony Musicians Reject Both Contract Offers

~ ArtsJournal
_____________________________


Press Statement 9-9-2019

Baltimore Symphony Musicians

September 9, 2019

Baltimore Symphony Management intent on cutting season despite offer of $1 million from generous donors.
At 6:59 pm this evening, BSO management issued a “take it or leave it” offer to the BSO Musicians which will be presented to the orchestra for a vote tomorrow evening. The proposal contained wage and benefit cuts of 20%. The federal mediators proposed an extension of negotiations until close of business Thursday. Management rejected the federal mediators proposal. Musicians then suggested an extension until the close of voting by the membership on this final offer. Management rejected that proposal as well.
The Baltimore Symphony Musicians negotiated in good faith throughout the summer. We organized prominent donors to assist in this process. These generous donors brought $1 million designated specifically for musician compensation to help secure a contract. We want to express appreciation from the bottom of our hearts, to these donors for their unwavering commitment. It is incredibly disheartening that BSO leadership would fail to embrace this offer of help from some of Baltimore’s leading philanthropists.
Where do we go from here? The musicians will continue the fight to preserve our 103-year old institution, which serves the City of Baltimore, the surrounding counties and the State of Maryland. We stand ready and willing to get back to the negotiating table to achieve an agreement that will enable us to continue to attract and retain the highest quality musicians to perform for our audiences.
This is a dark day in the history of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Over the past three months the musicians have each lost over $20,000 in salary, with more to come. This dispute isn’t just about money. It is also about respect, respect for the quality of the musicians on stage, respect for generations of Marylanders who have built this orchestra and for the thousands of people who have bought tickets and have donated to this venerable institution.
Contact: Co-Chairs Baltimore Symphony Musicians
Greg Mulligan (410) 979-0208 opus95gm@gmail.com
Brian Prechtl (410) 935-7322 bprechtl.1962@yahoo.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/baltimoresymphonymusicians/                                    

Friday links

September 13 - 14, 1814 is the the anniversary of the battle of Baltimore, inspiration for the Star-Spangled Banner.

The code breakers of Renaissance Venice.


September 14, 1861 was the Night of the Flaming Ballerinas.

How Did the Ancient Romans Manage to Build Perfectly Straight, Ultra Durable Roads?

Mud Maker: The Man Behind MLB's Essential Secret Sauce - the third generation of a family that collects the mud that is used to treat every single regulation major league baseball, roughly 240,000 per season.

ICYMI, most recent links are here, and include strategies for fighting multiple assailants, the accidental invention of the Slinky, glamorous 1920s beach parties, and the anniversary of the Battle of Borodino, on which War and Peace and the 1812 Overture are based.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

September 13 and 14: the anniversary of the battle of Baltimore, inspiration for the Star-Spangled Banner

Bombing of Fort McHenry by the British. Engraved by John Bower
It was a galling sight for British seamen to behold. And as the last vessel spread her canvas to the wind, the Americans hoisted a most superb and splendid ensign on their battery and fired at the same time a gun of defiance... When the squadron retreated from Baltimore, sullen discontent was displayed and malevolent aspersions cast upon our veteran chief... 

~ Midshipman Robert Barrett, RN (1799-1828) (on the British withdrawal from Baltimore, "Naval Recollections of the American War") 

Without any clash on the battlefield the young American republic had humbled the might of the British empire. The rebuff of Britain at Baltimore decisively demonstrated America's independence of its former master. And this explosion of national pride was only to be magnified by the events of the remaining months of the war.* 


Larger version of map here
September 13th and 14th mark the anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore (wiki) during the War of 1812, remembered primarily for the unsuccessful British bombardment of Fort McHenry and Francis Scott Key's penning the words of "The Star-Spangled Banner" while interned on a British warship. 

President James Madison had declared war on Great Britain in June 1812 in response to interference with American shipping and the impressment of U.S. merchant seamen during the Napoleonic wars, as well as the British stirring up the Indians of the Ohio Valley to resist American settlement. Following an abortive American invasion of southern Canada, the British sent a modest naval and marine force - newly freed up from the Spanish campaign against Napoleon - to the Chesapeake in retaliation. 

The burned White House by George Munger,
White House Historical Association
In mid-August 1814, an expeditionary force under Admirals Alexander Cochrane and George Cockburn landed on the lower Patuxent River and after routing U.S. militia at the Battle of Bladensburg on the 24th, occupied Washington that night and burned its major government buildings, including the White House and the Capitol, before withdrawing a day later. (Simultaneously, another Royal Navy flotilla maneuvered up the Potomac River to seize Alexandria and held that city for several days before retiring with significant plunder.) After returning to their ships, the British moved up the Chesapeake Bay to attack Baltimore with a naval penetration of the Patapsco River and an amphibious landing southeast of the city on 12 September. 

By then, however, the Americans had rallied their own forces, stopped the (outnumbered) British at the Battle of North Point, and fought off the Royal Navy's attempt to reduce Fort McHenry on the night of September 13th - 14th. In the face of these failures, the badly over-extended British expedition withdrew southward and departed the Chesapeake Bay to prepare for the New Orleans campaign. And as for "The Star-Spangled Banner," here's the verse we never sing:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Here's a rather well-done shortish documentary:


The U.S. Marine Band plays the National Anthem:


* The reference here is to the American victories on Lake Champlain (8-11 September 1814) and in the Battle of New Orleans, 8 January 1815, the second of which was actually fought two weeks after the Treaty of Ghent ended the war. 

** This recent book (St. Martin's Press, New York, 2013) presents a lively and readable account of the British invasion of Washington and the attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812. It should be remembered that all of this happened while Britain was deeply preoccupied with her struggle against Napoleon. He had been exiled to Elba as recently as April 1814 but would return to France on 20 March 1815 to fight the Hundred Days Campaign, which culminated in the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June.

John Farrier at Neatorama has an excellent article on the same subject.

Parts of the text above are adapted from Ed's Quotation of the Day, only available via email - leave your email address in the comments if you'd like to be added to his list. Ed is the author of Hunters and Killers: Volume 1: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1776 to 1943 and Hunters and Killers: Volume 2: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1943.