Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 6
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors

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Iris Interiors

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Weather Forecast

(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
WATER WONDERS: Senior captain Peter Deardorff, with plaque, and his teammates celebrate last Saturday after the Princeton High boys’ swimming squad placed first in the Mercer County Swimming Championships held at the Lawrence High pool. In winning the program’s first county crown since 2004, PHS produced a dominant victory, piling up 338 points with three-time defending champion Notre Dame a distant runner-up at 193 and WW/P-S taking third with 183.

Front Page

Arts and Transit Dialogue May Continue

Dilshanie Perera

Though Princeton University is looking for alternate sites for its Steven Holl-designed arts center, the municipalities may pursue a dialogue with the heads of Princeton University aimed at a consensus about the originally proposed Arts and Transit Neighborhood plan that would redesign the area at the intersection of Alexander Road and University Place.

Meeting Tonight Will Determine Future of Fair Tax-Reval Case

Ellen Gilbert

A determination of community support for pursuing a case against the 2010 revaluation will take place at a public meeting on Wednesday, February 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Township Hall.

Princeton HealthCare System Expands Fundraising Campaign to $150 Million

Dilshanie Perera

The fundraising campaign for the new hospital being built in Plainsboro was recently expanded by Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS) from $115 million to $150 million in private donations. The deadline for meeting the new goal is March 2013, a year after the hospital is slated to open.

Other News

The Genius at Home: Einstein’s Domestic Life Chronicled in Historical Society’s Latest Show

Dilshanie Perera

A rarely seen side of Albert Einstein is showcased at the Historical Society of Princeton’s (HSP) latest exhibit, which displays furniture and personal items that the physicist used in his home on Mercer Street, where he lived from 1933 to 1955.

Library Weathers Economic Downturn, Seeks to Balance Electronics and Print

Ellen Gilbert

“It’s lovely to be here just to report and not actually be asking you for anything,” observed Princeton Public Library Executive Director Leslie Burger as she began her annual report to Township Committee at their Monday evening meeting.

Topics in Brief
A Community Bulletin

Ali and Elvis, American Icons, Appearing at Michener Museum

A two-in-one exhibit featuring a pair of American icons is opening on February 19 at The James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., where it will be on view through May 19. Elvis at 21: Photographs by Al Wertheimer features the work of a young photographer who spent several weeks with a very young Elvis when he was on the brink of superstardom. “Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon” includes more than 50 photographs of Ali’s personal life as well as some of the more famous episodes from his career by photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Gordon Parks, and Art Shay.


PU Men’s Basketball Proves Tough at Home, Winning Harvard Clash, Topping Dartmouth

Bill Alden

With a throng of more than 4,000 on hand at Jadwin Gym and a national television audience watching on ESPNU, the Princeton University men’s basketball team wanted to put on a show as it hosted Harvard last Friday evening.

Covering Goaltending Basics From A-to-Z, Zdunkiewicz Makes Impact as PU Goalie Coach

Bill Alden

John Zdunkiewicz views hockey goaltending as an intricate puzzle.

Sparked by Kuhlik’s High Quality Sprinting, PHS Boys’ Swimmers Dominate County Meet

Bill Alden

After thoroughly dominating the preliminary session of the Mercer County Swimming Championships last week, the Princeton High boys’ swimming team sat in the pole position for the finals on Saturday.

More Sports…

Record Review

Soundscapes and Mosaics: Milton Babbitt’s Empire of the Ear

Stuart Mitchner

Then music, the mosaic of the air,
Did of all these a solemn noise prepare;
With which she gained the empire of the ear,
Including all between the earth and sphere…

Andrew Marvell, from “Music’s Empire”

People began to hear things that they had never heard before.

Milton Babbitt (1916-2011)

It was a Princeton moment.

“Milton Babbitt!” the nurse called. We were in the waiting room of the Princeton Medical Group. I looked to my right and there he was. The only other time I’d seen him had been in Richardson Auditorium at a May 2004 Seminar on Beauty, his presence amplified by the astounding piece of music he’d set loose in the hall with, in effect, the push of a button. Then, as if he were moderating a musical version of the old anthropological panel show What in the World, he asked the rhetorical question “What was that?” and told us that we had just heard a recording of the first three measures of Wagner’s Prelude to Tristan. I don’t remember his exact words, but his point was that the Tristan chord represents the opening salvo, the first stroke, the beginning of 20th-century music. The same note is sounded in Milton Babbitt: Words About Music. “Of course Schoenberg knew Tristan full well. Everybody knew this piece cold. It was their ‘Melancholy Baby.’ Just in the first three measures, things are already beginning to develop.”


Opera New Jersey Warms Up the Winter With Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”

Nancy Plum

OK, so the guy was a louse. Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy stationed in Nagasaki, “married” a former geisha girl, knowing full well he had no intention of honoring the marriage contract. He would be “really” married later — in the United States to an American bride. B.F. Pinkerton may have been a louse, but his “louse-ness” was set to some of the most beautiful music ever written.

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