cut finger, herbie hancock, bread and wine


On Monday evening, I accidentally cut the pointer finger of my left hand while trying to slice myself some bread. The cut was not bad enough to go to the ER but I haven’t played keyboard since Monday in order to let it heal. I will decide today whether I will cancel piano trio rehearsal tomorrow or not. I’m planning to play a little piano after lunch and decide. I am expecting it to be healed enough to play Sunday’s streamed church service.

This morning I stumbled across Herbie Hancock’s 2014 Norton Lectures on YouTube.

Hancock was not only the first Jazz musician to give these lectures, he was also the first African American.

45 Harvard Norton Lectures ideas | professorship, lecture, literature

Some great Miles Davis quotes from the first lecture.

The history of Jazz in four words: Louie Armstrong Charlie Parker – Miles Davis


Leave out the butter notes – Miles Davis


I always like to listen to what I can leave out. – Miles Davis

As far I can tell, these lectures have not  been published in written form, but are available on YouTube.

I finished reading Ignazio Silone’s Bread and Wine today.

Bread and Wine by Ignazio Silone | Cellar Door

I read the revised version he did in 1963. I began reading it during the previous presidential administration as a sort of antidote. It’s a strong story simply told. It is anti-Stalinist and anti-Facist.

The main character, Pietro Spina is a revolutionary Communist hiding from the state (Mussolini) disguised as a parish priest in a rural part of Italy. Most of the novel takes place in this little village.

The symbolic aspects of the novel are done in broad strokes. Bread, wine symbolize the solidarity of all humans but also are used in connection with strong Christian overtones (one of the heroines name is Cristina, get it?)

Mickey Mouse makes an odd appearance when two of the characters spot him on a marquee and instantly stop to go in.

In his introduction, Silone describes watching a woman read his book while on a train ride. It was as a result of thinking about what she was reading that he decided to do a revision. I think it’s kind of cool to visualize him surreptitiously observing what page and what line she was one and doing some cringing.

I have  been making headway with  my Greek. Today I ordered copies of the Loeb edition of the Iliad in Greek and English. I am rereading the Iliad in English and it keeps popping up in my studies. It would be helpful to have this handy.

If I can’t play music, I can still read and listen to it.

Listening To Music While Reading Newspaper Icons - Download Free Vector  Icons | Noun Project



Saturday afternoon


I made some serous progress on my Greek this week. I am reading Milton Parry’s The Making of Homeric Verse. I just hit a section where it would really help me to understand Homeric meter. I found an amazing video which clearly teaches this kind of complicated subject.

In addition, I had been scanning the beginning of the Odyssey in Greek (scanning means working out exactly how the meter is working). I began dropping lines into a web site which automatically scans the Greek along about Book 2. I realized that I hadn’t done so at the beginning. I got four lines into and my web site couldn’t figure it out.

But after listening to Tom Ford’s clear video on scanning, I think I figured that line out.

All this is to say, that Jupe who already has tons of obscure skills (French Harpsichord chops, Church hymn playing, understanding of Liturgy) is adding another skill with his pursuit of Greek. What the hell. I am enjoying it.

James McBride on "Kill 'Em and Leave" at the 2016 National Book Festival -  YouTube

James McBride’s Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown came in the mail recently. I was excited to find that McBride wrote this book pretty recently. It was published in 2016. Brown (whom I do admire) died in 2006.

Erik's Choice: James McBride's 'Kill 'Em & Leave: Searching for the Real  James Brown' (2016)

This book is not just about Brown’s music, but about America now. I have already started reading it.

Fiskadoro by Denis Johnson

I finished Denis Johnson’s Fiscador. It’s quite a book. It’s Johnson’s second book. In the intro he says he owes a lot to Victor Turner, Bruno Bettelheim, James Campbell, Oliver Sachs and others. Published in 1985, I guess some think it’s a bit of dystopic novel. I found the title in a review of a Margaret Atwood book by Lorrie Moore. I’m seriously considering a second read on this one.

The Paris Review - How to Imitate George Saunders - The Paris Review

George Saunders

Ezra Klein recently interviewed George Saunders. Saunders is another writer I admire. Klein seems to have gotten a NYT article and a podcast out of the interview. Here’s a link to the transcript of the interview. Saunders recommends a bunch of books at the end including The Hundred Dresses.

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, Louis Slobodkin, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

The illustrator, Slobodkin, is the dude who did Caps For Sale. I have requested this book via inter library loan along with some books of poetry Saunders recommends. It’s a good interview. Saunders is a gentle, wise man. The link is below.

I can feel the fact that I haven’t had a Sunday off for about a year. Tomorrow I am playing a piece by Ned Rorem and a Kyrie by Zoltán Kodály.

Ned Rorem: Composer | Author | American Icon - YouTube

I do like Rorem.

Hungarian Composer Zoltán Kodály's Music Education Method Added to UNESCO  World Heritage List - Hungary Today

Zoltán Kodály

The  Kodály is part of a companion organ piece (Organoeida ad missam lectam, 1944) to his Missa brevis for choir and Organ (1942, orchestrated 1948). I believe we did the orchestral version of the Mass when I was in undergrad at Wayne State U.

Renowned GV composer to unveil two pieces | Local News |

Gerald Near

The following week I am doing two lovely pieces by Gerald Near. The week after that I have scheduled Dawn to come a play several movements of Vaughan Williams’ Six Studies in English Folk Songs.

Speaking of folk songs, I don’t think I have written here about finding a connection between my collection of the tunes to the Child Ballads and some settings in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. Both the Child Ballads and the Fitzwilliam Virginal book are interests of mine that stretch way back to before any college, probably pre-1970. This coming together of two of my interests is satisfying and intriguing.

He Was a ‘Bad Boy’ Harpsichordist, and the Best of His Age

My boss sent me this link even though she’s on vacation. Scott Ross, the subject of this article, must have been born in the same year I was, 1951. I haven’t read it yet, but like that Jen sends me stuff.

How Viet Thanh Nguyen Turns Fiction Into Criticism | The New Yorker

Viet Thanh Nguyen: The Committed - 92Y, New York

I am definitely going to have to read this book. I read his  first novel and loved it.

Ezra Klein interviews George Saunders, transcript

Here’s the link I promised above.