I am working on my own burnout. When I seem to be lacking perspective and balance more than usual I suspect I am stressing out a bit more than needed. I guess if you look closely at yourself you can always see your own lack of these things to some extent (at least I can). Eileen and I have decided to go away together soon for some R & R. I haven’t had a Sunday off in quite a while.
In the meantime I am doing stuff to keep myself sane.
I have already been pushing furniture around this morning. I have a side room from hell stuffed with books, music and sundry other disorganized items. I am gradually moving the books. Yesterday I took up some more of the B’s. (yes I have most of my books in order by author). I would like to clear the side room to make it sort of a study room for me. Where I can have a mess and close the door.
I also did some serious cleaning in one corner of the kitchen. I cleaned my former cat’s favorite window sill which still had his dirty paw prints on it. Re-organized my hanging pots and pans.
In between all this industriousness I was playing through Bartok’s Allegro Barbaro for piano (Slowly!)
and I started thinking about the fact that Bartok was writing at the same time as Scott Joplin.
I started comparing dates and discovered that Joplin wrote his opera, Treemonisha, the same year Bartok published Allegro Barbaro (1911). Then I decided their aesthetics had some interesting corollaries.
Bartok’s rhythms and tonal language was influenced by his collecting Hungarian (actually Magyar formerly thought of as Roma) folk music. So Bartok dips into the non-academic source for music.
Joplin seems to have longed for legitimacy even as his own music contains contained wonderful aspects of African American musical rhythms, melodic conventions and notes. I think of Joplin as pre-Jazz because one interprets him music completely differently from Jazz. In other words, the performance conventions of “swinging” the rhythm (playing runs unevenly in one of several possible ways…. doo be doo be doo be) and improvisation really are not appropriate for Joplin’s stuff.
I mostly know his rags.
Yesterday I pulled a bunch of piano pieces by Bartok and Joplin off the web and made a play list that alternated between their works. I found this very satisfying.
I fell in love with one Joplin piece I don’t remember hearing before.
I especially like Tom Pascale’s recording of it. You can find it on Piano Society Free Piano music web site (link) along with a ton of other recordings of Joplin. I pulled down all of Pascale’s and quite like his interp.
I also downloaded some free (legal) mp3s of Bartok piano music. You can poke around on the Piano Society yourself if (zeus forbid!) you actually like this kind of music. Heh. I like Chris Beemer’s interp of Bartok’s lovely lovely Ten Easy Pieces, myself. (link)
I also decided I want to read everything Kate Atkinson has written (see yesterday’s raving). So I checked on what my local library owns so I could get started. Went and checked out these two:
Then I ordered up free copies of titles I didn’t recognize from Paperbacksway.com. (link)
If you don’t know about this organization and like books and don’t mind mailing books to swap for other books, you should check this out. It’s a guilt free way of getting rid of books (second copies and whatever you don’t want) and then obtain other books.
I have five credits and spent two of them on these two books:
Sometimes I get a bit carried away and read everything I can find by an author. This is one of those times.