All posts by jupiterj

quick morning post


I have been neglecting posting here due to increased preparation for today’s recital. Yesterday I spent time on composing the final program for today. I  interleaved paragraphs of explanations and stories into the list of pieces to be performed. I deliberately made the whole thing personal keeping in mind the internet maxim: “talk like a person.” I was pleasantly surprised that all the musicians seemed very supportive of my unusual approach. I haven’t heard from Jen yet. She said she would be unavailable Friday and Saturday and did not answer emails. I put a copy of the program in her box yesterday after I finished printing up 50 copies. I’m hoping she thinks it’s okay. I am planning not to talk today which is a change from my usual modus operandi in this situation. But the notes are extensive and entertaining.

I am guardedly optimistic about the number of people who will attend today’s recital. In addition to hoping for a little support from the Grace community, it’s always helpful to have several people involved the program. They bring family and friends.

I decided at the last minute to include a harpsichord solo, Gavotte by William Byrd. I have thought from the beginning it would be a good idea to have a short little harpsichord solo, but realized that this meant not only keeping the harpsichord in good tune but making sure all the jacks returned quickly enough for me to play the dang piece. This is mostly true. I am planning to play the Gavotte for the prelude for this morning’s service.

Eileen is still resting at this point (8 AM). It’s relatively warm out and there is a drizzle of rain. This is actually my favorite kind of weather.

It will be interesting to see how everything turns out today. I will probably post the program here later since I am so proud of it.

choosing readings and still enjoying Homer


It’s Tuesday afternoon. Our house is crawling with electricians. Actually only a couple guys named Ian and Allen. They are young and polite. They seem to quickly understand when I told them Eileen was project manager. They have left me alone.

I have chosen readings for Sunday. This looks like it’s going to be fun. I sent them out to the readers (Eileen and Jen) and Jordan.

The first is a section of Duke Ellington’s autobiography, Music is My Mistress.

I sent the readings marked up (as you can see)… M means music here.

I’ve asked Rev Jen to read this reading and for Jordan to play some sax licks during it.  I often say that Ellington said if it sounds good, it is good. This is the source of that quote.

I asked Eileen to read this section from Olio by Tyehimba Jess. I have read this work and thing it’s something of a masterpiece. Jess used real life figures and made poetry about them. You can see that this poem has lots of music works. Jordan and I will work together on this one.

Just before my little ensemble performs Drek 2019, I’ve asked Jen to read this piece by Nick Hornby.

I admit I went looking for this. I wanted something interesting and well written. Jen actually recognized Hornby.

She emailed me that she has the song “I’m like a bird” stuck in her head (witty, eh?). I didn’t know the song, I just liked the sentiment of the piece. Now I think we better use some of its melody in the background music which Jordan and I will do. I’m thinking of something a bit softer for this one… I would like to use marimba and let Jordan choose his own instrument (he plays several).

Well, my practice on the Bach went badly this morning. Part of it may be the interruption in my routine. Eileen got up early because of the electricians coming. I hadn’t even showered after exercising when she got up. I didn’t get to my Greek until about an hour ago. Also, I’ve asked Rhonda Edgington to listen to my piece and I think that made me a bit off balance in my practice (Hi Rhonda!).

Even more than these two things is the fact that I need to strategize carefully about this piece at this point. When I start thinking about the tempo (like I did this morning) I seem to get flustered and distracted because I’m worrying about whether it’s fast enough or steady enough. When i simply try to play the right notes, it goes pretty well.

I’m about to hop in the car and do my afternoon practice on it. I will go slow and carefully. I remember Ray Ferguson answering a question about what tempo I should do a certain piece. He said that by the time you learn it, you will know. I think this is happening to me and that I can short circuit it if I over think it. Slow practice is always good.

Plus I made bread after lunch. That’s always a calming experience for me.

I am enjoying working directly on Homer’s Odyssey. I like the web site I have mentioned, but oddly enough one of the most helpful resources is a The Odyssey of Homer construed literally and word for word by The Rev de Giles. I think it was published in the 1850s. I would love an old musty copy of it, but the online version is very usable.

I checked and it only seems to be available in reprints.

Harvard’s Bad Call on Ronald Sullivan – The Atlantic

I can see that this situation is complicated, but I still think that the vilest people deserve a lawyer.