cheering up. honest.

I queued up a couple of the articles from yesterdays links that I haven’t read yet. The New Yorker came in the mail so I can read the Ipad article in real life if I choose to.

Nice that my esteemed colleague Nick commented on a recent post. Hi Nick! You remind me that I do have a few colleagues left.

Living in Holland can be pretty brutal for me. I’m now working on a second generation of Hope College music profs who seem to find my very existence distasteful.  Ah well, I still sneak into the library and use it when I need to.

Spent some time at the piano with the first couple of sections of Schubert’s big Fantasia, Op. 15 yesterday. I heard it on the BBC composer of the week program. The moderator also described Schubert’s own frustration with the difficulty of the piece supposedly abandoning it in a public performance with the comment, “Let someone else play the damned thing!”

This has got to be an apocryphal story. But still with my meager technique I certainly sympathize.

Yesterday I cleaned the street in front of my house of the yard refuse Eileen stacked there for the city to pick up. We received a nasty letter from the city telling us we were in violation since we had put it out after the pick up date. Yikes.

Also took my Mom out so she could buy me lunch and stroll around in the cool sunlight with my coat wrapped around her.

Then off to some organ practice at church. I have mixed feelings about church these days. I like church work but hate people politics. It seems I am in the midst of losing a little power struggle. Ah well. I have a tendency to just withdraw and let my work speak for itself. Not a winning strategy when the work I do can be so unnoticeable. But winning is over rated in my opinion certainly not worth the typical manipulations and lobbying necessary to do so in petty people politics. Fuck the duck. Better solitary and with a vestige of personal integrity. No wonder I like Harlan Ellison.

Anyway, I spent a good amount of time with Bach at the organ. I rehearsed the first movement of his D minor trio sonata. What great music! Also rehearsed Sunday’s prelude and postlude.

The prelude is the Fantasy Toccata and Variations on “The Lord my God my shepherd is”  by Barbara Harbach.

Barbara Harbach

This is a set of variations sandwiched between the same short Toccata played at the beginning and the end. Some very clever writing including a layering of Crimond with the similar melody of Amazing Grace (New Britain).

The postlude is Fanfare and Allegro on “Alleluia, alleluia! Give thanks to the risen Lord” by Jeffrey Honoré. This piece is a bit cognitive dissonant because it is a big organ treatment of an old Charismatic hymn.

Jeffrey Honoré

The rest of the day was spent cheering me up. First an hour or so chatting on the web came with Sarah the daughter.

Always cheers me to hear her voice and see her on my little netbook screen. Then Eileen and I walked down to supper at the pub which included two martinis for Steve. Nice. And my blood pressure does seem to be leveling off at a more reasonable reading (averaging around 130/85).

Today I offered to take my Mom to Panera before her appointment with the hearing aid people (Miracle Ear). She didn’t take me up on it but she may call this morning and opt for it yet. After that I have a rehearsal with my piano trio.

Good old Matt Scott is negotiating with me to perform an evening of music in his shop this summer sometime. We have been discussing an eclectic evening of musical styles featuring the piano trio, harpsichord, and original material. Should be fun. Matt has emailed me a list of possible dates. I have yet to hear from my cellist what’s possible for her. She plays in the GR symphony and often has bookings.

I have been thinking a bit about doing this gig entirely different. Usually I engage a few other musicians and use them for the entire gig. This time I think it might be more fun to feature one or two of them a time throughout the evening. This of course builds in a few more listeners as well as performers.

Anyway once my trio has committed to a date I will start shopping for some other musicians.

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0 thoughts on “cheering up. honest.

  1. Why do you think that they think that you are distasteful? They are a Christ oriented college aren’t they? Oh, maybe it’s the outward appearance that prejudices their seeming distasteful attitude towards you. I would not worry about them, it is not worth your time nor your worry. You have more important things to achieve.

  2. For what it’s worth, I think it’s a bit deeper than my personal appearance. I have been living here since 1987. When I arrived I reached out to many local musicians including the choir director and organ teacher at Hope. I generally hit brick walls of prejudice (against Catholics if you can believe it). And the quality of the local music was not great particularly both in the college and the churches. Since then the college has improved. But ironically I find myself on different philosophical grounds than many college musicians and I think this includes much of the staff at Hope.

    This is a quick synopsis of a complex situation which includes the fact that the current organ prof at Hope, Hew Lewis, who by the way is an outstanding performer who was born in Wales and educated at U of M, is someone I knew in Detroit. I think it would be fair to say that he and my teacher the late Ray Ferguson were at odds at Wayne State U.

    Thanks for your encouraging words. I am struggling just a tiny bit with an old guy’s pathetic need for respect. I realize it and am trying to deal with it. One of the ways I am dealing with it is to realize what good collegiate support I do have from people like my friend Nick Palmer in Grand Rapids and the two fine string players I have rehearsing with: Amy Piersma and Dawn Van Ark.

    As to the college being Christ oriented, my experience is that people who are “Christ oriented” are just people and have all the foibles and strengths of any group of people. But that’s just how it has seemed to me in my life.

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