in the grips of unreasonable optimism


I seem to still be able to play organ. Eileen and I went over to church midday. Eileen posted hymns while I prepared for tomorrow. All systems go.

I’m feeling unreasonably optimistic today. Some of it is the weather here is lovely. Plus I am in a late summer mood. I have been listening to Purcell’s Faerie Queen (link to excellent Youtube rendition).  I didn’t like what was on Spotify. I did find the missing record of my two record recording of this by the Deller consort and have been listening to side one over and over on my record player.

Image result for fairy queen deller consort

I didn’t realize this piece is based on Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Very loosely.  The liner notes (remember those?) on my record say that it was written about 100 years after Shakespeare’s play and was “updated.” It’s actually barely recognizable. However, Purcell captures the mood I’m in. This makes me want to listen to Mendellsohn’s music for the play as well. It all has a very summery feel and I’m lovin’ it.

I was talking to Eileen about something I have learned about myself on this vacation. Namely, that while music is still central to who I am, given a completely open choice I don’t always choose to do music. On this vacation, instead I have pursued a lot of poetry, history, and current event reading. Not to mention Odysseus in the original Greek.

I haven’t completely neglected music, sitting down almost every day to do some, but it’s an interesting thing to know about myself.

I can do my church job well and still not spend a great amount of time on it.  However, I often get my intellectual curiosity aroused by coming into contact with music. I am expecting this to lead me back to studying the life of Bach and other composers, not to mention hymnody and choral music.

I am already being led back to music via my other intellectual pursuits. Apparently, T. S. Eliot had the late Beethoven string quartets in mind when he was writing Four Quartets. So of course I had to play through some Beethoven piano sonatas.

Speaking of T. S. Eliot, a while back I decided I wanted to read an essay of his on Dante. Dante was very important to Eliot and he loved The Divine Comedy.

Image result for selected essays t s eliot new edition

I ordered a collection of his essays this summer and I’m almost finished reading the Dante essay.

One thing I have learned is that with an interlinear translation, I am often able to understand much of Dante’s poem in the original Italian.  I don’t think Eliot read Dante only in the original. In fact, I suspect that he had little training in Italian. But he did know Greek and Latin and was very, very well educated. My mind is not in his league, but reading his essay which has a lot of the original Italian in it has convinced me that it would be fun to revisit Dante in an interlinear version.

I have interlibrary loaned one of the Paradiso to examine.

Image result for The Paradiso of Dante Alighieri, Temple Classics

I have looked at some interlinear Dante online and think I would like to have my own copy of a real book of this sort to use. So I’m hoping that looking at real copy of the above book I will be able to determine which edition to purchase.

If today is technically the last day of my lengthy summer vacation from church work, I am in an excellent space regarding both return to work and continuing my current studies of Toni Morrison, T. S. Eliot, Dante, and other stuff.

I have missed very few days of exercising and have a sneaking suspicion that it is helping me. I plan to continue daily stretches and physical exercise indefinitely at this point.



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