melancholy jupe


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Melancholy hit me pretty hard yesterday. When that happens I sometimes go into a stall of not being motivated. Fortunately my actions don’t depend on motivation. As I keep saying, I need some time off. Eileen is busily trying to get work done on the house. A man was suppose to come last night to do some preliminary work for us before the furnace can be installed, but he did not show. The furnace is scheduled to be replaced next week. I have to clear out my very cluttered workroom in the basement. This installation means if I want Eileen to come with me I have to wait until after that is installed to get away. I do want Eileen to come with me though she has told me I could go without her.

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I have started reserving time for people to practice on the Pasi. This means that today there is a window of 45 minutes that I can sneak in and do some practice myself before lunch. After lunch, I meet with Rev Jen, then give a piano lesson, then meet Rhonda for some duet playing.

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In a pathetic attempt to throw off some of my melancholy, I pulled out Ned Rorem’s journals. Specifically, Setting The Tone: Essays and a Diary (1983). He writes “composers approach music from the inside out.” This admirably expresses what I sometimes feel. I think of myself more as someone who likes to make music up. I do think that the “insides” of music is something that has been a life long interest of mine.

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from Madness, Rack, and Honey: collected lectures by Mary Ruefle

“The highest levels of consciousness are wordless.” Charles Simic, quoted by Mary Ruefle

“Like the aircraft used for lunar launches, good books only look heavy and slow: their speed depends on their internal engines and where they are pointed. ” Mary Ruefle

from We Too Had Known Golden Hours by WH Auden 

“All words like Peace and Love,
All sane affirmative speech,
Had been soiled, profaned, debased
To a horrid mechanical screech.”

In his commentary on this poem, John Fuller says that Auden is writing about the debasement of poetry, but It reminds me of our president.

from Unpack Poetic by Trevino L. Brings Plenty | Poetry Magazine

“Speak of Soul? Sounds like a grifter’s hustle. Don’t do it.”


Ulysses “Seen” | I: Telemachus | 0001

This is an online comic book of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

The Paris Review Recommends Anti-Beach Reads

Some interesting titles in this list.

Salman Rushdie: ‘I like black comedy in dark times’

Rushdie does it for me.




music, videos, and pics


The Complete Piano Sonatas, Volume 3

Up and playing through late Haydn piano sonatas. They satisfy the way his best symphonies do. In their 20001 Groves entry, James Feder and James Webster write: ” In the 20th century he was understood primarily as an ‘absolute’ musician (exhibiting wit, originality of form, motivic saturation and a ‘modernist’ tendency to problematize music rather than merely to compose it), but earnestness, depth of feeling and referential tendencies are equally important to his art.”

“Wit, originality of form, motivic saturation” and tendency to “problematize music” aptly describes much of what continues to attract me to Haydn. I think I hear his music through the understandings I pointed to by Ethan Haimo (whose book is satisfyingly in the bibliography to the Groves article).

I decided to learn and perform two cool pieces for this Sunday, feeling a bit goofy about improvising last week. My chagrin comes from being able to perform on such a wonderful instrument. It not only teaches me daily more about playing the organ, it inspires me to play some of the great literature on it.

So next Sunday, Buxtehude! Yay! I was playing through my Dover edition of Buxtehude and wondering why I kept adding trills that were not notated. Yesterday I pulled out my old Kalmus edition and discovered that Ray Ferguson had taught me several Buxtehude Praeludium and had written in the trills. This is BuxWV 137, the C Major Prelude, Fugue, and Chaconne. It displays the beauty of the Pasi quite nicely beginning with a pedal solo. Fun stuff.

I paired this with a very clever setting by Richard Proulx of the melody to our opening hymn, LEONI. The piece is a neo baroque treatment of this melody and goes so far as to change it a bit just the way a baroque composer felt free to change a note here or there in a chorale he was setting.

These pieces will not require hours and hours of prep, but they will be fun to study and perform.

Now for some videos and pics from Sarah.

This was the last recital at church. I am obviously having fun. And here are Alex and Lucy having fun.

More stills from the recital.

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And more pics from the visit.

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A good time was had by all.