burn out


Although, I haven’t had a terrible Covid year, I do think I am a bit burned out right now. Fortunately, my boss and I worked out that I can take the last two Sundays of March off. She came back from her vacation with the insight that although the demands on our time to do our work remotely is probably much less than the time we previously took to do the work, the unusual situation in which we find ourselves increases the work pressure in ways that are a bit counter intuitive. Nevertheless, these pressures are real.

I have not had a Sunday off for over  a year. I can attest to the pressures of this kind of weird work and responsibility.

Yesterday morning, I opened my music software on my computer.  I made a pdf file of what I had so far of an arrangement of a tune called Sinner’s Friend from the Southern Harmony hymnal to email my violinist. Then I attempted to open the arrangement of “What Wondrous Love Is This” I had spent over an hour compositing in the software the night before. INVALID FILE TYPE was the message that came back to me.

It turned out that I had lost my only copy of this original composition. I had done a harmonic version previously for the piano. Over this harmony, I had written a very involved filigree for the violin to play. It wasn’t something I could easily recreate. Back to the drawing board.

I was already pushing the speed at which I had been composing. I was shooting for having something to show my violinist today so she would have ample time to prepare it. So yesterday, I dragged myself over to church and worked on this arrangement for another hour or so. By the end of that time, I realized that I wasn’t going to have this composition done in time. Oh well.

I decided instead to use banjo on the Sunday I have asked my violinist to play. My boss is meeting us next Wednesday to record the music portions of the two Sundays I will be on vacation. Today, Amy, my violinist, and I worked out a prelude based on What Wondrous Love, both of us playing directly from the hymnal. It sounds pretty cool with banjo and violin. As does my treatment of Sinner’s Friend.

I have to pick out organ music for Palm Sunday which is the second Sunday i have off. That should be easy.

In addition to this, I am doing a presentation with my friend Rhonda next Monday evening for our local AGO chapter. We will stream it on Grace’s Facebook page live. It’s called something like “10 ways to revitalize your church organ repertoire.” We met recently and worked on it. I have to rewrite the hand out and put in links. I have decided that Saturday is the last day I can do this. I may work on it a bit tomorrow.

I’m not doing too much prep of my playing part in this presentation. Rhonda and I agreed that giving people a taste of pieces we recommend would be sufficient. I figure I will only decide to demonstrate pieces that are easily ready for prime time.

I have been working on memorize Bach’s Invention in F major. I have been thinking about the fact that I haven’t done very  much memorizing of music. It occurred to me that there was no time like the present to do so. Beginning with an invention is a good place to start. I have it over half memorized now. I want to develop my memorization chops a bit (quickly before senility kicks in and I can’t remember shit anyway).

I don’t think I have ever memorized an organ piece. That is the goal. But first some Inventions or other stuff.

This reminds me of a dead friend, Dave Sieffert. For some reason I remember him saying that he was going to memorize all of Bach’s Two Part Inventions. He said it would easily be within his reach at that point in his life. I don’t know if he did it but it is an inspiration to me.

5 Questions to Patricia Caicedo (soprano, musicologist)

This musician has her head on straight it seems. I keep working on decolonizing and challenging the Eurocentric Academic approach to music. She’s way ahead of me.


cut finger, herbie hancock, bread and wine


On Monday evening, I accidentally cut the pointer finger of my left hand while trying to slice myself some bread. The cut was not bad enough to go to the ER but I haven’t played keyboard since Monday in order to let it heal. I will decide today whether I will cancel piano trio rehearsal tomorrow or not. I’m planning to play a little piano after lunch and decide. I am expecting it to be healed enough to play Sunday’s streamed church service.

This morning I stumbled across Herbie Hancock’s 2014 Norton Lectures on YouTube.

Hancock was not only the first Jazz musician to give these lectures, he was also the first African American.

45 Harvard Norton Lectures ideas | professorship, lecture, literature

Some great Miles Davis quotes from the first lecture.

The history of Jazz in four words: Louie Armstrong Charlie Parker – Miles Davis


Leave out the butter notes – Miles Davis


I always like to listen to what I can leave out. – Miles Davis

As far I can tell, these lectures have not  been published in written form, but are available on YouTube.

I finished reading Ignazio Silone’s Bread and Wine today.

Bread and Wine by Ignazio Silone | Cellar Door

I read the revised version he did in 1963. I began reading it during the previous presidential administration as a sort of antidote. It’s a strong story simply told. It is anti-Stalinist and anti-Facist.

The main character, Pietro Spina is a revolutionary Communist hiding from the state (Mussolini) disguised as a parish priest in a rural part of Italy. Most of the novel takes place in this little village.

The symbolic aspects of the novel are done in broad strokes. Bread, wine symbolize the solidarity of all humans but also are used in connection with strong Christian overtones (one of the heroines name is Cristina, get it?)

Mickey Mouse makes an odd appearance when two of the characters spot him on a marquee and instantly stop to go in.

In his introduction, Silone describes watching a woman read his book while on a train ride. It was as a result of thinking about what she was reading that he decided to do a revision. I think it’s kind of cool to visualize him surreptitiously observing what page and what line she was one and doing some cringing.

I have  been making headway with  my Greek. Today I ordered copies of the Loeb edition of the Iliad in Greek and English. I am rereading the Iliad in English and it keeps popping up in my studies. It would be helpful to have this handy.

If I can’t play music, I can still read and listen to it.

Listening To Music While Reading Newspaper Icons - Download Free Vector  Icons | Noun Project