Some years ago I purchased a 286 page collection of Erik Satie’s piano works. I have admired his compositions for years and realize there are many of them I do not know. Recently I have begun playing and studying my way through this book. The pieces are roughly in chronological order. There are many obscure and weird not to say tedious pieces. Satie wrote ritual music for the Rosicrucians. I am marking down pieces of his that I did not know that interest me.
So far this includes his first and second Sarabande (1887) and “Le Fils des Etoiles” (1892). (Interesting web site here which goes into some detail about Satie as the first Modern.
I was watching Tom Milsom’s youtube video in which he outlines 20th century music without “Pausing, or umming or ahhing.” It reminded me that I have been studying Satie and that he has been a composer who continues to interest me in a different way than say Bach or Brahms or even Stravinsky or Boulez.
I’m not sure what I think of it. He and his web site seem a bit slick to me. But definitely worth checking out.
I have also been reading “Breakdown: Portrait of the artist as a young %@*!” by Art Spiegelmann. Last night I didn’t feel like being away from my lovely wife who came home exhausted and drained, so I took Spiegelmann upstairs thinking I could probably read a comic with the tv going (I find prose difficult with the tv going). I was right.
This book is sort of interesting. If you miss zap comix you might want to check it out. It feels like an artist in search of material and form. It feels like Spiegelmann is devolving to me. Very old school R. Crumb stuff. Just my opinion of course. And Spiegelmann is definitely a virtuouso and shows it in this book. Wonderful integration of others’ styles as well as goofy experimental minimalism and weird repetition.
When Eileen turned off the tv I returned to the novel I have been reading.
A first novel, “Captives,” was written by assistant professor of Hebrew language and literature at the University of Florida, Todd Hasak-Lowy. I would classify it as post-David Foster Wallace. It’s a bit less self-conscious than some of Wallace’s high jinx, but definitely wields the ol’ prose technique thingo. Last night I ran across a chapter that I thought didn’t work (which I’m considering re-reading), but so far it’s pretty interesting. It’s the story of a screenplay writer and has the interesting dual plot of his life (sort of boring and funny at times) and the plot of his screenplay (which is sort of adventure dark assassination acting out of anti-Bush administration and anti-societal creeps fantasy). I’m on page 228 of 381 at this writing and plan to finish the book.
I suspect myself of rambling to avoid discussing the sort of pit of despair I have fallen in for a few days.
Maybe “pit of despair” is too strong. Pit of ennui.
Better – pit of blank.
I experience my worst depression as a blankness.
A nothingness. I have been dipping in and out of it for days. Thank god for my wife and music.
I cooked a bit last night.
Made weirdo little salmon tarts (for carnivore wife) and onion cheese tarts (for self).
Also a blueberry pie that took so long to bake that it’s still sitting on the table waiting to be eaten this morning.