a luxurious day off with successes. it could happen.


Yesterday was a luxurious day for me. My ballet class schedule includes an 8:30 AM class on Mondays. But the college is on winter break, so no classes! Excellent. So I was able to goof off a bit. For me, this meant carefully playing through Brahms’ first three Hungarian Dances for piano.

I seem to be evolving another way of learning music or at least going through it: slow careful practice with the addition of listening both analytically and with pleasure to the composition. So, it’s not just notes and rhythms that I’m aiming for, but understanding and pleasure.

Brahms is good practice for this because I find him difficult. My pianism is not as developed as I would like.  Or as an ex-friend once said, I play better than I have a right to. Hah. My octave playing is not as easy as I would like. And at 63, my small hands are susceptible to arthritic twinges.

Later at the organ I gave the same treatment to some Bach and the first movement of Vierne’s third symphony. Very satisfying.

Another good and surprising thing that happened yesterday was the ease with which I was able to install another working copy of Finale on this stupid stupid Windows 8 nightmare of a laptop.

I thought I would use a bit of leisure time to approach the task. I was hoping that if I went at installing software without a pressing task I would be more patient. But patience was not really required. I simply put the CD in the computer and installed and authorized the software. I was amazed. I had anticipated that since Finale would see this as a third installation (the second one is on a dead desktop) that it would need some tinkering and even possibly a phone call.

I put a message up on the Facebooger group, Music Notation Software Forum for Church Musicians (How’s that for a specialized helpful conversation?). Someone responded that they had never had problems installing multiple copies of Finale. I figure that “someone” is probably much younger than me and not been tangling with Finale as long as I have. Maybe Finale has changed its policy.

Whatever the cause, this made my day. I now have two working copies of Finale, so my little laptop can have a meltdown (which it may) and I can still get my work done.

I admit that I expect glitches with Finale on Windows 8.

But what the heck.

The Muslims of Early America – NYTimes.com

So this imam dude was praying over horses and riders at a Texas rodeo. Other Texans got pissed off. The writer of this article uses this as a springboard to teach a little history. Muslims have been Americans for a long time. Plus the concept of rodeo is not indigenous to the USA. Heh.

Pipedreams 1505: Getting Near

“Near” as in the composer “Gerald Near.” I listened to some of this show early Sunday morning. As I listened to performances of Near’s work I realized that I am losing interest in clever counterpoint that is not interesting or beautiful. (But I still love Bach and Buxtehude and others including Hindemith).

I have performed a good amount of Near’s music. It is solid and well constructed. But lately as readers of this blog might have noticed I am including a wider range of romantic music in my areas of interest. And Near’s music is not as attractive to me as it once was.

Someone once told me that he had found Near a bit of a downer in person. At the link above there is also a 17 minute live interview with him. I listened to it this morning as I cleaned up the kitchen and made coffee. He doesn’t seem like a downer  in this interview.

Unsurprisingly, Near had very good connections in the organ world. He studied with Robert Glasgow. His music makes more sense to me now, knowing how academic and institutional his background is. He confesses that his early fugues were assignments that Glasgow deemed playable.

He also says that composing is about luck. I think he meant stumbling onto good ideas. But unfortunately it probably also applies to being in the right place in the right time.

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