I woke up in the night thinking about the music I am writing. I had some ideas about it (which I did remember this morning).
I also realized that if I wanted to submit some solid past compositions as part of an application for an AGO competition I do have some work that is strong in my opinion, both in the choral area and organ area. I forget all the stuff I have written. Ironically most of it is sitting right here on this web site. I am proud of my Psalm 146 for choir and organ, my Little Recessional for Organ, the Pentecost Suite for marimba and organ, my Jazz Mass.
But it’s a bit late to come up with a good solid new choral and/or organ idea to be submitted by July 1. No matter. At least I’m writing again. I can only hope it persists. Making up stuff is something that makes me glad to be alive.
So does finding books to read. Yesterday when I was doing my Mom’s weekly library trip I ran across several books that would make good summer reads.
I found Alain de Botton’s The News: A User’s Manual in the large print section as I was scouring for books for my Mom in the small non-fiction section. I didn’t recognize the book but the topic is something I think about quite a bit. Cool.
After finding all the books for my Mom I wandered over to the new books section. New books sections in libraries have been my friends for a long time. I love browsing them. Hystopia is a novel within a novel. Both of them are set in an alternate universe where JFK was not assassinated until a seventh assassination attempt. The book within the book is written by a veteran of the Vietnam war (still raging in this alternate reality). The inside flap says something about this fictional author being in conversation with war narratives like Homer’s Iliad and the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” Cool.
Ben Ratliff has set out to write an updated How to Listen book. He moves past older ideas about music like genre and informed listening. Instead his discussion is divided up into chapters like “Let Me Concentrate! Repetition” and “As It First Looks: Improvisation.” I look forward this New York Times jazz and pop critic’s take on a complex time.
If the guy on the cover of this book reminds you of someone like Dmitri Shostakovich then you’re already on the right track for how this book works. The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes uses Shostakovich’s life to tell a fictional story. I remember reading a review of this book. I was very glad to pick it up off the new shelf of my library.
I admit that I was only vaguely aware of this guy before his memorable appearance in “O Brother Where Art Thou?” Still I do love obits and this is a good one.