life is good


It was nice to get up leisurely at 5 this morning, do the dishes, make coffee, read Greek, and read poetry. I seem to be following several fine poets right now. Their work is doing what fiction used to do for me: help me understand what it means to be alive right now. I have a stack of books to the left of my chair by Derek Walcott (Omeros), Hayden Carruth (Last Poems),  Marianne Boruch (Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing), and Stephen Dunn (What Goes On: Selected and New Poems 1995-2009). Each poet grabbed me this morning with insights and beauty. I want to keep reading each poet beyond the particular work I am now reading. This is a pleasant thought.

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Yesterday was a day of music for me. I confessed to the choir that I think I am feeling my old age because I am more easily distracted while performing than I used to be. I mentioned my new adverse reaction to the funeral directors recently who insisted on talking to me as I was playing.  I begged my choir not to move in front of the piano or talk near it while I was playing. Of course this didn’t work. During the prelude one of my choristers moved across in front of the piano and two adult servers stood nearby chatting. i don’t actually blame anybody but myself for my less than stellar performance of Hassler’s Canzona. So it goes.


The anthem by Hassler went pretty well. I had seven singers for most of the pregames, eventually we were joined by an eighth. One soprano, two altos, three tenors and two basses. The piece we sang, “Quia vidisti me, Toma,” was an ambitious one for a small church choir. They did a good job.

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My postlude was Debussy’s first Arabesque for piano. It went well. I used it again at the Memorial Service held between church and my afternoon Messiah sing along.

After church, a singer from the choir took me aside and told me she appreciated my acknowledgment of old age, since she was dealing with similar stuff in her life.

After the Memorial Service, I came home and laid in bed, preparing my score for the afternoon Messiah. I had photocopied two movements to insert into my orchestral score I planned to play from. One of these was simply not present in its entirety in the Dove score. The other was to prepare the cuts announced at the rehearsal Tuesday. I also carefully paperclipped and marked moving from one movement to another for myself since we left out quite a few of them.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a check for me on the harpsichord when I arrived at St. John’s in Grand Haven. I had not mentioned a fee when Nick asked me to play. In my case, if I don’t stipulate a fee, I don’t expect one.

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It turned out to be one I earned since the harpsichord seemed to be more integral to the performance than I remember it being in the Messiah. This might have been due to the small orchestra which was one on a part. The performance was fun. The high point for me was the orchestra which was made up of some extremely skilled sensitive players. I’m thinking of “Facebook-friend-requesting” some of them, especially the double bass player who nailed it and made my job easier.

So it was a long day but a good one and full of good music. Martin Pasi arrived in town last night. He came to church yesterday morning and seemed well pleased with the acoustic enhancement. I am planning on being at church in a couple of hours when he and his crew are scheduled to begin unloading the new pipe organ from the truck. Eileen said that he mentioned to her yesterday that he might need me in the afternoon for consulting. So I will arrange for that with him.

I am scheduled to practice at the Methodist church this morning at 10:30. I’m hoping that actually happens since this church has been a little weird about letting me practice there. I need to register the Purcell string pieces I have arranged.

Life is good.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss – The New York Times

If you’re not checking this out, I recommend doing so.

Ohio Town’s Schools Hope to Be ‘More Than a Line Item’ in the Federal Budget – The New York Times

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Randi Weingarten, the American Federation of Teachers president meet and talk. Wild.

Comey Tried to Shield the F.B.I. From Politics. Then He Shaped an Election. – The New York Times

I’m still annoyed with Comey but this lengthy report helps me understand why he did much of what he did. Still inexcusable. I bet a dollar his guy won the presidency even though Comey himself seems not to have voted.

‘Sherlock Holmes of Armenian Genocide’ Uncovers Lost Evidence – The New York Times

Genocide before the term was coined.

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