living room scholarship & music report

I broke my pattern this morning and grabbed  my netbook instead of a real book of poetry.

I am planning to rely more on my netbook on my upcoming vacation and thought it might be interesting to see what that was like.

Also, I felt more like reading in a book I recently downloaded, The Poems of John Donne edited by Herbert J.C. Grierson.


Haven’t gotten past the Grierson introduction yet. Since my usual source of free ebooks, , has been down so much, I ended up downloading this from . A lot of these sites (along with the freebies on Amazon) use the same ebooks anyway.

My blood pressure has come down a few degrees each for the last few days. It’s still higher than my doctor wants (it was 140/80 this AM), but I’m hoping this trend continues as I start relaxing this week and go on vacation.

I also have been reading in online music journals that I have access to via my Hope staff status.  Having access to scholarly journals practically makes me delirious with happiness. As a younger man, I subscribed to several of them despite the expense. I still have copies of Musical Quarterly and others laying around somewhere I believe.

Usually I file them under one interesting article in the magazine about something in specific. For example under Euclid in my library of music books I have the Fall 1975 issue of Journal of Music Theory.


The pertinent article is “An annotated translation of Euclid’s division of a monochord” by Thomas J. Mattheson.


You can see why I get excited about access to information online.

This morning I said to Eileen that Hope College giveth and Hope College taketh away. It is a hard pill for me to swallow sometimes when potential local colleagues in the Music Dept there either don’t see me (Invisible Jupe)

or see me as an inconsequential hack who cannot further their own career.

That’s how Hope College “taketh away.”

Supposedly Hope College Campus in the 19th century.

But O how it giveth! Eileen and I deliberately chose a small town in Western Michigan with a college, small for her, college to help me live in a small town. When we arrived in 1987 I was happy to have access to Hope College’s library and Western Theological College’s library. Little I dream that the Internet was barreling its way into existence and common usage.

Now through my staff status I have incredible access which I utilize when I have time.

Right now I’m listening to Michael Daughery’s symphony, Metropolis on Naxos via my staff login.

I remember running across him via the good old days of Napster (before it went commercial) and being intrigued. But he is symphonic and I haven’t run across any chamber work by him utilizing organ or piano. But I do think he’s pretty interesting. Naxos carries a ton of his compositions. So now I can hear them.

After reading a bit in Grierson’s intro to John Donne, I pulled up an article I was looking at yesterday on tempos in Brahm’s Variations on a theme by Haydn. Again accessed through Hope College’s subscription to online journals.


As I was reading it, I listened to it on Spotify, pulled up the scores on Man, am I spoiled.




Several parishioners thanked me for playing the Debussy yesterday as a prelude. I pretty much nailed it the way I intended to. But I had to muster a lot of concentration since the people who were there for the baptisms filled the back rows of the church a few feet from where I was playing and like true Americans everywhere treated the music as background to their loud conversations.

I did pretty well until the ending where there is a slight pause before the final chords. I wasn’t expecting silence particularly but the volume that came rushing at me in the rests left me rattled after finishing.

The result was I played the first hymn poorly, especially the introduction. What I learned was that next time I attempt some repertoire I might want to factor in a minute’s interval where I am consciously trying to gather my wit(singular).

But I was happy with the rest of my playing.


Three articles in yesterday’s NYT by three excellent writers.

Unexceptionalism – A Primer by E. L. Doctorow

Wow, E. L. Doctorow seems angry about America.

Hello, Martians. This Is America by Margaret Atwood –

Margaret Atwood has some good things to say. I particularly like the way her Martians read Moby Dick.

Marty and Nick Jr. Go to America by Martin Amis –


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