machine of ideas

I played pretty well yesterday. My 9.5 minute piece by Sowerby went well. I managed to play 99% of the convoluted chords he wrote as written. I flubbed several exposed pedal solo notes which can happen. But I thought I brought the music to the listeners.

That is until after service when a parishioner was quite adamant that Sowerby was far too dissonant for her ears.

“Is all his stuff like that?” she asked. It’s certainly not all based on hymn tunes, I replied.

Unfortunately I am not always as tactful as I want to be when people come at me before or after service. I told the woman that Sowerby was actually a conservative composer. I knew that she would recognize Messiaen’s name and mentioned him to her. She wrinkled her nose. I told her it was all part of the Christian song, n’est pas?

She admitted that, but detests “dissonance.” I told her that many of us don’t really hear this music as dissonant. I asked her if she liked movie music. She said yes but that the movies she goes to do not use dissonant music.

By this time I had abandoned my usual attempts at deflecting comments with techniques like reflective listening and calm. I told her that John Williams used dissonance. She protested. I told her Williams steals whole hog from dissonant old Hindemith. I even cited the piece, Mathis der Maler because I think it’s where Williams found the Star Wars theme.


Before we were done I was begging the woman to continue to tell me when she dislikes things because I do in fact find this information helpful.

I wish I could control my reactions better but sometimes I don’t and there you are.

On the positive side, my Mom agreed to come over to my house and sit in the yard with me, Eileen and friend Barb. She even stayed for supper. Very nice. By the end of the day I was pretty exhausted.

Onward. Upward.

Here’s couple of quotes from today’s reading. Byte size.

“I am a machine of ideas. I adore (in a funny way) to think.”

Anne Sexton in a letter to fellow poet, W.D. Snodgrass

Me, too! I also “adore to think.”

Attentiveness! The pinpoint is the locus
Of Excellence in lands of softened focus.

John Updike, Midpoint, Canto IV

Such a gentle way to talk about the USA: a land of softened focus.


In Economic Deluge, a World That’s Unable to Bail Together –

Observations on recent developments in the world economy.


In Pakistan, 4 Acquitted in New York Bomb Plot –

Not sure what this means. Certainly bad for U.S./Pakistan relations which are not stellar right now.


Dreaming of a Superhero –

Dowd continues her salient critique of President Obama.


Out of Tragedy, a Good Life –

Senator Snowe will soon retire. Here’s an interesting article by her about her life.


Starving Its Own Children –



The Amazon Effect | The Nation

As in


Politics – Lawrence Lessig – An Open Letter to the Citizens Against Citizens United – The Atlantic

I totally admire Lessig. I also abhor Citizens United.


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