online bookmarking, burning hand & xmas happiness

I have been using Diigolet to keep track of the books I read. Diigolet is an online bookmark service (free).

I have been using this kind of service for years as a sort of cyber clipping drawer. I started with the NYT online archive service for subscribers. They stopped doing this a while ago and passed on their unfortunate users to one service. Then that service stopped working and passed on stuff to another. Somewhere in there one of them passed my bookmarks to Diigolet. It says I have 898 bookmarks the oldest of which was created in October 2005.  I do have articles earlier than that bookmarked, but I think this is some sort of date that indicates a shift from one service to the other.

My holiday depression is starting to abate a bit. I have been reading in “Indirect Procedures: A Musician’s Guide to the Alexander Technique” by Pedro De Alcantara.

I have been interested in the Alexander Technique since reading about it in Roberston Davies essays. Unfortunately the nearest teacher of this method of natural whole posture and feeling and thinking is in Ann Arbor. So I have had to content myself with reading about it. This book has lots of interesting insights for musicians. And like every book on the Alexander Technique it says you can’t learn it from a book. Of course.

I had time to rehearse piano yesterday. Worked on Mendelssohn piano trio part. Then some Mendelssohn piano pieces including the fascinating Prelude and Fugue in E minor Op. 35 no. 1. I tried to research this fugue on line, but was blocked from entering music scholarly journals.

One offered to let me have 24 hour access for $28.00. This makes me crazy.

Anyway I found some info from a couple of less stingy purveyors of info (Thelma Hunter program notes on CD Baby [link] & Naxos notes to a recording by Benjamin Frith [link]). In the latter, the story is told that Mendelssohn wrote the fugue at the deathbed of his friend August Hanstein in 1827.  Thus at the astonishing age of 18 or 19, Mendelssohn forgoes maudlin sentimentality and writes a Beethovian treatment of this romantic fugue. It ends with a composed choral switching to the major and sounding very positive and redemptive. This type of stuff flies in the face of the idea of Mendelssohn as the creator of sappy little piano pieces and light scherzos.

I also spent time with Haydn at the piano. My left hand is hurting quite a bit these days. This is one of the reasons I am reading about the Alexander Technique. I began yesterday morning reading the last page of the Mendelssohn fugue. In this section the left hand has continuous octaves. After I was done my hand was unusually sore.

After reading a bit in “Indirect Procedure” I returned to the bench later in the day and my left hand actually felt a bit better after playing.

I also looked over Tallis’s two contributions to the Fitzwilliam Virginal book. I am/was considering pairing up a keyboard piece with some choral settings by him in the Feb recital. The two in the Fitzwilliam Virginal book are a bit long and dry. Hence they are usually thought of as organ works. (god  help us.. if it’s boring, it’s probably organ)….

I haven’t totally ruled them out. But I will at least abbreviate it if I use one of these.

I find that I am a bit burned out by Xmas. Depression. Melancholy. Obsessing about the silly stuff in my life.  Maybe it’s lift a bit today. I hope so.

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