only 19 days till my next day off

I stupidly have been accepting work on my day off. Last Saturday I drove off and accompanied a young talented violist at her Solo and Ensemble. Next Saturday I have accepted another high school accompaniment gig in Grand Rapids. After which I have committed myself to an afternoon of accompanying Joffrey Ballet tryouts here in Holland.

Ay yi yi.

Yesterday probably due to a snow storm we had low attendance at church. There were four people in the choir. I managed to keep their morale up and they dutifully rallied and sang the anthem. I spent quite a bit of effort adapting the organ registration so that it was strong enough to support these four singers and at the same time didn’t cover them up.

When I began my lovely organ prelude, there seemed to be three people in the room: me, Eileen and the former organist.  I was glad she was there because she is one of the few people who seems to get my work there.

As the morning wore on I looked around and realized that there were as usual many musicians present. I wonder why these people are more supportive of their church choir. It occurred to me that my understanding of church music as an art is an anachronism,

This is ironic because my own faith is pretty weak and I don’t have the strength of religious conviction to sustain my work. What sustains me is a belief in the importance of making beauty in a certain way. And it may this that is making me anachronistic.

I’m trying not to be too negative in this post. One of the dangers of my isolation as a musician and composer is that the critic whose voice is the loudest is me. And artists are almost always their own strongest critics. At least good ones and I do think I am good at what I do.

The isolation makes it easy to undervalue one’s worth. I’ve never been all that ambitious for much other than the doing of my art. I feel like I should expose more listeners to it, but have sort of painted myself into a corner where the few people who might appreciate my work are a small percentage of the local population.

Nevertheless this whole thought process is not too prevalent in my own work and life.  I mostly do music. And have conversations with the dead (composers, poets, authors, painters).

Yesterday I played all the way through Beethoven’s Pathetique Piano Sonata. I took care not to romanticize it too much, tried to think of the quarter note as the consistent beat in the famous opening of this work.

Took the slow movement faster than Karl Haas used to play it at the beginning of his radio show.

Playing this incredible piece in its entirety consoled me considerably for a difficult morning at work.

This morning I was again sucked in and played the next sonata (E major) in its entirety and then began another (the G major).

It’s hard to feel too sorry for oneself in the presence of such noble beauty.

I have a full day of classes today which begin at noon, break for an hour and then run until 5:30 PM.

I think I will skip treadmilling this morning with the idea that I will need the energy for the afternoon.


The Perils of ‘Bite Size’ Science –

Publishing more and shorter research articles has its own dangers.


Fact-Gathering Without the Facts –

NYT’s readers take it to task.


Chemical Brothers – the movie: do not adjust your eyeballs | Music | The Guardian

I mostly read this article because Susan Tomes mentioned it in her blog. She was interested that the Chemical Brothers sort of defined live music as not listening to music through computer speakers (which is how I listen to recorded music having purchased a slightly elaborate set of 4 speakers plus a bass speaker). She seemed puzzled that the idea of “live” music didn’t really come into the equation. I’m puzzled that she was puzzled since the Chemical Brothers are an electronica sensation whose live performances rely heavily not only on loops and recordings but also have been known to commission lengthy movies to show in the background. Here’s a sample.

I especially admire that the filmmakers put up signs in Japanese that said ‘Please don’t look in the lens if you’re being filmed, just watch the show.’


Matthew Adams – The mind ironic (Christopher of Hitchens)

Another admiring article about this incredible writer and thinker.


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