the usual book, music, dance talk or not

I changed my pattern a bit this morning and followed up reading poetry by Berryman and Sexton with reading a bit more in Viginia Woolf’s novel, Jacob’s Room.

I started this book yesterday. It was one of Alexandra Harris’s five recommend books in her Fivebooks interview. I have been a reader of Woolf in the past, having read A Room of One’s Own, Orlando and To the Lighthouse. I have also read in her collection of essays entitled The Common Reader.

I think I was ready to read some fiction that was a bit more adult than The Hunger Games and more meaty than my typical light reading.

I am benefiting a bit from my travels. Jacob’s Room begins in Cornwall where I visited.

It moves eventually to Cambridge which I have not visited but can visualize somewhat especially after walking the streets of her sister college town, Oxford.

Woolf is known for the beauty of her prose and its streaming of images, ideas and plot. Reading Jacob’s Room is somewhat like reading poetry the words fall together so nicely.

It seems to be just what I need right now. I will continue to read Mockingjay (Hunger Games volume 3). But it is a bit like watching a movie in its depth. Very different from reading Woolf.

I also found myself dipping into Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata 3 this morning. I have studied and played through the first two which have a lot of beauty in them.

I must have it in for Russians right now since I continue to think about and play through Shostakovich’s Preludes and Fugues Opus 87.

The Calefax Reed Quintet transcription of this opus arrived in the mail yesterday. I ripped it to my hard drive. Then I did what I have been doing and made a play list on Spotify dumping my own ripped tracks into it. But Spotify went a little nuts and mis-identified several tracks confusing me.

It took me a while to realize that the mis-labeled tracks were accurate in everything but their labels. I went to re-label them with the Spotify edit function and found that they were labeled correctly there. But they persist in being labeled wrong in the playlist. I didn’t delve into the i.d. tags which may or may not be where they are mis-identified. Fuck it.

I also read an essay by Nicholas Cook this week entitled “Music as performance” found in The Cultural Study of Music: A Critical Introduction, 2nd edition. There is some interesting thinking going on around this topic trying to locate music somewhere beyond the composed text and combining text with instances of performance and apprehension.

I am interested because of my own strong conviction that for me music is something one does. So when my former teacher was bragging that he was learning music by just sitting and studying the scores in a chair, my first reaction was ‘where’s the fun in that?’ since the physical rendering of the music is one of the things I enjoy most about it.

I like “looking under the hood” of course, but am cognizant that the deeper understanding of how music is constructed is not always that related to how I hear and perform the music.

The visiting dance teacher said something to the class yesterday about the fact that dance is not always connected to music, but when it is  one must dance it clearly and with life.

I found his teaching technique pretty interesting, since he did not use images the way the other teachers in the department do. Instead, he used his body. He would ape mistakes in a way that made the class laugh and then demonstrate the better more artistic moves.

It was fun working with him. At the end of class, ballet etiquette kicked in and the ballerinas lined up to curtsy one at a time to him. He murmured something to each dancer about her technique instructing them to keep working on this or that. Very cool.


Errol Morris: The Thinking Man’s Detective | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine

Haven’t read this, but this man made the movie, The Fog of War, and this article talks about his book, The Ash Tray which looks interesting.


This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts To Improve Your Thinking | Conversation | Edge

New book.


It’s Time to Clean House – Philip K. Howard – Politics – The Atlantic

Another unread link.

America is basically run by dead people: We elect new representatives, but continue on with policy from decades ago. To go forward, Congress needs to confront the past.



Religion and politics.


Our Corrupt Politics: It’s Not All Money by Ezra Klein | The New York Review of Books

Politics and corruption.


Plaintiff in healthcare law challenge went bankrupt – with unpaid medical bills –

Bad argument for gutting Obamacare.


Texas Limits Are Squeezing the Elderly Poor and Their Doctors –

Serves em right.


A Not-Quite Confirmation of a Memo Approving Killing –

This conversation represents the worst about what is happening to the American Government.


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