And if the wind is right…

Well, it’s not far down to paradise
At least it’s not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away
And find tranquility
Oh, the canvas can do miracles
Just you wait and see, believe me…

Well, it’s not far back to sanity
At least it’s not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away
And find serenity
Oh, the canvas can do miracles
Just you wait and see, really, believe me

Sailing
Takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

— Christopher Cross, from “Sailing” (1980)


Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 4:52 am, June 5, 2022. 53° F. Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk, CT. More photos from this morning here @ Calf Pasture Beach and here @ Cove Island Park

I felt haunted by a monumental sense of failure, of aborted struggle and lost time.

I set out to write an exploration of music and its relation to the science of time. Music itself embodies time, shaping our sense of its passage through patterns of rhythm and harmony, melody and form. We feel that embodiment whenever we witness an orchestra’s collective sway and sigh to the movement of a baton, or measure a long car ride by the playlist of songs we’ve run through; every time we feel moved by music to dance; when we find, as we begin dancing, that we know intuitively how to take the rhythm into our bodies, that we are somehow sure of when and how the next beat will fall. Surely, I thought, there must be a scientific reason behind that innately human sense of embodied time, a way of grounding our musical intuition in physics and biology, if not completely quantifying it. But I also wanted to write about music because it has shaped the time of my own life more than almost anything else. I have played the violin for nearly twenty years, practicing five or six hours a day for most of them, because all I wanted was to become a soloist. When I realized in my early twenties that this never would be—and never had been—a possibility for me, I began to question why I had wasted so much time on music at all. I stopped playing for a while, and though I eventually picked it up again I no longer felt the same fire or ambition. Instead I felt haunted by a monumental sense of failure, of aborted struggle and lost time. Not only had the effort and sacrifice of the past all been for naught, but the future I had planned from that past seemed obliterated, too.

Natalie Hodges, from Prelude in “Uncommon Measure. A Journey Through Music, Performance, and the Science of Time” (Bellevue Literary Press, March 22, 2022)


This, is failure?


NY Times Book Review: The Violinist Natalie Hodges Writes About Her Devotion to Music & 12 Books We Recommend This Week (April 7, 2022)

You ask me am I crazy for playing the cello in a war zone

One night, I dreamed that I was meeting my friend, a poet named Mariana, in Sarajevo, the city of love. I woke up confused. Sarajevo, a symbol of love? Wasn’t Sarajevo the site of one of the bloodiest civil wars of the late twentieth century? Then I remembered. Vedran Smailović. The cellist of Sarajevo…

You ask me am I crazy for playing the cello in a war zone, he says. Why don’t you ask THEM if they’re crazy for shelling Sarajevo?

His gesture reverberates throughout the city, over the airwaves. Soon, it’ll find expression in a novel, a film. But before that, during the darkest days of the siege, Smailović will inspire other musicians to take to the streets with their own instruments. They don’t play martial music, to rouse the troops against the snipers, or pop tunes, to lift the people’s spirits. They play the Albinoni. The destroyers attack with guns and bombs, and the musicians respond with the most bittersweet music they know.

We’re not combatants, call the violinists; we’re not victims, either, add the violas. We’re just humans, sing the cellos, just humans: flawed and beautiful and aching for love.

Susan Cain, “Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole” (Crown, April 5, 2022)


Image: Manny Becerra via Unsplash

TGIF: Every day when I open my eyes now…

Every day when I open my eyes now
It feels like a Saturday
Taking down from the shelf
All the parts of myself
That I packed away
If it’s love put the joy in my heart
Is it God by another name
Who’s to say how it goes
All I know is
I’m back in the world again…
It’s the only way to be

Sunday Morning

On Aug. 29, 1952, in an open-air converted barn in Woodstock, N.Y., pianist David Tudor, known for his interpretations of contemporary music, gave the premiere of a work by John Cage (1912-1992) remarkably different from anything else in the classical repertoire. Tudor had been familiar with the full range of the avant-garde, from the spacious pointillism of Morton Feldman’s “Extensions 3” to the thorny complexity of Pierre Boulez’s First Piano Sonata, both of which were also on the program.

For the Cage piece, however, the pianist curiously sat motionless at the keyboard, holding a stopwatch. The composer had indicated three separate movements with specific timings. Keeping an eye on the timepiece, Tudor announced the beginning of each section by closing the keyboard lid, then paused for the required duration before signaling its end by opening the lid again. All the rest was stillness; throughout the performance he didn’t make a sound.

But Cage’s “4’33”” is actually not about silence at all. Though most members of the audience were focused on the absence of music, there were also ambient vibrations they ignored: wind stirring outside, raindrops pattering on the tin roof—and, toward the end of the performance, the listeners themselves making “all kinds of interesting sounds as they talked or walked out. Music is continuous,” the composer explained. “It is only we who turn away.”

Stuart Isacoff, from “The Sounds of Silence” (Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2021)


Notes:

New Grass

it was such a moment of truth


“Listening to Hania’s music over and over, I began to dream of a single sequence shot that would follow her music floating in the wind of an unreal Icelandic landscape. I asked each dancer to give a personal interpretation of Hania’s song. We were very lucky to succeed in this insane artistic performance despite the great cold (minus 7 celsius), it was such a moment of truth. Shot in Iceland on February 23, 2020”. —  Neels Castillon, Director

Lightly Child, Lightly.


Notes:

  • You’ll say, you don’t have 15 minutes to spare to watch this.  Then after you do, you’ll say: “I’m glad I did.”
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Sunday Morning: On the Nature of Daylight


Cremaine Booker (Cello) & Catlin Edwards (Violin) cover of the Nature of Daylight by Max Richter

Saturday Morning

A tribute to better days ahead…

15 minutes, but worth every minute…

Just now hitting his stride (@ 71)

Every music fan with blood burning in their veins has felt the sting of missing live shows since March, but the pain has been particularly acute for Bruce Springsteen, an artist who’s spent the past six decades onstage, yet says he’s just now hitting his stride.

“I’m at a point in my playing life and artistic life where I’ve never felt as vital,” he said on a Zoom call from his New Jersey home. “My band is at its best, and we have so much accumulated knowledge and craft about what we do that this was a time in my life where I said, ‘I want to use that as much as I can.’”

LZ: Like everyone else, this year hasn’t exactly gone how you’d expected. You’re putting out a record that you can’t yet tour.

BS: Oh, yeah. I think there’s going to be a process before people are comfortable rubbing up against one another again. But if somebody told me, “That’s never going to happen again” — that would be a big life change for me. That act of playing has been one of the only consistent things in my life since I was 16 years old. I’ve depended a lot on it not just for my livelihood, but for my emotional well-being. So if somebody said, “Five years from now, maybe” — that’s a long time. Particularly at my age. I’m 71, and I’m thinking, “Well I know one thing. I’m in the mood right now to burn the house down for as long as I can.” …

I think the projects that I’ve done that were summational in a sense — the book was, the Broadway show was, even this film — it’s sort of just stopping for a moment and taking stock of what you’ve done and where you are at a critical point in your life, which I think, once you hit 70, you’re there. But I look at it as, that’s what I’ve done up to this piece of my work. I still see vital work ahead.

~ Lindsay Zoladz in her interview of Bruce Springsteen, from “Bruce Springsteen is Living in the Moment” (NY Times, Oct 18, 2020)

We’re going to rise from these ashes like a bird of flame

…In the wings of time
Dry your eyes
We gotta go where we can shine
Don’t be hiding in sorrow
Or clinging to the past
With your beauty so precious
And the season so fast…
When I held you near
You gotta rise from these ashes
Like a bird of flame
Step out of the shadow
We’ve gotta go where we can shine
For all that we struggle
For all we pretend
It don’t come down to nothing
Except love in the end…
Remember your soul is the one thing
You can’t compromise
Take my hand
We’re gonna go where we can shine…

— David Gray, from “Shine” (March 2007)

Morning Meditation


Notes:

It’s Been A Long Day…

Well, the moon is broken and the sky is cracked
Come on up to the house
The only things that you can see is all that you lack
Come on up to the house

All your crying don’t do no good
Come on up to the house
Come down off the cross, we can use the wood
You gotta come on up to the house
Come on up to the house
Come on up to the house…

Does life seem nasty, brutish and short
Come on up to the house
The seas are stormy and you can’t find no port
Got to come on up to the house, yeah
You gotta come on up to the house
Come on up to the house…

You got to come on up to the house
There’s nothing in the world that you can do
You gotta come on up to the house
And you been whipped by the forces that are inside you
Gotta come on up to the house

Well, you’re high on top of your mountain of woe
Gotta come on up to the house
Well, you know you should surrender, but you can’t let it go
You gotta come on up to the house, yeah
Gotta come on up to the house
Gotta come on up to the house
The world is not my home I’m just a-passing through
You gotta come on up to the house
Gotta come on up to the house
You gotta come on up to the house
Yeah yeah yeah


Inspired by Netflix Movie “Change in the Air“. Loved this movie, which swept me away from Politics, Coronavirus, plunging markets, etc etc etc

Saturday Morning


Moved! Thank you for sharing Kiki!

Nyepi, A day of silence


Nyepi, A Day of Silence by Olafur Arnalds

 

Yep. This Tune.

Someone once told me the reason songs get stuck in our head is because the mind wants to hear them to completion. Remembering only a refrain it’ll repeat.

The best way, then, to get a song out of your head is to listen to the whole thing.

~ Fiona Alison Duncan, Exquisite Mariposa: A Novel (Soft Skull Press, Oct 1, 2019)


Quote Source: Thanks Beth @ Alive on All Channels

Goodnight You Moonlight Ladies


James Taylor and Yo-Yo Ma took the stage together for a wonderful rendition of “Sweet Baby James” at Tanglewood in Boston. (Thank you Lori)

I feel fine, anytime she’s around me now

I always wanted to be the kind of woman James Taylor would sing: I feel fine, anytime she’s around me now to“Something in the Way She Moves.” You know that song.

Don’t you wish someone wanted to sing that song to you?

~ Lidia Yuknavitch, The Chronology of Water: A Memoir 

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