Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Schumann on Bastille Day

It's July 14, so it is time to celebrate Bastille Day. It is also the Schumann bicentennial. In a rare confluence of thought I was reminded today of this well known lied that incorporates the "Marseillaise" in its closing lines.

Here is a wonderful video of Darnell Ishamael singing Robert Schumann's Die Beiden Grenadiere op. 49 No. 1

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All Children are Artists

All children are artists, and it is an indictment of our culture that so many of them lose their creativity, their unfettered imaginations, as they grow older. But they start off without self-consciousness as they paint their purple flowers, their anatomically impossible people, their thunderous, sulphurous skies. They don’t worry that they may not be as good as Di Chirico or Bracque; they know intuitively that it is folly to make comparisons, and they go ahead and say what they want to say. What looks like a hat to a grownup may, to the child artist, be an elephant inside a boa constrictor.

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Monday, July 05, 2010

Searching for Ithaca

This morning I was catching up on reading the odds and ends that had accumulated in my inbox over the holiday weekend when I came upon this poem posted on Chris Guillebeau's blog the Art of NonConformity Cavafy's verses have been favorites of mine ever since my mentor, Dan Bredeman, shared them with me years ago at a time when my impatience with life was limiting my progress.

Searching for Ithaca

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

-Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Feux d'Artifice

In honor of the United State's annual Independence day celebration I share with you a decidely French musical celebration. Debussy's Feux d'Artifice from Preludes book 2 remains a perennial favorite for its pianistic brilliance and colorful depiction of a fireworks display.

Enjoy this a brilliant performance by Hoang Pham, from the Hilton Head International Piano Competition in 2008.

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Evelyn Glennie on Listening

Yesterday a Twitter friend posted this link to a fabulous video that I had
forgotten about. The message would be profound on its own, but it is all
the more remarkable coming from a member of the deaf community. Oh, and by
the way, the performances are absolutely stunning.

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Summertime and the blogging is . . .

Well, I wish I could say this was easy.

For several weeks I have been resolving to get back into my writing routine with more or less regular postings. With the July 4 weekend and the official onset of summer, I am without excuse so here I am with humble “I’m back message.” It has been a wild and wooly year so far, with the release of the Garden Music CD, some exciting collaborative projects with new partners that took me in new directions, and some great playing and teaching opportunities in various parts of the country.

I must express my deepest thanks to those of you who are so kind to say that you read these entries and find them useful or at least entertaining. The new academic year promises to be exciting with performances of Schumann (both in recital and with orchestra) and some lesser known chamber music by Janacek, Magnard, Weill and others.

So wherever you find yourself this weekend, keep listening and savor the juicy moments that make life worth living.

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