I just finished a big fat biography on J.S. Bach. I like his music, but one of my primary reasons for reading it was to gain an understanding of why he’s so sanctified as far as how he’s perceived and recalled in the cultural consciousness. He earned his money primarily from composing music for Christian religious services, so there’s that, resulting in a good chunk of his compositional cache sounding liturgical.
Still, as I made my way through the 600 pages, I had hoped to come across some mention of incidents depicting him as fallible or human rather than untarnished/invincible deity. He did land himself in jail once for insubordination against his employer, but it was a minor incident blown way out of proportion by his superiors. Anyway, it’s interesting how his pristine public persona runs parallel with the saintliness valued in Christianity, especially back in Bach’s day. Continue reading
A sparkling operatic voice emanating from the 7-Eleven — strong soprano notes.
A woman passing, stunned, looked around her as if someone called her name, or like something she lost long ago was suddenly within walking distance.
Nonfiction stories dealing with surviving harsh rural winters appeal to me — a peculiar penchant.
I also have an affinity for the music of Russian composers, eg. Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich.
Chopin, too, is a favorite, and he’s from Poland — right up there, along with Schumann, a German.
These were the top three books and musical discoveries for me this year. They’re alphabetized and not in order of preference.
- Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer – Inspiring essays on preserving our ecosystem and restoring nature, written from the perspective of Native American tradition and spirituality.
- Essays One by Lydia Davis – A very rewarding and lively 512-page book, generally about the art and craft of writing. Davis discusses her own practices, and she also looks at the techniques of a wonderfully curated group of other writers. In addition, she discusses elements of visual art and photography.
- The Terrible by Yrsa Daley-Ward – A memoir dealing with self-discovery, empowerment and family upbringing, conveyed through prose and poetry, written in a unique voice.
Schubert’s notes softly coexist. Variations like an energy field. Potentiality, then sonata eighth notes. Piano — universal life field. Bionetwork notes. I am a C major w/ tendencies of D minor. Do C major and D minor exist beyond the piano or any other instrument. If a note rang out in the forest and no one was there to listen.
For those who enjoy a good dose of baroque music, I’d like to recommend Gabrielli & Scarlatti: Complete Cello Works, by Guadalupe López-Íñiguez. It is quite exquisite…
If you’re into supporting women classical musicians like I am, then also check out the following:
- J.S. Bach: French Suites — Chopin: Mazurkas, by Alexandra Sostmann
- A Chopin Diary (Complete Nocturnes), by Claire Huangci
- Vivaldi: Complete Cello Sonatas, by Ophélie Gaillard
- The Baroque Harp, by Judy Loman
- The Genius of Salzedo, by Judy Loman
- Anything by pianist Yuja Wang
It’s so cool that Chrissie Hynde repeatedly refers to love as “the word” in the Pretenders’ ’80s-era song Show Me. It seems a suave intracultural reference to the 1965 song The Word by the Beatles. That song, of course, was referring to love, as well. Also, a beautiful and poetic line in the Pretenders’ song: Welcome here from outer space / The Milky Way is still in your eyes. That line makes me think of a newborn coming into the world.