Why not begin the week with something beautiful?
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Piano Sonata in B-flat major, K. 570; Peter Serkin (1947-2020, piano), live, New Jersey (Ridgewood), 2017
yesterday, Oak Park, Ill.
You ask why I live
alone in the mountain forest,
and I smile and am silent
until even my soul grows quiet.
The peach trees blossom.
The waters continue to flow.
I live in the other world,
one that lies beyond the human.
—Li Po (aka Li Bai, 701-762), “Questions Answered” (translated from Chinese by Sam Hamill)
How many musicians talk as well as they play?
Jeremy Denk (1970-, piano), playing, and talking about, Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (excerpts), live, 4/7/20
by Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)
In Memoriam: Robert Lowell
I can make out the rigging of a schooner
a mile off; I can count
the new cones on the spruce. It is so still
the pale bay wears a milky skin; the sky
no clouds except for one long, carded horse’s tail.
The islands haven’t shifted since last summer,
even if I like to pretend they have—
drifting, in a dreamy sort of way,
a little north, a little south, or sidewise—
and that they¹re free within the blue frontiers of bay.
This month our favorite one is full of flowers:
buttercups, red clover, purple vetch,
hackweed still burning, daisies pied, eyebright,
the fragrant bedstraw’s incandescent stars,
and more, returned, to paint the meadows with delight.
The goldfinches are back, or others like them,
and the white-throated sparrow’s five-note song,
pleading and pleading, brings tears to the eyes.
Nature repeats herself, or almost does:
repeat, repeat, repeat; revise, revise, revise.
Years ago, you told me it was here
(in 1932?) you first “discovered girls”
and learned to sail, and learned to kiss.
You had “such fun,” you said, that classic summer.
(“Fun”—it always seemed to leave you at a loss . . .)
You left North Haven, anchored in its rock,
afloat in mystic blue . . . And now—you’ve left
for good. You can’t derange, or rearrange,
your poems again. (But the sparrows can their song.)
The words won’t change again. Sad friend, you cannot change.
Susana Santos Silva (trumpet, electronics, etc.), live (Quarantine Concert presented by Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago), 4/18/20
this morning, outside Chicago (Salt Creek Trail)
The whole country devastated,
only mountains and rivers remain.
In springtime, at the ruined castle.
the grass is always green.
—Tu Fu (712-770), translated from Chinese by Sam Hamill
Henry Grimes, bassist, November 3, 1935–April 15, 2020
With Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone), Don Cherry (trumpet), Billy Higgins (drums), live, Rome, 1962
With David Murray (tenor saxophone), Hamid Drake (drums, MCOTD Hall of Fame), live, Finland (Kerava), 2004
With Kidd Jordan (tenor saxophone), live, New York, 2010
yesterday, Chicago (Columbus Park)
Lee Konitz, alto saxophonist, October 13, 1927–April 15, 2020
With Warne Marsh (tenor saxophone), et al., “Subconscious-Lee” (L. Konitz), live (TV Show), 1958
With Elvin Jones (drums), Sonny Dallas (bass), Motion, 1961
“I Remember You” (V. Schertzinger, J. Mercer)
“All of Me” (G. Marks, S. Simons)
“Foolin’ Myself” (J. Lawrence, P. Tinturin)
“You’d Be so Nice to Come Home To” (C. Porter)
“I’ll Remember April” (G. DePaul, P. Johnston, D. Raye)
other day, Chicago (Columbus Park)