Violin Sonata No. 3 in C major, 3rd Movt. (Largo); Christian Tetzlaff (1966-, violin), Berlin, 2013
yesterday, outside Chicago (Dean Nature Sanctuary, Oak Brook, Ill.)
Just being alive!
—miraculous to be in
cherry blossom shadows!
—Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), translated from Japanese by Sam Hamill
back to church
Mt. Do-Well Baptist Church Hymn Choir, “You’re Gonna Need a Friend,” live, McConnells, S.C., 1991
yesterday, Oak Park, Ill.
Today, at 3 p.m. (ET), Yo-Yo Ma will be performing all six of Bach’s suites for unaccompanied cello. I heard him play these pieces last summer at Chicago’s Millennium Park. One-word review: breathtaking.
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.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Violin Sonata No. 1 in G minor, Violin Partita No. 1 in B minor; Rachel Podger (1968-, violin), live (performance begins at 2:00), London, 11/24/19
art beat: other day, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Claude Monet (1840-1926), Water Lilies (1914-1926), detail
With the children in this village
Spring day, never let the shadows fall!
—Ryōkan (1758-1831), translated from Japanese by Ryūichi Abé and Peter Haskel
I could listen to him play Bach all day, all week, all month.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, excerpt (Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C major); Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997, piano), live, Austria (Innsbruck), 1974
(This recording—all four-plus glorious hours—is available on Spotify: search “Richter, Bach, Innsbruck.”)
other morning, Chicago (Columbus Park)