The description by James R. Oestreich (NY Times, April 25) of a concert of Bach’s solo violin music played in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York struck home. The headline was “Getting Inside the Mind of Bach.” The concert featured “performances of the three sonatas and three partitas for unaccompanied violin, spaced throughout the cathedral and side chapels.” The kicker is that the sonatas and partitas were played simultaneously.
“Daniel S. Lee led off, playing the Partita No. 3 from a central spot in the nave, imparting animation and spirit with free tempos and an improvisatory air. He held full attention for five minutes, until two players struck up different works from chapels on either side of the altar. Five minutes later came another fiddler in another piece, and the performances ran continuously, four at a time, for 90 minutes.”
“St. John the Divine is much too large and reverberant to allow for clear projection of individual melodies or harmonies, and that was the idea: that lines would partly vanish in a mysterious void and partly mingle to form a distant fabric of sound as a backdrop to whichever performance was close at hand as listeners roamed freely.”
I’ve gotta say that I feel a little like a listener roaming freely through my own life right now. I’m catching bits of recognizable music even as those bits collide with other bits of recognizable music, resulting in a smudge and a smear of the familiar.
Renovation work continues on our house. We haven’t had hot water in two months. Three rooms have been transformed – kitchen, bedroom, and a tool room – but are not yet habitable. A downstairs bathroom has been added. There are at least another three weeks of work to be done this year – with more work to be done next summer.
I threw my back out one week ago doing some raking in the garden. It did not feel like a big injury: I felt it but it did not scream at me to stop immediately. Four days later it was definitely on the mend until I spent 90 minutes driving up to Burlington. That trip, which contained no specific moment of “ouch,” set me back to Day One of the injury.
I presented three concert programs to be approved by two choral organizations in Montpelier and Burlington on Monday and Tuesday. The programs were approved, which is a relief because they took months of planning. Both choruses are in cities where there are a bunch of other choruses, and programming needs to reflect both what makes one chorus different from another, as well as performances scheduled on days when others aren’t. This is amazingly complex.
This week I finished reading Dave Eggers’ “The Circle,” a dystopian novel about the risk of sharing everything about yourself with people with whom you have no relationship. Welcome to the dark side of social progressivism. (Why am I writing this blog?…)
So I did stuff this week, but the feeling I have right now is of feeling weak. My body isn’t feeling vibrant. I’m dizzy.
I hate feeling physically and mentally weak. I need to figure out how to emotionally acknowledge current reality while still pursuing a positive future – without denying risk.
Now there’s fervent personal statement, right? Well, it may feel personal, but these thoughts about what the future holds as opposed to what the past has created, have become a focus of psychologists and neuroscientists. It’s discussed in an article that I read in yesterday’s NY Times, “We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment,” by Martin E. P. Seligman and John Tierney. It’s well worth reading.