21 February 2015


This is not a black and white shot. This is the way it looks this morning. The soundtrack is the drip-drip-drip of ice melting, accented intermittently with whoosh-tap-a-tap-tap and crash-tinkle as the wind brushes last night's rain from the naked tree branches and the final icicles loose their grip along the edges of the roof .

In 20 days I will be on my way to Brazil. Less than 3 weeks. Three weeks from this moment I'll probably be waking up from an overnight flight, peering down from a plane window on the Atlantic ocean, minutes from touchdown. The photo I take on that morning will probably be rich with color.

The ground is soggy, shiny and littered with twigs and branches. Wreckage from this week's sleet and freezing rain. I'm happy. It is not warm yet -- my bare ankles want socks -- but it is warm enough to drink morning coffee on the back porch in pajamas and sweater. The first time in many weeks. Spring is coming.

I don't know what to pack. What does one need from home for overseas travel? I am not worried; there's never any way of knowing what one will need, what will happen. I think I may need more warm weather clothing but I'd rather buy it in Brazil. I ordered an SD card for the new camera online. I've downloaded books onto the Kindle to keep me company during layovers and flying. Most of the piano music I needed has been photocopied and three-hole punched and placed in a slim white binder:  Clara and Chopin and Bach and Debussy mostly.

This morning is full of almost:  almost time to go, almost in Brazil, almost Spring.

I write this morning as warm-up to travel blogging. It's almost time for full-on writing.

It just started raining really hard.

12 February 2015

P.S. to Yesterday's Post

It is the first fugue -- not the second. I am working it again today. Absolutely electric in its elegance and eloquence.

Here's a clip. Poor sound quality because it's recorded using laptop instead of mixer, but the harmonic and melodic structures can still be clearly appreciated.

Oh, and for the record, the manuscript graphic yesterday was not the actual score. A shot of the first page of the score appears at the end of the clip.

11 February 2015

Clara's Valentine

Working on the second of Clara's Fugues.

At last. After many months of wrinkling my nose and quickly turning the page. Too many sixteenth notes.

Besides that, I hold the fugue form as a rare and mystical thing, a hallowed cosmic numerical magic code. I bow down intellectually whenever I see or think of the word.

But tonight I worked this fugue. And worked it. Got inside it. Swam. Pulled it apart.

Touched Clara's heart.

It is a strange music. Tender. The vulnerable aching heart of Clara wanders lost, singing confusion, sorrow.

The narrative arc of the piece is voluptuous; it swells and retreats and swells and retreats...

And at the end, such grace, like a seasoned sensuality -- but never immodest. 

I truly love this piece.

But I say that about everything Clara Schumann.