Sunday, March 03, 2013

Just the two of us this morning, L stays in bed, I go to the pool & do my lengths thankful to feel like swimming again after the lousy weeks in February. Walking to the car, the trees are full of bird & song. Spring scents the air.

There's a vaguely recognisable piece on the radio as I prepare breakfast, a distinctive brass sound that can only be Aaron Copland. Indeed - Quiet City. Not sure what it is but I always feel this sense of optimism in Copland's music.

This is followed by a short discussion about Steve Reich and his discovery of a book on African drumming. Having been listening only yesterday to a couple of Toumani Diabate CDs, the Reich takes on a new focus and urgency. (I see there's a 5CD set on Nonesuch at a very reasonable price).

Last night I browse through The Portable Henry James (awful title - could there be anyone less portable?) searching for some 'flavour' but not knowing what. I light upon this passage in his essay on Shakespeare:

"We can catch, across the ages, the searching sigh and the look about; we receive the stirred breath of the ripe, amused genius; and stretching, as I admit I do at least, for a still closer conception of the beautiful crisis, I find it pictured for me in some such presentment as that of a divine musician who, alone in his room, preludes or improvises at close of day. He sits at the harpsichord, by the open window, in the summer dusk; his hands wander over the keys ... "

sending me, inevitably, to my copy of Harmonium and 'Peter Quince at the Clavier':

Just as my fingers on these keys
Make music, so the self-same sounds
On my spirit make a music, too ...

This afternoon I'll continue clearing up the workroom. A ritual to clear the head & prepare for new ideas.

In the green water, clear and warm,
Susanna lay,
She searched
The touch of springs,
And found
Concealed imaginings.
She sighed,
For so much melody. ...

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. Driving into work the other morning with 'Village of the Sun' playing & humming & drumming along  & think...