June 03, 2006

Quotes: Youth, Sympathies with Failure, & Nostagia

Arthur was a young man, just on the threshold of life. He had fair hair and a stupid face, or at any rate there was a lack of cunning in it.
-T.H. White, The Once & Future King (1939)

Of course! Ophelia’s death! Hamlet! In good old Andrey Kroneberg’s Russian translation, 1844 - the joy of Pnin’s youth, & of his father’s & grandfather’s young days! And here, as in the Kostromsky passage, there is, we recollect, also a willow & also wreaths. But where to check properly? Alas, “Gamlet” Vil’yama Shekspira had not been acquired by Mr. Todd, was not represented in Waindell College Library, & whenever you were reduced to look up something in the English version, you never found this or that beautiful, noble, sonorous line that you remembered all your life from Kroneberg’s text in Vengerov’s splendid edition. Sad!
-Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin (1953)

But the post-beatnik ponderousness of the project made it hard to endure. At all times, Mr. Burnett played the pour soul who must face the contemporary problem of existence & bear witness with vintage analog equipment. It’s hard to imagine someone in the audience who hasn’t already arrived at similar conclusions about the world, & at times the show felt like preaching to the choir in a boutique.
-Ben Ratliff, “At town hall, T-Bone Burnett explores the raw & the slick”, New York Times, 3 June 2006

When first my brave Johnie lad came to this town,
He had a blue bonnet that wanted the crown,
But now he has gotten a hat and a feather -
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu' sprush!
We'll over the border and gie them a brush:
There's somebody there we'll teach better behavior -
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!
-Robert Burns, 1791

Date: Sat, 03 Jun 2006 08:05:39 -0700
From: "Samuel Tear Amidon" <______@gmail.com>

this week: samamidon at tonic this saturday
To: <_________@yahoo.com>

as soon as I woke up this morning, I was one fifth of the way to 125. woah.

SAMAMIDON singing the old folksongs

tonight, JUNE 3
MIDnight, $5

see you there?


Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2006 14:54:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: "James Welsch" <_______@yahoo.com>
Subject: The Furies,
To: "Danny Curley Holt" <______@yahoo.com>

D. C.,

What's up? I got your phone message, but I won't be phone-y until I'm unemployed again in two weeks. [...]
Ah, Concept Album. The diaphonous fjords of the imagination run with renewed vigor. I am working on a piece, concept-albumy, that you would for sure be interested in, sometime in the mid-future. The first part is already complete! It is called Late Glass, & is my humble attempt to imagine what Mr. Glass's mature period would sound like if he developed as an artist more in keeping with my desires. It is part parody & part criticism, but rife with doodle-ey doodle-eys. If this idea does not arouse your interest, or if you can only think "what a washed-up idea, I did something similar in Long Meadow High School", I can only implore you to consider that the proof is in the pudding. In regards to Concept Album: I am always enthusiastic, but at completely a loss, for the ability or resources to arrange such a reunion. I would outright refuse if it was to be in New York City. I believe I stressed Jonathan out to the extreme in asking him to help me arrange a recital there. He hooked me up with some excellent, enthusiastic musicians, & we even played in a small church for essentially free, but in such details as advertising & moving a marimba from Queens Boro to the upper-west-side, juxtaposed to the rewards of the concert, it almost wasn't worth it. I simply do not know if the Los Angeles vicinity offers any easier solutions. I am still writing plenty of un-played music, but you must sympathize with my situation, that I have a bit of difficulty in arranging concerts in metropolises, certainly only enough energy to attempt such failures once a year or less, & bewilderment as to who would occupy the audience for such an event. My friends in the mountains are mostly white college-educated intellectuals, & I assure you that none of them listen to classical music, have never heard of Steve Reich, are confused & dismayed when I put on such relatively-easy-to-appreciate pieces as for instance Gorecki 3, love Bob Dylan, & are familiar with American art, film, literature, poetry, architecture, but not, for some ungodly baffling offensive reason, modern American classical music. Danny, you have not read Harry Potter, but the premise is that muggles (regular humans) have no idea that an entire wizarding community is operating in their midst. This is the type of ignoring we are facing.

My heartiest congratulations to you for your diploma. Where to next?

Have you seen "Howl's Moving Castle"?

Now that your education is entering a new stage, ever consider again attempting to deepen your artistic scope by giving, once again, the realm of literature a fair trial? I recommend Vladimir Nabokov's Pnin, a short novel about a kooky Russian professor. You told me once that you did not understand the reason for fiction. I assure it has as much purpose as classical music, if not more.

Health & peace,

1 comment:

MrA said...

James, check out my post on Harry Potter.