Tice recounts her reach towards musical prodigy @ Granta.
One August morning, at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, I sat in on a rehearsal of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy – a piece I didn’t know well at the time, which is traditionally performed to close Marlboro’s summer season. It was gray and humid and some friends and I trekked up a grassy hill slick with rain to the great barn of an auditorium, where we were treated to Richard Goode on the piano, a group of young singers, and the Choral Fantasy itself, which Beethoven conceived as something of an experiment: a layering of musical forms. The piece begins with the rising chords of a solo piano, which are joined by the strings after the first theme is introduced, followed by the winds, and then a chorus and the rest of the orchestra. The Choral Fantasy is the kernel of the Ninth Symphony, an abbreviated pastiche of that much longer work, keyed in C Minor, which in 1808 was thought to be ‘emotionally stormy’. The performers rehearsed the piece twice… Read more »
Blanchfield considers the place where tumbleweeds and visiting poets meet @ Guernica.
Yesterday, a tumbleweed blew right up to my driver’s side door, at a stoplight, here in Tucson. Simpson westbound, turning onto the highway frontage road north. I was alone at the light. Two hours prior, a hard decision, I turned down the offer of a three-year Visiting Poet position at a prominent creative writing MFA program a thousand miles away. I got out of the car, chased it a little ways in a subsequent gust, and then fit it into the backseat of my Mitsubishi, where it crumbled a bit in tight captivity. It was my lunch hour—I work a support position at an arts nonprofit downtown—and I brought it home with me. Later, my boyfriend John and I decided we would string it up as a chandelier in our living room. It’s December 21st and we’d been wondering whether we’d get a tree. What does it mean when the universal symbol of itinerancy knocks into you the day you committed to stay a while?
The flicker… Read more »
Fischer considers what nature offers in the face of grief @ Design Observer.
On August 6, 1905, Louie Muir, wife of the great conservationist John Muir, died of complications due to cancer. They had been married 24 years. Muir was devastated. Among those who sent condolences was President Theodore Roosevelt, who, just a few years earlier, had spent two nights camping under the stars with Muir in Yosemite Valley. Roosevelt was no stranger to loss. When he was 26 years old, illness claimed his mother and young wife on the same day, leaving him with a newborn daughter only two days old. Upon hearing of their deaths, he opened his diary, drew a big X across the page and wrote, “The light has gone out of my life.” Bereft, Roosevelt entrusted the care of his baby to his sister, quit politics and headed out west to the wilds of the Dakota territories to run a cattle ranch. Two years lapsed before he was ready to resume life in the East. In his letter to Muir, he offered this tonic:… Read more »
Baker wonders how close we can get to Aleppo on Google Earth @ Terrain.org.
I load the map of Aleppo and it materializes on my screen, pixellated at first, then resolving into a sprawling city webbed with streets. I zoom in and I’m rushing down toward the Syrian city of my childhood, falling from above at a great speed through vast distances of time and memory.
“What part of town did we live in?” I ask, cradling my cell phone against my shoulder as my mouse wanders along the wide highways transecting the city. My Dad and I recently discovered Google Earth as a means of taking a virtual walk down memory lane together. The streets seem so innocuous on the computer screen, though daily news reports suggest otherwise. On the internet, BBC News tells me that people are dying in the streets. And here are those same streets, sun falling across them and casting shadows. The streets in the Google-Earth images are empty and as static as my memory of them. Aleppo, to my eight-year-old self, had palm… Read more »
Friedman wonders about all the lives she could have lived @ The Nervous Breakdown.
Edie Sedgwick was my idol.
As a junior in high school, I read the biography Edie: An American Life by Jean Stein and George Plimpton, so I knew she grew up on a ranch, the troubled scion of a privileged family, had been institutionalized at Silver Hill and sculpted a horse at Radcliffe. In 1965, she became the most glamorous of Warhol’s “superstars,” the one who best set off his own spectral image when they appeared in photographs together. I’d seen footage of her in Ciao! Manhattan balancing on a stone wall, a celestial tightrope walker; and later, a tragic burnout, camping at the bottom of an empty swimming pool. She died only months after the filming was complete, of an overdose of barbiturates, at the age of 28. To me, 28 seemed plenty old, and besides, I had a premonition that I would die in a car crash at that same age. Before then, I was destined to become Warhol’s last starlet: Edie Sedgwick… Read more »