Sunday Salon 1-8-17

Sunday Salon badge squareTime and Place: 10:30 Sunday morning, a little later than is my norm – that’s what I get for sleeping in and feeling well-rested – at my main computer at home.

Reading: After having read Haruki Murakami’s first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, as my last book of 2016, I made his second novel, Pinball, 1973, my first of 2017. Like Hear the Wind Sing, it was relatively short, and I finished it in a couple of days. I’ve now moved on to Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone. It is quite wonderful, and suits my current frame-of-mind well. I plan on writing about it here at the blog fairly soon.

Viewing: My movie viewing for the week has included The Scarlet Pimpernel, the 1930s version with Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon, and the last film by the great Alain Resnais, the very stylish and stylized Life of Riley (this makes me want to catch up on the many more recent Resnais films that I’ve never seen). Inspired by a reference in Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City, I also finally saw the fascinating documentary Finding Vivian Maier, on the photographer whose work was only discovered and appreciated, almost by accident, after her death.

Listening: My music listening has largely been tied to the program notes I am currently writing for the Reno Chamber Orchestra and Reno Philharmonic Orchestra. Their upcoming concerts feature works like Mozart’s Symphony No. 31, the “Paris,” and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, and I’ve enjoyed spending time with this great music. Next on the writing schedule is Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 6, a piece I haven’t heard for a very long time but which I remember liking quite a lot.

Blogging: I managed two pretty substantial blog posts this week, one on Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning composition Anthracite Fields (which is going to be performed in San Francisco on February 26 – possible road trip!), and another on the exhibition The Brothers Le Nain: Painters of 17th-Century France, currently to be seen at the Legion of Honor. This latter article, I personally feel, is one of the best blog posts I’ve done in some time. Even if you don’t read the 2,000 or so words I wrote, the art works are very attractive indeed.

Anticipating: After a stretch of reasonably high-quality writing this past week, I’m hoping for something like the same this week.

And finally: Still celebrating the arrival of 2017…

Sunday Salon 10-30-16

Sunday Salon badge squareTime and Place: 8:20 Sunday morning, at my main computer at home.

Viewing: It has been only five days since the last Sunday Salon, as the last one was a special Tuesday edition due to the intrusion of my birthday (basically, I wanted to celebrate by being utterly lazy for two or three days). Therefore, there isn’t much new to report. However, I did watch one fairly adventuresome film, philosophically and visually interesting, You Are Here (2010) by Canadian visual artist Daniel Cockburn.

Listening: For the next couple of weeks, my music listening is going to be largely limited to works to be played at the 2016 Nevada Chamber Music Festival, coming up at the end of December, for which I am in the process of writing program notes. That isn’t such a bad thing, however, as it has already led me to Bach’s Violin and Oboe Concerto and Schubert’s Octet, among other very fine pieces.

Reading: I have finished Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, and will be writing about it here in the coming week. Thupten Jinpa’s A Fearless Heart and Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write are still in progress.

Blogging: With the birthday laziness, I wasn’t very productive this week, having posted only…

* A couple of pictures of Danish bookstores taken in 1899.
* A program note I wrote for Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony, which is going to be performed today and Tuesday by the Reno Philharmonic, one of the other organizations for which I write.

Pondering: Tomorrow I will be attending a Halloween party dressed as a monk. I wore the same costume last year, and at that point the costume was meant to be vaguely humorous, while also pointing toward the kind of life I was aspiring to lead. This year, especially the last few months, I have given up the frantic pace of 2015 and have been leading something like that monk’s existence. As I might as well be wearing the monk’s robe at home how, perhaps this year’s Halloween costume should be ordinary clothes?

Anticipating: Cranking out program notes for eleven Nevada Chamber Music Festival concerts in the next two weeks is going to be a challenge, especially if I want to continue blogging on a regular basis during that time. However, I’m kind of excited to take this on as a personal challenge.

Gratuitous Moby Video: I am really taken with Moby’s new song, “Are You Lost In The World Like Me?” from These Systems Are Failing, his new album with the Void Pacific Choir. I’m equally taken with the video for the song by Steve Cutts, which seems to pay homage to animators from the 1920s and 1930s.