Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Press from the petals of the lotus flower something of this to keep, the essence of the hour..."

All the seasons are finally wrapping up. My last set is with DM this weekend playing Sibelius 7, Saint-Saens 3. Fourth horn seems to be simply an organ pedal to Sibelius but the piece is powerful and wonderful and all that. I've also got a little show with the CR muni band, usually a summer-only group, playing for the IBA conference in the Hotel Fort DM though we haven't altered our city park repertoire one bit so it'll be 45 minutes of show tune medleys and marches. Boy are all those bandmasters in for a treat!

I'm reading F. Scott Fitzgerald right now, This Side of Paradise on now and that usually shakes things up a bit so we'll see. I like it enough to want to read all the rest of his stuff so . I'm down to the last hundred pages and still waiting for something to transform the protagonist from a pretentious asshole into... anything else. Not that it's a boring book. I enjoy the detail with which Fitzgerald portrays the personal growth of the central character, Amory, the egotist. And the early 20th century commentary on social class is interesting, too. But every time something happens that I'd expect to be cathartic and life-changing, such as the death of a friend/idol, near collapse of his college career, creepy 'hallucinations' (were they?) of the devil in pointed yellow moccasins stalking him for crying out loud, they don't seem to resonate beyond more than a page or two. Perhaps it's all being repressed and will spill out in the climax. Anyway, a war's on now and that usually shakes things up a bit so we'll see. I like it enough to want to read all the rest of his stuff so that'll be a summer occupation.

This week is the last week of classes at ISU. Since there are DM rehearsals too, I'll be staying there for most of the week and probably spend one day engaged in vineyard work. It's good stuff in small doses. Sorta like a day laborer fantasy camp. And it can be a decent workout if you get creative (push-ups at one end of a row, sit-ups at the other). But I don't know how I'd manage if I had to do that kind of work for an extended period. I have great respect for the immigrant crews whom I occasionally work along side. They're faster, do a better job and by-and-large get paid less. They're away from family for extremely long periods, live in cramped quarters, and have virtually no chance for a better life than this. But then I suppose that's why they are here. To try and find a better life or create one back home for those they left behind.

Well I had better go mow the yard, even though we might get snow! Such is this time of year and place on earth.