this is not that

by pieces of moments

Today was one of those good days, where time decides to be on your side by moving at the perfect rate – not too slow, not too fast.

The morning was spent in leisure, baking cupcakes (okay, I wasn’t the one baking them…but I did conduct the taste test), whilst the afternoon was spent sipping iced coffee at a local bakery/cafe. The best part? They always play WETA in the cafe and the dj had the kindness in her heart to play (I choose to believe it was for me, since he’s one of my top three favorites…yeah, I know…) Krystian Zimerman‘s performance of Chopin’s Ballade No. 2. Sublime.

Kramerbooks is a must. It has served me well as a stand-in for my deeply loved (and sorely missed) Harvard Bookstore. I couldn’t leave without buying the complete works of Keats. I love Keats, and with Bright Star coming out this weekend, well, it seemed time to invest.

In the afternoon I decided to finally head over to see the Phillips Collection. I was delighted to see an Arthur Dove there (love Arthur Dove, and that whole gang). After a blissful amble through the galleries I stopped in their cafe for a little while. You can write on the walls there. Pretty awesome. I would really like to pain one whole wall in my house one day with that chalkboard paint – just to be able to do that in the comfort of my own home. I think this desire is an outgrown (and expansion) of my childhood when there were two chalkboards in the house (I was home schooled), and the fact that my parents (in a display of profound bravery) allowed me to create all sorts of crafts all over the house (cooking experiments in the kitchen, drawing for endless hours in the living room, throwing pottery in my bedroom – yes, you read that right).


On my way out the door I paused to take a moment for the gift store. Okay, so the gift store at the Phillips is awesome. They had this John Singer Sargent book (Sargent Abroad) that I used to look at over, and over, and over, again in the library during my undergrad days. They have (wait for it…) composer magnets! Yes! Little tiny square portraits of your favorites and mine! Amazing. Also amazing was this book that I purchased, Secret Lives of Great Composers by Elizabeth Lunday. It’s kinda like composers tabloid style for people who are just getting interested in “classical” music. I am super curious to dig in and investigate her work. I’m wondering:

  1. What were her research methods for tracking how much truth there is in each anecdote. I’m not saying they aren’t true, but I am saying that, especially with 19th century composers, there are some anecdotes that evade truth tests and have simply been given a free pass on the legend stamp of approval.
  2. Does she honor the 19th century mindset even though she speaks of it in a 21st century voice? I’m always skeptical when someone decides to modernize because our worldview is so different.
  3. Is it good cheesy or bad/harmful cheesy? (The back cover reads “Schumann: Chased by a choir from hell!”…um…..huh.)

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Additionally, you might want to know that over at WGBH Lab they are having an open call for 3 minute video blogs on the subject of life (“Do you think life is a battle for survival? A harmonious web of interconnections? A fleeting chance to realize your dreams?”). Check it out and submit! Some videos might be released on PBS along with some NOVA shows.

Also, how much do we love Merge Records? A lot. So get this, aside from pumping out awesome cds and boasting Merge Radio (where you can listen to a random stream of their entire collection!…just go to their homepage and scroll down, then click to launch), they are putting out a little book to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Each page is a picture of an album they have issued over the past two decades. Now that’s coffee table adornment I can promote.

Also, also, From the Top has a new website. Very spiffy. I miss those kids! If you ever feel down about the world, just tune into From the Top and get energized by these fantastic young musicians, who are also fantastic young people.