Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

[Maryrose Larkin is blogging through the unaccompanied Bach cello suites too, one movement at a time. She’s going for the poetry, and I wonder at the relationship between what she has written and the music. I wouldn’t guess that there was any relationship at all if she didn’t tell me -- but there’s no reason to think that untutored description such as mine is in any way preferable. I like her approach. We have relatives named Larkin on my mom’s side; my maternal grandma’s cousin married a rancher in Florida named Larkin. She was wealthy and when my grandparents retired they would go and stay in one of her houses for free for a couple of months in the winter. I met cousin Emily once. She was old and did not make a vivid impression. Her grandson was my age -- 14 -- and he could drive because their ranch was big enough for him to drive on, and licensing doesn’t apply on private property. They had horses running on the ranch, and wild alligators, and beautiful Santa Gertrudis cattle. My dad had to go to Florida on business and we all went as a vacation. Before we got to the ranch we stayed in a hotel in Tampa that the Yankees were staying in for spring training. We rode the elevator with Reggie Jackson, and my brother gave him some of our Pringles.]

Cello, oh cello, oh wood and singing tone, reverberant carved curlicue of tree, I want your sound in my teeth, bitter beer and steak

things come to an impasse, a momentary pause, a breath of frustration

there’s always a way, as long as life goes on there’s hope

yeah OK say your peace emphatically

Casals’ tone’s got the juice, the sweet and bitter taste of life’s juice, a dark rainbow

continually opening doors

the rhythmic anti-metronomianism, the measure is not the law

fling it
words can’t keep up
all so tossed-off-sounding, brilliant extemporaneity
the minor key lending a more sombre tone to it all

monks in their chambers arguing of God, with God

a voice
the line of melody a thread to mark the labyrinth

yes! there be monsters! and terrible things, oh! the terrible things,
yes, I have seen it

“stomping the blues,” the memory of tears, we spin it out of the unknown, taking whatever bits of flotsam have wrecked on the soul’s shore, and spin our lines, make a net, to catch what one can, something to eat, yes, sweetheart, the band is some ear-bender

time flies, 20 minutes closing in, I’ve barely started, can’t keep up, Bach got the something-going-on, I’d dance this stern and lively beat, Lord knows I could use more sternness, I must change my life, but how, ahhh -- well, well I hope, change it well, and evasive punning is NO CHANGE AT ALL

sorry it’s over. for tonight. damn. went too fast.

Bach, Suite No. 2 in D minor, 1. Prelude, 2. Allemande, 3. Courante, 4. Sarabande, 5. Menuets I and II, 6. Gigue

[In case you did not know: “Stomping the Blues” is the name of a book by Albert Murray wherein he argues that the real blues, aren’t sad, they joyfully stomp out those sorrows. “The band is some ear-bender” is a line by Johnny Mercer from a song he wrote with Paul Weston in the mid-1940s called “Conversation While Dancing.” “You must change your life” is what the headless torso of Apollo communicated to Rilke.

I found the minor key more stimulating and the dances less formulaic-sounding.]

-- Photo of Santa Gertrudis cattle from Cattle Today Online!


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