Mus(ick)ings

Periodic ruminations on music, books, poetry, photography, film, or whatever else strikes me.

Book Review: Short novels by Elizabeth Strout and Kent Haruf

MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON by Elizabeth Strout “There was time, and it was many years ago,” Lucy Barton tells us at the beginning of this slender book, “when I had to stay in a hospital for almost nine weeks.” Her room, in New York…

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Book Review: Two by Kent Haruf

I’ve taken to posting reviews on Goodreads, initially as a way of simply keeping a record of what I’ve read. Soon, though, I was writing more about the books: main characters, plot synopses, observations about the writing style, my own reactions. They were turning into…

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Ozalid Days, part 3

In the mid-1970s, my first wife Mary Jo and I were living in a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, scraping by on my pay as a graduate assistant at Brooklyn College, along with occasional playing gigs for both of us, and her intermittent work at banks…

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Ozalid Days, part 2

When I was at the University of Washington, there were about two dozen composition majors, both grad and undergrad. With the eight members of the composition faculty, we would meet for an hour once a week after lunch on Fridays in the recital hall (now…

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Ozalid Days, part 1

A key part of my musical autobiography, one I have almost never mentioned in my bios, is music copying. Of course, a composer copies music by necessity, inscribing the notes and other symbols on the blank page, making them legible, accurate, and communicative. At one…

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Adventures in synchronicity

More often than seems reasonable according to the so-called laws of probability, life will grab my attention with a jaw-dropping coincidence or bit of synchronicity. For example, a rarely-encountered phrase or word or piece of information will show up in two different locations within hours….

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Kingsolver and King Billies

You know how you’ll be reading a novel and some passage will pull you up short, with a deep insight about some everyday thing—a new way of looking at something that feels so true and well-put and revelatory, a striking metaphor or turn of phrase….

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Soundtrackings: The Bard and the Birdman

  We’ve started watching Slings and Arrows, a marvelous Canadian series about the backstage, front office, and under-the-lights complications of a regional theater company as it mounts productions of Shakespeare, with each season built around a single play. The first season was devoted to Hamlet….

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Doings in Eastport and Portland

I set up this website about four years ago. It’s been sitting out there patiently ever since, occasionally forwarding an email inquiry to me, otherwise fairly neglected, but not complaining that I was giving it no attention. Time for that to change. I plunged back…

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