Rather than conjuring visions of the Hollywood bowl, I first thought that Seoul looked like a Yanji with a lot more money. But then my second thought was of Tacoma, the singed kalbi center of the south Puget Sound:
All this fluidity makes my head spin — and thus am reminded of the need for structure, for restrictions, for pulse, meter, and tonality. And for donations to Haiti.
Thus I am glad to invite colleagues and readers from the Seattle area to see me in the cello section of next weekend’s Brahms Requiem as organized for earthquake relief by the Northwest Mahler Festival.
Fortunately I’ve been keeping up with the German Romantics: Brahms Cello Sonata op. 38 in e minor, that plaintive pre-symphonic, angst-ruh-und-sehnsuchtvoll composition was on my program two weeks back in Olympia, and the weekend has already been generously offering up slabs of Schumann, Brahms’ great mentor, and Schubert, that graceful shadow of early 19th century Vienna:
I’m very hopeful that within the next five months, I’ll have some news here about, and/or excerpts from, a new Brahms Sonata, the Schubert Arpeggione, and, if the Matterhorn be possible to climb, the Brahms F major sonata.
For today, at least, as Americans slaughter fatted calves, wild goats, snouty boars, thickened bison, and all manner of other animals on this great and inviolable day of pagan feasting, we can:
– celebrate also the return of the prodigal son from the DPRK,
– imagine North Korean kids wandering around Huchang wondering if they, like Kim Il Sung, will ever get a taste of wild and wicked Badougou across the Yalu, and
– think of Mount Paektu and wonder who is behind the latest and greatest upswing in Kim Jong Il worship. Someone’s been imitating their father again, and this time it is the youngest son’s turn to take Hyesan as the great pivot point of personality-cult inflation.