Mostly Music
domingo, março 31
Recent advances in the Study of Sound Wave Interference in Sexual behavior

According to recent studies by the acoustics department at the University of Seil, in Munchaus, Germany, the sound waves produced by a flute can naturally and inherently create an effect that had not been identified until now. This singular effect can be described in simple language as an enhancement of the psycho-physiological capacity for long-term sexual intercourse, through the expansion of both feminine and masculine resilience. According to the Chilean specialist in human sexuality, Dr. Raila Maios, who has been researching on the short-range influence of wind instrument sound waves on sexual responses, this extraordinary effect has been known since antiquity, and it is no mere coincidence that the mythological god Pan, a satyr, played the flute. That is also the reason why this instrument has long been associated with sexual potency in all human cultures. For the appropriate testing of her theory Dr. Maios has created a resonance chamber, which amplifies sound modules to demonstrate how audio, when appropriately applied, enhances the usability and functionality of an application.
Since physics essentially describes and quantifies the dynamic nature of elements around us, a physics experimental system should somehow capture the dynamics of physics. The sound module of the Seil Physics Education Laboratory relies heavily on voluntary flutists to achieve this goal. The intent is to continually remind the scientists that physics’ concepts represent live, active entities in the real world. Furthermore, six topic areas have already been effectively identified as primary to explain the sequence of elements that cause the phenomena: sound wave length, speed of sound, displacement and pressure variations in sound waves, sound intensity and decibel levels, and Doppler effect applied to sound.
One objective of the sound wave module is to supply as much user interaction as possible. It is the belief of this specialist that research is best served when musicians are allowed to explore and experiment with concepts rather than having them consume information in a dry, static manner. For example, if a physics law is presented, the researcher and his subject should be free to test the variables or parameters of the physics law to observe how the variables affect the results. Furthermore, demonstrations should also resemble or reflect real-world situations to orient the scientists in the context of a familiar or intuitive setting.
Dr. Xaoh Meti, Dr. Maios’ assistant, declared that the only problem with this revolutionary idea has been that the musicians invited to take part in the experiment don’t want to leave the chamber, where they play Gluck’s “Dance of the blessed spirits” uninterruptedly and only made insignificant rests in order to wait for the physical orgasmic spasms to subside.

Quoted from the International Refereed Journal of the International Institute of Acoustics and Vibration (IIAV)



Transforming Obedient Machine Manufactured for Online Observation and Rational Exploration
quinta-feira, março 28


That's Miss Watillon at the far left...

By way of introduction:The viola bastarda is not so much an instrument, but like the lyra viol, a way of playing the bass member of the viol family. By turn of the seventeenth century there was an extensive literature for viola bastarda in Italy . The bastarda idiom was essentially a reduction and elaboration of all the parts of a polyphonic composition, taking advantage of the wide range of the bass viol, which could play the treble, tenor or bass parts with equal facility. This was in contrast to the more common style of diminution for a solo treble instrument, which ornamented only a single line of the original. The late Jason Paras, a supremely gifted improviser on the viol, who drowned in the Rhine at the beginning of what would have been a brilliant career, wrote a dissertation on the bastarda literature, which was edited for posthumous publication by George and Glenna Houle (Indiana University Press, 1986).

Sophie Watillon seems to be the first gambist to explore this repertoire on disc. Her overview moves chronologically from the recercadas of Ortiz, the first (1553) to discuss ornamentation for strings in print, through the various manuals produced at the end of the century by Dalla Casa, Rognoni, Bassani and Bonizzi, to the early baroque music of Selma, by which time the improvisational practices of the earlier generations had been incorporated into compositional practice.

Watillon has played with an impressive roster of ensembles, but this is her first outing as a headliner. It's an impressive one; Watillon's technique is fluent, and her performances of this unusual and demanding genre are convincing. Her companions will be familiar names to few as yet (they were unknown to me) but I expect they won't remain so long - fine work all round.

Intelligent notes and warm, present sound. Recommended.

THE ART OF THE VIOLA BASTARDA: SONG AND DANCE IN MUSIC FOR VIOL IN ITALY. Sophie Watillon, viola da gamba; Kateligne van Laethem, voice; Pablo Valetti, violin; Frank Liegeois, Piet Stryckers, violas da gamba; Detmar Leertouwer, cello; Hannelore Devaere, harp; Shizuko Noiri, lute, archlute; Herman Stinders, harpsichord, organ. LIGIA DIGITAL Lidi 01060020-94
[DDD]; 62:20.

WATILLON: Improvisations on "La Folia". ORTIZ: Recercadas on "La Folia" ,"Doulce mémoire", the Passamezzo antico and the Passamezzo moderno. SANDRIN: Doulce mémoire. RUFFA: La Danza. La Piva. La Gamba. RORE: Ancor che co'l partire. DALLA CASA: ROGNONI. BASSANI: Cosi le chiome. BONIZZI: Hellas comment. SELMA Y SALAVERDE: Vestiva i colli. Susana pasegiata basso solo. Canzon a doi. CORELLI: Sonata La Follia, op. 5, no. 12.


Fabio Biondi

This 1991 recording from Biondi and company predates the recording of the same works by Romanesca (Andrew Manze, Nigel North and John Toll) which was reviewed in Fanfare 17, 2 by Robert Maxham. If you have read my notices of Biondi's Tartini and Leclair discs (Fanfare 17, 4 and 17, 5), then you know what to expect. The personnel are essentially the same, though Pascal Monteilhet is replaced for the Vivaldi by Lislevand and Pandolfo.

Biondi's interpretations of these works are supremely romantic, imaginative, picturesque, free, with compelling ornaments and graces in both slow movements and quick. Biondi's tone is emotionally compelling, his characterizations of the various affects striking, making use of a broad range of articulation and color. The varying accompaniments from the continuo team are well-chosen (a particular inspiration is the Andante of the G major sonata, RV 22 , where the triplets of the guitar contrast with the cantabile of the violin melody).

Biondi's inspired performances are preferable to those of Romanesca, more Italian as we understand the national character, though I would be more charitable to Andrew Manze's fluent interpretations than Maxham was. The fine notes are by Michael Talbot who brought the Manchester sonatas to light and edited them for publication (by A-R Editions of Madison, Wisconsin).

VIVALDI: Sonatas for violin and continuo - Manchester Manuscript, Vol. 1-2. Fabio Biondi, violin; Rinaldo Alessandrini, harpsichord, organ; Maurizio Naddeo, cello; Paolo Pandolfo, double bass; Rolf Lislevand, theorbo, guitar. ARCANA A4-A5 [DDD]: two discs, 78:50, 78:40.

Wilbert Hazelzet

Pierre Danican Philidor (1681-1731), member of the extensive clan of French wind players and composers, was the son of Jacques (1657-1708, member of the grande écurie from 1668) and nephew of André (c. 1647-1730, Louis XIV's music librarian from 1683 to 1730). He published suites for flute and continuo, for two flutes and continuo, and for two flutes without continuo, and may have been the Philidor named by Couperin as participating in the performances of the latter's Concerts Royaux.

Philidor's music is consummately French, with none of the Italian influences felt in Couperin's works as early as the 1690's and which were to transform French music by the 1730's. His harmonies are clear, and the preponderance of the melodic interest is in the treble parts, with the bass playing a supporting role. In style the music is perhaps closest to that of Hotteterre.

Only a few of Philidor's pieces have previously been recorded, and Wilbert Hazelzet's disc seems to be the first devoted exclusively to his works. Philidor is no Couperin, but his muse makes for a pleasant enough pastime. Flutists Hazelzet and Kate Clark play at A-392 on what I surmise are three-piece instruments of the early French type, with especially rich tones in the lower registers. This, along with the frequent of trills and flattement (pitch variation produced by the fingers, not the breath), give a particularly vocal sound to this music. You couldn't mistake these for Boehm flutes.

Not perhaps for every taste or collection, but the flute fancier and lover of the French Baroque will find something to enjoy here.

PHILIDOR: Trios for two flutes and continuo: no. 1 in G; no. 2 in E Minor. Suites for flute and continuo: no. 5 in E Minor; no. 6 in B Minor; no. 12 in D . Suite no. 3 in D for two flutes. Wilbert Hazelzet, flute; Jacques Ogg, harpsichord; Titia de Zwart, viola da gamba; with Kate Clark, flute; and Mike Fentross, lute, theorbo. GLOBE GLO 5107 [DDD]; 65:40. Produced by Klaas A. Posthuma.

Lex Eisenhardt

Angelo Michele Bartolotti of Bologna published two books of tablature for the guitar. The first, published in Florence in 1640, begins with twenty-two passacaglie in as many keys, which are followed by six suites each made up of allemanda, two correnti and sarabanda. The volume closes with a follia set. The second book, which appeared in Rome in the 1650's, contains approximately twenty-five suites by my count, the dance titles in French with but few exceptions. (Both volumes were reissued in facsimile by Minkoff in 1984). Bartolotti moved to France in 1656, and from that point he seems to have been known as a theorbist; in 1669 he published a book on basso continuo for the theorbo, at which point he disappears from history.

For the listener who is used to light and undemanding music from the baroque guitar the seriousness of Bartolotti's writing comes as a surprise. The focus is on plucked rather than strummed textures, and the weightiness of the discourse is what one would expect from the theorbo. Eisenhardt has two earlier release for Etcetera to his credit, Sor on guitar and Narvaez on vihuela. His interpretations are fluent and convincing, the phrases well-shaped, the rhythms of the dances limber, Bartolotti's harmonies and dissonances well-rung. An important addition to the library of the devotee of the plucked string. This listener would be happy to hear more of Bartolotti.

BARTOLOTTI: Il Secondo Libro di Chitarra: Suites in D Minor, D, G Minor and E Minor. Lex Eisenhardt, baroque guitar. ETCETERA KTC 1174 [DDD?]; 55:35. Produced by Lex Eisenhardt and Erik Sikkema.

Michael Schneider

The prolific Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787), composer of symphonies, overtures, quartets, sonatas, has been sorely neglected by recording companies until now - looking back over a half-dozen years of Fanfare I only find one entry for him, the recording of his symphonies op. 7 by Cantilena (Chandos CHAN 8648) welcomed by Nils Anderson in 12, 6. That set contains the work once known as Köchel 18, since it was copied out by Mozart during his trip to London.

Abel came from a dynasty of gamba players going back at least to his grandfather, Clamor Heinrich Abel (1634-1696), also a composer. His father, Christian Ferdinand, was a an associate and friend of J.S. Bach's at Cöthen. Carl Friedrich Abel had the misfortune to be employed as a gambist in Dresden when the city was sacked by Frederick the Great's armies in 1757-1758. By the next year Abel had made his way to London, a magnet for capable Continental musicians, though a place where the gamba was less in vogue than in north Germany (virtually all of his works for the instrument remain in manuscript).

Abel published quite a few chamber works with flute, meeting the demand for new music by the many gentleman flutists in England. The flute concertos contained here, despite their opus number, were never published, but are found in a manuscript held in Leipzig which can be dated prior to 1759. Stylistically these works have left the Baroque far behind, with regular phrases, simple basses , broad harmonic movement. The melodies make ample use of lombardic rhythms and syncopations and the florid passaggi sparkles with triplets and scalar passages in sixteenths. Though there are occasional harmonic complications which recall Abel's background, the overall tone here is that of the Enlightenment. Who can Abel have written these works for?

These are premieres, and I have no hesitation in recommending Karl Kaiser and La Stagione. Kaiser elicits a beatiful tone from his instrument from top to bottom, liquid and expressive in the adagios, and the allegros sparkle. The balance between the flute and the strings is fine. Warmly recommended.

The symphonies op. 10, Abel's third set, date to 1773, and are all in three movements, fast-slow-fast, the closing allegro being an allegro in nos. 2 and 5. Musically they are less individual and less compelling than the concertos. All six are in major keys, and of the eighteen movements only one is in a minor key. These are works aimed less at the connoisseur than at the usual concert-goer, a species of whom there perhaps more in London at this date than ever before (perhaps the modern equivalent is the drive-time listener to classical radio). La Stagione's performances are first-rate.

ABEL: FLUTE CONCERTOS, OP. 6: No. 1 in C; No. 2 in E Minor; No. 3 in D; No. 6 in G. Karl Kaiser, flute; Michael Schneider directing La Stagione Frankfurt. CPO 999 208-2 [DDD]; 63:27. . Produced by Burkhard Schmilgun and Barbara Schwendowius.

ABEL: Symphonies, op. 10. Michael Schneider directing La Stagione Frankfurt. CPO 999 207-2 [DDD]; 61:24. Produced by Burkhard Schmilgun and Barbara Schwendowius.

quarta-feira, março 27
I just got this, and thought it was funny!

This letter has been around the world at least seven times. It has been to many major conferences. Now it has come to you. It will bring you good fortune. This is true even if you don't believe it. But you must follow these instructions:

Include in your next journal article the citations below.

Remove the first citation from the list and add a citation to your journal article at the bottom.

Make ten copies and send them to colleagues.

Within one year, you will be cited up to 10,000 times! This will amaze your fellow faculty, assure your promotion, and improve your sex life. In addition, you will bring joy to many colleagues. Do not break the reference loop, but send this letter on today.

Dr. H. received this letter and within a year after passing it on she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Prof. M. threw this letter away and was denied tenure.

In Japan, Dr. I. received this letter and put it aside. His article for Trans. on Nephrology was rejected. He found the letter and passed it on, and his article was published that year in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the Midwest, Prof. K. failed to pass on the letter, and in a budget cutback his entire department was eliminated. This could happen to you if you break the chain of citations.

1. Miller, J. (1992). Post-modern neo-cubism and the wave theory of light. Journal of Cognitive Artifacts, 8, 113-117.

2. Johnson, S. (1991). Micturition in the canid family: the irresistable pull of the hydrant. Physics Quarterly, 33, 203-220.

3. Anderson, R. (1990). Your place or mine?: an empirical comparison of two models of human mating behavior. Psychology Yesterday 12, 63-77.

4. David, E. (1994). Modern Approaches to Chaotic Heuristic Optimization: Means of Analyzing Non-Linear Intelligent Networks with Emergent Symbolic Structure. (doctoral dissertation, University of California at Santa Royale El Camino del Rey Mar Vista by-the-sea.)

sábado, março 23

The mystery of the haunted crypt

I was awakened by a noise. I had no idea where I was, or what I was doing there: my reason was paralyzed by tentacles of fear. Feeling my way, and more by instinct than anything else, I pressed the switch that was hanging from the canopy of the bed, but I remained in total darkness: maybe there was no electricity, or maybe I had gone blind. I broke out in a cold sweat, as if I was having a cold shower from the inside out, and as always happens when I am in a panic, I was assaulted by an almost irresistible urge to
pass a stool. I listened harder, and noticed footsteps in the corridor. The events of the previous night, in which I was still entangled, began to take on a new and menacing shape: the food at dinner had undoubtedly been poisoned; the conversation had been planned to give me a trustingness that would make me an easy prey; the accomodations, a mousetrap supplied with the most devilish mechanisms for detention and torture.

from the Spanish of Eduardo Mendoza

More, here

New sounds

Swain drove down to Trenton, and the two of us drove from there to Wilmington, DE to hear the Relache Ensemble in a program of new works being performed at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (in a building which is right next to the viaduct for Amtrak - every so often you could hear the trains go by, even inside the building). Relache is a chamber ensemble with Bob Butryn, sax, clarinet, Andrea Clearfield, piano, Jon Gaarder, bassoon, Michele Kelly, flute, Douglas Mapp, bass, Harvey Price, percussion, Lloyd Shorter, oboe, english horn, Anthony Simmons, viola. Last night they had Chen Zimbalista, a virtuoso marimbaist and percussionist, visiting from Israel. The program included William Duckworth (Dreaming Dances Round and Square, which I wasn't much taken by), commissions by Menachem Wiesenberg (also visiting from Israel), and Mark Hagerty (of Wilmington), and a Rhapsody for Marimba by Takayoshi Yoshioka. The Wiesenberg commisssion was absolutely stunning, with great writing for the marimba, and wide contrasts of moods, including some lyrical material drawn from Sephardic song. The Yoshioka was rhythmic, moving from modernism to jazz. Mark is a friend (he is the husband of Tracy Richardson, who I have been playing chamber music
with for years), and after some years of dormancy is starting to devote much more time to composition. His piece (High Octane is the title) seemed to be the darkest and most difficult piece on the program.
The concert was received with cheers from the audience of about 60, not bad for contemporary music in Delaware. I would love to hear a tape.....
sexta-feira, março 22

Some 10, 15 years ago I saw a talk-show, and one of the attractions was particularly interesting to me. It was a teenage boy who played a very crudely made flute, one that he had made himself, out of a piece of plastic pipe. He was discovered in a street corner, in a group with his brothers, who played guitar, tambourine, some other percussion instruments...
The thing was, he was an extraordinary talent, he could play choros really fast and he could improvise very well. He became a minor celebrity, and there was talk of sending him to France (to a conservatory in Paris), or to Russia, or to USA. I thought to myself, then: what a crazy thing to do, to take this boy from the streets, separate him from his family, send him to a place where he will be utterly lost, utterly alien.
Charles went on to receive the Sharp Music award (in 1988) and a medal from UNICEF. He performed in England, France, Germany, Holland.
I don't know whether he ever reached Russia or whether he ever got to study in the Paris Conservatory. But I do know where he is now: In jail.

In jail? Yes, Charles Pereira Gonçalves was imprisoned two years ago, and will stay in jail for 17 more years. I don't know what his crime was. He is now aged 29.

I got an e-mail from a friend in SP, telling me this part of the story and asking for a donation. What kind of donation? A flute for Charles, so he can play in jail. He also wants to teach music to his cell-mates.

What a strange, sad tale!

By the way, if you want to help, you can get in touch with Daniel Beltrão, e-mail danibeltrao@uol.com.br . Or you can also write to Escola Municipal de Música: R. Vergueiro, 961, Aclimação, SP 01504-001, Tel.: 11 3209 6580, or through e-mail apaemm@uol.com.br .

terça-feira, março 19

Song of Songs

As I was reading on the history of this fascinating poem I learned that it has been performed as an oratorio."This oratorio (music by Ina Lohr, though not named here) was twice performed before large audiences in Palos Heights, Illinois (where is that?....) and near Toronto (not in Toronto, mind you), with a cast representing the Shulamite, Solomon and the shepherd, with faculty wives as the chorus of harem women" (from the commentary of the volume from the Anchor Bible0. Interesting that the faculty in question are never mentioned here. Watch out for those faculty wives, though....
segunda-feira, março 18

Brits in print

Jenny Colgan

John Sladek
I came home from a recent trip to Barnes and Noble with two novels: Talking to Addison by Jenny Colgan, and a reissue from Gollancz SF of the first novel, The Reproductive System (not what you think) by the late John Sladek. Last year, in a fit of reading chick-lit, I read Colgan's first novel, Amanda's Wedding. Talking to Addison gets high marks for entertaining characters, and witty writing, not so high marks for the plot itself. On average: B to B-plus.
Now if only a hard-cover novel didn't cost three times as much as a cinema ticket. On to the Sladek....

Bad sex

There is an old myth in these matters to which William has subscribed: that American women have outrun the world in establishing an intense level of sensation for themselves in sex. William, having had too much of the over-domesticated British variety, feels that this should have its potential for him, its high compensations. Yet, with Miss Daubernethy, as the weeks go by, it seems not to. He touches and rubs and kisses, they move and wriggle and sweat, but the challenging athletics gradually acquire not the tone of an existential liberation, a Reichian fulfillment, but rather of a vulgarly inflated achievement, like trying to play a Beethoven quartet with ten musicians, for better sound.

from "Composition" by Malcolm Bradbury.
domingo, março 17
I am the Wind

I AM the wind that wavers,
You are the certain land;
I am the shadow that passes
Over the sand.

I am the leaf that quivers,
You, the unshaken tree;
You are the stars that are steadfast,
I am the sea.

You are the light eternal--
Like a torch I shall die.
You are the surge of deep music,
I but a cry!

Zoë Akins (1886 - ? )
quarta-feira, março 13


Praia Vermelha

Sugarloaf seen from Flamengo


Corro contra o tempo pra te ver
Eu vivo louco por querer você
Morro de saudade, a culpa é sua
Bares, ruas, estradas
Desertos, luas
Que atravesso em noites nuas
Só me levam pra onde está você
O vento que sopra
meu rosto cega
Só o seu calor me leva
Numa estrela pra
lembrança sua
O que sou...
Onde vou...
Tudo em vão...
Tempo de silêncio e solidão
O mundo gira sempre
Em seu sentido
Tem a cor do seu
vestido azul
Todo atalho finda em
seu sorriso nu
Na madrugada,
uma balada soul
Um som assim meio
que rock'n'roll
Só me serve pra lembrar você
Qualquer canção que eu faça
Tem sua cara
Rima rica, jóia rara
Tempestade louca no Saara
O que sou...
Onde vou...
Tudo em vão...
Tempo de silêncio e solidão

-Vander Lee
terça-feira, março 12

A song

A song not for now you need not put stay..
A tune for the was can be sung for today...
The notes for the does-not will sound as the does..
Today you can sing for the will-be that was.
-Walt Kelly
Depois de uma certa idade o homem começa a fazer reflexões. Reflete sobre a vida, o futuro da humanidade, os valores, os amores, os principios....e conclui que refletir sobra vida e um saco, e envelhece.

-Miguel Paiva
segunda-feira, março 11
Hi readers, I will be away for a while. I won't be able to type for a few days, because my wrist is hurt, and the doctor said I must keep it still. But I promise to be back as soon as possible, I really miss bloging...

sábado, março 9
A Very Short Song

Once, when I was young and true,
Someone left me sad-
Broke my brittle heart in two;
And that is very bad.

Love is for unlucky folk,
Love is but a curse.
Once there was a heart I broke;
And that, I think, is worse.

Dorothy Parker

sexta-feira, março 8

Some Times You Get The Bear….

from the Portuguese of Dona Nora

In the forest there was a little rhinoceros who was very sad, because no one liked him. No one liked him because in addition to being sad, he was crabby and aggressive. He was crabby and aggressive because he couldn’t see an inch beyond the end of his nose. Practically blind, the poor thing could only see vague outlines of things, and couldn’t tell for certain whether the outline he saw was animal, vegetable or mineral. Just to be sure, he was always trying to gore anything that came in front of him if he thought he might be under attack. While running through the forest he saw a shadow (a tree) coming towards him:
“Oh, that thing has it in for me!” he thought, lowered his heard, and bam, he went after it with his horn. His horn got stuck in the tree, and he only got it loose after a lot of work.
Mrs. Hippotamus was always complaining to Mrs. Rhinoceros: “Your son is impossible! He fights with everyone, attacks everyone, and won’t let the other children alone. You really ought to discipline that boy.”
“My little Oceros?”, mother Rhinoceros replied. “My dear little Oceros is a lovely boy and has a heart of gold. And besides, I think you need to bring up your Potamus properly, he’s not so innocent himself!” and the two parted, each one more irritated than the other.

continues here

quarta-feira, março 6

Recollection (1892)

HOW can it be that I forget
The way he phrased my doom,
When I recall the arabesques
That carpeted the room?

How can it be that I forget
His look and mien that hour,
When I recall I wore a rose,
And still can smell the flower?

How can it be that I forget
Those words that were his last,
When I recall the tune a man
Was whistling as he passed?

These things are what we keep from life's
Supremest joy or pain;
For memory locks her chaff in bins
And throws away the grain.

Anne Reeve Aldrich

No fim, tudo dá certo. E se não der certo, é porque não é o fim.


from the Portuguese of Dona Nora

“Eddie! Pfoeey! What kind of name is that for a sprite?”
“That’s how it is with today’s young people, my friend…the mistake was in allowing him to be called Edward in the first place. From Edward to Ed, and then Eddie…it happened just like that.”
“You are all quite right: a sprite’s name should be sonorous, like Archiboldus, Euphrasius, or Ludovicus…”
“Or even Commodore, who knows.”
“Wait just a minute! What do you have against my name?”
“Nothing, nothing, Commodore. Just joking…but Eddie is really too much! You see what it’s led to!”
“Well, nomen est omen, as they say in Latin, or to put it plainly, you might have expected it with that kind of name.”
That’s how the conversation was going – everyone being snippy about young Eddie, at a meeting of sprites in the clearing of the Forest of the Enchanted Lake. Their concern with Eddie even made a certain amount of sense, since he had apparently been behaving in a not very “spritely” way, if I can put it like that. You know that the sprites are very helpful little men, always ready to help people in distress. Well, Eddie didn’t seem to be like that at all. Everytime that they called him to help someone, he found some kind of excuse and didn’t go. Sometimes he even promised to help out, but when it was time to be there he didn’t show up, and would always come up with some patched-together excuse.

continues here

terça-feira, março 5

Archiboldus and Hermengarda

If you haven’t seen the Forest of the Enchanted Lake, you’ve really been missing something; you don’t know what really big, beautiful virgin forest is like. The forest floor is the softest moss. If it weren’t for the dry leaves, which could be hiding a little snake, you could walk around it as much as you like, barefoot. The trees are enormous, and centuries old, and most of them are hardwoods: jacarandá, pequiás, ipês, pepper trees, and many more that even I don’t know the names of. Their trunks are full of bromeliads and orchids. Among the branches live thousands of little birds, squirrels and monkey. There are butterflies and dragonflies…and even some mosquitos when it has been rainy. But seeing such a beautiful place is worth a mosquito bite or two.

Deep in the forest there is a mirror of greenish blue water. That is the enchanted lake. Its waters are as pure as can be. By the shore the sandy bottom, bright and clean, is visible through the crystalline water. But out in the middle the bottom can no longer be seen. People say that it is a bottomless lake that goes all the way to the center of the earth, but that’s not true, of course. It must be only about one hundred and fifty or two hundred feet deep. The waters of the lake come from the Golden River, which enters at the upper shore, and leaves by the lower shore, in search of the sea.

continues here



from the Portuguese of Dona Nora

In the garden of the Queen of the Fairies, there were many trees and flowers; many little birds, the kind that sing beautifully; and there were fireflies, dragonflies and butterflies as well. All in order to spread music and sweet smells through the air, and to adorn the garden, which was supposed to be the prettiest garden in the whole world.
Among the butterflies, there was one, the Queen’s favorite, who, if you looked at her closely, was not really a butterfly, but a tiny little fairy with big bright colorful wings. Her body was just the size of Manoela’s little finger, and just perfect. She looked like a little Barbie.
The little fairy, whose name was Crystal, was happy, good, and obedient, just like every fairy ought to be, but she had to be even more obedient than the others, because she was so small that she had to be careful all the time.

continues here


The Train

from the Portuguese of Dona Nora

It was a summer afternoon, one of those really hot and stuffy ones, in the switching yard for a train station at the end of one of the suburban lines. A few sleepy mutts were lying in the shade on the train platform, and from the empty lots nearby came the strident song of the cicadas.
On one of the tracks, one of the more distant ones, an old train, abandoned and half falling to pieces, was dozing. “It’s so hot!” sighed one of the cars, “it’s like that time when we were crossing the desert.” “Not quite!” said the other. “Then we were moving at ninety miles an hour, and there was a nice cool breeze!” “You’re right”, agreed a third car. “Those were the good old days…” The first car retorted “It wasn’t ninety miles an hour, it was a lot less…” And the second: “And even so, the desert was really hot. The first kept on reminiscing. “Do you remember how well we were treated back in those days? We were swept out and clean all day long. Every week they used to wax our wooden benches. What luxury! Now just look how pitiful and dried-out they look, the poor things!” “You know how things are”, sighed one of the benches. “And you know we’re nothing to sneeze at! Our mother was a hundred-year old European walnut tree, from a very old family….” “Will you look at the snob putting on airs!” interrupted one of the cars. “But it’s the very truth, I swear!” the bench replied. “Very well, very well” said the second car, trying to calm things down.
“You know, I really miss those days. Not when we were only doing this wretched suburban line…I’m talking about when we used to travel all over the world: through the deserts, the cities, the plains, the mountains, sometimes covered with snow…did you notice that snow has its own particular smell?”

continues here

segunda-feira, março 4

The wedding of the Queen of the Fairies

from the Portuguese of Dona Nora

There was no one in the court of the Queen of the Fairies who could see as well and as far as the fairy Cecilia. Her talents were such that the Queen could dispense with any other source of information. For even among the fairies, who by their nature know more and see better than anyone, the fairy Cecilia was a marvel. If anyone or anything went missing, all you needed to you was call the fairy Cecilia, and she would take care of the problem in an instant: she would say where it was, with whom, since when, and everything else that you might want to know.
She could see thoughts inside brains, like we see television; she could see through walls - all she had to do was turn on her x-ray vision; and she could see all the stars and planets in the Milky Way, by turning on her telescopic vision.
Now imagine the commotion on the hill where the Queen’s castle was when, suddenly, the fairy Cecilia began to slip up: her vision didn’t always get it right and she herself was complaining that her eyes were tired. It was because, even for a fairy (and you know fairies live for a very, very long time) she was getting a little on in years.
“What’s going to happen now?” the Queen worried. “There’s no one in my kingdom who can remotely compare to her. Even hobbling she still sees better than all of us. But if things go on like this, she’s going to end up losing her marvelous, super-duper vision, and then we will be up a stream without a paddle.”

continues here

domingo, março 3

Where have all the comments gone? I hate this! I feel like not ever posting anything again. I would love to have you try to convince me otherwise. But how can you, with no "comments" available?


WITHIN this restless, hurried, modern world
We took our hearts’ full pleasure—You and I,
And now the white sails of our ship are furled,
And spent the lading of our argosy.

Wherefore my cheeks before their time are wan,
For very weeping is my gladness fled,
Sorrow hath paled my lip’s vermilion,
And Ruin draws the curtains of my bed.

But all this crowded life has been to thee
No more than lyre, or lute, or subtle spell
Of viols, or the music of the sea
That sleeps, a mimic echo, in the shell

Oscar Wilde (1854–1900).

Powered by Blogger