Mostly Music
domingo, setembro 29

Today I went to a street manifestation against our (probable) future governor, Rosinha. It was a very Carioca event: everybody there campaigning not for someone, but against. The war cry was "anyone will do, you can vote in any of the other 3. But we cannot have 4 more years of the same" (well, yes, that is shorter and sounds better in Portuguese).
There were mostly young people, but also mothers with babies, older folks (mom went with us), dogs with "Rosinha não" stickers, teenagers on roller skates... It was a beautiful day, the sky was amazingly beautiful. Before getting to Vieira Souto (that is where the crowd was, and it's on the beach...) we had lunch at a new restaurant in Copacabana. lunch was very nice, but the desserts were particularly yummy. I was sorry for Tom, who missed it.

Strange but true....

From the New Scientist...

Tissue engineers grow penis in the lab


Dan Hicks

I got my paycheck today
I think I’ll spend it like a crazy fool
Or I’ll give it all away
Something like the golden rule
And my paycheck ain’t hay
But somehow I just don’t seem to care
Ever since she went away
And left my little house so cold and bare
And I won’t tell ’em at the bank
What I’m gonna do with all my dough
I’ll just smile and tell ‘em thanks
For it’s better than they shouldn’t know
Then I’ll go and have a drink
At a little place where I can sit and think
Cause my baby went away
And left me here on my payday

**Paaaaaaaaday was never like this
Paaaaaaaaday, but where is my happiness?
I don’t know!

repeat ad nauseam

A Grande Arte

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop

Some Gringos are Malucos

If you go to Switzerland, you can experience the pleasure of restaurant dining in pitch darkness at the Blind Cow, which not only has pitch dark dining, but pitch dark cultural events as well.
You can listen to a concert, hear a story-teller, take part in an exciting discussion...smoking is not permitted for obvious reasons.....
sábado, setembro 28

BOSTON (Reuters) - Boston transit police have enlisted the late American composers George Gershwin and John Philip Sousa in their fight against crime.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police are piping in a mix of show tunes and marches at a city subway station in order to drive away the large numbers of aggressive teens who used to loiter there after school, the Boston Globe newspaper reported on Sunday.

"We tried arresting the kids last year. That didn't work at all. We just wanted to try something different," William Fleming, acting chief of the MBTA Police, told the paper.

MBTA officials said the sounds of brass and strings blaring over the newly installed speakers are already having their desired effect, reducing crowds at the Forest Hills station, where there had been two to three fights daily.

Although several youths have complained about the music, fewer of them are loitering -- to the delight of officials and those who work in the station.

"Music soothes the savage beast," a clerk who works in the station was quoted as saying. "They're leaving, and I ain't seen no fights."


PAINESVILLE, Ohio (AP) -- A young man convicted of disorderly conduct for blasting his car stereo was sentenced to three hours of silence.

Kenyata Reid, 22, served the sentence Tuesday, when a park ranger dropped him off more than a mile inside a forested stretch of parkland about 25 miles northeast of Cleveland.

Reid had gotten in hot water by blasting his car stereo in front of a police officer. Municipal Judge Michael Cicconetti offered Reid a choice: two days in jail or three hours alone in the woods.

sexta-feira, setembro 27

Life in these United States

The loud little handful - as usual - will shout for the war. The pulpit will - warily and cautiously - object...at first. The great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it." Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded, but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the antiwar audiences will thin out and lose popularity.
Before long, you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men... Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

Mark Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger" (1910)

quinta-feira, setembro 26
AND THE NEWS HIT THE WORLD thanks for the tip, Carminha!)

Land of Mozart introduces the veggie orchestra

From the Houston Chronicle:

VIENNA, Austria - Forget the cello, just listen to that cucumberophone. The land of Mozart will be exporting its latest cultural product next week when the First Viennese Vegetable Orchestra goes on its nine-date debut European tour.

The orchestra, which consists of eight musicians, one sound technician and one cook, plays vegetable-based instruments they make themselves.

"We believe that we can produce sound that cannot be easily produced by other instruments. You can hear the difference, it sometimes sounds like animals, sometimes just abstract sounds," the band says in its homepage (www.gemueseorchester.org).

It takes the band about half an hour to make a carrot flute, and under 15 minutes to make a cucumberophone, which has a pepper bell and cucumber tubing. Other instruments include celeriac bongos, eggplant cymbals and pumpkin drums.

The sounds are amplified using a variety of microphones.

At the end of a performance, which can include free jazz, experimental music, or the Radetzky March by Austrian Johann Strauss, the stage is cleared and a cook uses the instruments to prepare a soup for both audience and musicians.

"The audience has the possibility of once again enjoying what they just heard," the band adds. "We employ a real chef for the preparation of the soup so it is indeed tasty and very special."

Their mothers obviously never told them not to play with their food.


(or: And I thought I had seen everything, heard everything!)

...The First Vienna Vegetable Orchestra blows carved-out carrots, taps turnips, claps with eggplant cymbals, twangs on rhubarb fibers, and rustles parsley and greens, all in the creation of an experimental sound that eventually winds up -- literally -- in the audience's stomach. (...) ." (Washington Post, 11.April 2001).
Some people need complex computer and synthesizer contraptions to create indefinable creaks and blubbers, hisses and roars, squeaks and screeches. But that is also possible quite naturally: with vegetables (Falter No.22, 2000).

...With the occasional help from mixers and juicers, the vegetable orchestra conjures from the blubbers, creaks and squeaks, veritable country, marches and even free core jazz to please even the most die-hard electronic music fans (Standard, 10 August 2000).

...different than anything else ever heard in classic, jazz or pop (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 3/4 February 2001).

The sound impressions are unique, at times magnificent (Basler Zeitung, 14 March 2000).

... The notations are a basic guide to a cosmos of sounds (Wiener Zeitung, 25-26 February 2000).

...It all sounds, in the truest sense of the word organic. the repertoire of the ensemble is correspondingly experimental, with the exception of Pieces like the Radetzky March (Salzburger Nachrichten, 6 March 2000).


Because the truth is, we never know for sure about ourselves. Who we'll sleep with if given the opportunity, who we'll betray in the right circumstance, whose faith and love we will reward with our own.[...] Only after we've done a thing do we know what we'll do, and by then whatever we've done has already begun to sever itself from clear significance, at least for the doer.
Which is why we have spouses and children and parents and colleagues and friends, because someone has to know us better than we know ourselves. We need them to tell us. We need them to say, "I know you, Al. You are not the kind of man who.".

from Straight Man, by Richard Russo

domingo, setembro 22


I have just finished reading a lovely little book, "Ex Libris" by Anne Fadiman. A birthday gift from my friend Jayme, this book about books and book lovers made me feel part of a special club, and I laughed aloud when I read about a few very familiar compulsions (such as automatically correcting any written text, even restaurant menus!). It is too bad that the translation leaves much to be desired. A "fruit macedoine" is not a "fruta macedoine"!!!! But the worse is really the translation of the few poems quoted. Even so, this is a great gift for anyone who enjoys reading.

Anne Fadiman

BACH Arias & cantatas by Johann Michael Bach, Johann Christoph Bach,Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Melchior Hoffmann. Gerard Lesne (alto), Il Seminário Musicale. Astrée, E8873 (59:12)

Whenever the name Bach is mentioned, Johann Sebastian is foremost in everybody’s mind. Among musicians and music-lovers, his sons occupy a place of honor. We imagine that the second generation was so good because they had the best example at home. But we tend to forget that J.S. Bach himself was the product of a lineage of notable musicians.

In this disk Gerard Lesne performs vocal music by Bach and some of his elders, as well as a Hoffmann piece in the same vein. A wise and beautiful choice. Opening a window into a great tradition that frequently we only glimpse at from the outside, these works are fascinating:deep, dramatic, and very, very sad. The religious strain that ran in this family is evident here, and it is partly responsible for the profound, expressive nature of the compositions.

These magnificent musicians play with precision, taste, and a thorough understanding of the style and emotional scope of the music. The result is well balanced, always grabbing the listener’s ears, while never letting go of his soul. Lesne has a unique voice, high in register but dark in timbre. He uses it with complete mastery, a well-tuned instrument with characteristics that make it particularly suited to this repertoire. Perfectly centered, very sweet, with a built-in nostalgic streak. But mainly, it sounds vulnerable, and that, even more than its register, is what makes us associate it with a feminine persona.

Lesne uses this to his advantage, stressing not the sublime in these arias, but the human. We often imagine that, underneath the controlled surface, he is just at the verge of an emotional meltdown. That never happens. But the subtle shade of sentiment cast over the whole CD is both beautifully disturbing and mercifully familiar. We have all felt like this sometimes. But few have been able to express it so touchingly.

Gerard Lesne
sábado, setembro 21


A primeira vez que eu te encontrei
Alimentei a ilusão de ser feliz
Eu era triste e sorri
Peguei no pinho e cantei
Muitos versos eu fiz
Em meu peito guardei
Um dia você partiu
Meu pinho emudeceu
E a minha voz na garganta morreu
Procuro esquecer a dor
Não sou capaz
Meu violão não toca mais
Eu vivo triste a meditar
Não canto mais
Meu consolo é chorar
-Alcebíades Barcelos e Armando Vieira Marçal
sexta-feira, setembro 20

Today, reading Lynn's Blog, I found this little note:

"A group of political activists attacked pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim in a Jerusalem restaurant, calling him a "traitor" for performing in the West Bank city of Ramallah last week, the Tel Aviv newspaper Ha'aretz reports. Barenboim's wife fended off the assault by throwing vegetables at the attackers, who were identified as activists from the rightist Kach party. The newspaper did not indicate that anyone was hurt."

My favorite part is where they describe Barenboim's wife "fending off the assault by throwing vegetables at the attackers". Vegetables? What kind of vegetables do they eat over there? And how are they cooked?

quarta-feira, setembro 18

terça-feira, setembro 17


Three weeks ago I interviewed at a local community music school that was looking for flute teachers (part-time, Saturdays). I hadn't heard anything from them till today. Twenty years of flute, and a doctoral degree in music, was not what they were looking for....
segunda-feira, setembro 16

I am having a hard time writing my reviews. The problem is that all the CDs that I received to review this month are ok. Not a single one is ridiculously terrible. But none is great. Worse, they are all good (and bad) in the same way, and I don't want to write the same review 8 times. The weird thing is that they are radically different - Bach suites for cello, Bach's well tempered clavier, Couperin pieces for gamba, classical concerts for the flute, and so on - so one would imagine that they would awaken completely different reactions in me. Not so. Sometimes I have this awful sensation that maybe I don't really like music....


Last night I went to see Barbershop, a comedy set in a barbershop in the Chicago ghetto (not quite clear exactly where - perhaps Chicagoans would know). The audience enjoyed it a great deal, and I didn't laugh quite as much, because the Black English dialogue was hard to catch all of. The reality it showed was depressing behind the comedy - a loan shark who operates a shop cutting up stolen cars for parts, a barber who is trying to stay legal after two felonies, two dimwitted thieves who steal an ATM machine, a slick and handsome jerk who mistreats his girlfriend, a hustler who shows up selling questionable merchandise (was it stolen?), an intellectual striver who the film strives to put down. Is it true to life? May be, but also cliched.



On Saturday I drove my car into a local gas station to have the oil changed. The owner saw the Brazilian flag on the car, and asked
"Are you from Brazil?" "Almost", I replied. "Your guys beat our guys" he continued. "You must be Turkish" I said. "Yes, how did you know?" I pointed to his name on his shirt (Kenan), but thinking about it later, he had to be either English, Belgian, German, or Turkish, and of the four, it is Turks who are more likely to be owning gas stations in New Jersey. So as he changed the oil, we had a long conversation about futebol (he agreed that the Brazilians are the best in the world, and said that there were many playing for Turkish teams), Turks, Brazilians, Americans, Brazilian-American marriages (a Brazilian friend of his was in the process of divorcing his American wife) - a good chat. The sort of chat I rarely have with Americans. But both of us were almost Brazilian. Tomorrow I will bring my car for Kenan to tune up.


On Procrastination

This may be of interest in as much as it pertains to certain individuals we know (I'm not naming names here) or even entire countries...
from the Journal of Social Behavior and Personality....

The present study examined the utility of eveningness (i.e., diurnal variations in circadian rhythm activity) as a predictor of academic procrastination with 107 US undergraduate students. Neuroticism was explored as a potential mediator in this relationship. Theoretically, it was posited that a greater endorsement of eveningness would be associated with greater neuroticism; greater neuroticism would in turn be associated with greater academic procrastination. Results showed that eveningness significantly predicted academic procrastination, and that neuroticism did partially mediate the relationship. Overall, eveningness and neuroticism together accounted for 28% of the variance in academic procrastination. This study begins to illustrate that neuroticism, particularly a tense arousal component, may play an important role in explaining how circadian rhythm activity is associated with academic procrastination.

A Song

to my mistress....

1. My mistress is a hive of bees

In yonder flowery Garden:

To her they come with loaden thighs,

To ease them of their burden.

As under the bee-hive lieth the wax,

And under the wax is honey,

So under her waist her belly is placed -

And under that, her cunny.

2. My mistress is a mine of gold,

Would that it were her pleasure

To let me dig within her mould

And roll among her treasure!

As under the moss the mould doth lye,

And under the mould is mony,

So under her waist her belly is placed -

And under that, her cunny.

3. My mistress is a morn in May,

Which drops of dew down stilleth:

Where'er she goes to sport and play,

The dew down sweetly trilleth.

As under the sun the mist doth lye,

So under the mist it is sunny,

So under her waist her belly is placed -

And under that, her cunny.

4. My mistress is a pleasant spring,

That yieldeth store of water sweet,

That doth refresh each wither'd thing

Lies trodden under feet.

Her belly is both white and soft,

And downy as any bunny,

That many gallants wish full oft

To play but with her cunny.

5. My mistress hath the magick sprays,

Of late she takes such wondrous pain

That she can pleasing spirits raise,

And also lay them down again.

Such power hath my tripping doe,

My pretty little bunny,

That many would their lives forego,

To play but with her cunny.

anon, 18th century
Post in progress

domingo, setembro 15

Recent reading

Just finished reading Musicians and Watchmakers by Alicia Steimberg, a short narrative about
a Jewish immigrant family in Buenos Aires, told from a young daughter's perspective (her first novel, published in Spanish in 1971). The translation was passable, but not compelling. The story seemed familiar...although the daughter seemed to have a long-standing fascination with Catholicism which is mystifying to me. Just began Beer Cans in the Rio de la Plata, an odyssean short novel by Jorge Stamadianos (the protagonist is the son of Greek immigrants to Buenos Aires), much different in tone than Steimberg's and set around the time of the absurd war over the Malvinas. More literary but less interesting.

Alicia Steimberg - she was born in 1933 - can you believe it - she looks so young...
read some Steinberg (in Spanish) here
sábado, setembro 14

Smash and grab

Sergio says that in order to be a real Carioca, I need to be assaulted. Well, now I am a real Trentonian,
since tonight my car window was smashed in order to steal whatever of value was inside. Small potatoes
by Rio standards: all they took was an old box of tapes (not in very good condition) and a grey fleece sweater. I should have left the car unlocked (although then maybe they would have stolen the car). And of course Laura being a real carioca has had her window smashed twice.
But alas, i fear that window replacing is going to be a little more expensive here.
On Parting

ALAS! our pleasant moments fly
On rapid wings away,
While those recorded with a sigh,
Mock us by long delay.

Time,--envious time,--loves not to be
In company with mirth,
But makes malignant pause to see
The work of pain on earth.

Edward Coote Pinkney

Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.
-- A. Sachs

Paulo Rónai: Research

This morning I have been investigating the translations that Paulo Rónai did in the 1930s for the Nouvelle Revue de Hongrie. Princeton University has a complete run from the first issue in which he contributed until his last appearance in January 1940. The translations total about 275 pages, not counting the uncredited ones from after 1936, which are possibly his as well.

For more Literature translated for the Nouvelle Revue de Hongrie, check here:
sexta-feira, setembro 13
Tom has been complaining (rightly so!) about my disappearance from this blog. Ah, life has been complicated. First of all my mom broke her foot, which in itself is not a big tragedy, yet it makes her more dependent on me for practical matters, and also more needy in general. Then there have been classes, and reviews, and concerts... and I admit, my lazyness, pure and simple. And also, last but not least, friends in need.
Today I spent the morning (from 7 to 1) at a funeral. My friend Chico's mother died yesterday, and he asked me to be there with him. A very sad affair. He had been going through a long stretch of bad luck, and was already desperately depressed when his mother was hospitalized. She was the only positive facet of his life at present.
I wish there was something I could do to help.

Life in the States

...a british point of view on dating....

how American women behave:

Don't stare at men. This isn't advice for the subway. Women are not allowed to return a man's look anywhere. Women are to just smile at the room like a lunatic holding a fart. Oh, great. The only "time-tested" way of knowing if a man should approach a woman is banned. At this rate, the only men our girl is going to attract are redneck sex pests in from Wankov, Idaho.

Don't call him and rarely return his call. What? This is a stalker's charter. Winning a date in New York requires male behaviour that in Britain would win him a court restraining order. Of course, there's one advantage to this rule. The man never has to finish with a woman. He just stops calling.

Don't go Dutch on a date. Paying for dinner is supposed to be a sign that the man values the woman's company. Fine, but we don't mean one date here. My dining companion could retire on the dosh she had saved by the time The Rules suggests it's OK to even go halves. Most British women I know would view this as a patronising insult.

Don't rush into sex. Sex, ha. If India wants to solve its population problem they should publish the book there.

read the rest here


Whose Blog is This, Anyway? Protesto!!!

Minha Nossa Senhora, onde está a Laura? Desapareceu! Dos últimos 50 posts, ela só postou uma dúzia. E nos últimas semanas, três postezinhos...

Today's Tarot

The card at the top left represents how you see yourself. Ace of Coins (reversed): Wealth without happiness. Obsession with money. Avarice. Greed. Worry.

The card at the top right represents how you see your partner. King of Coins (reversed): one susceptible to the influence of the child of Saturn, Accidia, the inertia and melancholy of the philosophers.

The card in the center left represents how you feel about your partner. Page of Staves (reversed): An unstable, indecisive and perhaps malicious person. A heartbreaker, gossiper, or bringer of bad news.

The card in the center right represents what stands between you and your partner. Five of Staves - Strife (reversed): A cautious step ahead without the aid of others.

The card in the lower left represents how your partner sees you. Strength (reversed): Weakness. Unresolved conflict.

The card in the lower right represents what your partner feels about you. Six of Staves - Victory (reversed): Fear of failure and fear of success.

The card in the center represents the present status or challenge of the relationship. Seven of Swords - Futility (reversed): Uncertainty. Disagreements.

quinta-feira, setembro 12

Gays in Brazil

from the Economist....
Brazilian Portuguese is even richer [in terms for gays]. Mr Dynes, who writes that it ``is probably unsurpassed by any other modern language'', lists some 140 words for homosexual, including acucareiro (sugar bowl), domador de serpentes (snake charmer) and salsinha (parsley). Brazil is supposedly Latin America's most tolerant society. This may be the reason why one Argentinian word for homosexual is brasilero.
quarta-feira, setembro 11

Summer Reading

I just finished reading Neurotica by Anglo-Jewish author Sue Margolis. The narrator is a late-thirty-something mother of two whose husband's hypochondria has gotten so extreme that they have no sex life. So since she is a tabloid writer, she launches into serial adultery with plans to write an article about it. It's good to read about someone who is really hypochondriac - makes me realize
that I have a long way to go yet...There is also a telling portrait of her mother, who is obsessive-compulsively neat. Margolis is wickedly funny. The plotting is just a tad predictable. Not great literature, but an enjoyable read. I have started her second, called Spin Cycle.


My College had a memorial this morning, and I was once more impressed with what a mensch we have for a president. College
presidents all seem to have the life drained out of them and replaced with meaningless bumf, but Barbara Gitenstein tells it like it is, just straight. One of the speakers noted how last September has made Americans reach out to their neighbors more than before, but from my perspective that is just wishful thinking.

Barbara Gitenstein, president of the College of New Jersey
terça-feira, setembro 10

Abt Vogler

(after he has been extemporizing
upon the musical instrument of his invention)

by Robert Browning

circa 1864

Would that the structure brave, the manifold music I build,
Bidding my organ obey, calling its keys to their work,
Claiming each slave of the sound, at a touch, as when Solomon willed
Armies of angels that soar, legions of demons that lurk,
Man, brute, reptile, fly,---alien of end and of aim,
Adverse, each from the other heaven-high, hell-deep removed,---
Should rush into sight at once as he named the ineffable Name
And pile him a palace straight, to pleasure the princess he loved!
Would it might tarry like his, the beautiful building of mine,
This which my keys in a crowd pressed and importuned to raise!
Ah, one and all, how they helped, would dispart now and now combine,
Zealous to hasten the work, heighten their master his praise!
And one would bury his brow with a wild plunge down to hell,
Burrow awhile and build, broad on the roots of things,
Then up again swim into sight, having based me my palace well,
Founded it, fearless of flame, flat on the nether springs.

There is more!!!!!

Ferrari, Chapter 7

Chapter 7.

Second Matrimony of my Father - Fanaticism for sacred music for the organ and for

A year after my arrival at Mariaberg my father informed me that he had taken as his second wife Signora Francesca Gottardi, widow of a close friend of his, and mother of a rich heiress named Catterinetta; that he had concluded this matrimony as much for the necessity of having a woman of the house, as for facilitating at a later date my nuptials with the daughter, whose fortune would enable us to checkmate his nephew, who was perpetually annoying him. This did not surprise me, since, a little while after my return from Verona, he had already given indications of such a project. But Catarinetta did not please me, nor had she ever pleased me, so that nothing came of it..

more here...
segunda-feira, setembro 9

Ferrari, Chapter 6

Chapter VI. Continuation of Mariaberg - Meals - Hunting.

The responsiblity of Father Mariano was that of instructing his students in German and Latin, and in arithmetic. He presided three times a day at our table, and we were served as follows.
Each day, at seven in the morning, breakfast; on fat days bread soup with gravy broth made with meat of chamois or hart; at midday lunch with the same sort of soup, boiled with the same sort of meat, ragus of coney, rabbit, and of many types of birds, as well as of marmot and joints of bear, which with bittersweet sauce makes the eating more delicate and exquisite. Roasts of every sort of game which were hunted there, ranging from partridge to hart. Poultry was only consumed on great feast-days; likewise vegetables and fruits which were brought from a distance, and at a high price.

Healthy appetites?

A scary article about obesity (an American problem, as I am always reminded when returning from Brazil.)
Read it here
Feeling right at home

Now my vicinity has its own mosquito-borne deadly disease. It's called West Nile Virus, and the local health departments are producing informative pamphlets about how to reduce your exposure. "Approximateley 10% of the symptomatic cases result in death."
Maybe we could import some Dengue while we're at it....


Tom with fellow gringos Stuart Mickle, Julia Michaels and Mike Allan at Mike's place in Copacabana
sábado, setembro 7

De Amores

Quem entende de amores? nem de amores idos entendemos nós, nem nada sabemos dos atuais; para que arriscar alguma coisa sobre os futuros? De amores só Deus sabe; e muita vez nem Ele sabe, pois o Diabo mete o seu rabo no meio e os súcubos atacam e ferem o anjo da guarda e eis um coração de homem desgraçado e tonto nesta porca vida!

Rubem Braga, 1939

sexta-feira, setembro 6


Beleza pura


Ferrari, Chapter 5

Chapter V. Departure from Roveredo - Brief Description of Bolzano and the Valleys which
lead to Mariaberg - Part of my Stay in this Monastery - School and Music

Read the rest here
quinta-feira, setembro 5

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Reporter Mosca!
Ai quem me dera voltar pros braços do meu xodó
Saudade assim faz doer e amarga qui nem jiló
Mas ninguém pode dizer que me viu triste a chorar
Saudade, o meu remédio é cantar

Luiz Gonzaga – Humberto Teixeira



Ferrari, Chapter 4

Chapter IV.

Promise of Matrimony - Return to Roveredo - Death of my Mother - Scabrous Situation of my Father.

A few months before leaving Verona I was invited to the nuptials of two brothers of Don Pandolfi who with him made up a family in the same house, and seeing that they were so contented and happy, the notion of taking a wife popped into my head as well. I confided my plan to my friend Gujerotti, and he suggested to me his sister Giuditta, who was boarding in a convent of nuns. I told him that first I wanted to get to know her and let her get to know me. Thus I wrote her, and she with a little bribe seduced the sister doorkeeper to let me, along with her brother, into the parlor. The young virgin was already present; she came to the grate, I bowed to her, she did the same: "your servant! - your servant!" She pleased me, I pleased her, and with a mutual smile and no further conversation we agreed to be betrothed. She was eleven, I was thirteen and a half. In leaving the parlor we came face to face with the wolf: the prioress was at a window. She saw us, became suspicious, and informed the family of my friend, and from that moment on I never saw my dear betrothed again. It bothered me terribly, because she was truly very beautiful, and as long as I was at Verona I did not cease to yearn for her. What became of her hasty love I do not know; only that mine must have vanished on my trip, since having arrived at Roveredo I thought of Giuditta no more.
It is easy to imagine the consolation and delight which I felt in seeing my fatherland once more and in embracing my parents and relatives, but the anxiety of providing evidence of my progress in music and further of showing off my silvery and very high voice topped everything. I was hoping to induce my father to allow me to devote myself entirely to music, instead of commerce; but it was all for naught.
My mother, as anxious as I was to hear me and have me heard, had put together for my arrival a little recital, inviting some freinds among whom was Pulli, my first teacher.
When I began to sing I felt hoarse. I tried and tried again, but in vain, or rather I could not begin a note. Pulli came up to me, and having as an old master already discovered from my speaking voice that the change of voice was upon me, exhorted me not to force it, since I might lose it. I wept like a baby, and could do nothing further that evening. To console me my dear father permitted me to take flute lessons from Signor Francesco Untersteiner, a miserable player! Yet after only one month I played the things from those days passably well with a one-key flute.

quarta-feira, setembro 4

Ferrari, Chapter 3

Chapter III.
My Father's Vow - Sanctuary on Montebaldo - My Education at Verona - Pasquinades

My brother Lodovico caught a mild case of smallpox, and of the two pox which he had one injured his right eye, which caused him to lose his sight. My unhappy father, due to this misfortune, made a vow to the Madonna della Corona to visit that sanctuary with his wife and two elder daughters if Lodovico was healed. He spared neither means nor gold; but there was no remedy. In spite of this he believed that he owed an offering to the Virgin and resolved to leave, since my mother had decided to send me to Verona. I thus went with them.
We left Roveredo in the morning, and stayed in Ala for a few hours, a prosperous and pleasing city. At night we slept at Peri, a little village, but well- situated; it is about a quarter mile from the Adige, beyond which is the Rivalta gate, that is two barks covered with tables for transporting passagers and merchandise back and forth across the river. Facing Peri one sees the very tall Montebaldo, which protects Lago Garda; halfway up the hill the canonry and the church or the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Corona appear.
We stayed at the post house, kept by a certain Signor Ventura, a placid and hospitable man; he gave us an exquisite meal, at a good price, and what is more some excellent vin santo, made in the house. Two silk makers of that place, correspondents of my father, dined with us, and chatting after the meal they were asked if they could give us any correct information on the history of the Madonna della Corona. One answered that the Sanctuary appeared unexpectedly one day to the unutterable surprise of the vicinity and of the wayfarers; and that the great miracles done by that Virgin were innumerable.
The other added without cerimony that the story was false, but that a hermit and his friends having gone up Montebaldo and having brought up the machinery with ropes had built the canonry and the church in secret in the forest. Then, having cut down the trees that was covering it one night, the above-mentioned Sanctuary appeared in full view the next day; that he had heard tell of the quantity of miracles done by that Virgin, but that he had not seen a single one. (Author's note: However what is not
false is that after the battle of Rivoli Napoleon miraculously brought his army over Montebaldo, and with the large artillery tirata su a contrappeto, and with a cannon of immense calibre, whose roar brought panic to the entire valley).
This did not discourage my parents in the least. They left at the next dawn with my sisters and with the postmaster, who courteously accompanied them beyond the Adige, to the Riva Alta gate, where they found the asses already in order and ready to slowly ascend that very steep mountain. At a mile from the Sanctuary they were obliged to leave the asses in a kind of shelter, only being able to ascend there on foot. Having arrived at the church and made their devotions they returned to Peri and from there to Roveredo, with the hope of finding Lodovico cured by a miracle; but they found him as unhappy as they had left him.

The Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona
terça-feira, setembro 3

My friend Fernando Moura (a fabulous musician, and a true Renaissance man) lost his father this past Saturday. He sent me a touching e-mail. Here it is:

O pai de volta à terra

Passamos no crematório e pegamos a caixinha com as cinzas. Minha mãe chorando dizendo:
- Agora vou ser feito “Barravento” (“Não quero mais viver, Janaína, se Bento não voltar” diz a canção).
Subimos direto para Teresópolis, mamãe:
- Ele mostrava assim como queria que as cinzas dele fossem espalhadas por cima do riacho do fundo do quintal.
Eramos 6 da família e uma vizinha que apareceu. Mamãe, eu, Laurinha, Juliana, Lucas, Leonardo, cada um com um copo de uísque, a bebida dele, fomos espargindo o pai no ar. Uma poeira leve voava, o resto caia no rio e esbranquiçava a areia do fundo, jogamos flores e folhas do jardim e ... uísque na água, a música no CD-player era “Sonhos de uma noite de verão”, de Mendelssohn. Choramos, às vezes convulsivamente, falamos dele, rimos.
Impressionante como se pode chorar e rir assim no mesmo dia.
Achamos roupas dele que nos serviam, um moleton para Lucas, jaqueta pra mim, camisa de flanela pra Juliana...

O pai voltou pra terra e ficou conosco na memória que também voltará um dia à terra, e assim por diante, neste ciclo da vida eterna.


Visit the Gay-O-Meter
and find out how gay you are. I registed 33%.

Spy Kids II

At my son's request we went to see Spy Kids II at our local 24-plex (my ex had warnings about crime there, but it's still my preferred place to see a movie). I had not seen Spy Kids I, but recalled that it got good notices. I quite enjoyed this one, particularly its Latino slant on things. The heroic children are Carmen and Juni Cortez (Carmen has long wavy dark air, Juni, her younger brother, red wavy, medium length); their parents (Gregorio and Ingrid) are played by Antonio Banderas (my, he certainly is good looking) and Carla Gugino and grandfather (Ingrid's dad) is the fabulous Ricardo Montalban (I would really love to see him in a Spanish-speaking role).Cheech Marin has a cameo. The baddies are Anglo and blond. I am sure that the movie was planned with Spanish dialogue
as well as English from the start.

Ferrari, Chapter 2

Chapter II. My Grandfather - The Establishment and Matrimony of my Father - My Childhood- Bird Hunting

My grandfather was born in Roveredo, which I was told, he never left. I did not have the advantage of knowing him, but I heard so much of him from my father and from others that I am able to say a few things about him. He was trained for business, in which he spent his entire life. He was moreover a complete connoisseur of the qualities of silk, for which he had a singular eye and feel, nor did he ever lack for honored and lucrative enterprises, by which he could maintain his family properly. He was, as well, a religious man, though far from a bigot or a pedant. He used to say to his children: Let it be a law to you to never lie, nor to use subterfuges; always do your duty; if you are fathers or bosses, command; if you are children or servants, obey. Be faithful to the Government which protects you. If you are presented to whatever family, behave with the same affability and decency on the fiftieth time as on the first; and never be proud of your honor and of the talents which you have acquired. Always be ready for appointments well before the time which has been set. Trust in your religion; don't distract yourself in desiring to plumb its mysteries, because everything is a mystery in this world. Have no animosity toward the other religions, for they are all good, since they all aim toward the same end. Read and reread the divine morality of Jesus Christ; nourish yourselves with those sublime and natural sentiments and principles; and what is more important, put them into practice yourselves!
Then that brave and valiant man disappeared in a flash, leaving five sons and a daughter. The first-born, Bartolomeo, he had already made a priest, according to the custom in Italy, and trained the other four for business. The youngest, Francesco, was the most able, active and industrious of all of them. Endowed with the sweetest temperament, and always intent on his duty, he easily deserved his father's love and the goodwill of everyone. Assisted by his father’s unending concern and excited by his father's example, he was able to learn so that when he had the bitter shock of losing him, he was not only able to provide for himself, but also for all his brothers.
- posted by Tom @ 5:13 AM

New Bach

I learned today that the Prussian music stolen by the Russians after WWII, and recently discovered in Kiev, has yielded a previously unknown flute concerto by Bach's eldest son, Wilhelm Friedeman. The premiere recording (by Karl Keiser with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, an excellent ensemble) is on Carus 83304, and the full score is also available from Carus (number 32.315). Given the high quality of the composer's music for flute, this must really be a find!
segunda-feira, setembro 2

Silence please...

Silêncio por favor
Enquanto esqueço um pouco a dor no peito
Não diga nada sobre meus defeitos
E não me lembre mais quem me deixou assim
Hoje eu quero apenas
Uma pausa de mil compassos
Para ver as meninas
E nada mais nos braços
Só este amor assim descontraído
Quem sabe de tudo não fale
Quem não sabe de nada se cale
Se for preciso eu repito
Porque hoje eu vou fazer
Ao meu jeito eu vou fazer
Um samba sobre o infinito
Paulinho da Viola
Yesterday we had a small sarau here: 3 baroque flutes, a keyboard, a cello. We played Léclair (Deuxième récreation de musique) , Boismortier, Bach, Locatelli, Haydn. And I realized one of the great advantages of baroque instruments: you can have a music soirée at home, past midnight, and your neighbors won't complain about the noise...

Morning thoughts

A good two-hour walk by yourself in the AM gives plenty of space for thoughts to bounce around as you amble. Such as...

When was the last time you heard a woman called "plump"? as in "pleasantly plump"? Plump used to be a good thing, homey, domestic, like nice warm cranberry corn muffins in the kitchen. Now all a woman can be is fat, overweight, large...
Likewise middle-aged men were once stout, a word that calls to mind Winston Churchill, roast beef, fortitude, strong beer (as in "Guiness is good for you"). Now both plump and stout have gone the way of hats, never to come again....


Why is it so hard for Americans to respond to a "Good Morning!". Often the most you get is a little grimace, a brief raising of the muscles at each side of the mouth, to acknowledge that yes, you actually did greet them as your paths crossed...


When did Brazilians begin to say "Tudo bem?" Did it come over from Portugal? or Africa?

domingo, setembro 1

Otherwise Engaged

....is the title of the first novel by Suzanne Finnamore. It is a mordantly funny first-person narrative by Eve, who is engaged to be married. Lots of sardonic nasty stuff.

After the first forty years of marriage, the divorce rate is very low. I read that this morning. It did not seem to help.

On this day..

in 1979 I got married.

From the drawer

The composer G.G. Ferrari was a student of the Neapolitan opera master Paisiello; he published his memoirs after a long career in which he met many of the leading lights of the time, not to mention such notables as Marie Antoinette. I translated these from the Italian original, but so far no publisher seems to think they are marketable. So rather than let them continue to languish unseen on my hard drive, I am going to put them up here a chapter at a time. I hope you enjoy them - the first publisher to reject them said they were "too chatty." A virtue, not a vice, IMHO.

To the Reader

Some write to instruct the reader, some to blow their own horn:
a few take pains to praise, many to criticize their neighbor.
I, without any pretension or partiality, write as if I were
speaking, with the object and hope as much to give diversion to my friends and who is reading
me, as to draw profit from my work, if this is possible. It contains a brief and candid
account of what has happened to me, what I have seen, heard and observed, from my
childhood up until the present day; but, in order not to say too much of myself,
and to merit further the sympathy of the reader, I have scattered here and there
anecdotes, proverbs, jests, pasquinades, portraits of illustrious and distinguished
persons I have known, extracts of Italian, French and English poetry, observations
on ancient and modern music, on singers, players, composers etc. etc.
And although this little work may be in fact out of my sphere, nonetheless I
flatter myself that it will be graciously received: and if the pen of a celebrated writer
is not to be found in it, there will at least be the pen of a man who speaks the truth!
I present and recommend it thus to the zeal and to the courtesy of my friends, and
of all those who so many years have approved my musical compositions, with such good
grace and with such favor.
G. Got. Ferrari

Part One

Chapter One

Description of the most pleasant part of the southern Italian Tirol to the frontiers of the
German Tirol- Jests etc. - Sonnet of Cavalier Vannetti.

Roveredo or Rovereto, is a little city of Venetian Lombardy, in the Val Lagarina, incorporated a long time since in the Italian Tirol.
The etymology of the name of this city derives from a forest of Roveri, or oaks, which existed there before its foundation, and whose arms correspond exactly to the emblem of Charles II, King of England, though with a different meaning, and which is expressed with a c.r. on either side of an oak tree - C.r. Carolus rex - C.r. civitas Roboreti.
Roveredo contains between eight and nine thousand souls. It has Venice to the east, Milan to the west, Verona to the south, and Innsbruck to the north. The river Adige snakes its way not far off, now humble, now proud: it washes Saco, a kind of port for rafts and a little spot inhabited by many nobility, less than a mile from the end of the town and monastery of the Capuchins of Roveredo. The little river Leno passes from another end along the town of San Tommaso, whose bridge unites the town to the gate and customs of the city.
The Leno is very useful for the manufactures of the inhabitants; but upon the melting of the snows, or after the rains, which are regular there in the autumn, it becomes a rapid and furious torrent, swelling and lifting itself sometimes to twelve feet and more above its usual level, and then it brings terror, havoc and ruin wherever it goes.
In Roveredo there is a castle, a theatre, two hospitals, six monasteries and as many churches, plazas, fountains etc. A Corso embellished by various workshops, and especially by the palaces of the Counts Fedrigotti and Alberti and of the Baron Piamarta, by the theatre itself and by the convent of the Frati Zoccolanti of San Rocco, near by which is found the Palazzina Bridi and a little temple, made on purpose in memory and honor of Palestrina, Haendel, Gluck, Jommelli, Sacchini, Haydn and Mozart. There is there a great number of silk and flour mills which they turn as they please with wheels, and other machines set in motion by the diverted waters of the Leno.

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