Mostly Music
sexta-feira, janeiro 31

On reading

I found this lovely bit of writing at the Amazon website, in a comment on a book by Mario Benedetti.

Hace años, solía sentarme a leer durante horas, me gustaba llegar temprano a la universidad, aprovechando que en esa época no había clases en la tarde, y así apoderarme, hacerme amo y señor de un aula en el ultimo piso, solo, con un libro y un vaso de café. Me encantaban sobremanera los días lluviosos y recuerdo que solía leer en voz alta y de pie. Así pasaron por mi vida, Mellvile y Faulkner, recitados en inglés a un publico invisible. En esos momentos era feliz y el universo a mí alrededor dejaba de existir hasta las 5:00 PM, hora en que comenzaban a llegar los alumnos a las aulas y tenia que refugiarme en la biblioteca hasta la hora de cierre. La misma felicidad me ha dado este pequeño libro de cuentos de Mario Benedetti La Muerte y otras Sorpresas.


quinta-feira, janeiro 30

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva - or Lula, as the new president of Brazil is known - should be president of the United States

read the rest in the Guardian.
quarta-feira, janeiro 29

Cookie fortune

The hard times will begin to fade. Joy will take their place.
terça-feira, janeiro 28

Serial monogamy

Any ideas of how a person can break the pattern of serial monogamy?

There are only two ways known to man. The first is to cling tenaciously to a mental image of your ideal mate and reject all opportunities for love until the spitting image of your mental image magically appears. This method is also known as chastity. The second is to avoid formulating any mental image at all when entering into a relationship, and then form the image retroactively. It depends on whether if by "break the pattern" you mean "Keep whatever relationship you have together at all costs," or you mean "Never go out with anyone ever again."

read the rest here.


segunda-feira, janeiro 27

purple prose

from the New Yorker:
Bjork, like Gilbert and Sullivan, is interested in the emotive voice.


The desire for hegemony over the Middle East - not Iraq's weaponry or even its oil - is America's real motivation for war, writes Brian Whitaker

Just what I thought....

read about it here.

sábado, janeiro 25


Joan Didion had this to say back in 1965...and not much has changed in the the land of the moral (AKA the US)...

when we start deceiving ourselves into thinking not that we want something or need something, not that it is a pragmatic necessity for us to have it, but that it is a moral imperative that we have it, then is when we join the fashionable madmen, and then is when the thin whine of hysteria is heard in the land, and then is when we are in bad trouble. And I suspect we are already there.

you can read the whole essay here.


Robert Maggio Online

Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing composer Robert Maggio for 21st Century Music (the interview has yet to be published). Robert now has a website. He's not so scary and mysterious in person...


Boys' night out

Last night I went with Merlin to Pete Kasabach's house (four doors down the street in Mill Hill). Pete was celebrating his 36th birthday (Thursday) and invited a bunch of the guys from Mill Hill over for pizza and poker. I was certainly the oldest one there, and Merlin the youngest. We were hardly a bunch of serious card sharps - I can't remember the last time I played poker, and we had to constantly remind ourselves of how this was done. The betting was for chips, not cash. I brought over the bottle of Nega Fulo that Dona Nora gave me, and explained what it was. Nobody had tasted cachaca before, but it received general approbation.
quinta-feira, janeiro 23


Temperatures at 8AM (when I leave to go to work, usually):

Jan 3 0 degrees Celsius

Jan 4 0

Jan 5 minus 0.6

Jan 6 minus 1.1

Jan 7 minus 3.9

Jan 8 0.6

Jan 9 7.2

Jan 10 3.9

Jan 11 minus 5

Jan 12 minus 5

Jan 13 minus 5.6

Jan 14 minus 7.6

Jan 15 minus 6.1

Jan 16 minus 8.3

Jan 17 minus 7.8

Jan 18 minus 15

Jan 19 minus 11.7

Jan 20 minus 1.1

Jan 21 minus 8.9

Jan 22 minus 10.6

Jan 23 minus 12.8

Jan 24 minus 11.7

Jan 25 minus 7.2

Jan 26 minus 5.6

Jan 27 minus 12.2

If a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is around, does it make any noise?
Why am I asking that? Because lately I feel like our blog is a tree falling silently over dead foliage. NOBODY writes any comments! And yet I know you guys must be out there - our visitor's counter says that we get an average of 20 readers a day!
I am discouraged... Tom, a workaholic, is that rare kind: the man who will write even if nobody reads. He will write for himself, if necessary. I have often heard that this is the mark of the true artist: he needs to do whatever he does, even if there is no response from the audience.
I guess I am not a true artist. I need the approval of an audience, no matter how small! But you, my friends, have completely abandoned us. So, in protest, I will only post again if somebody posts a comment. A single comment, come on!
terça-feira, janeiro 21

Paulo Ronai in print

My translation of "The Languages I didn't learn" will appear on pages 37-39 of the ATA Chronicle, Feb. 2003.
segunda-feira, janeiro 20
Olhos Tristes

Olhos mais tristes ainda do que os meus
são esses olhos com que o olhar me fitas.
Tenho a impressão que vai dizer adeus
este olhar de renúncias infinitas.

Todos os sonhos que se fazem seus,
tomam logo a expressão de almas aflitas.
E até que, um dia, chegue à mão de Deus,
será o olhar de todas as desditas.

Assim parado a olhar-me, quase extinto,
este olhar que, de noite, é como o luar,
vem da distância, bêbado de absinto...

Este olhar, que me enleva e que me assombra,
vive curvado sobre o meu olhar
como um cipreste sobre a própria sombra.

Henriqueta Lisboa

sábado, janeiro 18
“Believe that no world, that nothing, no-one / Is worth more than a life, or the happiness of having it.”
Acreditai que nenhum mundo, que nada nem ninguém / Vale mais que uma vida ou a alegria de tê-la.
JORGE DE SENA (1919-1978), Poems II.

sexta-feira, janeiro 17



Duas mulheres juntas

Formam desenhos dúbios.

Se numa só há tantas

As duas serão quantas?

Uma na outra transforma

E misturando as formas

No mesmo luar as banho,

Metamorfoses sonho.

Todas parecem uma

A quem a todas ama.


(1899 – 1991)

To be a man is in itself an extenuating circumstance.

"Che la donna tradisca, ognuno di voi lo impara, lo ripete e lo insegna; eppure tutti i guai provengono da questo malinteso, che è tutto nelle premesse: ogni uomo vuol trovare per sé l'eccezione e si dispera quando si accorge di aver trovato la regola..."


Love and life

“This life is a dagger with two fatal edges: / Not to love, is to suffer; to love, is to suffer more.”
Esta vida é um punhal com dois gumes fatais: / Não amar, é sofrer; amar, é sofrer mais!
MENOTTI DEL PICCHIA (1892-1961), Juca Mulato.


In the fog

Im Nebel

Seltsam, im Nebel zu wandern!
Einsam ist jeder Busch und Stein,
Kein Baum sieht den andern,
Jeder ist allein.

Voll von Freunden war mir die Welt,
Als noch mein Leben licht war;
Nun, da der Nebel fällt,
Ist keiner mehr sichtbar.

Wahrlich, keiner ist weise,
Der nicht das Dunkel kennt,
Das unenntrinnbar und leise
Von allen ihn trennt.

Seltsam, im Nebel zu wandern!
Leben ist Einsamsein.
Kein Mensch kennt den andern,
Jeder ist allein.

[Hermann Hesse]

quinta-feira, janeiro 16

Life and love

Il y a l'amour [...] Et puis il y a la vie, son ennemie.


I just found this boot in my size across the river in Morrisville. The Frye website lists it at $190. My price: $15. Kinda makes you want to buy five pairs....(I only bought one.)
quarta-feira, janeiro 15

John LeCarre

has this to say in the Times of London about the country where I live.

America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War.

read the rest here.

Born to Shop

All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income.
Samuel Butler, Notebooks, Ch. 1, `Life', 16

terça-feira, janeiro 14

For Laura

We look before and after,

And pine for what is not;

Our sincerest laughter

With some pain is fraught;

Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.


Mark your calendars

Conversation Galante, the duo of Tom Moore, flute and Jen Bowen, harpsichord, will perform on Saturday evening, February 1, at Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Virginia. Program: Suite in G, op. 35, no. 1, for flute and continuo, Boismortier. Sonatas op. 1, nos. 1 and 3, for flute and continuo, Blavet. Suite in F for harpsichord; Les Idees Heureuses, Les Barricades mysterieuses, F. Couperin. Jen was the first of my gringo friends to visit Rio - she came in September 99, and played with Laura and me at the Outeiro da Gloria. She fondly remembers walking around Dona Marta with Rodrigo (and the sore leg muscles she had the next day from all that climbing).

Bruton Parish Church
segunda-feira, janeiro 13

From the annals of the great composers

A letter from Orlando to his employer, Duke Wilhelm of Bavaria

[20 September 1573, to Duke Wilhelm of Bavaria]

….Quant au rest nos sommes arives a erding, … puis partis sommes de gran matin: sans avoir beu nè eau ne vin, la pluie nous a fait compagnie, Jusque a minichen la Jolie, ce soir icj en mon Jardin, nous disputerons sans latin et seron Joieux par mon ame, en beuuant pour mon maistre guillaume, was weiter wirt werden. E.f.G. sera remboursé de monsieur vostre aumonier del totum in totis per totas De ore prudentis procedit mel: ego certissime plus scriberem, sed pour autant quil est quasi temps de aller as vesperas, et non possum intromittere de faire une petite visitation, au pays bas de ma femme, pour l’honneur de monsieur de fon cotu, car trop yá que naj foutu, c’est une chose naturelle: car elle sent bien les grouselle, je men voj droit monter sur elle….

As far as the rest is concerned, we have arrived at Erding….for we left first thing in the morning, without having drunk nor water nor wine, the rain kept us company all the way to Munich the fair, this evening in my garden we will argue without Latin, and be merry, by my soul, as we drink to my master Guillaume. Your Grace will be reimbursed by your almoner for the whole in all things for all things. Honey proceedeth from the mouth of the prudent. I would most certainly write more, excepting that it is almost time to go to vespers, and I cannot shirk from making a little visitation to the low-lands of my wife, to honor Monsieur Cucked Funt, for it is already too long since I fucked. It’s something natural, she loves to feel my balls banging, I am going to climb on her right away….



“Don’t forget: our life is a comedy, / and the whole world a theater for farce, and we are the buffoons.”

No olvides: es comedia nuestra vida / y teatro de farsa el mundo entero, / y que todos en él somos farsantes.

QUEVEDO (1580-1645), Doctrine of Epictetus.

“Few are able to find the brevity of life among the gifts of God.”

Pocos saben encontrar entre las dádivas de Dios la brevedad de la vida.

IDEM, Life of Marcus Brutus.

“What is life? A frenzy; / What is life? An illusion, / a shadow, a fiction, / and the greatest good is but little, / since all of life is a dream, / and dreams are but dreams. / …/ But, whether truth or dream, / to do good is what matters: / should it be truth, for that reason; / if not, to win friends / for when we awaken.”

Qué es la vida?, un frenesí; / qué es la vida?, una illusión, / una sombra, una ficción, / y el mayor bien es pequeño; / que toda la vida es sueño, / y los sueños, sueños son. / …/ Mas sea verdad o sueño, / obrar bien es lo que importa: / si fuera verdad, por ser lo; / si no, por ganar amigos / para cuando dispertemos.

CALDERON DE LA BARCA (1600-1681), Life is a Dream.

“Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou liv’st / Live well; how long or short permit to Heaven.”
MILTON (1608-1674), Paradise Lost, XI.

Words of Michael to Adam.

“Most people spend the best part of their life in making the other part miserable.”

La plupart des hommes emploient la meilleure partie de leur vie à rendre l’autre misérable.

LA BRUYÈRE (1645-1696), The Characters.

“This long disease, my life.”

POPE (1688-1744), Letter to Dr. Arbuthnot.

“On life’s vast ocean diversely we sail. / Reason the card, but passion is the gale.”

IDEM, Letter II

“Let us work without reasoning, said Martin; it is the only way to make life bearable.”

Travaillons sans raisonner, dit Martin; c’est le seul moyen de rendre la vie supportable.

VOLTAIRE (1694-1778), Candide.

“Human life is every where a state in which much is to be endure, and little to be enjoyed.”

SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709-1784), Rasselas, XI.

“SONG OF THE HARPER / Who never ate his bread with tears / Who never passed his troubled nights / Seated sighing on his bed / Knows you knot, o heavenly Powers! // You lead us into life / You load the poor with debt / And turn him over to pain: / For all blame takes revenge in this world.”

LIED DES HARFNERS / Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen ass, / Wer nie die kummervollen Nächte / Auf seinem Bette weinend sass, / Der kennt euch nich, ihr himmlischen Mächte! // Ihr führt ins Leben uns hinein, / Ihr lasst den Armen schuldig werden, / Dann überlasst ihr hin der Pein: / Denn alle Schuld rächt sich auf Erden.

GOETHE (1749-1832), Poems.

“Do what you will: this Life’s a fiction / And is made up of Contradiction.”

BLAKE (1757-1827), The Dream of Los.

“Would you like to, happy, wise, / complete your life’s journey? / Take counsel from the hesitating / and do not make them tools for your deeds. / Do not choose the fleeting as friends / nor those who remain as enemies.”

SCHILLER (1769-1805), Sayings of Confucius.

“Life’s dream is dream in a bed which is too hard.”

Der Traum des Lebens wird auf einem zu hartem Bette geträumt.

. JEAN PAUL (1763-1825), Aphorisms.

“The limits of life are varied, / As are paths, and the bounds of the mountains. / What we are here, there can a God expand / with harmonies, eternal reward and peace.”

Die Linien des Lebens sind verschieden, / Wie Wege sing, und wie der Berge Grenzen. / Was hier wir sind, kann dort ein Gott ergänzen / Mit Harmonien und ewigem Lohn und Frieden.

HÖLDERLIN (1770-1843), Poems.

“If life is woe, why do we fear to die; and if if it is good, why do we shorten it with our vices?”

Se a vida é um mal, por que tememos morrer; e se é um bem, por que a abreviamos com os nossos vícios?

MARQUES DE MARICÁ (1773-1848), Maxims.

“Human life is a perennial deceiving, and men are recripocally and simulteaneously deceivers and deceived.”

A vida humana é uma intriga perene e os homens sõ recíproca e simultaneamente intrigados e intrigantes.”


sexta-feira, janeiro 10



I am going to hear diva Laura Heimes sing with the early music ensemble Philomel in Bryn Mawr tonight; and when I went to get the address for the concert from the Philomel website, I was amazed to find that they are still using a photo from five years ago (which includes moi, back when I used to play with them occasionally). That's moi on the right.

quinta-feira, janeiro 9
Absence diminishes little passions and increases great ones, as wind extinguishes candles and fans a fire.
--François de la Rochefoucauld

Aqui. No post de 5/1/2003. Meg, você leu?


Cora's article in O GLOBO today is beautiful. Really. Go read it.

In case you have been wondering where have I been (have you?), my apologies. I haven't abandoned Mostly Music (yet!). It is just that my children are leaving for Goiania this next week , and I want to use every single minute I have to be with them. I promise to return....

Rob Dutoit

My oldest childhood friend is Rob Dutoit. We met when we were in kindergarten. He lives in Provincetown and is a painter.
Here is some of his work.

Rob DuToit received his MFA from Parsons School of Design and studied for extended periods in France and Italy. An active Cape artist since the '80s, he has been involved in numerous solo and group shows in Boston, New York and Provincetown, most recently at Maurice Arlos Gallery, NYC and at The Schoolhouse Center.

And here's an article about his wife, the artist Janice Redman.

Recent Reading

Yesterday I started into another one of the books that I bought in Rio (this one is a L&PM Pocket that I paid full price for, which is still not very much...). It is A primeira coisa que eu botei na boca, by Deonisio da Silva, a collection of fairly short short stories, which I began from the back. He is a professor at the Federal University of Sao Carlos (UFSCar). The first two (i.e. the last two) have a very interesting tone, a combination of subject matter from the intelligentsia with a very colloquial manner, e.g. a bunch of expat Brazilian students discussing Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, etc. in the same way they might talk about game of futebol. And of course one student thinks that another has become too French, all French and Italian clothes, with nothing Brazilian except the unclothed person underneath. The more I read the more it seems that
"being Brazilian" is a set of conscious choices made by a Brazilian, who seems nervous about the possiblity of losing his/her identity, no? It goes back to Carmen Miranda...how much further back does it go?
I would enjoy reading Deonisio's novels...he has a column of cronicas online at http://www.terra.com.br/cidades/scl/
quarta-feira, janeiro 8

Early Flute

British baroque flutist Rachel Brown has a new book out on the Early Flute (Cambridge University Press, 128 pp, 22 dollars for the paperback).
If it's at the same level as her playing it should be worth having.


Li'l' Dictionary o' Luv

Ganhei o Pequeno Dicionario Amoroso como presente de Natal, and watched it last night. It's a love story set in Rio - he is a biologist,
she is a photographer, they meet at a funeral in SJBaptista cemetery in Botafogo. For my money this is the most faithful view of how people from the South Zone see themselves that I have yet seen. If you know Rio you will recognize all the exteriors - the female lead and her friend running on the Pista Claudio Coutinho, bicycling on the Paineiras road, the happy couple kissing in Cinelandia. Not a single view of waves, beach and sun, no view of Corcovado, no view of Sugarloaf...I suppose it's unrealistic in that there are no parents, children, cousins...but then this is only a
dictionary of love.

I don't think it has ever been released in the US - I can't imagine why not.


Too True

Be glad that you don't live in the United States....

from the Washington Post...

undercover agents went to 20 bars in Reston and Herndon looking for examples of bartenders "overserving" customers. Police ultimately raided three bars and arrested nine patrons who failed sobriety tests. They were charged with public drunkenness and spent the night in jail.

read the rest here
terça-feira, janeiro 7

So strange it must be true...

From the BBC news....

'Unconscious women'

The great grandson of Max Factor, Mr Luster was arrested after a woman he met went to the police alleging he had spiked her drink with the so-called "date rape" drug, Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB).

When detectives raided his home, they say they found 17 videotapes or Mr Luster having sex with apparently unconscious women, many of whom have yet to be identified.

Detectives were reportedly investigating whether he could have been part of an international ring of playboy millionaires said to be known as the Bachelors, who trade film of their date rape attacks over the internet.

segunda-feira, janeiro 6

Federation and Empire

I went with my children on Saturday to see the latest in the series of Star Trek movies, and was surprised to find that it was being shown in a tiny theater at the 24-plex (translation: Star Trek has no more audience). My interpretation: the US no longer sees itself as the essentially ethical and non-interventionist Federation (Prime Directive: do not interfere in alien cultures/civilizations, but let them develop on their own terms), but rather as something more like the Cardassians or Klingons
(use might to exploit less materially developed civilizations, like the religious Bajorans, exploited as slave labor by the Cardassians). Ethics are for wimps.
domingo, janeiro 5
this afternoon i walked out to the river, and over to the canal. It was quiet, the snow falling slowly, scarcely a soul to be seen anywhere. I was listening to Luciana Souza sing on my cd player...and this song touched me.

Eu sei e você sabe, já que a vida quis assim
Qua nada nesse mundo levará você de mim
Eu sei e você sabe que a distância não existe

Que todo grande amor
Só é bem grande se for triste
Por isso, meu amor
Não tenha medo de sofrer
Que todos os caminhos me encaminham pra você

Assim como o oceano
Só é belo com luar
Assim como a canção
Só tem razão se se cantar

Assim como uma nuvem
Só acontece se chover
Assim como o poeta
Só é grande se sofrer
Assim como viver

Sem ter amor não é viver
Não há você sem mim
E eu não existo sem você

-Vinicius de Moraes (music: Tom Jobim)

sexta-feira, janeiro 3


I am back in Trenton after a long journey with some high points and low points. Low point: sitting
next to a huge obese man from Rio to Miami. Higher point: the flight crew that wanted to know why
I was sitting on the floor told me that I can get some refund by contacting American Airlines and complaining. Higher point: sat next to an advogada from Belo Horizonte on the Miami - JFK leg.
She was nice, turned out to be a crente, we talked the whole time. Observation: two mixed couples on the Miami JFK leg. In both cases, he gringo, she Brazilian. In both cases, she speaks English and Portuguese, he only speaks English. The woman in the couple asked me how long I had spoken Portuguese, and wanted to where I learned (I think she is hoping that hubby learns some Portuguese). Low point: JFK sucks bigggggg time. The whole thing is a disgrace. Took the A train back to Penn Station, negotiated the elevators etc. got on the train to Trenton. Another mixed couple on the Trenton train, again speaking Portuguese (this time the gringo spoke Portuguese as well).
He was the epitome of a bad-tempered American male, speaking in an angry tone to his two tiny children (2, 3 years old). She was a very sweet Cape Verdean. I am ashamed of my country (the USA that is). Got to Trenton, and the cabby wanted to charge me more than TWICE what was marked on the door. I walked. One block from home, the pull handle on my NEW suitcase broke off.
MERDA.....But at least I don't have to go anywhere for a little while.
quinta-feira, janeiro 2


Ate logo! Tonight I fly back to the wintry USA from really hot Brazil. Yesterday I drove to the Floresta da Tijuca with Sergio and Silvana and we climbed the Pico da Tijuca, the highest point in the city of Rio. It was about a seventy-minute walk uphill from the parking lot in the forest, and the last stretch up the bare rock goes up 117 steps cut into the rock, with a chain for a railing, which has comes loose from its moorings at various points. We saw a few people on the trail, but at the summit there were only the three of us and two Finns. The view of the forest and the various peaks was fabulous, especially the view of the Pedra da Gavea. We could see Cora's apartment house on the Lagoa. On the way down I spotted a two meter long black snake to the right of our path.
Today Hermano, Silvana, Laura and I went to the Pista Claudio Coutinho. They stayed on the path and I scrambled up to the ridge between the two stations for Sugarloaf, and walked up to the first one, a view that you usually have to get by taking the cable car up.
What a beautiful city! Up there it was cool with a very strong seabreeze.

Tijuca Peak

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