June 2, 2019
It’s been a while since I’ve commented on the music I listen to. It fluctuates between jazz and classical. One exception: Susan was too nice to complain that Electric Ladyland echoing through the house was disturbing her work.
My large CD collection is in the basement, so I periodically re-alphabetize the 3 dozen or so CD’s I’ve schlepped up to the armoire in the den. I’m always curious whether recently-listened-to jazz or classical will predominate (but I never count to be sure). This time it seems to be evenly divided. In the process of re-filing, I found a few disk mates to long lost covers. What joy! This is even better than finding long-missing socks!
Rewarding myself for repatriating (almost) all the migrants from the armoire, I picked a bouquet of lovelies for the evening. But even these new bijoux took second place to the joy of mating cover and disc of Charlie Parker, Live at the Royal Roost (probably Christmas/New Year’s 1949-50). Complete with unctuous broadcast MC, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Curly Russell, Tad Dameron—then New Year’s with Miles, Max, Kenny Dorham, Tommy Potter, and Al Haig. From a nicely recorded (for the time) broadcast. If you haven’t heard Miles with Bird from this period, it’s interesting. Miles (kinda) keeps up with the speed and range of the frantic bebop, but that’s not what we have come to expect from him. My wife discerned some “funny” notes in the trumpet solo (but not in the alto). Some kind of bent, introverted tones and phrases. (She’s right: I taught her well.)
[pause for dinner and real life]
After dinner, it’s Brahms Second Symphony with Jaap van Zweden, the current conductor of the NY Philharmonic. We saw him conduct Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied in Paris a few years ago, before he became more prominent. As a Mahler fan, it’s always invigorating to see a performance delivered with understanding and brio. Now he needs to lead the standard repertoire on an everyday basis. Is his Brahms one to treasure? Do I listen to it with a predisposition to find it revelatory since I retrospectively saw his genius before The New Yorker knew who he was? Beats me. Listening while I write, I haven’t noticed anything radical or uncharacteristic or not consonant with my idea of Brahms. The lightness in some passages is pleasurable; sometimes Brahms can sound granitic (and sometimes he does), but not everywhere.
So what have we learned from these ramblings? I think I know: Dave’s been reading too much navel-gazing, introspective, pervy, onanistic, fascinating, self-absorbed shit by Proust. I’m now about 100 pages from the end of the penultimate novel, The Fugitive. How can someone maintain their interest and understanding of character and plot through seven novels when many paragraphs (or even sentences) are a page long. I can deal with it because I’ve figured out how to read it. Sometimes I parse his labyrinthine sentences aloud, trying to anticipate the relative clauses in my inflection as I navigate their winding course. I often marvel, after de-coding the sentences, leaving out non-essential clauses, parentheticals, and asides, at the subtlety, intricacy, and precision of the description of a feeling or a state of mind when I join the part of the sentence back together.
Now it’s time to say goodbye; Marcel is calling. He wants to tell me that this time he’s forgotten Albertine for sure. (He’s been working at it for about 200 pages.) What a whiny, naïve, juvenile, un-worldly, self-conscious, egotistical, snobbish, foolish baby! It’s fun to scorn him for all the inadequacies and doubts we find in ourselves. It’s a bit of a Freudian fantasia. Glad it’s not me.