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February 26, 2008


Oh, I love this prose poem, and the photo is stunning.

This is so beautiful, both words and photo. A precious distillation of a moment. The visual spectrum all in black and white: the snow, the coat, the type on the screen, the piano keys. But the sound unrestricted, leaping out and around, the bell of each note, the patterns, the swish and roundness of the Italian words. Just wonderful.

hmm, since when are courante and rondeau Italian? I guess I conflated them with tempo instructions, which are, I think, usually Italian?

Thanks, Marja-Leena! We have SO MUCH new snow here today! This is the winter that won't quit.

Jean, thanks. The language issue drove me to my music dictionary to be able to respond accurately. Yes, tempo marking are usually in Italian, but in Bach's Partitas, and English and French Suites, the different pieces in each set are marked with names, usually types of 16th-17th century dances, that had specific metrical and stylistic qualities. Depending on what edition you get, the names can be written as "Courante" (Fr) or "Corrente" (It), "Rondeau" or "Rondo," plus many others: allemande, gigue, bouree, minuet, sarabande. And it gets worse: a typical Italian corrente is in quick triple time (3/4) with continuous running figures, while a French courante shifts back and forth between 3/2 and 6/4 with occasional syncopated rhythms. Bach wrote both kinds. (I was thinking of "courantes" drawing lines and "rondeaus" drawing circles.) Capriccios are whimsical pieces, usually quite fast, and the one I was working on yesterday is fantastic but too difficult for me to ever play up to speed; the entire 2nd Partita plays with syncopation and by the time you get to the capriccio, the last movement, Bach is sounding like jazz.

Will have to put on my Yo Yo Ma playing the Sonatas and Partitas now. Flawless music - and beautiful capture here!

What a lovely photo. Pure white and slushy dirtied snow.

Thanks, Theriomorph. I agree - Bach feels like perfect music for these winter days.

Thanks a lot, Szerelem - I'm glad you liked the photo. I've had it in my picture folder since Christmas time, and was waiting for the right post to come along - this one seemed appropriate!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.