Friday, March 06, 2015 12:08 PM
I’m drinking ‘Yukon Gold’ this morning—Tea Trader’s most expensive loose-leaf, all the way from Ireland (though I suspect the tea-leaves weren’t grown there). It’s black as coffee—and nearly as strong—and has none of the smoothness of your Earl Grey (which was already my favorite, long before Picard was even cast, so don’t even) but instead has a bite as sharp as an Irishwoman’s tongue.
St Paddys’ is a-comin’—which always makes me harken back to my halcyon days as head-of-systems for my dad’s old agency. In the 1980s, he would take the entire staff to the Blazer for lunch every St. Patrick ’s Day. (If you haven’t had the pleasure of eating at the old Blazer in Somers (just north of Katonah) you’ve missed out on the legendary, ‘best burgers’ in Westchester.)
My co-workers and I loved this special day—no other companies got St. Patrick’s Day off, so we felt privileged—although it wasn’t exactly a day off. We worked until lunchtime and left en masse. Lunch at the Blazer was actually mandatory—if you didn’t want to go, you could stay at the Croton Falls office and work all afternoon. Everyone went, of course. The saddest part of it was picking the person who had to stay and cover the phones—you’d think they were being left behind on the family trip to Disneyworld. But there was the consolation of telling everyone who called that day that ‘Mal Dunn Associates was closed on St. Patrick’s Day…”
In the old days, there was still smoking in bars—we smoked, we danced, we ate burgers, we ordered Kamikazes by the pitcher—this was an office party with boots on, I tell you—and it usually went on and on—at least until Mal left and the drinks were no longer free. All you needed to do was wear at least one article of clothing that was any shade of green at all. My dad had a lovely, high Irish tenor, and when he sang “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”, everyone stopped to listen. It’s still my favorite song. I’m always somewhat disappointed nowadays, when St. Paddy’s rolls around, because nothing happens anymore—it’s just a day. So much of life is like that—oh, pooh! And oh, bother!
This has been quite a week for me, piano-wise. I played so much Brahms and sixties-hits piano covers and improvisations, that I had to re-charge my camera half-way through the two days’ worth of playing. It was so much material that I’ve been spending the last three days rendering it all into post-able YouTube videos. I’m really quite tuckered out by the whole thing—and three days is a long time to wonder if my music is worth the trouble of posting, especially the Brahms.
But here’s the thing. I’m sight-reading through the Brahms (and everything else I play) not ‘performing’ it the way a pro pianist would—so, why bother posting it? Just for my friends and relations who wouldn’t listen to Brahms anyway, except that I’m in the video. Plus—and this is just for my own satisfaction—sight-reading Brahms is no picnic. You try it—you’ll see. In truth, it’s all about me—I’m not really posting this stuff for anyone else.
Neither am I truly sight-reading. Sight-reading implies that I’ve never seen the score before—but I’ve been sight-reading Brahms for decades. It would be more proper to call it score-reading, but this is one of those cases where I sacrifice precision of terminology for ease of comprehension.
Gosh, this took forever. It’s 3am Saturday now, and I’m still waiting for the last video to upload to YouTube. Six pieces by Brahms, four Improvs, and two groups of 60s covers (using a total of ten recordings of songs)—there was a lot of material to work through. I’m going to be scared to sit at the piano from now on—what a schlep!
And my sleep has been skewed—I’ve been reading lately and that always makes me overlook the passing of the night. I’ve just finished “Yesterday’s Kin” by Nancy Kress, “The Doubt Factory” by Paolo Bacigalupi, and I’m midway through “Henry of Navarre” and just started on “Alan Turing: The Enigma” (which is a whopper—776 pages). All good stuff, if you’re looking.
Here they are, finally: