Friday, June 19, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 11

Here we go again!

I am off to Texas tonight, there to help some friends play a concert for our good Bishop Tissier de Mallerais. I can't wait. "The stars at night - are big an' bright - deep in the heart of Texas," as we sing at tournaments; and I can't wait to see them, and my friends, again.

The house continues to progress. The girls painted the basement yesterday and now, instead of the old dirty yellow, it is a fresh cream-white, and looks bright and airy. (It doesn't smell airy, it smells paint-y, but hopefully time will remedy that...)

Next weekend I will be in the Land of Enchantment, where I and the other St. Louis and Texas kids will be singing Vittoria's lovely Missa Quarti Toni and some wonderful motets by Byrd and Palestrina for Sunday, as well as Monday's Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, patrons of the chapel.

Here is the beautiful exterior of the chapel of the two Apostles.

And here is the simple but equally lovely main altar.

I rediscovered my score of Bach's Italian Concerto for unaccompanied keyboard, and had the time of my life sight-reading it, the other day. Another of those insanely awesome pieces I need to memorize and perform sometime.


My little brothers are having a tussle on the sofa next to me. Why do little boys have fun pounding each other? Some guy want to explain it?

I just managed to teach a piano lesson with the kids screaming at the top of their lungs in the library (hockey with plastic lightsabers!) Ah, big families.

The first two pizzas got burnt because I was teaching and the other sisters were talking to my student's dad, who is a lot of fun... and my little brother just came in with a splinter in his foot... and my littler sister just followed him hopping on one foot and clutching the other, to get some attention... heehee...

Ah, big families.

Friday, June 12, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol. 10

I missed last Friday... I don't remember even why! Let me see, what, of all that has passed in these two weeks, shall I tell? The poems beneath are part of what happened - finding my muse again - but what else?... Hmm. I think this time I will enumerate adverbially. Maybe I'll make that an official part of my seven takes. How often do you see the word "seventhly" any more? I love it.

Dad started at Harvard on June 2; and now his schedule is seeing patients in St. Louis on Monday, then heading off to Harvard, where he remains Tuesday through Friday, coming home for the weekends. He came home last night this time, though, because he had to go to Scott Air Force Base to arrange for the transportation of an MRI machine for his project in Argentina, which has been giving him and his folk trouble since it was donated to them. It couldn't be taken by highway, for it's so immense it wouldn't fit under the bridges; a ship couldn't handle it; it was finally arranged that the USAF would get it to Buenos Aires (or I believe this was the destination), and the Argentinian Air Force would take it from there to Salta. And only now, after a year of planning and paperwork and overall mess, is it finally getting over there... phew! We laugh every time the subject of "that famous MRI machine" is brought up at the table. It'll be a byword for the family, that's sure.

Yesterday, Corpus Christi, we spent the whole morning at the church, doing sawdust paintings on the sidewalk for the evening procession. They came out gorgeous. I started with the Sun of Righteousness, with the aid of my best friend Michelle; and since we finished it really fast, we helped the others with theirs. Ours was to the left of the church steps, (facing the church), a great golden sun with IHS in red in the middle, surrounded by orange flames; directly beneath the steps was the Lamb of the Apocalypse, lying on a blue book with the Seven Seals in scarlet, and a green oval for the ground. (The choice of the oval was slightly infelicitous, given that the way the Seals hung made it look exactly like a football... hopefully not too many noticed the unfortunate similarity!) Beyond this lay a vibrant Pelican in bright blues and greens; farther on a colorful Chi Rho, on a dark-blue field. Still farther on was a Trinity knot woven of three fishes in all the colors of the rainbow; and at the corner of the sidewalk lay the SSPX's "Cor Unum" symbol, in shades of red, crowned with gold, and with the words in deep purple above and below. And out in the street, surrounded by cones for safety, where the altar for Benediction would be set up, lay a great red carpet with Alpha and Omega and a golden crown. Father Young, parish shutterbug, came out and took lots of pictures, which I will ask him for so I can post them!

The Mass and procession were absolutely awesome. I discovered recently that my piano teacher lives two blocks from the church, somewhere on Hickory Street, along which we passed; so as we walked along I said a prayer for him. I wondered in a moment of distraction what he would think if he saw us. I love Eucharistic processions; there's nothing more wonderful than Our Lord passing by in the arms of the richly-vested priest, the little girls throwing flowers before Him and the rise and fall of the choir's chanting... Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar!

In a letter to Michelle, (she read this part to me,) my sister Lucia remarked something like this: "We need a philosophical definition of "Cool" or "Awesome" so we can apply it to God!" Michelle remarked that since "Awesome" means "full of awe, or awe-inspiring", it used to be applied only to God, and we should take back the original use of the word. Now, "cool" is a little less historically supported, but considering how interchangeably they're used these days, why not?... I often get the urge to exclaim something like "Oh, God is so AWESOME!", anyway (and sometimes succumb to it!) Saying He's "cool" might get some weird looks, I suppose...

Today we spent the morning wrapping up all the breakables. It was fun, though a bit nerveracking when the baby kept trying to bounce onto my lap when I was cutting tape for Rocio and Maria, who were wrapping! Oh, the babies... gotta love 'em, but they do keep me holding my breath sometimes!

I saw Pixar's new movie, UP, on Wednesday evening, with my brother Ignacio and three other friends. I laughed till I could laugh no more, yet there was one place where I cried. It's a beautiful movie and I'd recommend it to anyone; it has its bittersweet moments, a lot of silliness, and the good clean humor that is so often lacking in today's world. A movie for every family to watch over and over again! (That and its Pixar predecessor, Flushed Away, though that one is pure comedy, more slapstick in style.)

Next Friday I will be off to Texas for a week, to help the parish talent of Queen of Angels in Dickinson play a concert for our good Bishop Tissier de Mallerais at Confirmations on Sunday, and spend the rest of the week with my dear friends Dom and Bibi Gattozzi in Austin. I have no doubt it will be a blast! And then the next weekend we will be heading to Albuquerque for Jam Session 4.0! So if the Seven Quick Takes are missing the next two Fridays, my faithful readers know why. I will see you when I get back, if not before!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Three Flowers

Well, what do you know; just as I begin to think that inspiration's fount floweth no more, I come up with two poems in two days! The first is in the post just below this; and here is the second.

My Three Flowers

In my garden grow three flowers,
Lily, Rose and Passion-flower,
And I love to look upon them
As they flourish in my bower;
Sure, what need of wealth or glory,
With these blossoms as my dower?

Lily is the first fair flower,
Continence and purity;
White and bright as steel new-tempered,
Strong against the enemy
Do I keep my shining Lily,
Holy Mary helping me.

Rose is second of my flowers,
Red and white and gold is she,
Love of God the golden blossoms,
Red for those who well love me,
White for love of foes commanded,
Holy Joseph helping me.

Passionflower wild and brilliant,
Blazing as a torch I see -
All my passion for my music,
Rich in rainbow harmony,
Praising God in every cadence,
St. Cecilia helping me.

Mary, Joseph, sweet Cecilia,
Pray, I pray, to Christ for me,
That my flowers, never fading,
Evermore may blossom free,
Till, in God's own garden planted,
I may bloom eternally.

--June 9, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

A new sonnet

Last night I was up far too late, as usual in the summer; and as I lay on my bed scribbling, this sonnet took shape. It ended quite differently from what I thought it would be at the beginning; but I rather liked the result, as did the friend to whom I sent it when it was done. The title is the name I always give to the beautiful Steinway grand in Webster's recital hall - a truly glorious instrument, in itself (or herself, as Mr. Schene says) a work of art. It's a name that has caused much amusement among teachers and fellow-students alike, but it fits so perfectly that I can't help but use it. I'm sure I'm not the only pianist who has found in her instrument a vent for emotion and a beloved friend; and be they musicians or no, I hope my readers enjoy

"My Precious"

When clouds are grey and glowering above,
And my dark mood rivals the ragged sky,
Or when the summer heat is burning, I,
To find at once a vent and comfort, move

To where, amid the golden-gleaming wood
And creamy whiteness of the little hall,
There stands the thing that is my earthly all,
My love, my torment and my source of good.

In smooth black satin clad, she waits for me,
Her smile gleaming white, but slow to speak
Till at a touch, a whisper or a shriek
Pours out my heart, in wealth of harmony,

Responding as true friend to friendly hand --
My dearest girl, a comrade simply grand!