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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Being me. By John von Daler

                 "I am that I am," says #Jahweh, Exodus 3:14. Each of us must build a life on our own version of this, the father of all sentences. In my case, this self-definition must always include an admission of eagerness, a certain unbridled need to get from A to B, the sooner the better.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The #Art Darters. By John von Daler

                  You may remember #Malamud's young American art student who arrives in Italy thinking that he alone has discovered a relatively obscure Italian painter called #Giotto. He wants to write a doctor's thesis that not only will make his own research famous, but also will resurrect the artist's reputation. (I think the book is called "Pictures of Fidelman.")

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Discretionary Tale. By John von Daler

                   Paris. The City of Love. I was "between marriages" and had invited my girl friend of the last half-year to France on a romantic holiday. We visited Montmartre, ate delicious meals, gave old Pablo a visit and generally just enjoyed the pleasant weather about which charming songs so often have been written.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

In principle. By John von Daler

                  You know the situation: it's against your principles, but you need the money.  I had received notice from the musicians' union that there were tryouts for a solo #advertisement for a Danish #beer. They needed a violinist and the job paid about $2000 for a day's work. I talked myself into it mostly because I often drank their beer and we were pretty poor.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sizing up #Symbols. By John von Daler

                   I was twelve years old. We drove, two families in two cars, from Oklahoma to #Colorado to spend our vacation in two cabins at a resort high in a pine forest. There was a girl my age in the other family and I did what I could to be in a backseat with her as often as I could. The fathers steered and the mothers chatted and we kids looked out the window or messed around with each other. A tussle can be a wonderful thing.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Passing on. By John von Daler.

                 It was summer in #Surrey. The long rolling garden behind the red brick, ranch-style house stretched its green tongue into the valley, lapping up deer and rabbits and pheasants that also thought of Lime Tree Cottage as their home. I had come to #Marley Common because my mother had #died.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Loving #God. By John von Daler

                  In my memoir, #Pieces: A life in Eight Movements and a Prelude (WiDo Publishing), I have to describe #God at one point. The book is called "Pieces" for several reasons, one of them being the fragmentary nature of the text: the reader is supposed to fill in the dots. For example, when new characters enter, I do not necessarily describe them physically. So I thought it might be fun to make an exception out of God.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Make slow. Eat slow. By John von Daler

                In the summer the heat pounds into you and if it were not for the sparkling view of the bay, you might give up and hire a car to drive you up the winding roads. But people can and do climb the steep stairways up the mountain from #Amalfi to #Scala. These stone passages are surrounded and covered with lemon and olive trees through which you can see the blue sky intersect the blue waves beneath the golden sun. This is a place of primary colors and fundamental values. No thought or action here can be anything less than grand. After all, the Magna Carta was written on paper from Amalfi.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Believable Dreams. By John von Daler

                We were supposed to have eaten lunch at a better restaurant in #Amsterdam, but our feet got tired and we stopped beating the path we had planned and went into a little bar by a canal. The plastic menu listed a spicy chicken and some beers, so that is what we ordered.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cultivate your garden. By John von Daler

               The alarm clock rang stridently at five in the morning. Peeking out the window I could see the sun was up and a robin already stood listening for his breakfast on the front lawn, his head cocked, his eyes round and dark as sin, his belly as orange as an Irish protestant. He looked at me as I peered at him from under the window curtain. Then he took a quick hop or two towards me and fell into his listening stance again.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Got Rhythm. By John von Daler

                Choreographers and ballet dancers see eye to eye with conductors and musicians: we all serve the music. The sounds of a ballet should be just as the composer imagined them and the movement of the dance should describe, interpret and embody the music. We agree on that.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Confessions of a #Violinist. By John von Daler

                Theater groups often live up to their reputation: bawdy, unmanageable, a threat to society, hilarious, naive, beautiful. The troop I worked with in the 1980's in Denmark lived up to these descriptions and even occasionally added some new twists on its own. I played the violin and composed for a farce that toured the country in a couple of small busses, just the way players had been traversing countrysides for at least a thousand years in Europe.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Easy Rider. By John von Daler

                They liked us before we arrived, our hosts who had arranged a concert in #Oslo. They had asked for a rider.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Evaluating contemporaries. By John von Daler

                       In response to my question an art historian friend explained that the term "gothic" in its first usage meant something outlandish, something the goths might have built.

Monday, October 14, 2013

#Mimesis in Junior High. By John von Daler

                 I noticed the differences immediately when I arrived in my new class in the ninth grade in #Norwalk, Connecticut. We were many thousands of miles closer to Greenwich Village than #Tulsa, Oklahoma where I had spent my first thirteen years.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

In the Footsteps of #Nureyev. By John von Daler

                     Once I had friends in a circle of ballet dancers, an experience not unlike socializing with #violinists. Their trade has its rules just as mine does and we all talk about them constantly. Not that those rules necessarily always make our performances worth seeing or hearing.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Show, don't tell. By John von Daler

                 In my travels on concert tours I have received many different invitations, mostly to events that take place late at night. You get used to people coming backstage with their cards in hand: How about supper and a beer at our place? We are going down to a little pub, wanna come? Let's get a cup of coffee and talk about the concert...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Bach Beaming. By John von Daler

                Let me admit it at once: at concerts I do not always concentrate on the music. I will go to hear some music that I love and instead of following the piece from start to finish I glide away in my own thoughts and pretty soon I'm well into some project of my own. Let's just say that I get a lot of work done while other people are playing.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I love you. Be mine. By John von Daler

                Sometimes you run into something so beautiful that you just have to own it. Sometimes you even want to make yourself into it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Jack-in-the-box. By John von Daler

                Most of us love surprises. Not big, unpleasant ones like, say, slipping on a banana peel, but something more like a jack-in-the-box that fascinates you enough to keep you pushing it into place and letting it loose again time after time. The small joy of that smiling face hopping out of its case has no logical reason; it's a pleasant emotion, fear turned into farce.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Danish Rubbing off. By John von Daler

                 Let's get this straight: Danish sounds like the coughing teenagers used to do in math class to camouflage their swear words. Hugga hugga hugga Fug ga You ga! It's that glottal stop.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A #Blog about #blogging. By John von Daler

                  Now as I approach the half year mark of my blogging life, it is time to take a look around, to take stock.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

With a vengeance. by John von Daler

                The old man looked like Fidel Castro disguised as Buddha. For years he had sat in a worn armchair behind unwashed windows filled with potted plants that probably could have lived off the smudges on the glass. From his place behind an antique table covered with spots from forgotten meals he read his paper, ate his meals and told his stories.

Friday, October 4, 2013

#Heaven. I'm in heaven. by John von Daler

                My father and I stood in waist-high water and talked about everything and nothing. The warm, Oklahoma weekends were made for hanging out at the pool, lying in the sun, small talking.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tintinnabulation! by John von Daler

                 From the first day that I at the age of four walked into a music faculty (at the University of Tulsa) I was sold on it. I'm not talking about the people or the architecture or even the music lessons themselves. It was that thick, conglomerate sound of everybody at once, the patchwork quilt made up of rows of tones.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Small World by John von Daler

                   I used to love to visit the little shops. Touring through Scandinavia meant finding a tailor in Bornholm who sewed leather vests by hand or a man in West Jutland who had filled a huge warehouse full of English books or a butcher in S√łnderborg who had concocted a great sausage. I bought things and talked to people about their trades.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Funchal Game Plan by John von Daler

                At our place we love garlic. Fresh, cooked, lots of it, just a touch of it, any old way. So we are very tolerant when we meet garlic breath.

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