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Muzak for Storytelling.

By chance I heard this piece of music on a classical radio streaming site, but although I had no idea who composed it or what its title was, somehow I knew every note, and was humming or whistling along throughout. Before the piece ended, I went to the computer that was streaming the music, got the identifying info, and later went looking for recordings online. There are several to be found, including a couple of piano reductions and a recording that purports to be of the composer conducting the piece, but this one (an excerpt from a much longer concert) is my favorite:

I’ve seen other conductors who had active styles, but Sergiu Celibidache (1912-1996) takes the cake. He conducts with every muscle of his body, including his eyebrows, shoulders, torso, elbows, and even his tongue. You can see him whistling along with the wind instruments and the strings, imitating the brass, and can hear him shout directions.

The orchestra puts its heart into accompanying him as he almost dances on the podium. Maybe he got into the piece because he and the composer (George Enescu, 1881-1955) were countrymen (Romanians), but his performance here is pure body-language storytelling; moreover, I’ve never seen another conductor who smiled as much as he did, while leading music.

Incidentally, get a load of the enormous 1970s television camera stationed at upstage right.

(Many thanks to the person who posted this musical excerpt.)



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Another Author’s Insight: Charles Moore (b. 1956)

“I do have a theory about writing books, which is that if you wonder whether a book should be written, you probably shouldn’t write it. You should only write it because you really must write it.”
~ Charles Moore (Lord Baron Moore of Etchingham), author of The Lord and Lady Thatcher; interview on Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson (recorded December 14, 2020, aired January 12, 2021; see 57:47-57:58).

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Even More Sad News.

Butterfly, Be Free!

Mama, an avid reader who became blind, is seen here listening to an audiobook.

This Month, my Mother Passed Away.

(What follows is an edited version of her obituary, written by my sister. )

Joan Alice, or “Joanie” (as everyone called her), 88, died on December 11, 2020.

Joanie was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Frank and Lillian Olejnicki Fijolek, and was a true city girl until moving with her husband, Ted, to Lindenhurst, Illinois, in 1956.  Ted and Joanie were among the pioneers of the village, and their early years were chronicled in her book Love, Joanie: Letters from the Suburban Frontier.

Joanie was a career homemaker.  A devoted wife and mother, she was an excellent cook and slapdash housekeeper who preferred digging ditches, hauling dirt, gardening, listening to opera and reading to such drab chores as washing dishes and/or ironing.  She enjoyed camping, and made even the most…

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