Category: Music and language

Speak slowly -- I can't listen any faster!

Speak slowly -- I can't listen any faster!
I keep thinking of the old, old joke about someone writing a letter: I’m writing this slowly because I know you can’t read very fast. How about the same consideration for listening? I’m speaking slowly because I know you can’t listen any faster. That would work for me, as both a speaker and a listener. So... Read more »

You lost me at 'accompanied by dazzling images'

You lost me at 'accompanied by dazzling images'
As I was getting started this morning, I heard an ad for a concert I might have liked. But then it said “accompanied by dazzling images.” I’m out. I can’t even remember what the concert was to be anymore. If you don’t have enough confidence that the music will be the “dazzling” part, concert promoters,... Read more »

Classical music and jazz: A reply to Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune

Classical music and jazz: A reply to Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune
I was, and am, delighted by Howard Reich’s column in the Nov. 25 Chicago Tribune on the joys of reviewing both jazz and classical concerts for the Tribune. (If you missed it, here’s a link.) As an amateur cello player and lover of good music, meaning I listened to Beethoven while starting to write this, I... Read more »
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More from Audrey Hepburn on 'How to be Lovely'

More from Audrey Hepburn on 'How to be Lovely'
Here’s another selection of quotations and observations from Melissa Hellstern’s book “How to be Lovely: The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life.” (For two previous posts, catch up here and here.) A whole little section of the book is headed “Laugh Often.” With a pen (or PC) name like Margaret Serious, I don’t necessarily think of... Read more »

'How to be Lovely' -- Audrey Hepburn, 'My Fair Lady,' and life

'How to be Lovely' -- Audrey Hepburn, 'My Fair Lady,' and life
When I recently found Melissa Hellstern’s book “How to be Lovely: The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life,”  I recognized that it would have to include material about one of my favorite movies, “My Fair Lady.” And so it did, both in Hepburn’s own words about a famous scene and in one speech by her character, Eliza... Read more »

'How to be Lovely -- The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life:' Some lovely thoughts

'How to be Lovely -- The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life:' Some lovely thoughts
I was browsing at a neighborhood coffee shop which has taken our local treat, “little library” boxes, indoors and turned it into a set of shelves to leave a book or take a book. When I saw a copy of “How to be Lovely — The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life” by Melissa Hellstern (Penguin... Read more »
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Verses from 'The Present Crisis' by James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)

Verses from 'The Present Crisis' by James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)
James Russell Lowell, the great nineteenth-century poet and diplomat who lived in Indiana, wrote a poem called “The Present Crisis” which refers to nineteenth-century problems, but is useful also against those of the present century. I first learned parts of the poem as the hymn “Once to Every Man and Nation,” and some of the... Read more »

'Pulling out all the stops' has nothing to do with traffic

'Pulling out all the stops' has nothing to do with traffic
After a particularly beautiful service at Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, I happened to see its organist and director of music, Dr. John W.W. Sherer. I’m happy to count him among my friends, so after commenting on the day’s music and the contrasts between the large service just ended and the smaller, earlier service I... Read more »

My cello and 'the wild joy of strumming'

My cello and 'the wild joy of strumming'
“Those who painfully and with bleeding feet have scaled the crags of mastery over musical instruments have yet their loss in this — that the wild joy of strumming has become a vanished sense.” — Kenneth Grahame (1959-1932) in “The Golden Age. A Harvesting” Kenneth Grahame, whose biggest fame still comes from his book “The... Read more »
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Does that 'Star-Spangled Banner' get sung? Does anything, NBC?

Does that 'Star-Spangled Banner' get sung? Does anything, NBC?
One of my favorite parts of the Winter Olympics is the medal ceremonies. Nothing  in my mind will top the ceremony on Feb. 24, 1980, when the whole men’s hockey team from “U-S-A” got to crowd up onto the gold medal captain with its great captain, Mike Eruzione. (Happy anniversary, gentlemen, and thank you.) But... Read more »