Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Morning Light

When you've been as miserable both physically and emotionally as I've been over the past two weeks, even the tiniest bit of improvement is most welcome. My nasty flu-like symptoms stubbornly linger on, but this morning they seem to have diminished a bit. And for the first time in nearly a week I see a glimmer of hope on the emotional front as well, like the first faint ray of sunshine on the horizon after a very long, dark night. It might turn out to be illusory, but for now I'll take whatever I can get...

As I try to keep the daily blog entries coming until at least the two-year anniversary, one thing I plan to do is to share some bits and pieces of my life that are much on my mind these days. Of late, for instance, I have had reason to reflect on the various physical spaces that were my classrooms during my teaching career. In particular,
I've been reflecting on the change I made a few years back from the usual motivational posters to fine art prints to adorn my classroom walls. It was one of my better ideas,
as those works of art provided a rich supply of teachable moments with the kids.

During however much time the blog turns out to have left, I will occasionally share some of those paintings here when they happen to tie in to what is going on with me right now. Apropos of the "morning light" metaphor, for example, is one of the coolest sunrise paintings I own. It was always a favorite of my students (who were quite fond of the Impressionist school of painting), and is such a well-known exemplar of that style that it is currently featured on that school's Wikipedia page...

Impression: Sunrise, by Claude Monet

"Is that a whiff of optimism I'm smelling?"

With a nose like yours, who can tell?

Until Next Time...

On March 28, 1903 Rudolf Serkin was born in Cheb (aka Eger), in what was then known as Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). A true child prodigy on piano, Serkin made his first public concert appearance when he was only 12.

Serkin first came to my attention thanks to my fondness for Beethoven, as he is regarded as one of the premier interpreters of the maestro's music of the 20th century. As I have noted in this space on several occasions, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (aka the Emperor Concerto) is my favorite single work of the classical canon, and Serkin recorded it several times with various major orchestras and conductors. Today I'm featuring one of those recordings, a cherished favorite of my own collection.

This is Serkin masterfully navigating the concerto's gorgeous second movement (Adagio un poco moto), a nocturne that has always had a remarkable calming effect
on me, from the sublime recording he made with Eugene Ormandy and the splendid Philadelphia Orchestra in 1953, the year of my birth...

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