05 September 2018

With evergreen thankfulness

So he went to marching up and down, thinking, and frowning horrible every now and then; then he would hoist up his eyebrows; next he would squeeze his hand on his forehead and stagger back and kind of moan; next he would sigh, and next he’d let on to drop a tear.  It was beautiful to see him.  By and by he got it.  He told us to give attention.  Then he strikes a most noble attitude, with one leg shoved forwards, and his arms stretched away up, and his head tilted back, looking up at the sky; and then he begins to rip and rave and grit his teeth; and after that, all through his speech, he howled, and spread around, and swelled up his chest, and just knocked the spots out of any acting ever I see before.  This is the speech – I learned it, easy enough, while he was learning it to the king:

   To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin
   That makes calamity of so long life;
   For who would fardels bear, till Birnam Wood do
     come to Dunsinane,
   But that the fear of something after death
   Murders the innocent sleep,
   Great nature’s second course,
   And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous fortune
   Than fly to others that we know not of.
   There’s the respect must give us pause:
   Wake Duncan with thy knocking!  I would thou couldst;
  For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
   The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
   The law’s delay, and the quietus which his
     pangs might take,
   In the dead waste and middle of the night,
     when churchyards yawn
   In customary suits of solemn black,
   But that the undiscovered country from whose
     bourne no traveler returns,
   Breathes forth contagion on the world,
   And thus the native hue of resolution, like
     the poor cat i’ the adage,
   Is sicklied o’er with care,
   And all the clouds that lowered o’er our housetops,
   With this regard their currents turn awry,
   And lose the name of action.
   ’Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.
     But soft you, the fair Ophelia:
   Ope not thy ponderous and marble jaws,
   But get thee to a nunnery – go!

– Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

To list the naked facts yesterday was bleak enough, with no need to bring out my lamenting clarinet.  Good man or no, however, I am not to be kept down;  and here are the three principal reasons why:

  1. Family, whose love and support endure as long as I have breath.
  2. My circle (“my” circle, if you please) of colleague-friends, whose reliable championship of my work, and touching generosity with their time and talents, are treasure indeed.
  3. The power of an established routine.

Where 3. (together with 2., to be sure) come into crucial play this week is:  I have long been in the habit of scheduling semi-annual chamber concerts of Henningmusick.  As a result, my catalogue is deep and strong enough, that even when a ‘Plan B’ is called for, artistic standards are maintained at their height.

[A Heart So White is only delayed, and not abandoned.  I do not now claim to know exactly when;  but whatever the date may be, its completion is assured.]

The program for King’s Chapel on Tuesday, 16 October will be:

Scarecrow Bliss, Sacred Tea

Considering My Bliss Options, Op.137 no. 2a
fl, cl  |  2:00

Kurosawa’s Scarecrow (Memories of Packanack Lake), Op.145
C fl, alto fl, cl, hn + fixed media  |  13:00

Boston Harbor Heave-Ho (Tea Party Dance), Op.154a no. 1
2 fl, cl  |  4:00

Mistaken for the Sacred, Op.141a
2 fl, hn + fixed media  |  7:30

The k a rl h e nn i ng Ensemble:
Carol Epple & Peter H. Bloom:  flutes
Pamela Marshall:  horn
kh:  clarinet, fixed media, and assorted drollery

And now, to see about a rehearsal schedule . . . .

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