T. Wendell Peek ~ Nocturne

Ravel – Gaspard de la nuit

Ravel. Gaspard de la nuit. One of the giants of the piano repertoire, being written only in 1908, it’s crazy to think there are still approximately 50 people alive today that were born before this amazing work of art existed. “Listen! Do you know what you hear? Handfuls of rain that I’ve thrown against your window, thrown by me, Ondine, spirit of the water.”

The first of three piano compositions based on poems by Aloysius Bertrand, Ondine tells the dream-like story of a nymph singing to lure an outsider into her underwater kingdom. Both seductive and lethal, Ondine represents the allure of that whose beauty and promise belies a darker nature, much like the siren singing the lonely sailor to his watery grave. Ravel has captured this in glittering, enchanting piano arpeggios, which (much like Ondine herself) are so difficult that, when this piece was composed, it extended the classical piano technique. “What is this uneasy sound in the dusk? Is it the gasp of the winter wind, or did the hanged man on the gallows give out a sigh?” Le Gibet.

The middle composition in Ravel’s Bertrand poems triptych, it slices the opus in two, conjuring an image of a lone body hanging on the gallows. Meanwhile, a bell tolls from inside the walls of a far-off city, creating the deathly atmosphere that surrounds the observer. What is exceptional about this composition is that Ravel repeats the Bb octave ostinato throughout the whole piece, imitating the tolling of the bell that so sombrely characterizes the scene. “Now blue and transparent as candlewax, his face as pale as the molten drippings and into the dark he’s gone…”

The final composition in Ravel’s settings of Bertrand’s poems, Scarbo recalls the nightmarish mischief of the eponymous goblin. The sly fiend makes pirouettes, flitting in and out of the darkness, disappearing and suddenly reappearing. Accordingly, the piano part requires acrobatic athleticism, marking the high point in technical difficulty in the entire set. Ravel wrote that this composition “has been the very devil to write, which is only reasonable since He is the author of the poems.”

Paul Toussaint ~ Sunday Stroll

Moby Grape ~ Naked If I Want To

Would you let me walk down your street
Naked if I want to
Can I pop fireworks on the fourth of every single july
Can I buy an amplifier, oh, on time
My sweet time
Well I ain’t got no money
I will pay this time
And I ain’t got no money
But I will pay you before I die
And would you let me walk down your street
Naked if I want to
Can I pop fireworks on the fourth of every single july
Can I buy an aeroplane while I’m high in all the sky
And I got no mercy
I will pay this time
And I got no mercy
I will pay you before I die

{sunday} Meri Walker ~ And So It Begins.

Haikus by Willie Perdomo

This evening’s Black sound 
Walks like a cat on grass blades 
Your nickname two-steps 

Get back to your poems 
Don’t forget to wear your mask 
Main Street is empty 

Can’t rock your hoodie 
Your cliques of affinity 
Might lead to arrest 

A virus walk break 
Twilight stroll to compost bin 
Two rusty leaves rap 

Go ‘head, bro, dance 
There are no mirrors in this joint 
You used to love her 

Draw her some roses 
The before times are ending 
Lost my love letters 

Pandemic fashion 
The maples need to speak up 
Detroit Reds all day 

To live in this hour 
Recall a jukebox love song— 
Punk-ass church bells 

Perfect ending 
A red-tail rolls over the steeple 
Dandelion gigs 

Pull the dream catcher 
A death count on the broadcast 
April is chillin’ 

A bebop wake up 
Getting my shit together 
Brew some Bustelo

Happy Sunday.

Harold Budd – La Bella Vista (2005)

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