Thursday, January 6, 2011

In the bleak mid Winter

After the Boxing Day Blizzard two weeks ago, we still have large patches of snow and ice here and there; it's also rather cold. Bleak is a good word for this season.
I love that Christmas carol, written by Gustav Holst, and I love even more the other setting by Harold Darke--it seems., well, bleaker, but also redolent of hope which, I think, is the sub-text of Christmas, isn't it?
Just occurred to me that this is the last day of the Nativity the so called Three Kings Day, so I can report on our Christmas Eve dinner, a beautiful side of Norwegian salmon, garnished-- no, covered-- in chanterelles. Yes, that's right, I broke down and bought them t the local Whole Foods. To my amazement, they were reasonable in price ($15 lb) and in decent condition ( chants are hardy and can maintain their integrity when others mushrooms have rotted away.). I believe their provenance was Oregon. With all the winter rain the PNW has been getting this year there seems to be a bumper crop. We enjoyed more on New Years Eve,when they underscored with their earthy, chewy succulence some gamey lamb shanks..
I suppose it was the utter lack of chanterelle fruitings last summer that gave me"permission" to buy them.
A recent post on my friend JA's blog ("Hellmouth") talks about "Stravinsky's Arm Farts." This is worth checking out. It tuns out, according to John (backed up I imagine, by his old nemesis, R Taruskin) that as a young boy Igor was quite adept at this method of body percussion --he learned it from a local serf on he family estate in the Ukraine--and that it may have been the source of his punchy, off kilter rhythmic machinations heard in Le Sacre etc. Musicologists, take note!
A new snow storm has moved in. It's quite lovely outside now; tomorrow it will be bleak.

Gloucester Cathedral-Holst

Kings College Camb.-Darke

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