HARBINGERS OF SPRING
and other colourful flowers..
including Heather, were springing up all around town.
A HIKE TO THE BEACH AND HOME AGAIN
I stood on Sunset Beach and looked up to the street just as the sun simultaneously caught a few shiny spots on a crane and on the motion lights of a favourite grove of "Christmas" trees. Every year on December 1st, the lights are turned on and remain on display for about six weeks. Especially during my bicycle commute days, it was heartening each year to see them return. You can see them in this You Tube clip, but I suggest you turn the volume off if you check it out :) Those motion lights must have been happy to be noticed in March.Inukshuks are a huge part of Vancouver's culture, but this one stood out from the rest.
The clouds seemed to highlight rather than hide the blue skies.
Seagulls huddled happily (I believe) together as they soaked up the sun's rays
Perhaps this fellow was paying homage to the first sun in days.
The frayed hem at the edge of this puddle reflection pointed out the palm trees above it.
A hedge in front of a flower shop brought colour to Davie Street as we walked home.
Raindrops from the evening before had gathered in the hyperbola of some of the rose petals.
The delicate hairs on sunlit buds in David Lam Park made a perfect conclusion to the walk.
In a time when many fear the lack of heart in our "shop-til-you-drop" culture, Henry Wong of Broadway Camera adds some "heart" to every visit. We weren't making a purchase but just stopped by to ask some questions. Henry talked at length with us AND he cleaned my camera. My pictures have been a little crisper ever since. Thanks, Henry!
HENRY PURCELL and the PBO
We attended a lively Pacific Baroque Orchestra concert titled "Purcell and Friends" last weekend. The program referred to the poem, "Henry Purcell" by Hopkins and I took some time to learn a little more about it. It is a complex poem explored in depth by many and requiring more thought from me. I won't print it here, but I enjoyed this introduction that Hopkins wrote for it and that was printed in the program: "The poet wishes well to the divine genius of Purcell and praises him that, whereas other musicians have given utterance to the moods of man’s mind, he has, beyond that, uttered in notes the very make and species of man as created both in him and in all men generally." As we listened to the music, I was mesmerized by the performers' feet. It seemed they couldn't stay still and in fact, though their dance was subtle, I imagined an all-out explosion of joyful hopping about the stage. I was also quite thrilled by Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's granddaughter's drawings. He has done a post about the concert that I very much enjoyed reading and the bonus is that the drawings are shown in it.
During the intermission, I looked closely at the harpsichord.We also had some time to visit with Sylvia (Phyllis's sister-in-law) and enjoyed some hilarity too. While she and Bill reconnected, I..
zoomed in to examine the handsome details of the chinoiserie.
I found some interesting information about harpsichords at this site but there is much to learn. PBO concerts offer many pleasures that include seeing friends and family and feeling close to a period of history that might otherwise slip away from our senses.
HAILING THE SUNVancouver's temperate weather has some benefits that include the remarkable jubilance in the air when the sun comes out. This ornament on a neighbour's balcony twinkled "hello" ..
Watching music students come and go with their instruments and listening to the mix of sonorities and harmonies escaping practice rooms made me nostalgic for the old building on McTavish Street where I spent several years during McGill music days. I looked in vain for a picture of it but finally had to make do with the picture below, taken on the next street over (Peel Street). Happily, the buildings look almost identical to the old music building. Creaky stairs and hallways, styrofoam pieces attached to the walls for soundproofing, every practice room a different size and shape, a wonderful old Steinway piano that my teacher allowed me to practice on, sitting on the stairs on summer days talking about music, going out later to friends' concerts and then for crepes on Crescent Street.. so many good times.
Those couple of hours at UBC were enough to bring the memories flooding back. This poster in the lobby hooked my attention, as did..
There was also a sculpture in the lobby that had been donated by a music class from the 1970's. There was no title and only the name Vincenzi on it. With a lot of searching, I found the sculptor's full name, Cliff Vincenzi, and a title applied to it "Artist's Struggle to Reach His Goal." I guess the expression in the face of the sculpture could be "struggle" but I like to think of it as one of deep listening or some might say, being heedful.
As we stood in line outside the Roy Barnett Recital Hall waiting for the doors to open for the final concert of the piano competition, I found myself looking at Bill's head and thinking about the sculpture and that triggered more thoughts about the brain and how each of us hears music and perceives art differently. I found this study by the Stanford School of Medicine with a very short but interesting video showing brain activity between movements of a piece. Our experience of the competition was memorable. We heard two performers compete and one in particular made such an impression, we quite wanted her to win. Her name is Olivia Musat and the power and depth of her playing really struck both of us. We attended the final concert eagerly, hoping to get the chance to hear her again, but she wasn't one of the top three so that hope was dashed. We did find the top two winners, Pierre-André Doucet (from New Brunswick) and Samuel Deason (from Saskatchewan) to be outstanding (though Olivia still ranked "up there" in my opinion). I hope to follow all three careers.
Our ability to perceive humour is something else that I've been thinking about lately, and that aspect of Bill's brain is highly honed and emerges at least expected moments. No, he isn't doing what you may first think in that shot on the left. I think he's trying to blend in. Or perhaps, hoping to feel the vibrations :) He took heart and turned around a second later. The sculpture was so large that neither of us realized at first that it represented a tuning fork. You can read about the sculptor, Gerhard Class (1924-97) here. We've been to the music building before, but this was the first time to notice the tuning fork sculpture, and the first time for me to have such vivid flashbacks to university days.
The Snow Moon
Ron Troke of from sophie's view shared this incredible photo of the Snow Moon reminding people to watch for it on February 25th. Although I was rushing and I don't think responded to his post at that time, it stayed in my mind, and that night, perhaps shortly before midnight, I looked out my window and there it was! Saying a silent thank you to Ron, I stepped out on my balcony and took this photo. I don't know why the colour is so white when most of the photos I have seen are bright orange, but I do appreciate its perfect roundness and the detail my camera managed to pick up.
I tried using the iphoto program to shade the moon orange but the result was an ugly, musty yellow. I did rather like the blue shading. In the end, I guess I prefer the first shot, giving you an image pretty much as my eye and the camera saw it. All to say, thank you, Ron!!
WINTER MOON by LANGSTON HUGHES
Langston Hughes is one of my favourite poets, and that link will take you both to the site where I found this picture and also to a very interesting article about him by Kit Fox. Though "Winter Moon" doesn't speak of a full moon, perhaps you will enjoy the feel of the words if you read them aloud. Here it is:
How thin and sharp is the moon tonight!
How thin and sharp and ghostly white
Is the slim curved crook of the moon tonight!
JERICHO PARK HOOPLA AND HIGH TIMES
I hinted once that I'd like to see Jericho again, now that the old wharf has been taken down and a new beach front almost finished. I got the idea from reading Gillian's post of PS Whimsy - Behind the Brush, and Bill was right on it. No sooner hinted than home-free. Below, Black Jack enjoyed a free run on the beach and I managed to catch a somewhat blurry photo with her four feet in the air. Iphoto helped out, I thought, with this also blurry frame to round out the picture :)
I thought Bill and Black Jack did a wonderfully creative "happy-foot" dance here.
It was good to see the resident pair of eagles very high in a tall tree. Hopefully, they will raise another chick or two this year, and perhaps this time,
their nest, reinforced by concerned neighbours with a strong platform, will make it through the entire season. Note: Photo by Dan Toulgoet from the Courier article linked above.
Black Jack would never consider a hike at Jericho to be complete without a bunny sighting, and I thought this one had a particularly expressive face.
The pond is not in peak condition at this time of year, but I still thought it hunky dory.
ROSS TAGGART MEMORIAL: HEART AND HUMOUR
We continue to attend the Jazz Vespers concerts at St. Andrew's Wesley United Church on Sunday afternoons. We haven't hit a bad one yet. The memorial for Ross Taggart was a few weeks ago. He died of Kidney Cancer at the tragically young age of 45, a brilliant mind and musician gone far too soon. These words from his obituary stay with me:
"..he loved with an open heart, always, and appreciated the truly valuable things in life –
art, music, drama, good food, the beauty of nature, friends and family.
His unique sense of humour meant he carried the gift of laughter wherever he went."
I took many pictures, some of such raw emotion that I will not post them here, though I will try to get them to his family. I feel they must have loved the tribute that honoured Ross in such a heartfelt manner. The pianist above (I have not been able to find his name) seemed to dance over the top of the piano. Every limb, muscle, and nerve was so involved with the music, I wondered how he kept from flying off the piano bench. As you can see below, everyone's attention was unwaveringly on the music, musicians and speakers.
I have shown you many of the windows at St. Andrew's but missed these two, and found the orange hues to be particularly warm and vibrant that day.
I continue to seek out new-to-me artists for ABC posts, and have to say, I'm in love with this painting by Hans Hofmann (1880-1966). It is called "Afterglow" and was completed in 1930.
Continuing along a "harmonic" theme, the song, "Stompin" from Serena Ryder's album,
"Harmony," is nominated for a Juno award. I couldn't find that song but I did find another of her songs from that album, "For You," from a live CBC session. When I began listening, I was a bit doubtful but her strong personality grew on me and the emotions felt honest.
Below is a video about as far at the other end of the spectrum from the one above as you could hope to find. It is 12-tone music (not a favourite of mine) by Jacques Hétu (1938-2010), a Quebec composer who died in his home in St. Hyppolyte (a small town north of Montreal that I know quite well), survived by his wife and five children. This performance is by Samuel Deason, the 2nd place winner of the Knigge Competition. It is audio only, with this picture of Hétu the only visual. A perfect letter "H" composer, and I will add that though I confessed a certain reluctance to listen to 12-tone music, these variations were appealing. Daniel declared Hétu and that piece one of the best composers/compositions of the century, and those words, plus a first listening, encourage me to give it another listen or two. Thus concludes my very long "Harmony" post. Thanks very much for stopping by. To read about events in the lives of other bloggers (much less long-winded than I) from around the world, perhaps you will take some time to check out the Our World Tuesday meme.