Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why, Hello There

I think it's fair to say this has become a vacant blog. I've been doing more reading than writing for the past year or so, and, for the past six months or so, almost as much running as reading, a healthful pasttime. I've also kicked the ol' fast-food addiction (my nadir was a double-down, just as I started running) and am actually fancying myself a vegetarian these days. And wonders never cease.

I've fallen back in thrall with musicological work again, which I wonderful. I've become a more voracious reader, stopped blogging and learned a whole bunch of repertoire, and I'm beginning to understand how to write about it all, and how not to. I'm also a big fan of teaching, which is great: teaching is great. Writing is great. Learning is great.

I have a spate of conference presentations coming up--five in three weeks, it's shaping up to be, from Madison to Iowa City, to Oakland, Michigan, to two in Central Missouri. It'll be a somewhat exhausting gamut, but also invigorating to road-test my research, much of which I've been sitting on for quite some time. What I've enjoyed, making this all presentable (material on Berio's O King and a style study of Albert M. Fine's proto-minimalist keyboard works), is the joy of rediscovery, not just from my archival material but from myself. I will rack my brain over a particular phrasing, only to discover a moment of clarity scrawled illegibly in the margins of a book or photo-copy from 2, 3, even 5 or 6 years ago. Sometimes I'll have recognized an idea but not really have the tools to see what it really means, or--like a dog out on a walk near a smelly hydrant--I'll draw the wrong conclusion from it and chase it down.

Another joy is to be around a new crew. The life cycle of a grad-school crew is about 2 or 3 years. I had a great crew of colleagues, saw them go, and now it seems everything's reloaded, and I'm surrounded by fresh approaches, sympathetic and challenging at the same time, and a group of interesting new faculty who read my mind and point me in the right direction. People share my interests, round out my knowledge, and 20-minute hallway conversations can suggest whole new fields I never imagined existed.

My favorite "new" colleagues are hardly new at all to me, but old buddies from Lawrence who have managed to settle here in nowheresville: Andy and Meg have some of the most interesting musical minds I know. You'll like their blogs. They're both fixtures at Jared Fowler's terrific ihearic concert series, which has filled a great void.

I attend much too infrequently: being a morning person (wonders never cease) doesn't always support being a new music fan. I'll only hear the Feldman string quartet if I can go during the early bird special.