Construction Zone


“Down below, in the dark of the street lamps, Eusebius said, as if to himself: Beethoven—what lies within this word! Beautifully, within the deep ringing of the syllables, sounds an Eternity.” (“Unten im Laternendunkel sagte Eusebius wie vor sich hin: Beethoven — was liegt in diesem Wort! schon der tiefe Klang der Sylben wie in eine Ewigkeit hineintönend.”) -- Robert Schumann, 1835 Also, this begins with a statue. Every day I'm in the … [Read more...]



My grandmother, my father’s mother, had a nonchalant and serious way of saying “homeplace.” She was talking about the family farm where she lived for more than five decades, where members of the Brubaker family had lived for a century. It wasn’t grand. But conveyed in her pronunciation of that word was both great comfort and resignation. I don’t suppose I understand it. There were entire winter months when she stayed there, never venturing off … [Read more...]

What’s in a name?


"Richard told me." Or, "Martha thinks so." The inspeak of the classical music anointed? A mark of self-importance, of access, or just an acknowledgement of exactly how the celebrated wish to be addressed? Unusual names can serve more easily. "Just ask La Monte." And beyond, "Milton thought so," there are histories and associations. Alexis Weissenberg would be "Siggy” Weissenberg. For some, Susan Wadsworth remained "Susan Popkin." And … [Read more...]

Tale of Two Cities


Taipei Yesterday, I was eating the best beef noodles in Taipei with Lun-Yun and his family -- genuinely extraordinary food, in the beef, the taste of the wood used to cook it, the unctuous broth with chopped green pickle mixed in. Before, we had small pieces of pork spareribs cooked in a steamer with rice groats and a hint of spicy pepper -- a Taiwanese reading of what I thought was a Shanghai dish, that I used to eat with Jacob Lateiner at the … [Read more...]