Other Matters: The 2012 Crop Forecast With Music

East of the mountains, we live in apple country ——and pear, peach, cherry and hop country. Those dark green areas in the picture above are orchards typical of those that cover the hills and valleys. The orchards were quiet on Sunday during our photo expedition, but before long they will be alive with pickers and the warehouses full of packers preparing fruit for shipping all over the world. The Washington Apple Commission is predicting the second biggest harvest ever, nearly 109 million bushels. These are Red Delicious, no longer the dominant variety but still hugely popular.
Many growers have torn out acreages of Red Delicious and replaced them with Gala, Pink Lady or Fuji, some of the newer varieties with crisper textures or sweeter taste, or both.
I wonder what Wayne Shorter’s favorite is.

They also grow pears around here, not quite in the profusion of apples, but they are an abundant cash crop.Music referring to pears is rare. There might be none if Eric Satie hadn’t responded to critics who accused him of writing music that had no form. He called this Trois Morceaux en Forme de Poire (Three pieces in the Form of a Pear). Here are Robert and Gaby Casadesus.

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  1. Светлана says

    I don’t know about Wayne Shorter, but your wonderful photos of apples and pears (they are my favorite kinds of fruit!) make my mouth water, as well as rich colors of nature mortes and paysages by Paul Cezanne to the Eric Satie Trois Morceaux, thank you.

  2. says

    Whilst munching on a Gala and enjoying a mental visit to the Great Northwest, I am reminded that I, too, come from Apple Country, albeit the t’other side of the U-S. Growing up in Vermont, I was surrounded by apple orchards in the 1940s – Mackintosh, Northern Spy, the old-fashioned kinds. My dad was an enthusiast of single engine airplanes and the act of flying. He never could afford to own a plane, but when the crop dusters came to town to spray the orchards, he and I would jump in the car, drive to an orchard and park among the rows of trees to get a close-up of daredevil pilots at work. From an altitude of several hundred feet, the biplanes would drop down to apple treetop level and roar along the rows, releasing their insecticide in yellowish clouds, their landing gear brushing the tops of the trees. At the end of the row where there was usually a planting of tall pines to keep the winds from blowing ripe fruit off the trees, the pilots would stand their stubby craft on their tails, jam the throttles and pray the engines wouldn’t skip a beat. Then, a quick climbing turn, and they would drop back down and hit the next rows from the opposite direction. It was thrilling stuff. Of course, back then we rural folk didn’t know the dangers of breathing in copious amounts of insecticide. What does this have to do with jazz? Call it Basic Training.

    • Doug Ramsey says

      Mr. Birchard operates an internet radio station, CyberJazz Today, that does have to do with jazz. He tends to open his segments with “poetry” of his own manufacture, i.e.

      The boy stood on the burning deck,
      Eating peanuts by the peck,
      Listening to
      CyberJazz Today—
      Program 25, Oy Vey.

      Nonetheless, to hear CyberJazz Today, click here.

  3. Iola Brubeck says

    I’ve been meaning to tell you that I especially enjoyed your apples and pears report and the beautiful stroll through Cezanne’s Provence. Dave wrote a piece for chorus called ” I See, Satie”. The words are:

    “When I sing a twelve tone row,
    I always think ‘how strange’.
    Must the notes stay in a row
    And never, ever change?
    Bela Bartok, Anton Webern,
    In the modern school
    Wrote some melodies enchanting
    Breaking every rule
    And Milhaud said
    We need not care
    Write music anyway you dare
    Les Six had discovered
    Eric Satie and he
    Shaped his music oval as a pear
    What perfect form.
    I see, Satie.

    (The notes in the piano accompaniment are shaped as a pear.)