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The Capriccio from Bach’s Partita No. 2 in c-minor, played here by the incomparable Trevor Pinnock.

I’ve mostly given up listening to musick during Lent, but before it started, I found myself attracted to trying to play this dance myself, and on Sundays I still give it a whirl.  (For some odd reason that I can’t quite recall, I’ve an idea that the Old Gentleman, who was quite musical himself, didn’t like this particular bit.  I’m sure I’ve no idea why.)

Ol’ Robbo took keyboard lessons for quite a few years in his misspent yoot and even, at one point, vaguely toyed with the idea of going to a conservatory.  (I was dissuaded from this by observation of the conditions in which my teacher lived, quite convinced that I’d be damned lucky even to get as far as he did if I pursued musicke as a career.  That I am now entertaining the possibility of the Middle Gel taking such a  path herself says everything about her comparative talent and drive.)

At any rate, since my days of formal instruction, I have mostly developed my talents as a sight-reader.  And I may say – with no intended smugness, I assure you – that I have reached a level over the years at which I can play a given piece of Bach or Handel, Mozart or Haydn, well enough that I can derive some considerable pleasure from the experience.  I don’t enjoy my playing because of my mastery of a given piece in the mode of a professional.  Rayther, I derive a certain very real satisfaction from just being able to stumble through it, from recognizing that I am at least brushing the surface of its greatness, the depths of which are far beyond my energies.

Nonetheless, every now and again I find myself feeling a bit shamefaced at submitting the sublime creations of such geniuses as mentioned above to the loving harshness of such a consummate hack as myself.  When in such mood, I resolve that this time I’m going to actually practice as I did (or at least was supposed to) back in the day:  I will get the fingering right;  I will study the piece measure by measure, repeatedly practicing each hand separately and then both together;  I will exert my maximum talent and effort to pay due homage.

Yeah, right.

I only bring this up because this particular piece is one that is very difficult to fadge, particularly with the leaps required in the left hand.  The howlers that I have produced have only been matched in their blasphemy (and perhaps superseded) by my language.   Bach deserves better than that.

St. Cecilia, ora pro nobis!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Courtesy of the Bovina Bloviator, ol’ Robbo became aware of this neat-o on-line thingy: the Pope Name Predictor.  As its moniker suggests, it is a little contest to guess the name taken by the next Pope, whose identity, with any luck, we may find out as early as in the next day or two.  I couldn’t resist playing myself.

My prediction?  Well, it was really more of a hope than a guess, although not completely outside the bounds of plausibility.  In fact, I plonked for the name Pope Martellus I.

And why?

Friends of the decanter will know that ol’ Robbo believes it is critical at this time that the Conclave of Cardinals (of course guided by the Holy Ghost) select a new pontiff who carries within him the spirit of Charles Martel (that is, in English, “The Hammer”), a fellah with his back to the wall who nonetheless summoned the courage and strength to beat the holy bejaysus out of Christianity’s enemies, thus turning the tide.  What we need is a Champion of Orthodoxy who will smite not only the external enemies of HMC (here I’m thinking not only of rival religions around the world but more specifically of the secularist hedonism that has poisoned the West), but the internal ones as well.

In short, in these dark times we need a strong leader.

“But Tom,” you say, “Isn’t a reference to an 8th Century Frank kinda, you know, obscure?”

To which I would reply, “No, not if you had paid attention in your Medieval History class like you were supposed to.  Besides, the interconnectedness of the Present with the Past is a feature in my world view, not a bug.”

Besides, I want at least a plausible shot at winning the iThingy the meme is promising to whoever choses wisely, and “Chucknorristus I” and “Jackbaurius I” just didn’t seem like plausible options to me.


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March 2013