Hilltop Diary, June 22, 2022

Yesterday, the first day of summer, has ushered in a week or two of what used to be called dog-days, with 100+ heat indices, but I think I’m one of those people who would still choose that over the sub-freezing days of winter. The garden seems to love the full sun, provided we water it enough. All of our flowers are now in, and the fountain offers a relaxing sound during the hours that you can actually sit outside. If you look closely at the top of the righthand photo, you can see some of our cherry tomatoes on the windowsill, inside.

I proofread the latest version of my album liner notes yesterday and will have a final look at them before filling out the record company’s final approval form, and likewise I have to check the fixes on the master one more time this week and will finally be done with the album, so it can be sent off to manufacturing. Yay and whew! Update, June 23: The album booklet and the final Mastering are now approved and on their way to the CD factory!

A timely development related to the album is an offer I had (and accepted) to publish the sheet music for the choral pieces that are also on the album with the symphony. So, they will be available both on CD and in sheet music form. This music can be purchased through the publisher’s online catalog, HERE. They are already in high gear for the summer music publishers’ conferences and will be taking this sign as a poster to display in their booths.

Meanwhile, our orchestra in Bulgaria is preparing footage of my recording session and interviews they did with me and the conductor for a promotional video, from which I have garnered a bit of footage of myself conducting the orchestra. (This take that I conducted of the ending made it onto the album.) I have added this one-minute video to my symphony page, HERE. I’ll provide a link to the orchestra’s full promo video after they post it.

Crystal had a great opening weekend and melted not a few hearts in her musical theater show, The Secret Garden, and has the upcoming weekend remaining (Thursday through Saturday nights). See my last entry for a link to buy tickets. We were thrilled to have several family members, including her dad, in town for the first weekend’s shows and for Father’s Day, which was also our 12th wedding anniversary (not to mention “Juneteenth”). When it rains, it pours. 

This week, in addition to composing, I’m hoping to finish up reading the last of the five novels in James Herriot’s All Creatures books (loved them) and get back to Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. This is made more urgent now, because we are planning to share a mountain-top cabin in the Smoky Mountains for a week in July with a couple of our very good friends. The husband (author Joseph Pearce) is a biographer of Waugh, among several biographies he has written about others.

I’d like to know a bit more about the Brideshead novel itself, having only seen the film adaptations up to now. Then if I come up with any questions, I’ll have him as a captive audience to answer them! Otherwise, we always talk about everything under the sun and sample our various newly discovered libations in moderation as we look over the glorious vistas and sunsets from the cabin’s wrap-around porch. I am ready to kick back, thusly!

As for my own modest literary efforts, the keynote address I gave to the annual conference of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research last year in Pasadena has finally been edited into a proper refereed, academic article for the Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, Volume XXXIV, Fall 2022. My essay is titled, “Awakening Things Within: Music and Christian Fairytales.” Once it is published, I’ll see if I can post a link to it here.

By “academic,” I do not mean it is difficult to read, only that it now is full of all those footnotes, ibid’s, and op cit’s at the end that plagued me so annoyingly in high school all-nighters, usually the night before the term paper was due, till I wanted to die. That’s because I frittered away all my time playing and listening to music and waiting till the last minute to do the whole  long paper. I was later made to pay for it in the karma of years of having to correct student term papers and theses about music at Vanderbilt University. Still, I think the idea of having to go through high school English again makes possibly the best theological argument against reincarnation. 

Till next time!


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