Hilltop Diary, March 22, 2023

Our Hilltop weather cannot make up its mind, as far as temperature and flowers go. We bring several flower pots indoors when it’s below freezing, we put them out when it’s suddenly 80°F, and then bring them back in again a day or two later. But one thing that is out in force every day is this herd of munching beasts. They have become very deer to me (okay, bad joke).  

Deer 1

Our indoor critters, namely two cats, watch all this venison from the window, and you can only wonder what they are thinking. It cannot be like when they watch the chipmunks; these are too big to catch! The health situation is the same with Oliver as it was last time I wrote, if you are following his progress. We have to wait for another week or so to get his thyroid re-tested.

The ballet I’m composing is now awaiting some advice from a professional fairytale author on our storyline, so there is no news to report there. I’ve been using the free time to write, narrate, and produce more hour-long episodes of my classical music appreciation radio show (see the “Adventures” tab on this site). In addition to the three new episodes I mentioned last time, I have now done four more: one on Russian composer Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, one on Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, and two episodes on the music from great biblical film epics in the golden age of Hollywood – The Robe, Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, and so on. These seven new episodes are going to air on the affiliated radio stations as “Season 2,” and I have to do several more.

We ended up ordering not one but two new garage doors, being generally sick of having to repair the old noisy, broken-down ones that have been there for, who knows, over twenty-five years. You can let a house go and watch it somehow fall completely apart before your eyes, or you can keep it up. By the way, “homeowner” contains “meow” in the middle. I have no idea what that means, in this context.

Things have worked out for me to be a guest at a film premiere gala event on April 26 in New Orleans, for a documentary on “the meaning of music” that features my work, among that of other music conductors and performers. Then coincidentally I will be back in the New Orleans area with entirely different people May 5-7 to speak at an arts and culture conference, and also have accepted an offer to speak at another conference September 22-23 in Washington D.C. I am honored to be invited to speak but trying mostly not to accept when I am, because it takes so much time away from composing to properly prepare a talk and to travel.

So, Crystal has triumphed at Nashville’s Lakewood Theatre in her opening weekend (last weekend) in the play “Angel Street,” upon which was based the movie “Gaslight,” with Crystal playing the Ingrid Bergman lead role. Her character freaks out at the end. I won’t spoil it by saying why or in what way. Scary stuff, though, and not for kids. She really needs to play Lady Macbeth next, I think. On the opposite emotional extreme, she gets to sing at a Cabaret performance coming up in a couple of weeks – the title song from The Sound of Music, and a duet from her recent show, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (“Impossible”). 

Speaking of plays, an article I wrote a while back (but just now appearing in print) on my musical theater composing experience has just been published in the new March/April 2023 (Volume No. 23, No. 2) issue of StAR Magazine, which you can read HERE StAR Article pg. 1, if you’d like. 

Since I last wrote, I have tried out a pretty complicated but delicious recipe for Cajun Red Beans and Rice, using dried beans you have to soak, and also made my regular Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe on March 18. Both were fun and came out tasty. I’m also trying to chase away the cold weather by firing up the Weber kettle outside, and yesterday smoked a spatchcocked whole chicken, rubbed, and cooked by coals using indirect heat.

That’s the rundown, this time. It has run me down a bit, to be sure. If you are feeling run down, or beaten down by the world, remember, “It’s easier to put on a pair of slippers than to try to carpet the entire world.”


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