Not Again

It’s not my intention to let this blog deteriorate into a series of self-regarding announcements. I would prefer to spin off a sort of house organ, let’s call it Denk News, or something, which would have the responsibility of reviewing my own concerts, telling everyone all the wonderful things I am doing, the recipes I am considering making, etc. etc.

But the launching of Denk’s organ may take some time. In the interim, without any meta- or irony or postmodern-whatever-other-trappings of the 21st Century Musician, I have to admit I am very very excited to appear on Fresh Air today. From the moment that Terry Gross’ voice came over the headphones in the ironically airless and stale studio, I was transported, I felt changed into a kind of latte-sipping Volvo-driving Avatar of myself.

Seriously, I am thrilled that she found the album compelling enough to listen to, and talk about. She asked me very simple and profound questions, by which I often found myself stumped. Feel free to tune in and mock me for my stammering flights of fancy.

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  1. jean
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Mr. Denk! I listened to the interview and read everything. Terry Gross is a very good interviewer, and your answers are terrific. Never knew Ligeti and the Etudes until you cracked the code. Haven’t seen those movies with his scores mentioned in the article; don’t like scary movies very much. This revelation about Ligeti is scary enough….I do like the Ligeti Etudes. It’s a wonder.

    The extreme South wind last night blew off another lemon from the tree, or a bird had been picking at it; this mystery needs to be solved too….

  2. Benson
    Posted May 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    “And then once you kind of discover the principle behind the etude, the musical score will look a little more commonsensical, but it takes a little while, especially, for example, the first one, “Desordre,” where he splits the sort of bar line between the left and right hand, it begins to split like there was a seismic shift, and it was like a crack splitting between the two bar lines.”

    Pardon my ignorance…is this what musicologists refer to as the “Ligeti Split”?

    Kudos on the Fresh Air interview (and the album, and the various publications…) — you’re really hitting the big time! Don’t forget us all when you’re partying with Kanye West and Tim Tebow on Oprah’s yacht!

  3. Posted May 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Bravo on the Fresh Air interview, Jeremy! You have a gift for describing complicated musical things in terms that non-musicians can immediately grasp and that don’t condescend in any way. They also open up fresh ways of thinking and hearing to musicians. Thanks!

  4. anna martina sodari
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    i am harvesting the first zuchinni today, i let it get quite large, i hope the seeds aren’t large. two years ago, they would get over a foot long on huge plants and the seeds were still small. so, zuchinni bread in a square pan with walnuts and raisins, i will use some of that fabulous walnut oil from la tourangelle and olive oil in the recipe:-) the next zuke will be sliced up with red bell pepper and large pieces of onion, marinated in something that i throw together whose key ingredients are the lime, vinegar and brown sugar with tomato sauce and the oils and herbs. i have williams sonoma house oil, which is made from arbequina olives which are originally from palestine. the veggies will be grilled in a grill wok until they roast and they are to die for, just ask my very picky son, christopher and his wife, kelly. it is best to marinate them overnight. i should marinate some chicken kabobs overnight and make some brown rice with chicken broth and mushrooms that i have sauteed with garlic and onions that i add to the rice or some garlic cheese mashed potatoes:-) and then i have to run around the block 8x or get on the nordic track elliptical that’s in the living room of my little trailer, listening to classical music!!!!!!! i do still have frozen peach packs in the freezer from last year’s peaches to make a peach cobbler for dessert. later this summer, i will have to try out my new stainless steel cuisinart ice cream maker:-) if you ever get out to tucson, a trip to the elgin/sonoita vineyards is worth the drive and in patagonia, there is a little restaurant called ‘velvet elvis’ which dishes up pizzas and calzones and it is fabulous pizza on a sweet homemade wheat crust with the same for the dinner roll that comes with the crisp, delicious salad. they even have an ‘exorcist’ pizza although the main wall of the restaurant is roof to floor frames of various sizes of pictures of the virgen de guadalupe including a very large one. the propietoress does look like she is aztec line. i wonder what she would think of the ligeti, it is kind of primal piano like indigenous drums, the earliest method on the planet for controlling chaos. you look very primal in some of your pictures as you attack the piano to get the bestest sound:-)

  5. jean
    Posted June 25, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    It’s been days since I last listened to your music. I was going to listen some more and perhaps to analyze something of Charles Ives or Ligeti’s; but I was more in the mood for a simple music. After listened to a favorite traditional fiddle music CD I’m permeated with sadness….simple or not, it has a complexity of its own. However, it doesn’t make my mind work (hard) the same way analyzing a classical piece, which sometimes is full of emotion in itself.

    Maybe we should crash into anna martina sodari’s kitchen to have some of her delicious meals then that will be wonderful. I only have split pea soup right now which only reminds me of Ligeti Split.

  6. anna martina sodari
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    i can’t remember why i googled enrico fermi today, maybe because of all of the upheaval in the middle east, but i discovered that the first nuclear reactor, the atomic pile in chicago, was built on a squash court. that got mistranslated and people thought it was built in a pumpkin field. so, i have the zuchinni squash going on the eastern side of my little trailer and the huge pumpkin plants that came up where i threw out a halloween pumpkin last year are to the western side, close to the sheds that i had painted a dark taupe and i call them my dwarf planets because that’s what i envisioned when i backed up to look at them after they were painted. arthur holly compton was the administrator of the manhattan project and he went on to washington university in st. louis, where i worked for awhile, to study ’cause and effect’. so all of this made me think of jean with her split pea soup, splitting the atom. i wish i knew what ran the wireless electricity that nikola tesla envisioned. he was from the area of bosnia. makes you wonder what those children have in their memory banks. classical music triggers thoughts in our little brain that are stored in those ancient memory banks, methinks. it ‘massages’ our thought processes. if mikio kaku says that super-string theory is a great symphony, what are our brain waves on classical music doing on a larger scale? if chaos theory postulates that the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings has great consequences, what about our brain waves on classical music? we can’t see our brain waves, but they do exist and they are very powerful when they are in zen. theta brain wave. just ask a navy seal. we’re sitting on top of something that is going to power up our planet, our homes, our cars at very little cost so that we can afford to eat healthy and live well, having more $ for things like concerts and good cd’s and good books, which will all change our brain activity/brain waves. we are going to be instrumental in healing the planet, chi energy. we’ve crossed some kind of divide on the scale of evolution. we’ve changed maslow’s pyramid, there is a new apex. maybe that is what has inspired classical composers from the beginning, the holistic nature of their work. it is all creation:-) imagine what more is possible if we bring classical music to the third world countries . . . . . .

  7. jean
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    ….at least my (fresh, not canned) split peas are contained inside the pot; I just put the lid on, keep cooking and splitting the atoms until they become soup, and eat it. I’m impressed with all the Ligeti’s splittings, Jeremy could still be able to get a handle on those mysterious musical forms before the notes got vaporized into thin air.

  8. Benson
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    It’s a tremendous feat of peanism, no doubt about it.

  9. anna martina sodari
    Posted July 14, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    i am going to use part of one of the giant zuchinnis from the garden to make beef fajitas with garlic, red bell pepper, onions, the zuke and cilantro with tortillas. i still have sour cream, the avocados were too expensive. i gave another zuke to my neighbor, manuela, happy that i could contribute to her groceries since she only gets foodstamps for one and her undocumented daughter lives with her. it take 10 years for a sister, karina still have 2 years left to go, poor thing, at least she has enough dox so that they can’t deport her. her mother, manuela, is disabled, two very bad knees, she did get one operated on. karina told me awhile back, you listen to all kinds of music, don’t you? she does mexican radio, which drives me insane. a friend gave me two tickets to the last symphony this spring and i was going to take her, she managed to make herself very sick so that she wouldn’t have to go, silly thing. what can you do?! i gave them two ears of corn for the calabasitas, too, since manuela forgot her canned corn at food city. and 3 lbs of small potatoes a couple of days later. still waiting for the green beans to stop their flower drop and set green beans, there are a few . . . some jerks too lazy to garden themselves must be harvesting them in a parallel universe. and the big boy tomatoes, too, they are setting a few more now. what craziness. it’s a very good thing that i am a very persistent gardener, somebody else might have given up on the veggie plants already, geesh. the color green does do wonders for my poor little brain. i want to see the ligeti, since i don’t know music, i don’t get the splits. so, when are you coming to tucson, jeremy? best, anna martina

  10. anna martina sodari
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    the garden is finally producing, i picked 2 1/2 lbs. of kentucky wonder green beans, about 25 lbs. of alberta peaches, which is more than i expected after the warm weather in february and the hard freeze in march and the zuchinni plant is working on 3 more zuchinni, which i will let grow large, that’s about 14 in. long and a little over 3 in. in circumference. i just shredded a cup and a half of zuchinni for a square pan of zuchinni bread with raisins and walnuts. and i made ‘calabasitas’ this week, too. last week i made a peach cobbler for the disabled american vet across the street from me for his young boys’ visitation day. he said they scarfed it down. i will make them another one, we owe the DAV’s so damn much! just two small ‘big boy’tomatoes so far, i should have planted those with manure! i’ve had about 2 lbs. of cherry tomatoes so far. i cannot describe the feeling of abundance and complete peace from cooking with veggies and fruit from the garden:-) it’s euphoric:-) i’d like to think that the plants gain some of their productivity from listening to the npr classical music that i wrap up every day with at night:-) so, of to make that zuchinni bread . . . . . .

  11. jean
    Posted July 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Oh My Gosh! It sounds like you have a huge garden and it’s just shooting out some good stuff. Maybe the classical music gives you inner peace, and when you tend your plants they can feel that too. Maybe it’s not strange that my apple tree only gave me one apple this year, and all the lemons fell off prematurely. Hopefully when it grows bigger, has more lemons to offset the ones which fall down and leaves me some on the tree then it’s nice. I heard of how useful the manure fertilizer is, but I can not handle the smell and the thought of what my fruits extract from it….I guess it really doesn’t matter….

    I’m listening to the Baroque music right now, unfortunately it’s not from Jeremy’s. However, I love Jeremy’s Bach CD and will revisit it in a bit when I go out to check on my trees….for being busy I tend to forget to listen to his CDs which is not good for my soul. Also wondering if Z is ok? Oh, too bad you can’t drive to Santa Fe in NM where he’ll be performing in August?

  12. anna martina sodari
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    hmmm, an update on Z would be nice. i can’t even drive to phx due to energy constraints,, driving to the tucson airport to take a flight to portland, oregon, to visit my son and his family, i have two grandchildren, a 6 yr. old and a 1 yr. old, that little drive is about my limit.

    gave my neighbor, manuela, a little over a pound of the green beans today, she is making pippian, jeremy might know what that is, green beans with red chile, milk, i mentioned it to my son and he said they had green beans with red chile in bhutan, on their honeymoon, hmmmmm, that would be interesting if ice-age bhutan is in sonora, mexico, from their journey across the bering strait, my mom used to make the same dish. nothing like a little serendipity, here. i wonder if bhutan knew that my son was ‘family’ on their honeymoon . . . . . he did have an amazingly dark ‘mongolian spot’ on his back when he was born. mine is light, you can barely see it.

    fruit tree fertilizer sticks do the trick for those fruit trees, i even use 1/2 of a stake in the patio pots with the maters, beans and basil. made cabrese (sp?) last night with a few small tomatoes and the fresh basil leaves from the garden. that is an amazing simple salad, yum:-)

    hopefully, i will get to sit down for some quiet time and listen to jeremy and joshua’s recording the ‘french impressions’ that just won the german music award. i bought it in february and it’s still unopened! i made french green beans tonight, with the sauteed onions, i carmelized them in bacon drippings and boiled the green beans w/garlic (i mash it w/ my mom’s trusty volcanic rock, i have her old grinding stone, too, from when the river was too high to cross over to the flour mill in jecori, sonora) and two chicken bouillion cubes to give the gravy more flavor, the water you boil the beans in is used after you brown the flour in the onions and bacon drippings. that was my evening meal. quite substantial, my tummy is happy! and i must have been iron deficient because my foggy brain perked right up . . . . .

    when i putter in the kitchen, i have mental pictures float through my mind of my mother carrying water from the river in two clay pots slung across her shoulders on a yoke. one was larger than the other, it permanently swayed her spinal cord so one hip was higher than the other. when she moved to douglas, arizona, she found work as a live-in maid for the williams family, a founding family of douglas, and they are related to john williams, who wrote the music for ‘star wars’ and other films. she worked for them for 18 years until she married my dad. one night, when we stayed in a cabin in ramsey canyon, she told me, ‘when this universe dies, it probably just becomes the next universe’ . . . . . pretty profound for 5th grade mexican elementary school! but that’s mexico, full of surprises, i love aaron copland’s ‘el salon mexico’. the new york music school where he studied has murals of diego rivera and the poor indians on it’s walls. jeremy probably has stories about the mexican spirit since his parents live in new mexico. he might have even eaten ‘pippian’ with tortillas at some point in time . . . . .

  13. anna martina sodari
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    goggled ‘1940’ the other night and the images had a pix of linus pauling and his family. he was awarded two nobel prizes, chemistry and the nobel peace prize, both unshared. controversial because of his communistic leanings during the mccarthy era, but an amazing chemist. quantum chemistry. atom nature of molecules. the linus pauling institute does studies w/micronutrients and i guess that’s where i fall, i just bought the chromium picolinate that i ran out of early last month to see if that will be enough to balance what is probably the diabetes that runs in my family, my brother had to have gastric bypass surgery. after losing over 100 lbs., they can control it w/minerals. i use the magnesium and zinc as well. i run very acidic, the skin peels in my mouth when it’s very high, ugh, so no vit c but i did get a very nice english tea of hibiscus with rose hips, which seems to be just enough. i really think that my chemistry benefits greatly from being surrounded by my very green garden and fruit trees and it’s oxygen ‘cloud’. definitely much cooler on my small footprint of planet as well. and i’m quite sure that my npr classical music at night totally mellows out the chemical bonds in my body. linus pauling pushed high vit c dosing, i push classical music for improved health, mental and physical, and now i know the reason, chemical bonds, they must be affected by the control centers in the brain that vibrate to the inner peace generated by the music, healing chi energy, which is composted of mostly low-frequency amplitude modulated infrared radiation, low-frequency magnetic fields, particle flow signals, infrasound and ion streams.. off to make a green bean/stewed tomatoes with cheddar cheese sauce casserole, the stewed tomatoes are canned but the green beans are fresh . . . . . .

  14. jean
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Anna, hope that by now you already unwrapped the new French Impressions CD. Since you mentioned it, I listened to it again with great joy; but to be totally alone for the music to flow into my soul I had to tell my dog to stay inside and let me go outside to get the bugs; she knows about bugs and she always agrees with me doing that, believe it or not if she sees a bug’s running around in the house she goes get me….It’s been hot here in central TX, sometimes I eat cold sweet watermelon through out the day.

  15. anna martina sodari
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    had a block of time freezing green beans and making zuchinni bread so i put on the ‘french impressions’. OMG. if my dad hadn’t passed on 1/3/07, i would get him the cd. the piano is definitely NOT secondary . . . . . he loved classical piano. have to get it on my ipod so i can listen to it on my way up to portland on friday. i was way mellow by the time the zuchinni bread went into the oven. it’s hot here, too, jean, glad that we’re going to the beach for 3 days in oregon. watermelon is ‘sandia’ in spanish, like sandia, new mexico, in michael crichton’s ‘timeline’. i read it years after it came out. when i got to the part about the professor’s glasses, i did a quick errand run to wally mart. as i sat in the car at the stoplight, the right lens in my glasses fell into my lap! the plastic string broke. wish i had a cd player in my car for the drive to tucson, maybe when i replace the broken tape player. my cat, bubalou, chilled out to the cd, too. once, in a manic run through tucson, as i walked around the presidio area, i saw three tall, clear cubicles that looked like transporters . . . . . . . . there is an aztec mural of astronauts and rockets on the side of the art museum.

  16. anna martina sodari
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    listened to an npr program yesterday about young kids who have been honored with various awards for their prowess on their classical instrument. one young 11-yr. old pianist played an amazing bach piece. then, the listeners found out that she came from a domestic violence home and even lost her piano during those tumultuous years and had to spend time in a woman’s shelter. she loves going to art museums with her mother in the cities where she plays. her message to kids in difficult times is that there is always hope and their future is ahead of them. she and her mom do ‘tea’ every day, after she comes home from school and starts her homework, they talk about their day. the interviewer called it a ‘tea ceremony’. interesting observation. the audience was crazy about all of the kids featured on the program, i was in the kitchen and the radio which receives the tucson ua classical station is in the bathroom, i would always run back too late to catch the name of the program and the interviewer. they posted one painting that she really like on their site, something about a little corner of venice, shadows and the feeling of otherworldliness/another dimension/realm from the way the shadows were painted. i may have to call the ua classical station to find the site where the painting was posted and the little girl’s name. amazing.

  17. anna martina sodari
    Posted September 7, 2012 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    her name is victoria young, from henderson, nv, it was a ‘from the top’ radio program of 5/15/11, oklahoma city. the painting was a william merritt chase ‘venice’. i wonder if she was feeling the water spirits of the canal in the shadows of the posts. she is oriental, so yes, ‘tea ceremony’. darn, i couldn’t find where i could listen to her play again. now she is volunteering in centers for the elderly and is enjoying sharing her musical gift. she is a jack kent cooke young artist. wonderful that they have such a program for gifted kids with financial need!

  18. anna martina sodari
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    finally found out the name of the song that has been running through my head for 8 years or so, not knowing what it was. it is the ‘toreador song’ from bizet’s ‘carmen’. toreador being a bullfighter. they played it on npr the other day. i must remember it from very long ago when my music teacher at joe carlson school, just across the street from us in douglas, introduced us to classical music in 5th and 6th grade because i have never seen ‘carmen’! made me think of the greek myth about the minotaur and the labyrinth when i found out the name of the song. hope that minotaur was eventually annihilated and the labyrinth collapsed since they used to feed him the best of our best. terrible to beautifully raise a child to young adulthood only to have him/her devoured by the minotaur, egads, what a horrible loss for the community and the development of mankind! also terrible that music is cut from the curriculum during school district budget cuts, if my subconscious remembered that song from 5th grade!

  19. anna martina sodari
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    bought my ticket for tucson symphony with joshua bell soloist in february. sure wish it was a joshua bell/jeremy denk recital!!!!!

  20. anna martina sodari
    Posted October 25, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    jeremy denk plays the piano on the new san francisco symphony cd ‘american mavericks’ which can now be pre-ordered:-)

  21. anna martina sodari
    Posted October 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    finally made the bacon, sauteed portabella mushroom with onions and garlic quiche yesterday that i bought the portabella mushrooms for. shared it with my friend’s son, whose birthday was yesterday. he works at the co-op where the local farmers bring in their produce, i should go and see what there is to see and buy. at marshalls i found english made lemon curd and fig and apple preserve which i have been feasting on. i put the lemon curd on miniature croissants. i need to buy more bacon and swiss cheese for the 2nd portabella mushroom since i shared 1/4 of the pie! trapped stray mama cat and her older 3 kittens and humane society neutered them, they have to spend the night of their surgery inside and be released the next morning. i played the tucson classical music station, which i listen to all day, all night for them, as well. when they ungrogged from their ordeal, the classical music shut down their pitiful, ‘why am i still in this trap?’ mewing and they totally mellowed out. i had to set the alarm clock and get up early (normal time for working folks) to trap, release. since then, i have been able to get to sleep two-three hours earlier than before, halleluia! staying in zen all day with classical music surely helped with that conundrum. i sure wish i could make it to a performance of the ‘from the top’ teens. they are amazing, the future of classical music is alive and well!

  22. jean
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi Anna!

    I was going to say something about my lemon tree, but I’m afraid Mr. Denk’s going to say “Not again!”. Anyway, it’s only 5ft tall, and the few tiny lemons which came with the tree when I bought it, mysteriously disappeared; now fruitless….

    There’s a big black cat which has been hanging around here, sometimes climbed the fence to get inside the backyard; I thought it’s a stray cat, but the name tag on the collar says “I’m Batman”. When another neighbor said that he doesn’t know what to do about a black cat in his backyard, its name is Robin. Then I realized there’re two of them when I saw them together, one is slightly smaller. Only after I saw the movie Batman Darkknight Rises, I can now tolerate the cats. I don’t know which one of them ate most of the large bird he caught, feathers all over the place, and I had to clean that up. Don’t want to ruin your appetite but that’s about me and cats.

    Halloween night, I’m typing in the dark so the trick/treaters think I’m not at home, except the dog barks at the door every few minutes. Wondering which CD I should listen to right now….

  23. anna martina sodari
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    hi, jean,

    ‘from the top’ is coming to tucson’s university of arizona centennial hall the day after the tucson symphony concert with joshua bell, they are taking applications now from gifted teenagers. i’m hoping that i can spend the night in tucson and go to that, too. i have to save my pennies!

    fertilize your lemon tree this fall and in the spring with the fruit tree fertilizer sticks. it makes all the difference in the world!

    here, i feed the birds and they’ve only caught one or two, but there’s never anything left but the feathers. i figure it’s natural law. which reminds me that i need to buy another 40 lb. bag of the family farm scratch feed that they use for the chickens. it has cracked corn and lots of grains. if i lived on the farm, i’d have to be a vegetarian, the chickens and the cows would be my friends! i remember when the refugee cambodians first came to california, the neighborhood pet cats and dogs started disappearing, they were getting eaten by the asians. they had to have big town hall meetings explaining that these were peoples pets!!! terrible what happened in laos and cambodia during the vietnam war. oh, today is veteran’s day, that must be why that is on my mind . . . . . and ‘from the top’ was in beijing, china, today. in my next life, i will definitely have to learn to play a musical instrument. the chinese melodies really struck a chord, must be my oriental dna. the year after high school, i was alternate ‘china poblana’ for the mexican social club in town. they know where they’re from, the indians of mexico, their journey across the bering strait. a little birdie told me several years ago that when the french were in vietnam for the rubber, dark times for the vietnamese, the sorbonne found the pyramid that they had been looking for beneath the waters of a swamp. identical to one in mexico. go figure. interesting that there are vietnamese communities that mingle with the hispanic communities in boston, home of ‘from the top’!

    have a very good week and the same to jeremy, who appears to have abandoned us! blessings, anna martina

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