Richter absolutely owns Chopin’s Nocturne in E minor op. 72 no. 1

If Classical 96.3 had been playing this today, I would have had to pull over. Possibly my favourite Nocturne.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Poem: “High Flight”
John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (9 June 1922 – 11 December 1941) was an American aviator and poet who died as a result of a mid-air collision over Lincolnshire during World War II. He was serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force, which he joined before the United States officially entered the war. Magee’s posthumous fame rests mainly on his sonnet “High Flight”, started on 18 August 1941, just a few months before his death. He had flown up to 33,000 feet in a Spitfire Mk I. As he orbited and climbed upward, he was struck with the inspiration of a poem — “To touch the face of God.” He completed it later that day after landing.


Liszt Consolation #3

Written in 1849 as Chopin passed away, the Consolations divulge a slightly gloomy Liszt, almost sad. As he was writing a book in tribute to his Polish colleague, Liszt seems to have adopted his deceased friend’s language, especially in this third consolation, probably the most popular of all six pieces.

This is what Classical 96.3 was playing as Escargot and I skimmed along the sunny/cloudy Queensway this afternoon.

The cello truly plucks at the human soul, as in the first video interpretation of this beautiful piece:

Franz Liszt, Consolation No.3, Guido Schiefen (cello), Eric Le Van (piano)

In the second video, Sylvain Blassel performs this third Consolation, S.172, on a gothic styled, twisted column Erard harp from 1907!

Franz Liszt – Consolation No. 3 – Sylvain Blassel, harp

And in the third, of course, Horowitz has well over a million views for his sensitive piano interpretation:

Horowitz plays Liszt Consolation No. 3

But it’s always the cello that sings to me.

Canis Major


A new star burns bright in Canis Major.

Image: from the Seattle lantern festival

Cherry Blossoms for Kyoto

September 29, 1997 – May 12, 2013


Cherry trees bloom en masse in early spring in Japan, but the white-to-coral petals shed and die very quickly and the peak bloom is only a week or two. There is a celebration called hanami associated with the peak bloom, which often entails picnics and drinking with old friends under the cherry trees.

Sakura season is a highly visible sign of spring, the beauty of nature, renewal of life, and first love…but can also represent the transience and fragility of beauty, life, and love.

Sakura evokes both the new beginning of spring and the transience of passing from one stage of life to another.

Godspeed, Cherry Blossom Princess.

Ocelot Road

Ocelot Road 


Somewhere near Kitimat, B.C.

With a nod to graphic designer, Saul Bass, who was celebrated in the Google Doodle this past week. This had the makings of “Vertigo” (James Steward, Kim Novak) before the twirling began.

Google Doodle:

Original Google Street View at




In the style of Alex Colville’s “Horse and Train”:,+Horse+and+Train

Colville turned to existentialism in his art work after World War II. Existentialism tends to focus on the question of human existence. It is up to humans to create personal responsibility for themselves outside of any branded belief system. Existentialists seem to embrace existence and seek to find and create meaning in life. For Colville, existentialism provided a way for him to understand the Second World War and investigate his experiences. Colville reflects his experiences of the Second World War into his paintings of the 1950s by trying to present to the viewer a feeling of sadness. During the 1950s, Colville’s art work was a search for self discovery. Colville’s artistic process became a visual analogue of a quest for finding himself.

Original Google Street View at



A brag about Escargot, my ice silver Mini Cooper S that I picked up on the weekend. Born in Oxford, England, with some BMW styling thrown in. Our first trip was to Paris (Ontario). Riding through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair. Priceless. Eat your heart out, Lucy Jordan. No housework planned for the foreseeable future.

For my friend, Jim Marsh, who told me this car would be a lot of fun, and he was right.