Monday, June 20, 2011


"Stretto," literally "straitened" or "confined" in Italian, is a nice musical term for the point in a musical composition (usually a fugue and usually near the climax), when dramatic effect is achieved by "piling up the subject, the answer, and their fractional particles in close succession, producing the effect of accelerated canonic imitation."* Ideas or phrases previously heard in succession begin to overlap; everything starts to happen at once.

Such is the intensity of feeling of the garden and orchard at this crossroads of spring and summer, with some of the "real" fruit of summer achieving ripeness (the peregrine peaches above, a tasty pluot, a couple of summer apple varieties, and - within days - a couple of varieties of figs), while we still enjoy the fruits of spring, such as strawberries and beautifully formed still tender heads of lettuce. As we see our first couple of 100-degree days, one can feel the tempo accelerate toward the abundance of July and August.

Life, for a short spell, seems to be imitating both nature and music, with a big birthday (the dreaded "six-oh") last week, a wedding anniversary tomorrow, and the son on the brink of being awarded his PhD ("machine learning," Trinity College, Cambridge University, UK - are we proud?!), also tomorrow. A bunch of overlapping feelings, memories, and reflections, all good.

And music, in turn, was my respite for the past week - 17 hours of opera (Wagner's incomparable Ring of the Nibelung) over six days, while enjoying refuge in the beautiful, intense city of San Francisco. A very nice immersion and a striking counterpoint to life as usual in the wilds west of Galt.

And it's good to be home, with the fruit, family, the heat, and the memories.

*Nicolas Slonimsky, Lectionary of Music

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