The key of perfect change


Now that I’ll no longer be spending more time moving books around than reading them – 200 boxes a day, average of, say, 30 books per box (sometimes more, sometimes fewer) = 6,000 books, of which I’d typically be handling at least half of them: nasty, heavy things they are, in piles or shrinkwraps of 20-plus – I should once again have the modicum of leisure necessary to post here.

So to begin with, here’s a quote, taken at random, from my ancient copy of Jonathan Cott’s Stockhausen: Conversations with the Composer:

Stockhausen himself lives modestly. he has few possessions and seems to wear only two pairs of light trousers, a couple of white Mexican shirts, and occasionally a Norfolk jacket. His study also exemplifies this simplicity: on a long, slightly angular desk – following the shape of the windows – are placed rulers, pencils, and a telephone. Antique cymbals, bells, and bamboo sticks hang from the ceiling. There’s a phonograph and tape machines, a couple of shelves of books, a map of the stars – northern and southern sky – attached to a closet, and a wonderfully rich-sounding but fast-actioned spinet piano next to the desk on which Stockhausen sometimes plays ragtime and folk tunes for his children. On the piano stand is a photo of the composer’s youngest child Simon, on the bottom of which is written:

We may find when all the rest has failed
Hid in ourselves the key of perfect change

– Aurobindo, in Savitri


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