Is this thing on?

It certainly has been a while.

Though this site is never far from my mind–and often near the very front of it–I just needed some time away from the toiling at the keyboard. In normal times, what actually gets posted here represents a small percentage of the myriad drafts and notions and fits and starts. But, as with most things over the last many months, I’ve put things on hold. Some out of my own desire to do so, and some for reasons beyond my control.

When we made the family decision last year to move to Buffalo, I saw it as an opportunity to wipe the slate mostly clean. I figured that clearing out my schedule and routine would help me to de-stress some by shedding the years of accumulated obligations and busy-ness. It worked out, in ways both good and bad, but here I am a year later feeling ready to lay the foundation and start anew. We finally closed on a house here in April, and we’re settled into the new location and routine.

I thought I’d at least write more here in the interim, but I suppose the world survived without my completing those half-finished drafts of concert reviews (Liebman at Toronto’s The Rex and the Canadian Opera Company’s Götterdämmerung at Toronto’s Four Season Center, on successive weekends in February, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds at SPAC), passionate meditations on you know what, an ode to the now-closed Record Theatre, a celebration of the twentieth anniversary of my first Tool concert (07.26.97…an important and formative date), and a rumination on “the long 1996”–a pivotal year of music for an adolescent me. Yada yada.

The summer came and went unremarkably, mostly filled with work and getting the house and property in order. Not returning to Austria, coupled with my not teaching during this upcoming year, has seemingly put me off the academic grid with less of a sense of time. The first few months of 2017 were focused on closing on and moving into our house. And since then it’s been a whole lotta parenting and nesting.

For a while, ambivalent practicing was the best I could do. Thankfully, though, over the last couple months I’ve been able to settle into a good routine, enjoying what could arguably be some of my more productive practice sessions since my son’s birth.

More notable is that despite the valleys and eventual peak of my own music-making, I’ve been listening a lot, much more than in the few preceding years. I’d been taking in a lot of music, but it seemed to be in spurts, and overall pretty passive, and I’d go long spells without getting too excited about anything new. This year my ears are hungrier than ever. Part of it is related to my actively reducing both my daily news consumption–which had been at junkie-status for a decade–as well as my podcast intake. But also I’ve had just a genuine desire to dig back in. It’s been great for my mind and soul, even if my wallet has taken a hit. The renewed urgency around listening is no doubt related to my increased desire to play for the sake of playing (as opposed to maintenance).

Hopefully I can find the time to get back into some sort of rhythm here also. I mean, I do intend to actually proceed beyond a half-draft and publish a review of Chicago Lyric Opera‘s Die Walküre in a couple months…

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