Richibi’s Weblog

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Category: finding miracles

pension protest, à la Russe


  Miriam dances (1931) 

       Marc Chagall


a couple of retired Russian ladies spoofed 
a video that student airline pilots had 
performed, that shocked their academy,
who wanted the boys expelled

in protest, other Russians started sending
in their own versions of the dance, but these
two ladies, nothing at all like Tina Turner
turned out to be the Internet sensation

read all about it here, click on each of the
videos there, the girls’ and the boys’, you’ll
love ‘em

R ! chard


what’s up in Düsseldorf / Beethoven


          the “Altstadt“, Düsseldorf, Germany


from Düsseldorf, a city I’ve called 
Düsseldon’t, Düsseldreary, 
Düsselneverbother, comes a 
performance there to change, utterly,  
my mind about it, though I’d always 
known that every European city has
its extraordinary wonders, count ’em

watch this, for instance, one of those

Beethoven didn’t write string quartets
until he was ready, following in the 
footsteps of Haydn wouldn’t’ve been
easy, but Beethoven wasn’t wasting 
his time in the meanwhile, or, 
alternately, his while in the meantime
– while you consider that, listen

in his Opus 5, no 1, the first to leave  
me with much of an impression, as 
began to explore Beethoven 
chronologically, the first four 
opuses – a word I deplore, but its
equivalent plural, opera, seems 
to me so pretentious – seemed, 
indeed again, to me long, tedious 
and academic, a student delivering 

then the Opus 5, no 1 hit, and blew 
me right out of the water, he verily, 
Beethoven, thrust the metre right  
out of the ballpark, propelled the  
music – who ‘ld ‘a’ ever thunk it –  
right off the page 

marvel, I urge

there was also a restaurant in 
Düsselwhatever I really loved,
it served an improbable 
assortment of schnitzels, the 

we embraced, the staff and I, 
when I had to eventually, and 
finally, leave, to go back home, 
to Canada, I’ll always remember, 
never ever forget, their grace

R ! chard

Cyprien Katsaris in Budapest


       Cyprien Katsaris


if there’s only one concert you see 
this week – I would’ve said this year 
but I have way too many irresistible 
concerts to promote – make it this 
one, like none I’ve ever seen before, 
Cyprien Katsaris, who wowed us in 
my last encomium, delivers, not one, 
but two concertos, when emotionally 
I can usually deal with only one

but you can pause between the pieces, 
like I did, to wipe a tear or two away 
after the adagios, which remind me,
always, of my beloved, John

but that’s another story

Katsaris starts with an improvisation,
which he elucidates as an art form 
much more expertly than I would, 
then delivers stunning rendition of
his mastery of that gift 

though I couldn’t identify the first part
of it, the melting melody in the last 
section of his homage to, essentially, 
the Romantic Period, rushed back 
memories for me of a piece I could 
never forget, the music from Fellini’s 
heartbreaking masterpiece La Strada 
– listen, listen – right out of Romantic 
Period idioms, its very story evenlike 
Dickens’ Oliver Twist“, his Little Nell 
from the The Old Curiosity Shop“, 
staples of my adolescence, married  
to a nearly mythic lyrical invention 

let me add that improvisations have 
been an integral part of concertos for 
a very long time, the cadenzas, an 
interpolation by the performing artist, 
hir riff, a strutting of hir stuff, late  
in the, usually final, movement, a 
consequence, incidentally, of the 
more forward, individualistic, 
18th-Century progression towards 
individual rights, some left to the 
performing artist, but many 
prescribed by the composer himself,
where, here, I must, gender sensitive 
myself, unceremoniously interject to 
explain my deference to the
designation above, himself“, to male 
merely composers, who were then the 
only ones, however culturally ignobly, 
to nevertheless shape our quite, 
think, extraordinary musical trajectory, 
for better, of course, or for worse

in this instance, I suspect Katsaris 
wrote his own cadenzas for the 
Mozart, notice his arm at the end of 
the first movement fly up in an 
especial transport, and in the last 
movement, watch his very 
exuberance mark the spot, but 
couldn’t put it past Mozart to have 
written something so historically 

Bach, incidentally, wasn’t doing 
cadenzas, so don’t look for them 

the two concertos that follow the 
improvisation, Bach’s, my favourite 
of his – you’ll understand why when 
you hear it – then Mozart’s 21st – 
everyone’s favourite – are both 
played transcendentally 

consider the difference in period, 
the earlier Baroque, with Bach’s 
notes skipping along inexorably,
the pace required by the 
harpsichord, which didn’t have 
hold pedals to allow notes to 
resonate, the music moves along
therefore nearly minimalistic tracks, 
a pace, and musical motif, that don’t 
stop, they keep on chugging, until 
they reach their destination, their,
as it were, station, or even their


Mozart’s music is as effervescent,
but conforms to a different cadence,
where a theme is presented, then a
musical, and contrasting, second,
with recapitulation, sometimes
merely partial, which is to say that
the call and response dynamic of 
the dance, or for that matter, by 
extension, modern ballads, is  
being established, codified, and 

an era has intervened

then as an encore, Katsaris delivers,
not a cream puff, but Liszt, of all 
people, we’re used to performers
giving us trifles at this point, but not

then to top it all off, he plays the Chopin 
you thought you’d never ever hear again, 
but here immaculate and utterly 

the orchestra alone performs after the 
intermission, works by Ravel and Bizet,
surprisingly similar, I thought, the two
composers, in their musical idiom, the 
use of the winds as metaphors, for 
instance, for originality, eccentricity, 
unmitigated poetry within the context 
of what is not unnatural

neither is either composer adverse to 
atonality, they work in textures, instead 
of melodies, all of which is very 
Impressionistic, see of course Monet
and others for historical reference

did I say I want to be Cyprien Katsaris 
when I grow up, well there, it’s said,
he’s lovely 

R ! chard

January 30, 2018


        Moon Light (1895) 

               Edvard Munch


my mom texted me this morning that
the moon would be  “BLOODY RED IN 
COLOUR….because “, she added, “earth
🌏 will be between sun and moon …last
happened 152 years ago ….moon closest
to earth 🌏

I haven’t told her yet that from my 
window I’ll be singing, as the moon  
rises above the mountains in the 
east, Casta Diva“, Norma’s song 
to the moon

chaste Goddess, she appeals, who 
bathes these sacred trees in silvery 
light, bless us with your grace, we
are not not in need of it

maybe you’ll sing along

Norma is a Druidic priestess, 
representing her community, which 
has been overtaken, and is now ruled,
by the Romans, she bears already, 
however, two children of a Roman 
military official, Pollione, who has 
fallen for her maid, Adalgisa, sparks 
fly in every direction, both personal 

and political, Adalgisa ‘ll keep the 
kids eventually, and both Norma and 
Pollione will go the pyre, the very 
height of Romantic fervour, check it
out, it’s extraordinary, with Joan 
Sutherland in this, dare I say, 
classic performance

but first of all, Casta Diva itself, by  
the inimitable Maria Callas 

and may the moon be your guide

R ! chard

Nobuyuki Tsujii / Chopin


     “The Old Blind Guitarist (1903) 

               Pablo Picasso


to watch Nobuyuki Tsujii play the 
piano, a piano he cannot see, nor
anything else around him, not 
even his fingers, is a wonder, 
one beholds the work of the 
imagination taking place inside 
tenebrous, one would’ve 
supposed, cerebellum, a place 
without height, depth, width, 
without the idea, even, of, verily, 
spatial dimensions

not only has he had to imagine 
Chopin’s extraordinary, admit it, 
First Piano Concerto therehe’s  
had to imagine himself playing  
it, playing it before even 
international audiences – here
the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition, 
in which he tied for first place – 
despite surely profound physical, 
moral, emotional impediments, 
mountains most, I’m sure, 
couldn’t climb

it is to see the face of an angel
think, to watch him, only angels,
I believe, can do this sort of thing

watch, be inspired

and the Chopin is terrific

R ! chard

“The Man I Love” – George and Ira Gershwin


             Apollon” (1937) 

             Charles Despiau


when my heart is broken, I learn the 
words to torch songs, and wallow in 
my misery until the poignancy of the
poetry seduces me and I revel in its 

for a while now I’ve been yodelling 
along with Hank Williams, who, 
incidentally, sings in my key, though 
the accurate reach of his far-flung 
notes can be tricky

but today, I inadvertently slipped into 
this Sophie Tucker classic enough to 
change my tune

watch this wonderful rendition of 
The Man I Love in a version you’ll 
never forget for both its originality
and its great humanity


“Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave”


                        Hank Williams


halfway through The Last Picture Show
recently, a celebrated movie from the early 
Seventies I was watching, about the early
Fifties, I was sidetracked by the Hank  
Williams soundtrack till I was out and out 
stopped by its fervent Cold, Cold Heart 

I put the film on pause 

another love before my time, I warbled,
made your heart sad and blue, and so 
my heart is paying now, I wallowed, for 
things didn’t do, in anger unkind words
were said, I rued, that made the teardrops 
start, why can’t I free, your doubtful mind, 
I fretted, and melt your cold, cold heart 

but I wanted to hear Hank Williams do
it too, live if I could, and lo and behold 
got it

but listed as an option among other 
options nearby was also a longer  
feature purporting to be a 
representation of a concert he 
never  gave the night, December 31, 
1952, he died, the movie is called,
not inappropriately, Hank Williams:
The Show He Never Gave

the actor who plays Williams steps
right into his shoes, he’ll break your 
heart, you’ll need a lot of Kleenex

one of he best film biographies I’ve 
ever seen 

watch it

Hank Williams died of a heart attack
on the night of December 31, 1952

he was 29

may he rest in everlasting peace


in recognition of Prince


Ladies In The Rain (1893-1894) 
         Maurice Prendergast
trying to find a musical representation

of me for a love recently lost, but with
whom the interaction is nevertheless
cordial, for a letter I was writing him,

cordially, and which I would sign me,

I hit upon Prince’s Purple Rain“, I never  
meant to cause you any trouble, never 
meant to cause you any pain, perfect, I 
thought, I only want to see you laughing 
in the purple rain
how else can one love
I remembered that Prince was a hero, 
an angel, a prophet, an epiphany of the 
late Twentieth Century, some voices are
indelible, incandescent, illuminating,
avatars of love
note the pace of Pink Floyd, the 
hypnotic, messianic even, tempo,  
note the elements of the prophet


up my idiosyncrasies – a bio


      “Marcel Proust” 
       Richard Lindner
for a bio with which I’ve been asked 
to provide an online poetry magazine 
I’ve been encouraged to apply to, I’m 
submitting the following text
I thought you might enjoy it
my name is Richard Bisson, from
which you’ll intuit my French 
Canadian background, though I 
write mostly in English, with no 
trouble however in French, my 
mother tongue is le français  
I am thus imbued, undoubtedly,
with that sensibility, my peers 
have been HugoFlaubert, and
most of all Marcel Proust, whom 
I imbibed for 33 years, in French,
page by page, reading each out 
loud as though it were my own, I 
cannot but be replicating now his 
rhythms, his aesthetic, his view 
of the world
it didn’t take me as long to read 
Homer, in the thunderous Robert  
Fitzgerald translation, – a mighty
roar resounding still from the 
ninth century before the Christian 
Era – from him I learned to speak 
from the heart, it’s not one’s style  
one has to master, but one’s 
Robert Browning gave me the 
dramatic monologue as a poetic
device, a gift he’d received from
Shakespeare himself, of course,
the unbridled freedom of his own 
literary imagination
Carl Sandburg‘s Chicago taught 
me to talk about every wo/man, 
about things even my own folks 
were doing
Collapsed showed me that even 
apparently inconsequential acts
can be poetry, poetry in the 
apparently humdrum 
Mary Oliver is a strong present 
the cadence is entirely Beethoven,
with some help, I must admit, from 
the atonalists, SchoenbergBerg,
and Weberncommas are my bar 
I call what I do prosetry, a word so 
new my computer won’t even let 
me write it, I’m a prosetrist, this 
word either
I want to link everyday experience 
with poetry, make poetry in the eye 
of the beholder, where truth and 
beauty lie
if people can see what I see, they 
can see that way themselves, it’s 
something one learns, and it’s all 
in the way one entrenches words 
and ideas
I eliminated the word “if” from my 
vocabulary once, for being then
too speculative, it changed my life, 
I’ve replaced it since with the word 
“miracle”, that has also changed 
my life
I am 67 years old
I live in Vancouver, Canada
I consider myself to be, at this 
point in my life, bibliosexual, I
sleep with my books, and we’re
all still getting along just fine 
may you be so blessed
psst: also Anaïs Nin, for the 
          intimacy of her diaries
          o, and Woody Allen, for
          giving up before his  
          nihilism and just 

on buying designer honey


                Piero di Cosimo
it’s not every day that someone changes 
your outlook on, well, everything
I was at the supermarket, needed honey
for my recipe for carrot soup, with Brie
also, and nuts, an intriguing combination,
I’d thought
but I couldn’t place the honey in the 
umpteenth reorganization of the food
where’s the honey, I asked the clerk, 
who serendipitously was standing 
in front of me, this aisle or the one  
over, I added, not expecting anything 
more than cursory directions, and 
giving him thereby a feel for my 
attendant capabilities
but he took me, impressively, 
thought, the one aisle over to the 
honey spot, ahem
there was a modest selection there,
plastic honey bears, the white honey
you need to crank out of the jar, other 
honeys in less appealing packages,
several of the wild berry and grain
but I wanted the honey that melts in 
your mouth, instinctively, the one 
infused with clove, cardamom and 
cinnamon, the one that clings to 
your tongue lasciviously, leaving, 
with every lick of your lips, very bliss, 
though not, notably, at an especially 
conducive price
why not, you only live once, I’d 
devised already, despite the cost,
to validate my more cavalier 
someone else was ogling, however,  
my honey, reaching for the larger of 
the two options, there was some
space, I reached up, into a kind of 
shopper’s no man’s land, how do  
you impinge on someone’s pending 
decision when you already know 
what you want, and not create 
confusion, if not distress
and he was bigger than me
looks good enough not to resist,
I said, you only live once, why not, 
rejoindered, falling back on my 
default position, my broken record, 
which sent nevertheless a strong 
existential message, I think
how can we know, he congenially 
replied, catching me up on my 
unexamined assertion, how do 
we know for sure we don’t have 
another, others
imagine that, I marvelled, I’ve never 
heard anyone else ever say that,
everyone ‘s always ceded, it’s 
something to profoundly, and 
inevitably have to, ponder
but not enough right now to not  
buy the honey, I added, however 
unphilosophically, though I’d think 
about it further for consequences, 
it could change everything, 
declared, my life, this life
and we waved each other goodbye 
from our present incarnations