Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Ashram's Progress

Well, we've been in about a month now.

Interior slideshow of the progress...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The New House

Here's a before and after (still a work in progress...) pic of the living room to the new place. The big furniture is being moved tomorrow... Everything here was hauled in the back of a Ford Focus & a Honda CRV !

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New House prospect !

I got verbal confirmation (still nothing in writing ...) that my bid on this house has been accepted! Keep your fingers crossed for me that all goes well with the contracts, inspections, etc.! It's on the west side of Jacksonville, off of 103rd Street (west of I-295), and it's right on a creek!

More EXTERIOR pictures HERE

INTERIOR pictures (the color scheme will change ...)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Hoodoo" performed by the kids at Prelude Chamber Music Camp

June 19, 2009: Vernon Humbert conducts the Camp's PRIMO ORCHESTRA in the first ever performance of Hoodoo -- Great job, especially considering that the mostly middle and high school students played this after only 3-4 brief rehearsals, on top of all their other camp activities!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Free, Fill-in-the-blanks Resumé Maker

Ed's Resumé Maker is on a free server and was down for a while, but it's back online!

Sadly, a lot of folks need it now...

Beginner's Guide to XHTML (ne HTML)

The brief (but pretty thorough, imho) introduction to basic HTML coding is available online: Ed's Guide to Beginning XHTML. It's a free online tutorial that at least can get you started (if anybody's still interested with all th wysiwyg page builders available...)

The thing is, most of the page builders will let you edit the html code so you can include things they don't have buttons for. If you know how.

Although it dates from a 2003 workshop for Jacksonville Public Library staff, the coding information is still current (despite some side references to Netscape browsers and IE6).

Ed's Guide to Beginning XHTML
Ed's Guide (Printable Version)
HTML Root, HEAD and BODY Tags
Basic Tags for Text Markup
Tags for Adding Links and Images
Tags for Adding Tables and Lists
"Core" Standard Attributes
Complete CSS Reference
Webpage Template
HTML Color Codes
Color Calculator
Character Entity References

Friday, June 12, 2009

An English translation & versification of Théophile Gautier's 'Absence,' from Berlioz's "Les nuits d'ete"

CLICK HERE for the entire set of six poems

Revisions to the original translation (below) will be found at the above link.

IV. Absence

Reviens, reviens, ma bien-aimée!
Comme une fleur loin du soleil,
La fleur de ma vie est fermée
Loin de ton sourire vermeil.

Entre nos coeurs quelle distance!
Tant d'espace entre nos baisers!
Ô sort amer! ô dure absence!
Ô grands désirs inapaisés!

Reviens, reviens, ma bien-aimée!
Comme une fleur loin du soleil,
La fleur de ma vie est fermée
Loin de ton sourire vermeil.

D'ici 1à-bas, que de campagnes,
Que de villes et de hameaux,
Que de vallons et de montagnes,
A lasser le pied des chevaux!

Reviens, reviens, ma bien-aimée!
Comme une fleur loin du soleil,
La fleur de ma vie est fermée
Loin de ton sourire vermeil.

IV. Absence

Return, return, my own belovéd!
As closes the sun-lorn posy,
Thus has my life's flower been closéd
Sans thy smiling lips, e'er rosy.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

English translation/versification of Théophile Gautier's 'Sur les Lagunes' (from Berlioz's 'Les nuits d'été')

CLICK HERE for the entire set of six poems

One more translation to go after this one; the other four already finished are here and here. English version ©2009, E. Lein (please notify and credit if quoting)

III. Sur les lagunes. Lamento            III. On the Lagoons. Lament.
Ma belle amie est morte:
Je pleurerai toujours;
Sous la tombe elle emporte
Mon âme et mes amours.
Dans le ciel, sans m'attendre
Elle s'en retourna;
L'ange qui l'emmena
Ne voulut pas me prendre.
      Que mon sort est amer!
      Ah! sans amour,
            s'en aller sur la mer!

My belovéd is dead:
Evermore will I weep;
Within her graveyard bed
My soul, my love she’ll keep.
Heav’n-bound without me, she
Hath there return’d once more;
But th' angel who her bore,
Alas, would not bear me.
      My bitter destiny!
      Ah! Without love,
            to go once more to sea!

La blanche créature
Est couchée au cerceuil.
Comme dans la nature
Tout me paraît en deuil!
La colombe oubliée
Pleure et songe à l'absent;
Mon âme pleure et sent
Qu'elle est dépareillée.
      Que mon sort est amer!
      Ah! sans amour,
            s'en aller sur la mer!


Sur moi la nuit immense
S'étend comme un linceul;
Je chante ma romance
Que le ciel entend seul.
Ah! comme elle était belle
Et comme je l'aimais!
Je n'aimerai jamais
Une femme autant qu'elle.
      Que mon sort est amer!
      Ah! sans amour,
            s'en aller sur la mer!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

English translation of Theophile Gautier's 'Au cimetière' (from Berlioz's 'Les nuits d’ été')

I translated/versified three of the songs from Les nuits d’ été for a recent concert at the Library. Here's another of the poems in an English version by me. Note that this is meant to be a poetical rendering of the text, adapting Gautier's poetic scheme and the conventions of the time (Berlioz wrote his songs in 1847) as best I could -- but this is not at all meant as a "singable" version to fit Berlioz's music. (And I must say that this text leant itself less easily to an English rendering than the first three I did ...)

CLICK HERE for the entire set of six poems

The 1st, 3rd and last verses of the poem were also set by Henri Duparc in his song, Lamento.

This English version (©2009, E. Lein) may be freely used for nonprofit educational purposes such as student recitals, but please give credit and let me know!

Au cimetière : Claire du lune

At the Cemetery : Moonlight

Connaissez-vous la blanche tombe,
Où flotte avec un son plaintif
L'ombre d'un if?
Sur l'if une pâle colombe,
Triste et seule au soleil couchant,
Chante son chant:

Knowest thou the tomb of white
Whither wafts the sound of sorrow
Neath th' yew's shadow?
Upon the yew a pale dove lights;
Sad and lone, to the western sun
He sings his song:

Un air maladivement tendre,
À la fois charmant et fatal,
Qui vous fait mal
Et qu'on voudrait toujours entendre;
Un air comme en soupire aux cieux
L'ange amoureux.


On dirait que l'âme éveillée
Pleure sous terre à l'unisson
De la chanson,
Et du malheur d'être oubliée
Se plaint dans un roucoulement
Bien doucement.

Sur les ailes de la musique
On sent lentement revenir
Un souvenir.
Une ombre, une forme angélique,
Passe dans un rayon tremblant,
En voile blanc.

Les belles de nuit demicloses
Jettent leur parfum faible
                            et doux
Autour de vous,
Et le fantôme aux molles poses
Murmure en vous tendant les bras:
Tu reviendras!

Oh! jamais plus près de la tombe,
Je n'irai, quand descend le soir
Au manteau noir,
Écouter la pâle colombe
Chanter sur la pointe de l'if
Son chant plaintif.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New song: "Summer Wind," on a poem by William Cullen Bryant

This is the latest piece I'm working on. CLICK HERE for complete vocal part.

Here's the origianl text, but the typography is altered from the original poem--the added line breaks indicate the various sections of the musical structure.
(CLICK HERE To see the original layout of poem)


It is a sultry day ; the sun has drunk
The dew that lay upon the morning grass ;
There is no rustling in the lofty elm
That canopies my dwelling, and its shade
Scarce cools me.
                            All is silent, save the faint
And interrupted murmur of the bee,
Settling on the sick flowers, and then again
Instantly on the wing.
                                    The plants around
Feel the too potent fervors : the tall maize
Rolls up its long green leaves ; the clover droops
Its tender foliage, and declines its blooms.

But far in the fierce sunshine tower the hills,
With all their growth of woods, silent and stern,
As if the scortching heat and dazzling light
Were but an element they loved.
                                                    Bright clouds,
Motionless pillars of the brazen heaven--
Their bases on the mountains--their white tops
Shining in the far ether--fire the air
With a reflected radiance, and make turn
The gazer's eye away.
                                    For me, I lie
Languidly in the shade, where the thick turf,
Yet virgin from the kisses of the sun,
Retains some freshness, and I woo the wind
That still delays its coming.
                                            Why so slow,
Gentle and voluble spirit of the air?
Oh, come and breathe upon the fainting earth
Coolness and life.
                                Is it that in his caves
He hears me? See, on yonder woody ridge,
The pine is bending his proud top, and now,
Among the nearer groves, chesnut and oak
Are tossing their green boughs about.
                                                        He comes ;
Lo, where the grassy meadow runs in waves!
The deep distressful silence of the scene
Breaks up with mingling of unnumbered sounds
And universal motion.
                                       He is come,
Shaking a shower of blossoms from the shrubs,
And bearing on their fragrance ;
                                                and he brings
Music of birds, and rustling of young boughs,
And sound of swaying branches, and the voice
Of distant waterfalls.
                                    All the green herbs
Are stirring in his breath ;
                                        a thousand flowers,
By the road-side and the borders of the brook,
Nod gayly to each other ;
                                        glossy leaves
Are twinkling in the sun, as if the dew
Were on them yet, and silver waters break
Into small waves and sparkle
                                                as he comes.

Berlioz "Les nuits d’été" & Santoliquido "I canti della sera" -- English Translations

Below are notes and new English translations I made for the song texts for a recent Music @ Main program featuring mezzo-soprano Anne Richie.

CLICK HERE for the entire set of six French poems by Gautier as set by Berlioz, along with the new English translation/versification

Program Notes, by Ed Lein, Music Librarian

The French Romantic Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) was among the most progressive composers of his era, and his original blending of symphonic forms with dramatic narrative, coupled with his keen insight into orchestration, had profound influence on the creative development of such luminaries as Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt. As a composer, Berlioz was never very popular with the French musical establishment, and despite his early successes he had difficulty getting his later works performed unless he paid for the concerts himself. But he did enjoy success as an author and music critic, and gained international fame as a conductor. In 1850 he was appointed Head Librarian of the Paris Conservatoire, which provided not only financial stability, but also something of an ironic twist to his biography. As a youth Berlioz had been sent to Paris to attend medical school, but rather than study human anatomy (which repulsed the young Hector) he preferred to study music scores, so he would sneak into—and then be kicked out of—the very library he would later manage. Especially famous for his Symphonie fantastique (1830) and Grande Messe des morts (Requiem Mass, 1837), Berlioz wrote about 50 songs with piano or guitar accompaniment, and among these the six songs from Les nuits d’ete (“The Nights of Summer”), Op. 7 (1841, orchestrated 1856) are easily the best known. Although the lyrics of all the opus 7 songs are by the influential French poet and critic Théophile Gautier (1811-1872), apparently the composer’s original intent was not that they be performed as a song cycle. Instead, he conceived them as separate songs to be performed variously by tenor, baritone, contralto, and mezzo-soprano, and was only later (but easily) convinced to orchestrate the whole set by an admiring music publisher. The selections this evening are the first, second and sixth songs from the set. Villanelle, a rustic song, joyously welcomes the returning spring with renewed hopefulness as the countryside begins to reawaken. In Le spectre de la rose (“The Ghost of the Rose”), a fading blossom at first seems to lament having been cut down in its prime, only to rejoice in its happy fate of having adorned the belle of the ball as its perfume lingers on. In the concluding barcarolle, L'île inconnue ("The Unknown Island"), a flirtatious gondolier asks his pretty young passenger to imagine which exotic shores she'd like to be whisked away to--she responds, "To the faithful shore where we're always in love!"

Les nuits d’été
      on poems by Théophile Gautier


Quand viendra la saison nouvelle,
Quand auront disparu les froids,
Tous les deux nous irons, ma belle,
Pour cueillir le muguet aux bois.
Sous nos pieds égrénant les perles
Que l'on voit, au matin trembler,
Nous irons écouter les merles

Le printemps est venu, ma belle;
C'est le mois des amants béni;
Et l'oiseau, satinant son aile,
Dit vers au rebord du nid.
Oh! Viens donc sur ce banc de mousse,
Pour parler de nos beaux amours,
Et dis-moi de ta voix si douce:

Loin, bien loin égarant nos courses,
Faisons fuir le lapin caché,
Et le daim, au miroir des sources
Admirant son grand bois penché;
Puis chez nous, tout heureux, tout aises,
En paniers, en laçant nos doigts,
Revenons, rapportant des fraises,
      Des bois.
The Nights of Summer
      English version ©2009, by Edward Lein
        (Notify/credit if reprinting) 


When the new season ventures here,
When it drives away the cold wind,
Into the woods we shall go, dear,
There lilies of the valley to find.
Where, underfoot, dew shines like pearls
Seen shimmering in the morning sun,
We’ll listen to the whistling blackbirds'
      New song.


Le spectre de la rose

Soulève ta paupière close
Qu'effleure un songe virginal;
Je suis le spectre d'une rose
Que tu portais hier au bal.
Tu me pris encore emperlée
Des pleurs d'argent de l'arrosoir,
Et parmi la fête étoilée
Tu me promenas tout le soir.

Ô toi qui de ma mort fus cause,
Sans que tu puisses le chasser,
Toutes les nuits mon spectre rose
A ton chevet viendra danser.
Mais ne crains rien, je ne réclame
Ni messe ni De profundis;
Ce léger parfum est mon âme,
Et j'arrive du paradis.

Mon destin fut digne d'envie,
Et pour avoir un sort si beau,
Plus d'un aurait donné sa vie
Car sur ton sein j'ai mon tombeau,
Et sur l'albâtre où je repose
Un poète avec un baiser
Écrivit: "Ci-gît une rose
Que tous les rois vont jalouser."

The Ghost of the Rose

Open those eyelids now closed,
Soft-touched by a maiden’s pure dream;
I am the ghost of the rose
That you wore to the ball yester-even.
You snipped me while yet I was pearly
With the watering can’s silvery tears,
And about the glittering soirée
You paraded me under the stars.


L’île inconnue

Dites, la jeune belle,
Où voulez-vous aller?
La voile enfle son aile,
La brise va souffler!

L'aviron est d'ivoire
Le pavillon de moiré,
Le gouvernail d'or fin;
J'ai pour lest une orange,
Pour voile une aile d'ange,
Pour mousse un séraphin.

Dites, la jeune belle,
Où voulez-vous aller?
La voile enfle son aile,
La brise va souffler!

Est-ce dans la Baltique,
Dans la mer Pacifique,
Dans l'île de Java?
Ou bien est-ce en Norvège,
Cueillir la fleur de neige,
Ou la fleur d'Angsoka?

Dites, la jeune belle
Où voulez-vous aller?

Menez-moi, dit la belle,
A la rive fidèle
Où l'on aime toujours.
---Cette rive, ma chère,
On ne la connaît guère
Au pays des amours.

Où voulez-vous aller?
La brise va souffler!

The Unknown Island

Tell me, my dear young thing,
Where might you wish to go?
The sail unfurls its wing,
The breeze begins to blow!


CLICK HERE to see Janet Baker sing a Villanelle excerpt on youtube.
CLICK HERE to see Janet Baker sing Le spectre de la rose on youtube.
CLICK HERE to see Janet Baker sing L'île inconnue on youtube.

Italian composer Francesco Santoliquido (1883-1971) completed the music and lyrics of his earliest surviving songs, I canti della sera (“The Songs of the Evening”) in 1908. They were published by Ricordi in 1912, and the journal Musical America recommended them “as the finest of modern concert songs” in 1922. But in addition to composing, Santoliquido published books of verse and short stories, and in 1937 and 1938 he penned several fascist, anti-Semitic articles, and also decried musical modernism. As a result he was effectively ostracized from the progressive arts community. Ironically, his third wife, pianist Ornella Pulti Santoliquido, had been a student of Alfredo Casella (a prominent Jewish-Italian composer and a particular target of Francesco's), and she became known as an advocate of modern music. As these four evocative "evening songs" demonstrate, Santoliquido’s early style blends characteristics of Debussy and Richard Strauss (by way of Puccini!), but they do not yet show the influence of the Arabic music that colored his later works, the result of a nine-year sojourn to North Africa which began in 1912. The first song, L’assiola canta (“The Horned Owl Sings”), is an invitation to share an intimate walk through the woods on a still, starry evening, interrupted only by the mournful sigh of an owl. Alba di luna sul bosco (“Moonrise over the Woods”) artfully depicts the appearance of a red moon over the forest and it’s shimmering reflection caught on the surface of a pond; this in turn leads the poet to reflect on the surrounding vast stillness and peace, and how such a perfect sense of communion mirrors, or perhaps even inspires newly found love. As its title suggests, the mood of Tristezze crepuscolare (“Twilight Gloom”) changes from peaceful contemplation to sorrowful angst and agitation as the incessant pealing of evening church bells unearths painful memories of a lost love. The final song, L’incontro (“The Encounter”), ends the cycle on a more hopeful note as it relates the happy reunion of a couple who years before had enjoyed a similar twilight flirtation, with evening bells and sqwaking seabirds now heard in the distance, just the same as before. The accompaniment includes rhythmic patterns similar to those used in the preceding songs, perhaps suggestive of the imperfectly-recalled memories mentioned in the lyrics.

I canti della sera ("The Songs of the Evening")

Italian lyrics by the composer (1908)
English translations by Ed Lein (©2009, E. Lein -- please notify and credit if reprinting)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

MP3s at alternate site

The Google players are rather fickle of late. Here is a link to a string orchestra version of Hoodoo (the 1st movement):

Un Dulcito: La Llorona

String orchestra version:

The third movement of Un Dulcito (i.e., "A Little Latin American Sweet"), for violin and cello, is a chaconne-like setting of the Mexican folk song, La llorona, combined with the Latin hymn from the mass for the dead, the Dies irae.

The legend of the Weeping Woman (more of a ghost story really) varies throughout Latin America, and there are even some American versions of the tale (including one set in Kansas City). Essentially, a beautiful woman sets her sites on a wealthy man, but he rejects her because he doesn't want to be saddled with her several children. She decides she really, really wants the man, so she drowns her children--in some versions the man rejects her again, horrified by her monstrous behavior; and in others she is overcome by remorse and grief at what she has done. In all versions, she ends up drowning herself, and her spirit is doomed to wander the waterways in search of her children, tearfully wailing throughout eternity. (The story usually ends as a cautionary tale for other children--behave and don't venture near the water or La Llorona ["la yah-ROHN-nah"] may mistake you for one of her own children and pull you beneath the waves!)

There are a number of different versions of lyrics for the tune, which mostly seem to have very little to do with the legend. Here are some selected verses in English versions (i.e., not entirely literal translations) by me. The original Spanish words with the English are at

They all call me the somber one, Llorona,
somber, yet tender-hearted still.
*Though I' burn, like jalapeños, Llorona,
there's sweetness once you take your fill.
(*literally: "I am like the green chile, Llorona,
                 Burning hot yet delectable.")

They think I don't feel the pain, Llorona,
because they can't see me cry.
But even the dead are tearless, Llorona,
and their sorrow is greater than mine.

If the heavens were mine, Llorona, Llorona,
for you I’d pull all the stars down.
I’d place the moon there at your feet, Llorona,
and take the sun’s rays for your crown.

O take pity on me, Llorona, Llorona,
and down to the river let's go.
Hold me closely inside your shawl, Llorona,
for I think I shall die in the cold.

To a Savior who bore the world's pain, Llorona,
I confided my horrible grief.
But my sorrowful suffering was such, Llorona,
that it made even Jesus weep.

Translations ©2009-2010, E. Lein