Desert Island Classical

I don’t know much of anything about classical music. I do know, some of it I like very much. Most of what I like comes from movie soundtracks, but some from my dad and some from public radio. My tastes in classical music are drawn to melodic, mostly melancholy pieces, and invariably pieces featuring strings and piano. Anyway, here are the pieces I’d like to have on my desert island.

Selection Composer
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major Johan Sebastian Bach
Cello Suite No. 1 in G Johan Sebastian Bach
Harpsichord Concerto No. 5 in F Minor Johan Sebastian Bach
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring Johan Sebastian Bach
Orchestral Suite No. 3 : Air on a G String Johan Sebastian Bach
Adagio for Strings Samuel Barber
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor Ludwig Van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor Ludwig Van Beethoven
Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Major Ludwig Van Beethoven
Flower Duet Leo Delibes
Quartet for Strings in C Major Franz Josef Haydn
Quartet for Strings and Piano in A Major Gustav Mahler
Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra No. 10 in E-Flat Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Piano Concerto in A Major Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Piano Concerto in D Minor Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Violin Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Nessun Dorma Giacomo Puccini
Un Bell Di Giacomo Puccini
Trois Gymnopedias Erik Satie
Piano Trio in E-Flat Franz Schubert

My Playlist 10414

There’s a theme here, I think. I just can’t put my finger on it. Maybe there is even more than one  theme. I don’t know. You tell me.

Song Time Artist Album
Revolution 3:09 Los Lobos Colossal Head
9 – 9 3:05 R.E.M. Murmur
Straight Into Darkness 3:47 Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Long After Dark
Last Chance 3:40 John Mellencamp Whenever We Wanted
A Song for Sleeping 4:14 Stone Temple Pilots Shangri–La De Da
On a Cloud 4:19 Cross Canadian Ragweed Cross Canadian Ragweed
Blue 3:10 The Jayhawks Tomorrow the Green Grass
These Roads Don’t Move 3:06 Jay Farrar & Benjamin Gibbard One Fast Move or I’m Gone
All My Life 3:44 Jesse Harris & The Ferdinandos The Secret Sun
The Broken Girl 3:36 Allison Moorer Crows
Crazy Love 2:37 Van Morrison Moondance
Love Runs Deeper 3:56 Lindsey Buckingham Gift of Screws
Don’t Tease Me 4:24 ZZ Top El Loco
Imagination 4:38 The Rolling Stones Some Girls
Your Love Made a U Turn 2:35 Tift Merritt Tambourine
Don’t Let Go the Coat 3:44 The Who Face Dances
Follow Me Home 5:51 Dire Straits Communique
Midnight Jam 5:50 Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros Streetcore
City of Delusion 4:49 Muse Black Holes & Revelations
Take Me to the River 5:03 Talking Heads More Songs About Buildings and Food
20 Songs/1.3 Hours

Book Excerpt: Samson Agonistes

A Little onward lend thy guiding hand
To these dark steps, a little further on;
For yonder bank hath choice of Sun or shade,
There I am wont to sit, when any chance
Relieves me from my task of servile toyl,
Daily in the common Prison else enjoyn’d me,
Where I a Prisoner chain’d, scarce freely draw
The air imprison’d also, close and damp,
Unwholsom draught: but here I feel amends,
The breath of Heav’n fresh-blowing, pure and sweet,
With day-spring born; here leave me to respire.
This day a solemn Feast the people hold
To Dagon thir Sea-Idol, and forbid
Laborious works, unwillingly this rest
Thir Superstition yields me; hence with leave
Retiring from the popular noise, I seek
This unfrequented place to find some ease,
Ease to the body some, none to the mind
From restless thoughts, that like a deadly swarm
Of Hornets arm’d, no sooner found alone,
But rush upon me thronging, and present
Times past, what once I was, and what am now.
O wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold
Twice by an Angel, who at last in sight
Of both my Parents all in flames ascended
From off the Altar, where an Off’ring burn’d,
As in a fiery column charioting
His Godlike presence, and from some great act
Or benefit reveal’d to Abraham’s race?
Why was my breeding order’d and prescrib’d
As of a person separate to God,
Design’d for great exploits; if I must dye
Betray’d, Captiv’d, and both my Eyes put out,
Made of my Enemies the scorn and gaze;
To grind in Brazen Fetters under task
With this Heav’n-gifted strength? O glorious strength
Put to the labour of a Beast, debas’t
Lower then bondslave! Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great Deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the Mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke;
Yet stay, let me not rashly call in doubt
Divine Prediction; what if all foretold
Had been fulfilld but through mine own default,
Whom have I to complain of but my self?
Who this high gift of strength committed to me,
In what part lodg’d, how easily bereft me,
Under the Seal of silence could not keep,
But weakly to a woman must reveal it
O’recome with importunity and tears.
O impotence of mind, in body strong!
But what is strength without a double share
Of wisdom, vast, unwieldy, burdensom,
Proudly secure, yet liable to fall
By weakest suttleties, not made to rule,
But to subserve where wisdom bears command.
God, when he gave me strength, to shew withal
How slight the gift was, hung it in my Hair.
But peace, I must not quarrel with the will
Of highest dispensation, which herein
Happ’ly had ends above my reach to know:
Suffices that to me strength is my bane,
And proves the sourse of all my miseries;
So many, and so huge, that each apart
Would ask a life to wail, but of all,
O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among enemies, O worse then chains,
Dungeon, or beggery, or decrepit age!
Light the prime work of God to me is extinct,
And all her various objects of delight
Annull’d, which might in part my grief have eas’d,
Inferiour to the vilest now become
Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me,
They creep, yet see, I dark in light expos’d
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse and wrong,
Within doors, or without, still as a fool,
In power of others, never in my own;
Scarce half I seem to live, dead more then half.
O dark, dark, dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
Irrecoverably dark, total Eclipse
Without all hope of day!
O first created Beam, and thou great Word,
Let there be light, and light was over all;
Why am I thus bereav’d thy prime decree?
The Sun to me is dark
And silent as the Moon,
When she deserts the night
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
Since light so necessary is to life,
And almost life itself, if it be true
That light is in the Soul,
She all in every part; why was the sight
To such a tender ball as th’ eye confin’d?
So obvious and so easie to be quench’t,
And not as feeling through all parts diffus’d,
That she might look at will through every pore?
Then had I not been thus exil’d from light;
As in the land of darkness yet in light,
To live a life half dead, a living death,
And buried; but O yet more miserable!
My self, my Sepulcher, a moving Grave,
Buried, yet not exempt
By priviledge of death and burial
From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs,
But made hereby obnoxious more
To all the miseries of life,
Life in captivity
Among inhuman foes.

– Samson Agonistes by John Milton

Samson Agonistes
is available in print and electronic editions from


This is my favorite serif font. The serifs are heavy enough to stand up well in small printed text. There is also a uniqueness to the characters, especially in the italic, in the descenders and roundness that distinguishes it from most commonly used serif fonts.

When I researched it, I liked the font even more. It was designed in 1967 by Jan Tschichold, but is based on types by Claude Garamond from the 16th century and named after a printer of the period, Jacques Sabon. That deriving something new out of something old is appealing to me. To seal the deal, some of the first printed materials to use Sabon was the Washburn College Bible in 1973 and the 1979 Book of Common Prayer for the Episcopal Church. That ecclesiastical connection is also interesting. After all, if it’s good enough for the Bible, it should be good enough for my clients.


Lost in genius and manic.
Driven mad by the music.
Never letting go of your gift,
But abusing it.

Because it was better.
It was richer.
It was all consuming
And it devoured you.

Finding a superior drive within.
Harnessing the demons’ din.
The world’s greatest player,
Pouring out your soul like water.

Because it was freer.
It rang truer.
It was your world
And it devoured you.

Dead now and still not in peace.
You couldn’t find the inner balance.
Greatness gone sour
While you played the final hour.

Because it was over.
It became your controller.
It was the music and madness
Insidiously devouring you.

Because it was better.
It was richer.
It was all consuming
And it devoured you.

Because it was freer.
It rang truer.
It was your world
And it devoured you.

Because it is over.
It became your controller.
It was the music and madness
Insidiously devouring you.

– For a man I had never heard of, Jaco Pastorius,
and the gifts of life.

Irrelevance Has Won

I’m lost in a mass of conflicting images.
Springtime in winter.
The miracle of birth on fifty widescreen inches.

I’m confused by the abundance of information.
So many instant winners.
The start of another warped tradition.

I’m drowning in a sea of irrelevance.
Money for sinners.
The need for the proper political stance.

I watch to learn,
But I don’t learn what I need to know.
I watch for entertainment,
But I have to laugh more at myself than the show.
I watch as we lose control
Intelligence low.

I can’t break away from the onslaught of images.
I can’t make sense of the useless information.
Irrelevance has won,
Just show it where the stage is.

© 2011 Wasted Space Publishing