The Corner


Time, Music, and Other Phenomena

In Ocean Beach, Calif., on May 6, 2020 (Mike Blake / Reuters)

Impromptus today begins with the pandemic. What about it? Well, the fact that it is a pandemic — a global plague, an everywhere plague. Very, very rarely does the world face exactly the same problem at the same time. We might as well have been attacked by great swarms of extraterrestrials.

Has the experience served to unite the world, in significant ways? LOL.

Okay: How about the plague in one country, ours? Has it brought us together? Again, those sad initials . . .

Additional topics in Impromptus include Liz Cheney; the capitalization of “black” and “white”; WFB; Bill Bradley; Ghislaine Maxwell; Saddam Hussein; John Lewis; the VOA; Stephen Miller; Woodrow Wilson; and Henry Purcell. The items are brief. If you don’t like one, another will be along shortly.

Instead of publishing mail — properly publishing mail — I would like simply to mention a couple of notes. Signing up to receive Impromptus by e-mail, a man said, “I’ve been an NR subscriber since I was in the 10th grade — in 1966.”

That’s good goin’.

I had a beautiful note from a college student. He spoke of “the humble yet proud love of America I often associate with the America of my youth.”

Time is an incredible phenomenon, topsy-turvy.

I cherish the memory of a conversation between a four-year-old and a friend of mine. The little boy exclaimed, “Today is the best day of my whole life.”

The latest episode of my Music for a While is here. In this episode, I have some French organ music; some American organ music; Grieg; Lead Belly; Mozart; and others. I also read a letter, which I will paste below.

I’m a jerk for doing it, because the letter is complimentary of me. But the tribute is mainly to music. So . . .

Dear Mr. Nordlinger,

I am 74 years old and a recent listener-subscriber to your podcast. I am writing simply to thank you for making my long walks happier, and even at times instructive.

This Covid-19 business has forced me to stay at home more, which I actually enjoy. But there are times when I need to get out of the house and walk, even in this Texas heat. That is when I tune in to your podcast, and then the day becomes fuller and richer.

So, thank you. I enjoy the music you select and hearing your voice and words of introduction. Thank you for helping me get through this difficult time.

All the best . . .

In honor of this listener, I play a superb recording of the Dubois Toccata in G — a joyful jolt. And that is the name of the new episode: “A Joyful Jolt.” Again, here.


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