I just found this performance of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by the young Gert van Hoef this morning.  It still amazes me that any human can do this.  And apparently the organist was only 19 at the time this was recorded.  It is fascinating to watch his fingers, and his feet on the pedalboard — and the helpers pulling the stops.  I wonder if Bach had any idea his music would still be played some two and a half centuries after his death.





Down the bright road,
A crow and his shadow
Flying together.

I saw that a couple of days ago.  A crow swooped down not far from me, and as it flew very low over the sunny road, I was struck by the black shadow just below the crow and the black crow just above the shadow, both flying close in unison.

This is, I think, a good example of what I always say hokku should be:  ordinary things, but seen in a new way or from a different perspective.




I just came across a very useful site, and thought some of you mind like to know about it as well.

It began when I listened to an unidentified waltz melody played yesterday.  I had heard it before somewhere.  It sounded vaguely Italian, or possibly like something one might hear in the score of a Provencal movie based on a work by Marcel Pagnol.  I had no idea  — not knowing the title — how to find what the melody might be.

So here was what turned out to be the easy solution.  I discovered this site:

It has an on screen piano keyboard, and all I had to do was to use it to play the first few notes of the melody I had heard.  And the first thing that came up was this:

When I clicked on the title in green just above the musical notes, it brought up this:

I clicked on the “Play MP# using player below” link on the right, and it began playing exactly the melody I had heard — and I was very surprised to find it was a waltz by Dmitri Shostakovich.  Here it is on

Encouraged by that initial success, I then used the keyboard to see if I could find a musical phrase that was used as the beginning theme of a radio classical music program I often listened to as a boy — but I never knew what those opening notes were from, though I later suspected Tchaikovsky.   I even once searched through all of his symphonies and could not find it.  But using this site’s virtual keyboard, here’s what came up:

I again clicked on the “Play MP3,” and heard the very beginning theme I had wondered about for years, but could never quite locate.  Here it is on

It is always a feeling of relief to have such little puzzles quickly solved, so I found
a very helpful site.