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The policeman buys shoes slow and careful; the teamster buys gloves slow and careful; they take care of their feet and hands; they live on their feet and hands.
The milkman never argues; he works alone and no one speaks to him; the city is asleep when he is on the job; he puts a bottle on six hundred porches and calls it a day’s work; he climbs two hundred wooden stairways; two horses are company for him; he never argues.
The rolling-mill men and the sheet-steel men are brothers of cinders; they empty cinders out of their shoes after the day’s work; they ask their wives to fix burnt holes in the knees of their trousers; their necks and ears are covered with a smut; they scour their necks and ears; they are brothers of cinders.
–Carl Sandburg, Psalm of Those Who Go Forth Before Daylight, first published in Cornhuskers (1918)
Listen to Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto (1948), Benny Goodman, who commissioned the work, plays the clarinet and the composer conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. This is easily one of the most significant works of American orchestral music of the last century. It has an unusual structure, with two movements linked by a sustained clarinet cadenza that demands true virtuosity. The tone of the entire piece is somber and introspective and the melodies produce cascading senses of sadness, joy and serenity. Copland’s orchestra doesn’t include the percussion pieces needed for jazz, but he manages jazz-like effects just the same.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Number of people who attended the World Grits Festival, held in St. George, South Carolina, last spring:
The brown bears of Greece continued chewing through telephone poles.
In Peru, a 51-year-old activist became the first former sex worker to run for the national legislature. “I’m going to put order,” she said, “in that big brothel which is Congress.”
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“Civilization masks us with a screen, from ourselves and from one another, with thin depth of unreality. We habitually live — do we not? — in a world self-created, half established, of false values arbitrarily upheld, largely inspired by misconception, misapprehension, wrong perspective, and defective proportion, misapplication.”