Moments from Proust. III. “Saint-Loup’s Watch”

Albumleaf 183: August 20, 2021 (Bologna)

I heard the tick of Saint-Loup’s watch, which could not be far away. The tick changed place every moment, for I could not see the watch; it seemed to come from behind, from in front of me, from my right, from my left; sometimes to die away as though it were a long way off. Suddenly, I caught sight of the watch on the table. Then I heard the tick in a fixed place from which it did not move again.

Marcel Proust
The Guermantes Way, p. 78
Translation: C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin

Moments from Proust. II. “The Restaurant at Rivebelle”

Albumleaf 182: June 14, 2021 (Bologna)

. . . this music that greeted our ears—arrangements of waltzes of German operettas, of music-hall songs, all of them quite new to me—was itself like an ethereal pleasure-dome superimposed upon the other and more intoxicating still.  [. . .]  But while I was humming softly to myself the notes of the tune and returning its kiss, the pleasure peculiar to itself which it made me feel became so dear to me that I would have left my father and mother to follow it through the singular world which it constructed in the invisible, in lines alternately filled with languor and vivacity.

Marcel Proust
Within a Budding Grove, pp. 534-535
Translation: C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin

Moments from Proust. I. Dreams of Travel and of Love

Albumleaf 181: May 3, 2021 (Bologna)

Thus, if I always imagined the woman I loved surrounded by the places I longed for most at the time, if I would have liked her to be the one who took me to visit them, who opened the way for me into an unknown world, it was not because of a simple chance association of thoughts; no, it was because my dreams of travel and of love were only moments—which I am separating artificially today as if I were cutting sections at different heights of an apparently motionless iridescent jet of water—in a single inflexible upsurge of all the forces of my life.

Marcel Proust
Swann’s Way, pp. 88-89.
Translation: Lydia Davis


Albumleaf 180: February 15, 2021 (Bologna)

A cutesy one for the music-theory geeks.

(A little circle of fifths and geometry, and you should get the idea.)


Albumleaf 179: February 5, 2021 (Bologna)


“Latemar Dream”

Albumleaf 178: January 16, 2021 (Bologna)

The coronavirus situation has confined us to Bologna for months now, and with each passing day I yearn more and more to travel–especially to non-urban areas like the mountains.

I have never been to the Latemar range in the Dolomites. But someone posted about them the other day on one of the “beautiful Italy” Facebook pages I follow, and the urge to be up high in some remote rifugio–to breathe in the pure air and see for miles and miles–hit me hard.

“Il tintinnio dei monatti”

Albumleaf 177: January 13, 2021 (Bologna)

“The Ringing of the Dead-Gatherers”

During the plague of 1630, the groups of men who went around collecting the sick and dead in Milan were called “monatti,” and they wore little bells on their ankles to signal their approach. In Manzoni’s The Betrothed, the monatti are often inebriated and pass flasks of wine among themselves. At one point, they encounter a young mother who entreats them to take her dying baby and to return later that day to collect her.

“More Domestic Harmony”

Albumleaf 176: January 1, 2021 (Bologna)

For context, listen to Domestic Harmony.

“Pleas and Ruminations”

Albumleaf 175: December 4, 2020 (Bologna)


Albumleaf 174: November 24, 2020 (Bologna)