Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Happiness (more tunes added, time to time . . . Glenn Gould plays his favorite composer, Orlando Gibbons)

I’ve realized that I don’t think about happiness a lot, actually hardly at all.  I have it at times, value happiness as a fine thing, and would like my clients to have unpolluted streaks of it.  And thinking of it for a moment now, I’m glad to say I see it as the right “substrate” of our life, rather than suffering or stoicism or, for example, sheer neutrality.  One of the reasons I don’t look at happiness as a very worthy subject is my own mild-dysthymic limitation, which draws life in pastels usually.  That’s my normal state, my world, and probably like most buoyant dysthymics, I don’t say, “What is this wrong world?  I really never go to Maxfield Parrish’s Ecstasy, finding that idea as substantial as a piebald hippogriff (

Maxfield Parrish's Ecstasy

But shouldn’t happiness be a primary concern of a counseling psychotherapist?  I bet there are books out there that tell how to be happy, what to be happy about, what happiness means, and I will never read them.  Better to read a book on how to have a more perfect bowel movement: At least that, while splayed out on your coffee table, would quicken the spirit, being less vapid.  I guess what I see is that happiness is positively juiced contentment, and contentment is the natural state that happens when we therapists help get the crap worked out of you.

I probably don’t even like it when the occasional client tells me she wants to be happy.  One woman says this as an anxious drone every time I see her, but it’s actually just her disguised carrier pigeon delivering her Depressive Personality Disorder that doesn’t really want to do anything – a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g – to break her chains of infantile misery.  But in general, happiness as a stated goal means that I can’t do my job, which is to heal, not transplant a psychic organ or wave a magic wand.  And it seems to mean you won’t do your job, which includes looking at your life of difficulties, the Purple Hearts you’ve won, and seeing that you are yourself: a spirit that can change but shouldn’t want not to be itself. – Hey Paula, by Paul and Paula, 1963 – Jamaica Farewell, Harry Belafonte – Now Is the Month of Maying, Thomas Morley (1557-1602). Warning! This and "My Thing Is My Own" are ancient dirty songs. – Morningtown Ride, The Seekers – Sussex Mummers Christmas Carol, Percy Grainger (1882-1961) – Harp Concerto, 1st Movement, G. F. Handel (1685-1759; born the same year as Bach, lived nine years longer) Wedding Recessional March, Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) – The Darke Is My Delight, performed by The Baltimore Consort – Widmung, Robert Schumann (1810-1856; Franz Liszt's transcription) – Waly, Waly, Mairéid Sullivan – Well Hall, performed by The Baltimore Consort Coffee Cantata, excerpt, J.S. Bach  (1685-1750) – Christmas Concerto, Pastorale, Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) – Autumn to May, Peter, Paul & Mary – Draft Dodger Rag and – Here’s to the State of Mississippi, Phil Ochs (1940-1976) – J.S. Bach, Sonata no. 6 in G Major (violin and obbligato), harpsichord solo movement at 5:31, played by Trevor Pinnock – Cindy Oh Cindy, Vince Martin with The Tarriers – The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba from Solomon, oratorio by G. F. Handel – Sh Boom Sh Boom, The Crewcuts – Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, J.S. Bach, played by the glorious Dinu Lipatti. Also features, at 6:49, Bach's mellifluous Siciliana from Sonata No. 2 for flute and harpsichord. J.S. Bach, Toccata in C Minor, BWV 911, part 2, Glenn Gould, pianist – Movie: The Man Who Cried, Salvatore Licitra, operatic tenor, Yiddish rendition. Originally: "Je Crois Entendre Encore" ("I think I still hear") from Georges Bizet's (1838-1875) opera, The Pearl Fishers. This recording unfortunately has some glitches at the end. Licitra's French rendition is also at youtube. – The Flying Saucer, Parts I & 2, 1956, Buchanan & Goodman – Never Weather-Beaten Sail, Thomas Campion (1567-1620). Julianne Baird, soprano; Ronn McFarlane, lute – Appalachia Waltz by Mark O'Connor, including Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer – Farewell to Stromness, Peter Maxwell Davies (1934-2016) in A minor, Op. 17, No. 4, Chopin (1810-1849), played by Horowitz. Artur Rubinstein's interpretation: – Edvard Grieg, Piano Sonata, Op. 7, Andante molto movement, played by Glenn Gould (a distant relative of Grieg’s) – A new link to songs from Brown & Dana’s only album, 1963 – Du bist die Ruh, Franz Schubert (1797-1828), sung by the great Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau 

Two “by the sea” songs – (Wonderful, Wonderful, Johnny Mathis), (So Much In Love, The Tymes), (possibly most authentic), – Three versions of Third Mode Melody by Thomas Tallis (1505-1585). And Ralph Vaughan Williams’s (1872-1958) use of it –, Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis – G.F. Handel, Keyboard Suite no. 5, II. Allemande. And, my preferred rendition by M. Perahia – Ralph Vaughan Williams, Hunt the Squirrel, from First Suite of English Folk Dances – G.F. Handel, Lascia ch’io pianga, with hat-glorious Patricia Petibon – Ian & Sylvia, Four Strong Winds, 1960’s – Grieg, Violin & Piano Sonata no. 3, second movement – Alfred Schnittke, Fugue from Suite in the Old Style – My Thing Is My Own, performed by Custer LaRue, The Baltimore Consort – J.S. Bach, Concerto for Three Harpsichords (violins, here), BWV 1064, Julia Fischer et al. – Jacques Brel, Ne me quitte pas, 1959 – The adorably and modestly curvaceous Haydn or Hoffstetter Serenade, or possibly whoever wrote Shakespeare. – I have to add one of the greatest Chopin pieces – the fourth Ballade, F minor, Op. 52, played by Rubinstein. Must listen more than once: Too oceanic, too dark, too abyssal, too alt-human for a once-over. – Another one of the world’s greatest pieces: Rachmaninoff’s Étude Tableau, Op. 39 No. 5, played by Horowitz. Shakes time and space. – Sokolov playing Les Triolets from Suite in G Major/minor by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764). All that trill ornamentation! – an acquired taste, but a beautiful piece.’s posthumous Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op. 45. Many years ago, I read an analysis of this Prelude, in which the critic called it “recondite.” A pluperfect description of this mysterious piece. – The masterful Emil Gilels playing a well-known transcription of J.S. Bach’s Prelude in B minor. – Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625), Italian Ground: Allemande, played by Glenn Gould with majesty and majestic trills. 

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Comments are welcome, but I'd suggest you first read "Feeling-centered therapy" and "Ocean and boat" for a basic introduction to my kind of theory and therapy.