A Composer's Journal Entries: September 22-25, 2005 by Laurie Conrad.
A Short Conversation with Karel Husa: A Composer’s Journal Entries: September 22-25, 2005
Thursday, September 22
Called Karel today, to see if we could get together soon. I asked him how he was and he answered, "I can’t complain", and then he laughed. Karel. He then said "I will be 86, if I make it. Isn’t that amazing". He had a small house down the road from us at Windgarth, in Sheldrake, for composing. He asked if I watched the boats come in and out at Windgarth ... I imagine that he misses his little house. Now they spend six months of every year in Florida.
His beautiful & wonderful wife answered the phone, in her musical high voice, & delightful French accent - I have always liked her immensely. She said "Ah Laurie, you have called for Karel, I will get him for you." We arranged a date, sometime after October ninth. He will be out of town for a week, someone is performing one his pieces somewhere - perhaps he is conducting, I did not ask him. That has always been his life, since I have known him. Good heavens, I just realized that I have known him for over forty years! Karel was my composition teacher in college ... A wonderful teacher. We spoke French in my lessons, & to be truthful I was not at all serious about composing then. Karel, of course, urged me to become a composer. Mainly he had us analyze the great composers in class. As for composing, he never imposed a compositional system or form on us - nor did he say very much. He basically just told us to write. When I was a graduate student, I copied out the parts for "Music for Prague", which was not too long before he received the Pulitzer Prize for his String Quartet No. 3 in 1969. A humble, cheerful man. He would drop off the newest pages to his score, and invariably & accidentally step on the cat’s tail as he entered our apartment. His beautiful scores, so neatly and beautifully written out .... Even then his hair was pure white. He himself had studied with Honneger and Nadia Boulanger, in Paris.
Saturday, September 24
Windgarth 3:15 p.m.
A beautiful day - sunny, windy, in the low seventies. Light on the water, waves. A gull facing east, balanced perfectly on the apex of the martin house. New guests upstairs. I’ve already packed up my things downstairs, more people arrive tomorrow. Went to the Amish for fruits & vegetables this morning. Bought mums. Then the cutting garden. Today only a small sign greeted us there: "Self Serve. Bouquets $5. With vase $6." A tin box on the high counter: "Put money in this box" written on it with a magic marker. Some coins & bills already there. One of their bouquets would cost $50 in town, in Ithaca ...
I am alone on Larry’s dock, facing south. The lone white gull, & now a sailboat on the far shore. Whitecaps. The water clear, but too rough for swimming. I have begun my new notebook, this one is a bit thicker than the last one. On this first page, I am trying to decide whether to finish copying out Movement II - or begin writing Mt. III. Somehow the waves have convinced me to first finish Mt. II.
We arrived here yesterday, in time for dinner - & have heard no news of the south & the new hurricane. An e-mail from Patti, asking me to send angels. They are directly in the path of the storm. I have tried to blanket the south with angels & Healing ... I hardly slept.
Sunday, September 25
A note from the people upstairs. They want to rent again next July, they had a wonderful time. And they found my little book, "The Spiritual Life of Animals & Plants" in the bookshelf. They loved it & want to order copies. I will e-mail them & tell them to go through Amazon.com or Barnes & Nobles.
Grey today, rained earlier. The wind from the south, almost storm strength. Still warm, almost in the eighties; a beautiful haze. Propped up dahlias. Planted the mums.
Dear Mabel is dying. I interviewed her last year, for Realms of Light. Afterwards, I had the sinking feeling that she would soon leave for other realms. Cindy, Inger and Mabel will all have passed on before the books are published. As though I caught them just in time - or they said their piece & then were then free to leave this earth. My interview with Inger was the last time I saw her ...
Called Mabel and said that I couldn’t come to see her today, but would meditate with her, from Windgarth. She said, without hesitation: "What time?" We agreed on 1:30. At 1:30 I went down to the beach, & M. was already there, meditating. Afterwards M. said that she had seen beautiful, coloured lights during her meditation. M. used "Christ is Love" as a mantra, & said that Mabel seemed to fall into a cloud of Love; the cloud was Christ Himself, & it held & surrounded Mabel, comforted her. My heart burned as I meditated ... Afterwards, I seemed to float over the lawn, as I went back towards the house.