The beat goes on ….

I recall telling Michelle back in 2016 that if she was serious about moving to Florida we needed to visit in August, not in January or March or November. We did so in 2017, rented a house on the river in Cape Coral, spent some time running around and ended up buying property in Port Charlotte. We left Florida about three weeks before Hurricane Irma showed up. That hurricane is still on the minds of many of our neighbors, but (for the fourth year now) we seem to be progressing safely through the current season – always aware that September/October are the more deadly months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loki and his older siblings (minus Taco, the spooky calico cat) enjoying the morning coffee.

We are amazed that we are so busy.

Michelle has progressed in her leadership roles at her facility so much that she was asked to change teams to help solidify another area of clinical care. She has flirted with the idea of getting an MBA but with her current schedule, that doesn’t seem feasible.

I have found a new place in the wine industry. I was employee of the month this past month and have now passed 4 of the 7 examinations towards the TWP certification. The last was the hardest yet – all of France except Bordeaux (which I had already passed) and Champagne/Cremant (which is the 7th exam). Burgundy itself was insanely complex, but then one had to include Beaujolais, Chablis, Loire, Alsace, Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon. The conversation among Total Wine employees in this program is that the first exam (California/Oregon/Washington)  is the hardest. It is difficult, but I believe that this view is held mainly because many never get past the first exam. Sorry, but Bordeaux, Italy, and other France are more difficult. I am happy to be past them. Now it is all about Australia/New Zealand, South America, and South Africa. 

Decisions about lifestyle: One of my dreams about being here was for me and Michelle to spend hours and days running down the river to the gulf to Fort Myers Beach and St. James City or downtown Ft. Myers – all of which we’ve done. For the first two years I was here I made it a tradition to take the boat down to the nearest eatery for lunch on my birthday. 

But, with my involvement in Total Wine, Michelle’s obligations at her job, my “other” job as haushusband – doing the lawn, laundry, housework; we simply are not using the boat. Loki doesn’t like the boat and Michelle doesn’t have time by the time she gets home. When I have the opportunity to take the boat out, I invariably find something else that is a higher priority. And every time I look at that beautiful boat sitting out there, I feel guilty. So, I have decided to get it in the best mechanical and cosmetical shape and sell it to someone who might use and appreciate it.

There are many boat clubs that allow one to rent a boat. My pilot’s license will not go away. This just seems like a logical choice.

I’ll be sad to see it go, but happy for the one who gets to enjoy it and happy that it is being used.

Time marches on. I had cataract surgery on both eyes in July. Not thrilled. I paid a bunch of money to correct my astigmatism and near-sightedness only to have to wear glasses for anything closer than two feet. When I complained to my eye doctor (who I think is amazing), she said, “Better than going blind”. OK, fine.

We’re doing well here in SWFL. Hope all of you are happy and healthy. Drop me a line whenever. Always happy to hear from you.

Musikhaus happenings

Summer in Florida …

That usually means two or three things:

Rainy Season

  • Morning begins clear and beautiful. No clouds in the sky with brilliant sunrises and scenery
  • Mid-day, the humidity has increased, and brings clouds. People come into Total Wine and complain about the heat. I’m like, “And you live, where…?” 
  • Late afternoon/early evening. Thunderstorms release the tension created by humidity and heat. Lasting five-ten minutes, they chase my fierce Doberman Pinscher (big baby) into his kennel. I sit on the lanai watching the rain evoke my childhood memories of Sandusky, OH – on the porch watching the rain flll the gutters.

Hurricane preparation

  • Until Thanksgiving, the National Hurricane Center website is checked daily for potential threats. The generator is ready in case of power outages. An evacuation plan is in place.
  • So far, we’ve been lucky. No major storms have arrived since before we came here. Our home was built to the most rigorous hurricane standards. But we are prepared.

Life slows down

  • We live in a much more populous area than Rapid City, SD. But advantages available to us here in SWFL outweigh the disadvantages.
  • We can take a day trip to Miami or Key West or Orlando or Tampa. We don’t much. Why? We have our own resort right here. We have a private pool and spa. Our boat can take us to downtown Fort Myers, the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers Beach, or Pine Island. We have a convertible to take a jaunt to the countryside or beach.
  • We have at least a three-day weekend together (more on that below) and were thinking, let’s do something. We decided that “something” would be floating in the pool, cooking meals, drinking good wine, and being together. What else is there?
The Feiszli Resort

Today I passed the third of seven examinations towards the Total Wine Professional certificate. Italy was extremely challenging. I began my exploration of wine around 1993 to prepare to take a group to Italy in 1996, figuring I ought to know more about the culture.  

That trip was memorable. We spent time in Venice, Siena, Florence, and Milan. I only wish I had known then what I know now regarding Italian wine because, as I studied for this test, I became aware of how many important places we visited in regard to wine culture. Ah, well.

Next up, I get to revisit France. My second TWP exam was only over Bordeaux – a significant place for French wine – but only one of about seven major French wine regions. The next exam covers ALL the rest of them. I am particularly aware of my lack of knowledge regarding Burgundy. History? Sure. Wine culture? Not so much. Oh well, time to put on the graduate school mentality. Looking forward to it, actually.

 

 

Considerable time and effort was expended working on this website over the last month in order to make all the scores to the music of the Choralis Constantinus 1508 available as free PDF downloads.  One can now go to:

CC-Music

and click on a title of a specific motet to obtain the music. A form must be filled out, since we wish to track how many scores and which scores are being requested and where they are going.  If you wish a score and have issues getting one, just drop me a note and I’ll get it to you.

Michelle and I are contemplating a return to Konstanz in 2023 to celebrate my seventieth birthday. We wish to revisit the city before all our friends retire.  Missing the Hafenhallenteller,  the Franz Fritz Weinkellerei, Reichenau, and everything and everyone there. 

Other News

  • I go in for cataract surgery tomorrow. It’s normal, I guess, for people my age, but I’m still not thrilled about it. The second eye will get surgery on July 15th.  Evidently, they’ll fix my astigmatism, allowing me to go without glasses for the first time since fifth grade. And Michelle will take time off from work to drive me there and back. So, we have some enforced together time for a few days.
  • Michelle’s been promoted (again). The administration came to her to ask her to take over a team that had been in disarray from an ineffective team leader. She wrote her terms for the switch and, now currently supervises eleven(!) clinicians, overseeing about 400 residents … at least until they hire someone to replace her on her old team. Proud of her. I always believed in her. Glad she has finally been able to spread her wings.
  • Loki is gradually becoming the dog we want him to be. He is stubborn and has some inbreeding character flaws, but my work with him is slowly paying off. I have only two main goals for him now: a) Stop terrorizing our beautiful calico cat Taco and learn that when she runs from him, it is not an invitation to chase her and, b) bicycles are not a threat. The latter goal is closer to achievement than the former.
  • We had a fantastic visit from my sister Sue and brother-in-law Rand in early April, followed by a visit from three old friends from Arizona State University days (40 years ago now!). I was able to gift Rand some Blanton’s bourbon and also share some other rare bourbons he can’t get in Ohio. Claire, Marie, and Sharon are as lovely and fun as they always have been. I had forgotten how much fun they were together. It was a treat for us to host all of them here in such a short time span.
  • I sent complimentary CDs of the Heinrich Isaac music to four former professors – all of whom I consider formative to my growth as a musician and as a human being. The fantastic side effect was to receive phone calls and emails from them thanking me for remembering them. It made me feel good that I was able to share with them the good that they had engendered by influencing me. Thank you, Lewis Phelps, Carl H. Kandel, John MacDonald, and Robert D. Reynolds.
  • Growing season here is coming to an end. My last tomato was eaten last week. The herbs need to be replanted in the shadier of the two beds and the winter bed (in direct sun) will go fallow until October.

As Garrison used to say, “..and that’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”  Free feel to check in. We’re always glad to hear from you

Whew!!!

The combined scourge of Covid and Florida high season is over. This means that (finally) some people are leaving southwest Florida as the warmer/rainier months appear. Much has been happening at the Feiszli household.

I continue to progress towards the Total Wine Professional certification. I took the Bordeaux examination on Monday and passed – making me the only person in the Fort Myers store to have passed two of the exams other than our wine manager. I have store managers who have expressed dismay over the volume of knowledge required to get a passing score. Truth be told, I was upset that I missed 4 questions, giving me an 89%. I wanted to achieve at least a 90%. My mentor, the wine manager told me to shut up and take the win. Okay, fine ….

On to Italy.  Seven more exams to pass and I will have earned the diploma.

This audio recording continues to receive attention. If you are interested in obtaining a copy, ensemble cantissimo sells them as well as Carus-Verlag, who sponsored the CD and has audio excerpts on their website. I urge you to contact ensemble cantissimo directly here since buying the CD from them will support their efforts. If your last name is Phelps, Kandel, MacDonald, or Reynolds; please do not buy one. I am sending you one because without you, none of this would have happened.

Markus and I will make these motets available to the public free of charge in PDF format. I will post the PDF files on this website and Markus will post them on the ensemble cantissimo website.

In somewhat more somber news, Michelle and I have been devoting our time and resources in support of Michelle’s younger sister, who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Michelle has already been back to South Dakota three times to visit and support. I went with her for five days over Easter weekend. She is undergoing chemotherapy and doing well. We are so impressed and encouraged by her resilience and determination to continuing to live her life. In addition, my oldest brother’s wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and they are dealing with that. Coincidentally, both of these persons have spent their lives in the medical field.

Michelle and I have spent many minutes discussing our own health and future. We are grateful for what we have but have decided to begin living for the now rather than the future.

With the CD release, I did a rather crazy adolescent, second-childhood thing. I decided (since both my kids and my wife had already gotten multiple tattoos) to get a tattoo to commemorate the last 40 years of my musical research. The artist was impressed that I was willing to go so crazy with my first tattoo. My response was: There are probably 100 people on the planet that would recognize this. Go big or go home.  So, here we are.

Choralis Constantinus 1508

This came in the mail today. To steal David Burns’ words, I am pleased that Markus Utz and his ensemble cantissimo have created this outstanding CD to accompany my liner notes. (lol)

In many ways, this CD is a culmination of my life’s work. I have always been a facilitator – one who creates avenues for others to express themselves. All of the music on this CD was transcribed by me from the original mensural notation into modern notation so that good musicians could re-create it.  Markus and his ensemble have performed this music as I always heard it in my head. So proud and thankful for all the singers that tackled this challenging music and performed it. They refined and enhanced the editions that appear here.

I am indebted to John MacDonald from the University of Akron and Robert D. Reynolds from Arizona State University, who encouraged me in my pursuit of non-traditional choral music. I also need to acknowledge Carl H. Kandel at Mount Union, who gave me the opportunity to transcribe music. Not only this early music thing, but also my brass compositions and arrangements are because of his encouragement. Thanks to these mentors I became a student of Gregorian chant, early Renaissance music notation, and proportional musical rhythms – all of which were huge assistance in my work in choral music. I recall a colleague being impressed by a guest conductor talking to a choir about John Rutter’s evocation of chant in his Requiem, and thought to myself, “And where did you get your degree…?” Sorry, but that’s my music history snobbishness coming out.

In this CD is a selection of music for important celebrations of the church year. The entire Christmas music is presented. Motets dedicated to Mary have a place. The music sung for Easter and following weeks is represented. The last two motets are music dedicated to the patron saint of Konstanz, St. Conrad.

All of this music is based on the Gregorian chant for that Mass Proper item. This was Isaac’s genius in creating the Choralis Constantinus. While he was equally able to create new melodies (see Innsbruck, Ich muss dich lassen); he was able to take pre-existing melodies and create totally new artforms.

The influence Isaac had on later composers is undeniable. Protestant hymns and forms such as the church cantata; and later Renaissance madrigals can all be traced to his groundbreaking music.

If you wish scores for this music, it will soon be available on both ensemble cantissimos’s and my website. Markus and I have decided to make it available to those who wish to perform it.