Other Ways of Knowing

by Richard Pierce Milner

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Other Ways of Knowing

These were recorded at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, except for numbers one and four, which were recorded at the Nelson Music Room in Durham, North Carolina at Duke University.

1. Live As if… (7:09) Some of my favorite writing is in Lyrical and Critical Essays by Albert Camus. He writes about the wrong side and the right side and how the bouncing shadows on his tabletop from the tree outside his window gives him an inexpressible joy. One must choose, he says, between the two sides; one must live as if …

2. 4 AM (4:04) In Manhattan, the city almost sleeps, at 4 AM.

3. In the House of the Jaguar (10:34) Finally, one Christmas, I went to San Cristobal de Las Casas. My sisters couldn’t come, so I was there with my mom and dad. We met Trudi Blum the owner of Na Bolom. My father made a self-deprecating remark as a way of starting a conversation, and she cut him off. A volunteer guide stepped in and continued the tour of the house, which had been built as a seminary, though never consecrated. When we stepped into the Chapel, my jaw dropped. The floor was covered with pine needles. On the platform stage was a piano. “What kind of piano is that,” I asked. “That’s our Steinway. Anyone play the piano?” “Yeah me.” I played “San Cristobal de Las Casas,” and they invited me to be artist in residence. Trudi used to come and listen while I composed. I thought of her and how she and her husband, Frans, had mapped the forest; maps the oil and lumber companies used to tear it down. She spent a good part of her life funding greenhouses to grow new samplings, which she gave out for free to anyone who would plant them. She, of course, did other things too, but this is what I thought of as I wrote. Na Bolom means House of the Jaguar in one of the Mayan dialects.

4. The Sun Through Wet Eyelashes (4:48) The Ciminos next door got a Slip n’ Slide one summer when we were kids. You hooked up a hose to a long sheet of plastic they bought. And we went slipping and sliding on the grass in their front yard, splashing and laughing in the hot Albuquerque summer sun.

5. Rolling Sea (4:06) One day, I took drive down the coast of Oregon impressed by the all the different ways the sea can meet the land. Later, a group of us rented a house on the beach in North Carolina. A dark storm came in and in the evening from our windows, we watched the storm blow the rain, churn the waves and rush them in and out in the night below us.

6. The Sea Close By (5:56) Camus wrote an essay called “Nuptials at Tipasa,” in which he and friends visit the site of old Roman ruins and swim in the sea. In it, he captures the joy of the time, contrasting it with permanence of the ruins and the sea, and the transience of both his youth and that one single day.

7. A Song for Catherine (2:04) I had a wonderful courtship and then a wonderful marriage to Catherine. It didn’t last, but I am thankful for the time we had.

8. Delirious (2:15) I wrote this during my courtship with Catherine. The same for Catherine Piece and First Saturday.

9. Something About the Wind (5:51) As an eight-year-old, sitting in class during silent reading, I would listen to the winds of early spring. I learned to imitate them. And they have always given me comfort. I remember too, the tapping of the heater as it warmed up my room, and I could hear the heat shifting the air. I remember too, the strong winds outside, and falling forward only to be held in place by it. Later, I remember the winds of New York, funneled by the tall buildings and the super intense blue of the Manhattan sky, and then too winds straight off the lake in Chicago.

10. Catherine Piece (3:59)

11. First Saturday (3:26)


released June 1, 2010



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Richard Pierce Milner Albuquerque, New Mexico

Richard’s compositions have been broadcast nationally over NPR and performed at Lincoln Center. He has appeared in solo concerts at Carnegie, Merkin and Symphony Space in New York City, has written for the Martha Graham Dance Company, and has been an artist in residence at the University of Illinois, at Na Bolom in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico and at the Stedelijk Museum in Holland. ... more

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