Archives for posts with tag: KUSC-FM


Regular readers of this blog are familiar with my cat Clancy and his love of Bach — especially the Brandenburg Concertos. (Listen to the joyful sound here — with Glenn Gould at the piano.) Every time we hear this sublime music via KUSC-FM (which is currently holding a fundraising drive), I try to shoot a picture of my in-bliss feline, while his ears move to the music and his eyes narrow until it’s hard to spot his pupils.

Clancy’s reaction (and mine) to the music made me wonder what people of note had to say about composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) — and I’ve found some interesting (and moving) quotes below.

“Bach opens a vista to the universe. After experiencing him, people feel there is meaning to life after all.” HELMUT WALCHA, German Musician (1907-1991)

“Creativity is more than just being different…What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” CHARLES MINGUS, American jazz bassist (1922-1979)

“Any species capable to producing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach cannot be all bad.” LEWIS THOMAS, American physician/poet/essayist (1913-1993)

“It may be that when the angels go about their task praising God, they play only Bach.” KARL BARTH, Swiss Theologian (1886-1968)

“Once I understood Bach’s music, I wanted to be a concert pianist. Bach made me dedicate my life to music…” NINA SIMONE, American jazz musician/singer (1933-2003)

“To strip human nature until its divine attributes are made clear, to inform ordinary activities with spiritual fervor, to give wings of eternity to that which is most ephemeral; to make divine things human and human things divine; such is Bach, the greatest and purest moment in music of all time…He has reached the heart of every noble thought, and has done it in the most perfect way.” PABLO CASALS, Catalian cellist/conductor (1876-1973)

“…in his [Bach’s] works we will search in vain for anything the least lacking in good taste.” CLAUDE DEBUSSY, French composer (1862-1918)

“Harmony is next to godliness.” JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH, German composer/musician (1685-1750)


This post is about four French artists — two painters, a composer, and a poet. Let’s start with the composer, Claude Debussy (shown at right in a portrait by Marcel Baschet). Debussy (1862-1918) composed one of the world’s most beloved and beautiful pieces of music — the sublime “Clair de Lune” (Light of the Moon). 

I wanted to write this post because I had one of those lucky moments yesterday — turning on the radio in my car just as “Clair de Lune” started to play on KUSC-FM (listen to the rendition by pianist Ivan Moravec here).

Debussy was inspired to write “Clair de Lune” after reading Paul Verlaine‘s 1869 poem of the same name. (Verlaine’s portrait below is by Gustave Courbet.)



by Paul Verlaine

Votre âme est un paysage choisi
Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi
Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.
Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur
L’amour vainqueur et la vie opportune
Ils n’ont pas l’air de croire à leur bonheur
Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,
Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,
Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres
Et sangloter d’extase les jets d’eau,
Les grands jets d’eau sveltes parmi les marbres.


Your soul is as a moonlit landscape fair,
Peopled with maskers delicate and dim,
That play on lutes and dance and have an air
Of being sad in their fantastic trim.
The while they celebrate in minor strain
Triumphant love, effective enterprise,
They have an air of knowing all is vain,—
And through the quiet moonlight their songs rise,
The melancholy moonlight, sweet and lone,
That makes to dream the birds upon the tree,
And in their polished basins of white rock
The fountains tall to sob with ecstasy.

So, there you have it — music, art, and poetry, all inspired by a lucky click of the radio in the underground parking lot at Ralph’s Supermarket in L.A.


This morning, when I turned on the radio to the classical station (KUSC-FM), I caught one of my favorite pieces of music right when it started. I was elated to hear Serenade for Strings in C by Peter Tchaikovsky. This beautiful music has been playing in my head all day. Listen here and get inspired.