31 July 2010

Publicity Stunt

Someday I am going to wear a T-shirt that reads, simply, Conclusion, and I’ll walk around telling people: “Jump to me!”

24 July 2010

Some Rivets in the Warning

Yesterday’s Bobs song du jour: “First I Was a Hippie, Then I Was a Stockbroker, Now I Am a Hippie Again”; a plagal cadence for the angels.

This week I was puttering with a passage in Fair Warning, a non-retrogradeable rhythm which does not round out to an even beat, thus repetition of the pattern provides fresh relations against the underlying meter. Not that this rhythmic game is The Thing (though it is, I think, playfully cool). It’s one element which serves as a ‘binding’. Both structural, and yet generating surface interest as well.

So, the non-ret. rhythm will ‘round out’ to the even crotchet after the fourth iteration. Decided to set a contrapuntal voice in the bass augmented by a factor of 3 (16th-note = dotted-eighth), and entering some eleven-ish bars in. So we’ve got (drumroll, please) . . . contrast (the two voices moving at different paces); unity (the two voices adhere to the same pattern); & convergence upon the same goal.

I’ve been listening to a ton of Martinů lately. This morning, though, it’s William Schuman’s Symphony № 3 played by the Seattle Symphony, coducted by Gerard Schwarz.

15 July 2010

Getting on with it

First movement of the viola sonata is called Fair Warning. (The sketch from a couple of years ago which wound up being the seed of the larger piece, will be the third and final movement.) The bus yesterday morning was a little more rumbly than usual. And my pen was starting to dry up. Still got some music written, though. And further progress yester even.

13 July 2010

Dance of the Piscine Slap

Yellow Submarine

(BP edition)

In the town where I was born
Lived a man who soiled the sea
. . . .

08 July 2010

And then there was the Library

This one’s not nearly so tardy . . . though not exactly what one might call timely, neither: Nicole, Brian & I play at the West End Branch of the Boston Public Library (22 June 2010).

06 July 2010

Later, at King’s

When Peter & I played at King’s Chapel (18 May 2010), I plugged the MicroTrack II into an available outlet, there in the historic edifice . . . inexpert as I am at electrics, I wonder if that is perhaps responsible for the undercurrent hum. Maybe I ought just to have run it on its battery (which was, in fact, charged that day). Ah, well. Hum and all, here’s the audio at Instant Encore.

05 July 2010

Revisiting the Moon

Audio for the Out in the Moon program (12 May 2010) is now available for the intrepid listener at Instant Encore.

Return to Arnold

Some years ago, I totally chanced upon the Craft/Schoenberg series on Koch, remaindered at BRO. (Chanced, because I actually only surf their site irregularly.) I fetched them in greedily . . . not that I was such an enthusiast for Schoenberg at the time. In fact, at that point I had been rather cool to Schoenberg for some years. But I had reached a point where I was curious at least to hear many of the pieces which I still knew only by name; and the fact remains that I was besotted with (to name but two examples) Pierrot Lunaire when I was first exposed to it as an undergraduate, and with the Serenade Opus 24 when I chanced on a CD with it, while I was in Buffalo. Mentally, I knew that my then-coolness might well be a whimsical phase (no matter how long a period it had chilled), and I allowed myself to recall viscerally that there was a time when I was unqualifiedly enthusiastic about the music.

Now, if I had waited a short-ish time, I probably could have fetched all (or, most of) these recordings as Naxos re-issues. I haven't done the math — I might or might not have saved a smallish bit of money by waiting. But (what I could not necessarily have foreseen) I benefited from the Koch reel-in, because (and the same fact applies to the Craft/Stravinsky Koch remainders which similarly I fetched from BRO) Craft’s liner notes are extensive, to a degree which tests the physical capacity of the jewel-cases: Vol III of The Music of Arnold Schoenberg (released in 1999) has a booklet which is 36 pages, not including cover.

Before discussion of the pieces on Vol III themselves, Craft writes a preface, Remembering Schoenberg. I reproduce just two paragraphs from this:

To this day I wonder why I did not attempt to arrange a meeting between the two titans of modern music, but it can only be that I realized that Stravinsky was not ready for it. With the exception of Verklärte Nacht, in its ballet form as Pillar of Fire [! ~kh], he began to learn Schoenberg’s music only after the older man's death. How different the situation would have been a year and a half later, when Stravinsky would have gone to him, addressed him as “Meister,” reminisced with him about Berlin in 1912, and thanked him for presenting the original instrumental versions of Pribaoutki and Berceuses du Chat, and the 4-hand and string quartet pieces, in his Vienna Society For Private Performances in 1919.

In truth, the thought that a meeting could have been effected between the two men, who had lived only a few miles for eleven years but never communicated, still disturbs me. Schoenberg’s biographer, H. H. Stuckenschmidt, describes Stravinsky during a visit to him in April 1949 “warmly” asking about “the great old man,” and it was known then that Schoenberg had protested against the abuse of Stravinsky by René Leibowitz and Theodor Adorno. In the autumn of 1949 Stravinsky was in the Los Angeles audience that heard Schoenberg deliver an ironic acceptance speech to the Austrian Consul-General for bestowing the “Freedom of the City of Vienna” on him. I was in New York at the time, and when I returned Stravinsky sympathetically described the occasion to me, of Schoenberg, whose eyesight had begun to fail, reading from a clutch of papers, each containing only a few words written in large letters.

03 July 2010

Independence Eve Shuffle

Sunny day shuffle, overwhelming Russian density to it:

1. Zappa, “Satumaa (Finnish Tango)” from You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore, vol. II (The Helsinki Concert) [868/1029]
2. Prokofiev, Romeo & Juliet, Opus 64, Act III Scene vi, № 40 The Nurse, Andante assai (BSO, Ozawa) [76/1172]
3. Prokofiev, Sarcasms, Opus 17, № 4 Smanioso (Eteri Andjaparidze) [684/1172]
4. Beethoven, Symphony № 8, Opus 93, iii. Tempo di menuetto (Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Masur) [912/1172]
5. Ginastera, Variaciones concertantes, Opus 23, Variazone in modo di moto perpetuo (Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Josep Pons) [1072/1172]
6. Ravel, Sonata for Violin and Cello, iii. Lent (members of the Nash Ensemble) [400/1172]
7. Shostakovich, Symphony № 6 in b minor, Opus 54, ii. Allegro (Prague Symphony, Maksim Dmitriyevich) [739/1172]
8. Shostakovich, String Quartet № 2 in A Major, Opus 68, iii. Waltz. Allegro (Emerson String Quartet) [761/1172]
9. Bartók, String Quartet № 4, Sz. 91, iv. Allegro pizzicato (Emerson String Quartet) [839/1029]
10. Shostakovich, Prelude & fugue in A Major from the Opus 87 (Tatiana Nikolayeva) [1088/1029]
11. Shostakovich, Prelude & fugue in B-flat Major from the Opus 87 (Tatiana Nikolayeva) [1165/1029]
12. Shostakovich, Symphony № 4 in c minor, Opus 43, movement ii. (Prague Symphony, Maksim Dmitriyevich) [938/1172] [185/1172]
13. Debussy, Images pour piano, livre 1, iii. Mouvement (Zoltán Kocsis) [13/1172]
14. Stravinsky, Canticum sacrum ad honorem Sancti Marci nominis, i. Dedicatio (Westminster Cathedral Choir, City of London Sinfonia, James O’Donnell) [184/1172]
15. Robert Fripp & Peter Gabriel, “Here Comes the Flood” from Exposure [340/1172]