24 April 2018


Good rehearsal last night with Triad.

The day after the King’s Chapel concert, I drew up a new piece for my handbell choir, to be played with mallets (though, there is no reason it cannot be rung, instead).  Oh, and there is an optional drum part.  We had quite a bit of fun (combined with learning labors) working on this after the service Sunday.

(This MIDI demo uses other timbres, nota bene.)

23 April 2018

Three Miniatures

Pieces which are both musically satisfying for seasoned musicians, and within the technical reach of students.  While at work on them, composer Mark Gresham wrote that part of his design was, that the pieces would work in more than one scoring.

22 April 2018

Such dreams as are dreamt beneath ice

We opened Tuesday’s program at King’s Chapel with Avrohom Leichtling’s Bárðarbunga dreymir undir ísnum (Bárðarbunga dreams beneth the ice).

16 April 2018

The schlepping

With thanks to a courteous and most helpful MBTA chap at Alewife, who assisted me in reassembling my cart after it slouched apart at the base of an escalator—the last of the non-instrument gear has been brought to King’s Chapel.

The day is turning out something of a (figurative, only figurative) marathon.

I am hieing me towards lunch.

Final prep

The rain is on and off, so there is a chance I may be able to schlep the hardware to King’s Chapel without getting too soggy.

I’ve folded the programs now, and there is no reason I should have done so any earlier.

My plan is to deliver the gear to the Chapel soonish after they open, to have the more free time between that errand, and collecting composer Mark Gresham at Logan Airport.

We have somehow accumulated additional logistical concerns for this concert, but all in the gratifying interests of serving some of my fellow composers.

Oh, and a Triad rehearsal this evening, as well.  On the whole, a day when I feel reasonably certain that, yes, I am a musician.

14 April 2018

Once again ...

... I lit a candle rather than curse the darkness.

Duet Done

Sometime late 2015 / early 2016, I began a clarinet/horn duet as part of the Op.137 pieces, the duet titled Considering My Bliss Options.  I left it in this unfinished state for better than two years;  but this morning, it is done.

11 April 2018


...you finally realize...

Frank Zappa's Broadway the Hard Way album was one of the first CDs I ever listened to, so it's been with me a long time.

Maybe three years ago, maybe five, I listened to the CD of the reconstructed score for Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times. There's a tune which crops up now and again, which at first reminded me of a tune (an unknown tune, I've not managed to recollect it) in the Methodist Hymnal. But, probably not—the tune is “Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!”

And it's only now, late by either reference point, that I realize that “Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!” is the tune which Zappa tacked onto the end of “Rhymin’ Man.”

Ain’t no great revelation, but it wasn’t too long ....

09 April 2018

On modest, workaday accomplishments

Last night in my dream, a fellow composer laid out, simply and with no fuss, his nonstandard terminology. “I call it Minism. If you use what everyone else says, Minimalism—you can hear for yourself—there’s too many syllables, flying in the face of the idea behind the style.”

In spite of the predictable, routine weekly challenge of Monday in the office, I am getting everything done which I wanted. I took a solid hour's nap; I practiced the passages in the Leichtling which need further mastery; and here I am, ready for the second Triad rehearsal for this concert cycle.

08 April 2018

Fresh dispersal

Several scores of Henningmusick for two (one of them piano) are newly hurtled forth.

We shall see.

They can’t say No, if you don’t send your work out....

07 April 2018

Well, Hardly Ever Again

The score by Michel Legrand is perhaps the most obvious “aberration” in the rogue 007 movie, Never Say Never Again. Not bad, not unsuitable; but clearly a different tone.

Today I realize that they must have given 'Q' a name (Algy) because we really could not have Connery addressing anyone other than Desmond Llewellyn as 'Q'.

Footprint, Minerva, Book Club

Ensemble Aubade initiated their Middle West tour in Indiana yester even, with a program including the Oxygen Footprint. They play it again at St Paul's UCC in Columbia, Illinois tonight.

My ancient schoolmate has written to say he'll print out and (at some point) give the brass quartet (trombones) version of Down Along the Canal to Minerva Road a reading.

As I read these two tasty volumes concurrently, it can be no mere coincidence that, at the end of Chapter One, Mr. Tirebiter hears Daphnis et Chloé on the radio.

06 April 2018

A consumer reports

Perhaps a month ago, I found that I had in my possession a tin of Altoids which bore the legend, Best before April 2017.  (Let’s say I rediscovered the tin in March of 2018.)  The box was better than half full, and no, I was not going to pitch it in the trash without first checking the contents.

It is with confident pleasure that I can report that these mints were perfectly fine and unspoilt, and that there was nothing at all in my experience of the Altoids to provoke regret that I had not instead consumed them prior to May of 2017.

Carry on.

05 April 2018

A question of obligations

Art is not automotive traffic.

Having set that slice of the obvious upon the trencher of discourse, we consider this approach to an intersection.

There are four lanes. Two left turn lanes, marked [left turn arrow] ONLY; one right turn lane, marked [right turn arrow] ONLY; and a lane in the center for traffic proceeding straight.

That straight-ahead lane does not bear the ONLY legend—but it might as well. The last thing which motorists in the lanes to either the right or left need, is anyone in the straight-ahead lane exercising an impromptu option to turn, in whichever direction.

These rules of vehicular order are useful, indeed they support motorist and pedestrian safety.

Rules do not, typically, serve any such concrete and communal purpose, in the realm of Art.

The literature of the history of art criticism is bestrewn with dicta which begin Art must, or The Artist should ... must or must not, should or should not. Phooey.

I'm not saying that such statements are never of interest, never illuminative;  particularly when made by an artist, they give an indication of that artist's mind. And for an artist to do her or his work, setting out what one wishes to do (which can partly be shaped by what one does not wish) is an obvious necessity.

But they're not Commandments. No, not even back in the epochs when such artistic pronouncements really were intended as such.

That which the Artist wishes to do—that is what she or he ought. For that is how the best work is wrought.

Do others share a part in shaping the Artist's work? Certainly—by engaging the mind and heart, not by compelling the result.

04 April 2018

To post while the posting appears good

[The cobbled nature of this post shows no respect for the calendar.]

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (a simile whose days of general comprehension are probably numbered) Peter & I had another excellent, productive rehearsal yesterday [Sunday].  So, the three-day holiday weekend featured daily rehearsals, and we are in good shape for the concert which is two weeks from tomorrow [Tuesday, yesterday].  It’s early, but the early preparation was strongly indicated since (as reported on this very blog, Gentle Reader) Ensemble Aubade will be touring the Midwest (with a return stopover in Brooklyn) for ten-ish days, spreading the news of mine Oxygen Footprint.

And (to post this before there is further delay) an excellent Triad rehearsal last night [Monday night], the first for our June concerts.

[posted a day late, nevertheless]