14 January 2009

Over a Beer in a Bar in Dedham

My bus back to Boston from Montreal had run almost two hours late (which made for a most tedious two hours in South Station for my wife and mom-in-law). While driving me home, one of the first bits of news that Maria shared was that I should check for an e-mail message from Paul. The funeral for former Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island was to be held that coming Monday at Trinity Church in Newport. As it was still holiday season, it proved not possible to get in touch with Trinity’s Interim Organist. Paul’s name arose as an alternate, and as the widow had heard him play, he was tapped. Time was short, and Paul and his wife, cellist Audrey were (as is often the case given their divers musical activities) stopped on the road . . . Paul was tapping out a brace of e-mail messages to me, and he and Audrey were madly (in only mild madness, I am assured) considering what to use for the Prelude, and I believe Audrey may have said, What about those pieces of Karl’s you played?

And thus it came to pass . . . a few notes of Henningmusick have now actually fallen upon the eardrums of a former US President (although Clinton had not committed at the time they took the Order of Service to press, he delivered one of the eulogies), of the Vice President-elect of the United States, and of the senior Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. And the widow of the draughtsman of the Pell Grant, heard some music composed by a former grantee.

Especially with the appearance of former President Bill Clinton, the event would be televised on C-Span, and there was some nervousness of attempt to see if the last few notes of the Henning Opus 34 might make it out on the broadcast (and thus be captured in video); but in the event, C-Span 2 cut to Newport only when the Service proper was already in progress. At the conclusion of the service, though, one saw a bit of Paul playing the Widor Toccata on camera.

Assorted patches of news:

Artist Mark Stephenson has a show which opens at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro on Friday, 23 January.

Naxos is releasing disc 2 of the Pacifica Quartet’s Elliott Carter set in February. The quartets with which I am already acquainted are some of my favorite not sure if I understand it, but I like it music. (I do think that [ the music I like ] should be a larger category than [ the music I completely understand ].)

Patch of non-news:

Lately revisited the Shostakovich Thirteenth Symphony, setting poetry of Yevgeny Yevtushenko. One quatrain from “A Career”:

Зачем их грязью покрывали?
Талант – талант, как ни клейми.
Забыты те, кто проклинали,
но помнят тех, кого кляли.
Why was mud heaped on them?
Talent is talent, like a seal.
Forgotten are those who flung curses,

But we remember them who were cursed.


Anonymous said...

You know (a) Russian???

Karl Henning said...