07 August 2018

My L'histoire du soldat Tale

There was a time when I wanted to reform television.  Now I accept it for what it is.  So long as I don’t write beneath myself or pander my work, I’m not doing anyone a disservice.
– Rod Serling (1970)

Throw some bread to the ducks instead–
It’s easier that way.
– Phil Collins/Genesis (1979)

You may not be able to do anything about the environment; your work, is entirely your affair.  Even if the environment be implacable, do your best work–and throw it in their teeth.  No one worth his salt will praise you for doing shoddy work, because it is what the environment ‘required.’
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

There is nothing like studying your own score, to give you an intelligent idea of what you ought to tell an audience.  I think I am going to just study for another day, before actually setting to write my notes for the pre-concert lecture, down Florida way.  Which is in 12 days.

A very nice message came in from Mei Mei, saying that the final toccata section reminded her of Stravinsky, and asking if she is right.

You are right.  When I was at the College of Wooster, I played the soldier in a “black box theatre” staging of L'histoire, and the Scene by a Brook violin lick made a powerful impression.

Very fond memories, as my clarinet teacher, Nancy Garlick, violinist Robt Hamilton and pianist Brian Dykstra played the trio version of the music for the production, which was a cooperative venture among the French, Theatre and Music Departments.

How I even got involved was a peculiar concatenation of circumstances.  Although I had gone to Wooster planning to pursue a B.Mus., there was one quarter when I thought I might opt instead for the Music Ed. degree, which had a science requirement.  To fulfill that req., I elected to enroll in Fred Cropp’s already-legendary Intro to Geology course, whose enrolment was large enough that, instead of being held in whatever building where the Geology Dept resided, the class would be held in a large lecture room in the basement of the new building of the Theatre Dept.  It was an eight o’clock class, if I remember aright;  so to make certain that I knew just where to find the class at that uncertain hour of the day, I went to find the room.  As I clambered down the stairs, I ran upon people holding some kind of reading.  The material was in French, and my Junior High and High School instructors had bequeathed me an outsized confidence in my French;  so I thought, Why not?

I wound up cast as the Soldier.  That apparently chance acquaintance with Theatre Dept personnel led at some point to participation in one (or two?) of William Butler Yeats’s Plays for Dancers, and ultimately to my being groomed to audition for the rôle of Salieri in the campus production of Amadeus.

So, as I say – many very fond memories.

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