18 December 2023

Safe Sax & cetera

Just a note that inserting "Si, Señor, hay llamas" in the Google search engine yields pages of links to Bible verses.
For anyone out there who does not yet feel that these times we live in, are pretty weird times, the following headline: LAMBORGHINI UNVEILS FIRST SUV
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

If ever I have deserved (which has not often been the case, and, I think, never), but if ever I did deserve to be soundly cuffed by a fellow mortal, for secretly putting weight upon some imaginary social advantage, it must have been while I was striving to prove myself ostentatiously his equal and no more. It was while I sat beside him on his cobbler's bench, or clinked my hoe against his own in the cornfield, or broke the same crust of bread, my earth-grimed hand to his, at our noontide lunch.

— Nathaniel Hawthorne, from The Blithedale Romance

Viz. the saxophone: I am not yet “playing” per se, but still at the “sounding tones” stage. Although my embouchure obviously cannot be what it ought, my friend Peter has furnished a plastic reed on which (while I suspect it may not be ideal for any professional player) I have no problem sounding a reasonable tone. When I met Peter at the (51st annual!) Aardvark Jazz Orchestra Holiday Concert, he offered to get together for a kind of lesson, which will be nice. This will be sometime in the New Year, of course. Mike (my physical therapist) helped me adjust my neckstrap, which is a great help. I’m finding that I need to be mindful of my left thumb on the “dead-post,” a button just below the octave key. Even more, I need to be mindful of my other fingers. I stand at a mirror so that I can see what’s going on. The first step is managing the thumb-to-index-finger “pinch,” getting the finger to curve around the instrument so that it reaches the appropriate key. This is going to be the task of a couple of weeks, I expect. This past Friday I went to Lowell to hear the Lowell Chamber Orchestra play (to name but the chief items on the program) Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht and Chas Ives’ Symphony № 3, « The Camp Meeting It is a mildly funny thing: I had certainly listened to the Ives before, yet there are ways in which attending the performance on Friday was a kind of inaugural hearing. I’ve listened to it twice again since (Eastman-Rochester Orchestra/Howard Hanson and NY Phil/Lenny) and it’s kind of becoming my favorite Ives score. And, of course I was not going to miss the opportunity to hear the Schoenberg Opus 4 live.

My pleasant preoccupation of getting the church choir ready for Christmas had meant that I wasn’t doing any composing on my own account. I’ve now made a start on a new piece, Pocketsful of Uncertainty. Watch This Space.

12 December 2023

Et quoi faire maintenant?

In Art, the opposite of Consistency is not necessarily inconsistency; the opposite (or, Complement) ought to be Variety.
George Harrison’s song for the sovereign of rodent grains, “Mice Wheat Lord”
I don’t think it can be time to procrastinate yet ....
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

A prune isn't really a vegetable. a cabbage is a vegetable.
— Frank Zappa, “Call Any Vegetable”

Now that the church choir’s repertory is settled through Epiphany, in theory I could set to creative work again, but I don’t have any piece I am “burning” to write. I have a libretto written by a friend suitable for a chamber opera, and in the back of my mind this has always been in the “to be written” file. The last I was in touch with my friend Charles Turner, he was working on a piano reduction of an opera. The need for a reduction, for a vocal score, a problematic, labor-intensive whose result (as Charles noted) pleases neither the composer nor the pianist seriously puts me off the prospect of opera. However, when I consider The Orpheus of Lowell, if I keep the instrumentation of the accompaniment compact, the singers can just read the score, perhaps. Separately, the first two “we didn't select your piece” notices have come in, from Voices Up! and Bent Frequency. I hadn’t had much hope for the latter, knowing one of the judges on the panel, who has been less than open to my work historically. And I have sent so many scores to various Calls, that I honestly don’t remember what I sent to Voices Up! In spite of my making note of most of my score submission activity. Exaltabo Te, Deus, perhaps, a piece I like a lot, but like so much of my work, not everybody’s money.