Thursday, October 18, 2007

Gerard Grisey changes a tire

I went to see Alex Ross speak tonight at Wheeler Auditorium on the campus of my nourishing and most bounteous mother the University of California at Berkeley. The talk was a brief overview of twentieth century music and the Bay Area's contributions, especially those of the more famous of the minimalists, since many of them had their early careers here. He's on a combined book tour (The Rest is Noise) and trip to see the premiere of Appomattox by Philip Glass at the San Francisco Opera. Lynne and I saw it on Tuesday and I was weeping unconsolably afterwards for the loss of one of my heroes, drinking one Baileys after another sitting in the Biergarten at Zeitgeist. I should have given up after Galileo Galilei, for which we also made the mistake of making an effort to see the premiere (at the Goodman Theater in Chicago in the hot midsummer of 2002). John Duykers asked me to go to the latter since he was starring as the mature GG, but some terrible truths are better left unknown.

Even though Jim Bisso stood me up for Berlin - Ecke Schoenhauser, I did finally meet Richard Friedman in the flesh, and Paul Dresher was there. In 1990 I was in Japan for Yamaha demos and I went into an enormous music store in Tokyo - don't remember the name - where I picked up a tremendously beautiful edition of the complete scores of Satie. But the small heart lifting experience was finding the 'west coast composer' section which contained only two CDs, Paul's and mine, proving that from a very great distance two people of such markedly different stature can look almost the same size.

Speaking of heroes and those of great stature, I've been thinking about GĂ©rard Grisey a lot lately. Partiels is a tremendous work and he died way too young and neither he nor I could change the tire on my old yellow VW bug when it blew out on the way back from Stanford.
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