Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mordake Suite Number Two

Dearest friends, folks and loved ones,

I know you are waiting with bated breath, on the edge of your seat, knuckles white in anticipation for the curtains to rise, the lights to come up, the orchestra to begin, and the full throated roar of the singer to announce the premiere of the latest work from the pen of Der Wold but, please, hold, calm down, be patient; all your desires will be sated so very soon, but first, you must endure one more gol-durned Mordake pre-pre-preview concert. Once again, Mark Alburger takes up the baton and conducts the SFCCO in a suite from Mordake, although this time not the prettiest sections, but those parts most dark and most evil, a stain on the very heart of music itself, a stain that will not wash off no matter how much we scrub and scrub with the latest detergents, oxidizers and antimicrobial agents.

San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra
and Old First Concerts Present:
Saturday March 8, 2007 at 8 pm
Old First Concerts
1751 Sacramento Street/Van Ness, San Francisco, CA 94109
$15 General, $12 Seniors (65 and older), $12 Full Time Students

Tickets are available through the Old First Concerts Box Office at (415) 474-1608, online at and at the door. For more information, please call
Old First Concerts box office or visit SFCCO at

Lunacy. Spaciness. Taking 20 years to write a piece. Thinking that music will save the planet. Having a face in the back of one's head. Suicidal thoughts. Why do we do what we do? Because we can't do otherwise? One thing's for sure: it's a crazy world. So come celebrate the craziness with Alexis Alrich, Michael Cooke, Philip Freihofner, Dan Reiter, Martha Stoddard, Erling Wold, and the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra as they present "March Madness"!

Michael Cooke's Sun & Moon is a dizzying take on time and place, with members of the orchestra performing spacilly and spatially at the point-and-click discretion of Music Director Mark Alburger. Martha Stoddard, as Guest Conductor, will take the ensemble even farther out in A Little Trip to Outer Space where reality has lost its bearings. The entire orchestra will evaporate in the clangor of metal as Philip Freihofner re-invents sanity in The Bell Field, while Dan Reiter's Toccata and Fugue will send minds reeling under the direction of Associate Conductor John Kendall Bailey toward a reckoning with Johann Sebastian Bach. Farthest afield on earth will be Alexis Alrich's Fragile Forests: II Cambodia, where East and West consciousnesses collide in the loveliest possible manner. And, as a final coup-de-grace Erling Wold will evoke the diabolical in Mordake Suite No. 2, in hint of his mad opera to be premiered later in the year.

Alexis Alrich Fragile Forests: II Cambodia
Michael Cooke Sun & Moon
Philip Freihofner The Bell Field
Lisa Prosek Chain Saw
Dan Reiter Toccata and Fugue
Martha Stoddard A Little Trip to Outer Space
Erling Wold Mordake Suite Number 2

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Torture of the damned

Mother Jones published an interesting object, seen below.  It purports to be the music of the twist and the  screw: our tax dollars payed out for the most genteel of purposes. It reminded me of Gavin Bryars explanation for self-publishing, to keep control over his works so they wouldn't be performed in the then-pariah state of apartheid South Africa.  I can't imagine Rage Against the Machine - especially - being too happy about their inclusion on this list. Music, like any other form of torture, should be applied only to those who request it of you. Even though I, like most right-minded™ folks, believe that information wants to be free, I do think it is a somewhat naive misunderstanding of the value of author's rights, even moral rights, to think that it is all about BitTorrent-ing the latest episode of Project Runway. In fact, the greatest threat could be your government or the big bad corporations stealing your artistic handiwork to use for nefarious purposes, from the selling to unthinking consumers the means of their own destruction to the hired scourgers of our various Ministries of Justice, Peace and Defense using it to destroy some poor schmuck who happened to piss off the wrong tribal elder when the company fellows started doling out greenbacks for information. And I have some fear for my friend Frieder, whose performance previous to my opera this spring will be in Pakistan. Will his Pakistani visa's presence on his Old Europe passport land him a lengthy stay in a Navy brig, with cold iron manacles and cold iron door that even his most earnest magic cannot pass through, listening to the Barney Theme Song until he confesses to a host of misdeeds?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Advice to young composers

if no orchestra will play your music, don't complain; start your own orchestra
if no one will review your music, don't complain; start your own journal
if no one will publish your music, don't complain; start your own publishing company
if no opera house will produce your music, don't complain; start your own opera house
if no one will fund your music, don't complain; fund your music yourself
if no one will publicize your music, don't complain; publicize your music yourself
if no one will buy your music, don't complain; buy your music yourself
if no one will listen to your music, don't complain; listen to your music yourself

Monday, February 4, 2008

Death as happiness, death as sadness

My friend and myself at the Edwardian ball in a photo taken by Lynne last weekend, similar in our stiff and wooden disposition. More here. The crowd was a bit gothic, although not as much as the Meat vs. Death Guild romp at DNA lounge a few weeks ago, celebrating death's warm embrace at least in choice of fashion and desaturated makeup.

But is Death is now a welcome guest? Heading off to hear Carla Kihlstedt play the premiere of Jorge Liderman's Furthermore... tonight on a somber note after his decision to place himself in front of an oncoming train yesterday. Although still "under investigation" it seems that he was sadder than his music. Hopefully he will now find some peace. My wife once told me that the fact that there was an exit available to her when she needed it kept her going through parts of her youth. I've thought about that many times over the years. Life is hard for all of us, but the life of a modern composer is that of a misfit, unloved and unwanted by most, if in fact 'most' even are aware that such an animal exists.
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