Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Slow slow and slower


My friend George Zelenz, who once informed me that he seriously considered ending our friendship after I gave up on the true way of Just Intonation, wrote this after Lou Harrison's death a while back.  I remembered it as I needed to take this path myself.

In 1995, Lou and Bill came to visit me in Joshua Tree. I picked them up at the Palm Springs airport in my small truck, and Lou volunteered to sit in the back. On a thin cushion, al fresco. Upon arrival at my house, Bill promptly did his impersonation of a man with narcolepsy, and fell asleep in a chair by the kitchen table. Lou asked if I would drive him around, and show him Joshua Tree the town. "Bill can sleep the whole goddamn day for all I care" said Lou, with some exasperation. We jumped in the truck and took off driving, with no real goal or destination.

Driving around, we talked about all the usual stuff we always talked about. Pretty much everything except music. We rarely talked about music. About an hour into the drive, he did ask me how my composing went. I told him about this dancer I was writing for up in Berkeley. It paid very little, but I was doing my best I said. I told him about the structure being mostly whole notes, sung quietly, in a 3 voice part. He said, "I have a poorly compensated commission of my own right now, I think I as well will just write a lot of whole notes."

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