Just for the record, I believe (and I *was* sitting there with him) that he 'walked out', ahem, during intermission, because his back was hurting him. If you want to, ahem, add a little footnote to your post, detailing the dry boring reality (in contrast to the dramatic characterization!) -- feel free :)
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
Von der Etsch bis an den Belt.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I drove out to the far distant countryside last week, past the manor houses of the 80 corridor, to see Paul Dresher's Schick Machine. As usual, I was in a bit of a funk, but by the end the piece had completely drawn me in. Steven Schick is a masterful percussionist, one of those who I'm sure can elicit a masterful performance out of any old bit of junk, but in this work his talent is allowed to flit across a variety of one-off noise and tone machines, packed onto the relatively small stage. A number of instrument makers were involved in the project, including Paul himself, but also Dan Schmidt, from whom I studied Javanese Music so many years ago, and Matt Heckert of SRL fame. Mr. Heckert's instrument was one of my favorites, just because of its seeming dangerousness, spinning chaotically, almost out-of-control, reminding me of the bowling-ball cannon shooting at the spectators at the first SRL show I saw way back when. But out of this jumble came some beautiful and quite big music, aided by Alex Stahl's loopers which allowed Paul to build up some massive orchestral weaves.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
The theme of this concert is music, literature, and art that evoke in the listener some aspect of the human emotional experience (i.e., love/pain/sorrow/fear/madness/ laughter/faith/hope/etc.). The key is that this music needs to be emotionally expressive, relatable, and readily accessible to the average listener (this of course doesn’t mean that the music necessarily needs to be programmatic). Avant-garde, atonal, experimental music, or compositions that require higher education to comprehend it are simply not appropriate for the theme of this concert.I was incensed of course, on finding myself transported to a mirror world where not only left was right but up was down, where all that I knew and loved and up with which I grew was no longer true or meet or right or salutary and that my previous notion, that the music I had listened to from my childhood and thought relatable, expressive and more was actually not so. I trashed the email in a huff, but then, later, I untrashed it, and read and read and dissected it, dwelling on it, working myself into a fit. I googled the composers, the venue, every major noun in it, and brought forth the firehose of data from the net, fascinated.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Kitty Kraus (b. 1976, Heidelberg, Germany) ... works in a spare, elegiac vocabulary of monochrome forms ... possess an internal volatility that can prompt their gradual fragmentation or sudden collapse ... The trajectory of dissolution at the heart of Kraus’s work ... a young artist defining her career at the beginning of the 21st century—a time of profound questioning and global crises—Kraus rehearses the trend towards degradation and chaos known as entropy, finding a mournful beauty in the literal and symbolic failure of form.Probably the curator meant to say something about nature's trend toward increasing entropy, but still, that is a minor point. The writing is lovely, meaningless, mournfully beautiful itself. If I could write half so well I would die this instant just to be sure of my ascension into heaven. Like the new-music program note, it is the work, it is more interesting than the work, the writer is the artist, the writer is the giver of justification to the art-industrial complex for the money they have laid out to purchase that which they don't understand in and of itself.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
I've embarked on a new opera project, even though I was feeling like I was a bit fagged out after the difficulties of the last, but once again hath the candle singd the moath, and I find myself in familiar territory, exploring the viscous friction of sense and nonsense at the boundaries of religion. It all started when I ventured to see a bit of a new Deborah Slater piece at the Traveling Jewish Theater and watched some of my most favorite dancers move gorgeously across the stage. Later, outside, Lynne and Deborah and I were talking, the Medea story came up and Lynne asked if we remembered how, a few years back, a woman threw her three children in the bay. Of course we did and, for memory's sake, here is the news item:
A 23-year-old woman who said she was hearing voices stripped her three small children naked Wednesday and threw them off a San Francisco fishing pier into the bay, authorities said. - San Francisco Chronicle, October 20, 2005In fact, I remembered it very well, because Lynne and I happened across the makeshift memorial a few days after it occurred: flowers, stuffed animals, notes, photos, candles; all left in a vain attempt to palliate the horror of the crime. The story rolled around in my head for many days after that discussion, and I ended up buying a small notebook and some pens on a visit to Lynne's family
Sunday, October 18, 2009
The pornographic element is apparent early on, when a cheering woman at the Duke's inaugural parade loses her top, to the Duke's leering satisfaction. One is reminded of all the women who bared their breasts at Hitler, a strange phenomenon hinting at the hidden psychosexual nature of fascism.And this one, the most famous of them all, the younger Schicklgruber, carried his romantic fascination with his niece, the even younger Geli Raubal, much further, and so many stories have been floated about his complicity in her apparent suicide that it is hard to discriminate fact from fact. It is true that she was found dead in her room, locked from the inside, shot through the lung by his gun, a Walther, that she had been dead since the previous day; but it is not so clear that she was arguing with Hitler, that she was pregnant by a Jewish art teacher in Linz, that he was jealous, angry; but it again is clear that he was devastated by the death, that he threatened suicide, that he stopped eating animal flesh forever after, that he was in love.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about:
A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The life that I haveIs all that I haveAnd the life that I haveIs yoursThe love that I haveOf the life that I haveIs yours and yours and yours.A sleep I shall haveA rest I shall haveYet death will be but a pauseFor the peace of my yearsIn the long green grassWill be yours and yours and yours.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
from Conversations with Igor Stravinsky, late '57:
I have all around me the spectacle of composers who, after their generation has had its decade of influence and fashion, seal themselves off from further development and from the next generation. Of course, it requires greater effort to learn from one's juniors, and their manners are not invariably good. ... The very people who have done the breaking through are themselves often the first to try to put a scab on their achievement. What fear tells them to cry halt? What security do they seek, and how can it be secure if it is limited? How can they forget that they once fought against what they have become?I have to admit that it is v. difficult for me to learn from my juniors. My typical reaction to the artistic successes of freshly minted composers is envy and jealousy tempered only by rage, depression and frustration, and although, in my case, I really have very little that I am fighting for, except my own self-aggrandizement, as I am an eclectic and polyamorous lover of styles and ideas and threads of artistic development, it's hard for me to get past the pettiness that so pervades my soul. But in deference to the idol of my youth, I resolve to try.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Since some have asked, here's what I know about reverse engineering the original Teddy Ruxpin®. The original bear used normal compact audio cassettes, but with an opening along the top, where the metal tape indicator tab was later located. This way it could detect the difference between its own cassettes and commercial audio tapes, which would play out the speaker but not control the servos. The Ruxpin cassettes were recorded with a cloyingly mawkish story and music on one of the stereo tracks, the kind of music you can never get out of your head no matter how many emetics you ingest, and a control track comprised of a series of audio-level pulses on the other.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
This haunting film is not for the faint of heart — or the claustrophobic. We are presented with Jane, an artist who begins a residency at a strange home filled with junk. Her goal is to fashion the detritus into a piece of artwork speaking to the theme of recycling and ‘green’ building practices. But things get twisted when the junk compels her to construct an elaborate and, at times, beautiful trap for herself, which she slowly begins to realize is locking her in, pressing her downward into infinite, interlocking chambers. Even as she becomes more entangled in the web of the house, it begins to provide her with sustenance necessary to continue her work.
— Dina Bloomberg, Down the Rabbit Hole Zine
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I would very much like you to meet one of my very good friends. Say hello to everyone, Erling.
Um, why did you bring it up?
Saturday, June 20, 2009
When I see a kid composing in units of measure, measure, measure, with a new impetus, new phrase, new harmony on every downbeat, I start in with my wheedling tone (every experienced composition student will recognize the sound): "How about a triple upbeat to start that melody off a little more gracefully?" "How about we vary the harmonic rhythm here?" "You think the audience can't hear where your bar-lines are if you don't accent every one?"
Saturday, June 13, 2009
But I suppose the difference is that the artists of the US of today are happy to take the blood money and spend it biting the hand that fed them, and feeling entitled to the privilege all the same.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
We, that is, fognozzle and Erling Wold, present for you a tale of fear, horror, xenophobia, political posturing and denial, all contained within a musical program piece of sorts, a savage delight for the senses and an allegory for today, this and that and the other thrown into the pot of narrative and boiled up into a scenario as follows:
The Australia steamed into San Francisco in 1899, carrying corpses and rats infected with the plague. Between 1900 and 1904, one hundred twenty-six people contracted the disease in San Francisco and environs. One hundred twenty-two of them died while the governor denied the very existence of the plague and the press blamed the Chinese for spreading it.
The plague was brought under control in 1904, only to resurface in 1906 as the great earthquake displaced the human and rat population. The response to this second outbreak was dealt with more efficiently as the causes were better understood, but one hundred eighty people died of the plague in San Francisco between 1906 and 1909.
Fortunately, Xenopsylla cheopis (the Oriental rat flea) never secured a foothold in San Francisco, and our dominant flea remained Ceratophyllus fasciatus, which lacked the deep stomach required for effective plague transmission. Many more people would have died if the reverse had been true.
Unfortunately, the rat-eradication efforts during the San Francisco plague outbreaks did not extend to the squirrels of the East Bay. Through them, the bubonic plague established a permanent foothold in the Pacific Northwest, where it lives on today - in the stomachs of fleas.
SAN FRANCISCO COMPOSERS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
DREAMS OF THE RESTLESS
Saturday June 13th, 2009 at 8 pm
Old First Presbyterian Church
1751 Sacramento Street/Van Ness, San Francisco, CA 94109
$15 General, $12 Seniors (65 and older), $12 Full Time Students
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Our roving correspondent Milky recently sent to your faithful editor this well-crafted portrait of an idealized and supah sexy Hitler. As I pondered it, daydreaming of a personal yet elusive fame that would cause someone somewhere and at sometime to render me, even in a fleeting imaginative fancy, with such a magnetic physique, I was reminded of the mystical allure that HH held over his people. Thousands of love letters received during his brief time as the duly elected leader of his fawning people are full of amusing quotes:
I would like to make you my little puppy my dear, my eternal, my lovely Adolf.
I am making you keys to my front door and my room. We have to be very careful. So come early, ring my landlady's bell and ask if I'm at home. If everything works out, my parents (they could be your in-laws) say you can come any time, so we can spend the night together at my parents' house!They eroticize the relationship we have to power and fame, of the mystical love we shower on iconic figures, our kings and queens du jour, finding ourselves wishing for a Daniel Day-Lewis or a Mary Kate-Olsen to pin us to the floor, us dressed in nothing but a little leather cap and some latex underpants, bringing upon us an orgasmic religious ecstasy quite like that experienced at full tilt towards a passionate Christ-as-not-only-spiritual-husband by St Theresa of the Little Flowers. Although the photo above shows the young sex-kitten-version of the conquering collective cultural hero cum super-ego, we wonder if, as he aged, he took on the immediate character of the father figure, more directly replacing the father- and husband-protectors lost in the seething tides of the harsh and endless war. And, once satiated, bitten, spanked and altogether sexed-up, we might warmly turn over, spooning, and, our minds drifting, light upon the kitler meme and thereupon sleep the blissful and ne'er to be interrupted sleep of those just and unstained.
Friday, April 24, 2009
A report by Ofsted, which expressed concern that secondary pupils were repeatedly studying Hitler is part of a wider debate about the nature of Britain's enduring obsession. Those concerned at the ubiquity of the Third Reich in the history classroom and beyond to the nation's bookshops and living rooms fear it stunts understanding of other periods and leads to an unhealthy personality cult.And to which I can add only that it is difficult to run out of unimportant issues as well.
On the opposite side of the argument there are those who point to the monstrosity of the Nazi regime and its leader, arguing that it is difficult to run out of important issues relating to Hitler to highlight to the wider population.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I stood with my feet apart, hands on my breast bone, inhaling the floodlit air. I could feel my wounds again, cutting through my chest and knees. I searched for my scars, those tender lesions that now gave off an exquisite and warming pain. My body glowed from these points, like a resurrected man basking in the healed injuries that had brought about his first death.