Saturday, December 25, 2010



Suite in F BWV 809 - JS Bach - Colin Tilney
Trio super Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland BWV 660 - JS Bach - Michel Chapuis
Symphony in D-dur K213a(204) - Mozart - Academy of Ancient Music/Schroder/Hogwood

Odd clunky grand design for last movement.

Nocturne in c-sharp op. 27 #1 - Chopin - Arrau

What oppresses or represses also grounds.

Quasi Waltz in F op. 47 - Scriabin - Ponti
String Quartet op. 3 - Berg - The Weller Qtt
Three Tone Pictures - Griffes - Michael Lewin


Gradus #185 - Neal Meyer

Neal usually plays two rungs of Gradus when he comes over, and this was no exception. Unusually though, each rung exhibited a radically different compositional obsession. The first was a study in singularities and dualities, the second in episodes of repetition and episodes of nilpetition.

Saturday, December 18, 2010



Our Father - Slaus - Prospect Singers
Banned Rehearsal 21 (part 1) - Banned Rehearsal

Banned Rehearsal 21 (parts 2 and 3) - Banned Rehearsal

At the heart of the Banned Rehearsal project is a hunch that the need to be musically good is a stifling burden upon creativity. The musically good can certainly have its place, but one must take great care to keep it there, and not let it seep into invention and experimentation.

Banned Rehearsal 205 - Banned Rehearsal

Essay - William O. Smith - Jesse Canterbury, William O. Smith

Two clarinets concern themselves with space: the room of reverberance and the created rooms of the images of reverberance made by the image of echo and the abstraction of rooms of reverberance. The classical notion of ensemble: a togetherness that eliminates the individual performer in favor of the image of the voice or part. The players disappear behind the scrim projected by their performance.

Patti's Parlour Pieces 1-4 - Ken Benshoof - Eisenbrey

This was from a recital given in 2006. The recorded sound isn't too bad, but I think I could have taken more time with these. Often I sacrifice clarity of phrasing to an obsession for continuity and steady beat, which I don't really manage either. I need to relax and allow the phrases their space, not rush.

Cymbalism - Tom Baker - Chris Leonard, Dale Speicher

This recording sounds so luscious it obscures the thought behind it - but in a good way. I love love love the chalkboardsqueal sounds toward the end. Yowza!

Vertigo - Jesse Canterbury - Tom Baker, Jesse Canterbury, Joanne de Mars, Chris Stover

Grunge minimalism. Completely plain but utterly alien. Devastatingly sensual.



Dennis Rea and James DeJoie
Wally Shoup Quartet - Gust Burns, piano; Paul Kemmish, bass; Mark Ostrowski, drums; Wally Shoup, alto saxophone
at Gallery 1412, Seattle

I couldn't find much to hang on to during the Rea/DeJoie set. It consisted primarily of James doing "spoken word" with Dennis accompanying on electric guitar. James has an attractively smoky baritone voice, but I fear "spoken word" is the name for a kind of poetry that I just don't like very much - vaguely hip sentiments and dream images, devoid of either humor or fervor. Dennis' guitar playing is always pretty, but tended strongly toward the bland. For one segment James stopped talking and played bass clarinet. This was an improvement.

The Wally Shoup Quartet is kickass, muscular, breakneck punkjazz.  Ecstatically loose - wildly bang on.Their sound exploded and the room shrunk tiny.

Saturday, December 11, 2010



Symphony in c-minor (#8) - Bruckner - Staatskapelle Dresden/Eugen Jochum

Lives on what it seems about to do, long deferred. I often get strong whiffs of late Schubert piano sonatas while listening to Bruckner. In addition to that, something about the way entrances appear out of nowhere was giving me a shiver of Varese, an image of dire spiritual necessity. Seeking, then re-seeking. Expanding, then re-expanding. Dreaming, then re-dreaming. In-radiating, then re-in-radiating. Blazing, then re-blazing. Opening an inner space of infinite depth.

Three-Page Sonata - Ives - Clive Lythgoe

Streichsextette in F-Dur, op. 118 - Reger - Die Kammermusiker Zurich

Contrapuntal expressionism. The way out is long from here and night deepens. No sweetness without poignance.

Three Orchestral Preludes from "Palestrina" - Pfitzner - Berliner Philharmoniker/Ferdinand Leitner

Concerning: a desire to let the world have its evil if only we can remain unsullied.
Concerning: worldly business and domestic business
Concerning: responsibility and conculpitude

 Lovin' Sam from Alabam - Mamie Smith

Symphony #1, op. 35 - Alexander Krein - London PO/Martyn Brabbins


Sweet Sweet Woman - Douglas Finnell and his Royal Stompers
String Quartet No. 1, op. 7 - Hans Erich Apostel - LaSalle Q

A frantic plea - shriller - desparater

A Good Man is Hard to Find (exerpt) - Miff Mole
Don't Blame Me - Billy Eckstein Orchestra/Sarah Vaughn

Most of the jazz & blues stuff that gets thrown into the listening comes from the collections That Devilin' Tune, and Really The Blues put together by Allen Lowe. I can not give Mr. Lowe a big enough shoutout for these. Bravo!

Quintet for Clarinet, Two Violas, and Two Cellos - Diamond - Chamber Music Northwest

It isn't that Diamond is deaf to the high histrionics of Apostel & Co. or even trying to pretend they didn't happen, but that he is attempting to comfort us in the face of it. The music runs a risk of flippancy for all its musical sophistication, a notion that, in spite of what has just occurred, we can can continue as we were.

Sunflower Sutra - Allen Ginsberg

Mr. Ginsberg begs to differ.

Mr. Blue - The Fleetwoods
Diamond Head - The Ventures
Radio Spot for Hawaii Five-O Album - The Ventures

An afternoon of local bands on the make.

The Who by Numbers - The Who

Default move: Go to power. This quickly runs into diminishing returns. It is always a pleasure to listen to Keith & John do their thing, but the general bad-feeling of the album gets tiresome.


Gradus #184 - Neal Meyer

Crosstalk (website)
Jesse Canterbury, clarinet & bass clarinet; Brian Cobb, bass; Paul Kikuchi, drums; Tiffany Lin, piano
at the Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

#3 - Jesse Canterbury

Arrangement of "Cage" - Charles Ives
Steady - Brian Cobb

I lost track of what the pieces were, and also of who did the arrangement of the Charles Ives song Cage (??), though Jesse gave credit from the stage.

One aspect of jazz that can distinguish it as a mode of musical discourse is the play between images of tight and loose. A typical expression of 'tight' comes during the high-bebop, wickedly syncopated, unison performance of the head, that of 'loose' during the more strictly improvisatory solo bits. The joy of it is in how this works out in the wild of the event, the loose invading the tight and the tight the loose. Crosstalk is a newly formed group with strong players still learning to deal with each other in this configuration. Personally I love listening to learning happen and I was having a great time. I look forward to hearing this group as their tight gets tighter and their loose gets looser.

Being a pianist myself, in ensembles like this I tend to root for the keyboard player. I was sitting where I felt I had the best chance of hearing what Tiffany was doing, but even at that she may have been working at an acoustic disadvantage. Much of what distinguishes the piano sound from the timbrally similar clarinet & upright bass (slightly amplified) is the quality of its attack. The Kimball at the Chapel has a lovely, subtle, rich attack, but it is asking too much of it, without help, to compete with a drum-kit's huge dynamic. When Paul was playing with brushes (low incidence of attacks) the balance was just about perfect. I'm not sure there's a good solution to this. Amplification of the piano may be the best. What gets lost in the process may not have been audible live anyhow. None of this should be a problem on well-engineered recordings.

That aside, I really loved what this crew was doing and enjoyed myself immensely. Thank you!

Saturday, December 4, 2010



String Quartet (midi version) - Boretz
Blood and Fire Hallelujah (first tests) - Eisenbrey

Coincidentally, this first concept test run comes up on the listening list within a few weeks of my performance of the finished work at the Chapel. The original idea for the piece was to record a track of solo piano playing slow big chords that would gradually increase in speed and intensity to a head-banging end. In performance I would try to do essentially the same thing, but squeezing the live chords between the canned ones. I was going for an overtly theatrical image, with an undercurrent of Petroushka. To that end I recorded several takes of the canned bit last January, playing the old Kingsbury upright grand out in the studio. This is not a bad sounding recording, but I ended up being disappointed both with the effect I was getting and with my playing. Before ever getting around to trying again the concept of the piece had developed considerably.

S. Eric Scribner found some interesting things to say about the live performance of the finished work on his blog. Some of his comments surprised me considerably, but thinking it over I can certainly understand what he was reacting to. It proves once again that the most we can hope to do as creative people is stimulate the imaginations of our collaborators. We are powerless to control the image itself. If we wish we can control the facts, the texts, of what we make, but the images awakened by those facts and texts, in the wild, always get the final say. This is, in a nutshell, the dissonance that propels creativity.

Suite in E-flat (Franzosische) - JS Bach - Blandine Verlet
Trio super Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend, BWV 655 - JS Bach - Michel Chapuis

Andante in C K315 - Mozart - Marriner/Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/Claude Monteux
Symphony in E-flat (Rhenische) - Schumann - Seattle SO/Schwarz

Saturday, November 27, 2010



One Trick Pony - Paul Simon

One: Onetext - Benjamin Boretz

subject matter: thought, continuity, progress, stillness, microcosmoid growth, number (in the palpable sense), -spectives both pro- and re- :: all prying open an inhabitable space.

Banned Rehearsal #204 - Banned Rehearsal
Patti's Parlour Pieces - Ken Benshoof - Lisa Bergman

The pleasant-after-dinner-treat-ness of these pieces is a conceit behind which lurks a hyper-sophisticated dialogue of harmony, meter, and melody, and from which emerges a dark poignance, like that of being.


Pieces from the Stormsound Cycle
Music by S. Eric Scribner, with Beth Fleenor and Bruce Greeley
at the Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Desert Bloom - Scribner
Frogscape - Scribner
Improvisation - Fleenor/Greeley/Scribner
Spherics - Scribner

An enjoyable performance with some excellent musicians. Strikingly, the acoustically produced sounds here emerge from the electronically produced as though born of them. The common metaphor is turned on its head.

Saturday, November 20, 2010



Quatre etudes de rythme - Messiaen - Martin Zehn

Developing a principled vocabulary. Strict, severe, earnest.
Sun's Golden Hits - Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Carl Mann, Charlie Rich, Bill Justis
String quartet in c op. 110 - Shostakovich - Fitzwilliam SQ

We meet as survivors on this stricken plain.
       We dance the tunes we are given.
              We rage and weep into voided space.
                    We circle back.

Life Christmas Treasury (ca. 1965)

Mantra II - Stockhausen - Aloys Kontarsky/Alfons Kontarsky

Stockhausen's Mantra I and Mantra II don't gel for me. The sound world created by the pitch/rhythm structure overpowers the sound world created by the modulations. The addition of new instruments seems like a failed attempt to launch the pig. It could just be that I am hearing it on a poorly transferred tape of a noisy phonograph. Even so, these strike me as not-so-interestingly wrecked piano duos. I end up wishing I could just hear the piano parts straight.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam - Hovhaness - Seattle SO/Schwartz/Michael York

Surface without features - background without purpose - following the dictates of an impenetrably personal mythos - empty. I really do keep trying with Hovhaness, but so far I just don't get it.


Keith Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt, and Neal Meyer at the Chapel Performance Space - Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Three Bagatelles - Keyt - Keith Eisenbrey, piano
Foliage - Keyt
Blood and Fire Hallelujah - Eisenbrey - Keith Eisenbrey, piano
Gradus: for Fux, Tesla, and Milo the Wrestler - Meyer - Neal Meyer piano

First of all I want to extend some big "Thank yous":
to Neal for arranging this concert,
to Steve Peters and the Wayward Music Festival for allowing the use of the space and instrument,
to Cristina Valdes for having the piano tuned,
and to Moe Provenchal and her assistant Amy for the sound design and recording.

Aaron's intricately delicate Bagatelles are a pleasure to perform. Though they are not difficult in the Lisztian manner they present a challenge not unlike constructing a house of cards in a tight space. Any stray movements and the whole thing could fall apart. I loved the tin-foil sound world of Foliage, though since I had just performed, and was just about to perform, I was unfortunately distracted and don't have a good sense of what the piece does.

This performance version of Blood and Fire Hallelujah consisted of my 31' mix played over speakers while I improvised on the piano. The underlying theatrical conceit was "piano concerto". Since I was engaged onstage I don't yet have a clear idea of how it went or came across or even really what it is, so I'll just throw some facts in. The mix on the CD was constructed from recordings of percussion instruments and my multi-tracked performance of William Cowper's hymn Western Melody. I sang the arrangement found in a 1953 shape note hymnal "The Old School Hymnal No. 9". The title comes from a Salvation Army book-plate found in a 19th Century family diary.

My thoughts during this hour-long performance of 3 rungs from Gradus centered on the theatrical aspect. From the back of the hall the lines and knobbiness of Neal's face, reminiscent of drawings by Goya, backed by black curtains, set off by his dark clothing, fairly glowed in the stage light, as though transported. I especially loved one long moment several minutes in duration in which Neal remained perfectly still, his arm suspended above the keyboard at just the apex, neither just having been released from the keyboard, nor about to sink back in.

Saturday, November 13, 2010



Symphony in e - Mahler - Concertgebouworchester, Amsterdam/Haitink

Large swaths of peace. Macabre dry clack of wood bone. A valiant attempt at salvation through counterpoint.

Seven Sketches - Bartok - June de Toth
Symphony en mi bemoll majeur op.82 - Sibelius - Grand Orchestra Symphonique Radio Television USSR/Rojdestvenski

I found myself thinking about Webern while listening to this. Webern is about its intervals, an extraordinarily conceptual sense of what musical material can be. I wonder if it is any different here?

Wang Wang Blues- Paul Whiteman
Sweet Georgia Brown - The Tennessee Happy Boys
Skyland Rag - The Rector Trio
Psalm XIII - Zemlinksy - Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Chailly
Major and Minor Stomp - Jimmy Dorsey
Air Mail Special - Billy Eckstein Orchestra

Brutally fast.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Concert - November 18, 2010 - 8 pm

Chapel Performance Space - Good Shepherd Center - 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North, Seattle, WA

Keith Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt, and Neal Meyer have been conversing, collaborating and engaging in creative discussion for nearly three decades. This program represents the current state of the discussion through four new compositions.
Blood and Fire Hallelujah by Keith Eisenbrey is a large-scale concerto for piano and canned sound. The canned portion is the latest entry in Keith's Music as Film project, and is constructed as a collage of sequences of thousands of sound-frames of various durations. The piano solo will be improvised.

by Aaron Keyt was composed in 2009 as a recorded piece for simple electronics (e.g. feedback loops of piezo disks), small percussion, and assorted other sounds.

Keyt's Bagatelles were composed in 1999 for solo piano. This will be their first performance.

Gradus: for Fux, Tesla and Milo the Wrestler is Neal Meyer's work-in-progress for solo piano. Since January 2002, Neal has been devoting extended sessions of improvised exploration to each single tone and each possible combination of tones on the piano. The November 18 performance will explore three different combinations of the pitch class A, in a performance lasting about an hour.

Sliding admission: $5 to $15



Assembly Rechoired #52 - Assembly Rechoired

Suite in E (Franzosische) BWV 817 - JS Bach - Blandine Verlet
Trio super "Allein Gott in der Hoh' sie Ehr" BWV 664 - JS Bach - Michel Chapuis
Symphony in D "La finta giariniera" K207a[K121] - Mozart - Academy of Ancient Music/Jaap Schroder
Waltz in e (1830) - Chopin - Peter Katin
Zigeunerleben op. 29 #3 - Schumann - Gachinger Kantorei/Helmut Rilling
Symphony in E-flat op. 97 "Rhenische" - Schumann - Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique/John Eliot Gardiner

This kicks some rowdy.

Reverie - Debussy/Smith - Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy


Triptet at Egan's Ballard Jam House

After a lovely dinner at the Bastille, Karen and I, dressed to kill, made our way to Egan's Ballard Jam House for Triptet's CD release party. The music they shared had a propensity to pare itself down to the barest hint of a shadow of the merest trace of a continuity. Lovely, intimate, and completely engaging, it was absolutely perfect for the venue. We were fortunate enough to win the Halloween costume prize - a big stack of 17 CDs (my number!). Here we are in full regalia:

Gradus 183 - Neal Meyer

Neal came over and played a three-rung set of Gradus, in anticipation of our concert on the 18th.

Saturday, October 30, 2010



The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Murmur - REM
We Are The World - USA for Africa

Banned Rehearsal 203 - Banned Rehearsal
Ode Tounami - Joshua Kohl - Michael Nicolella
String Quartet - Benjamin Boretz - Dafo Quartet

A difficult path through a strange land.
Attempts are made to familiarize it - we to it.
Far further along we are no more familiar - we to it - less so in fact - far less so - just further - far further along.


Banned Rehearsal 781 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Neal Meyer

Hamlet - Shakespeare - Seattle Shakespeare Company

One effective sound-design element stood out in this fine production. The uncle King bursts onto stage in the second scene in a blaze of light and wedding whites to take a microphone at the center. As he speaks his  voice is echoed lightly through the sound-system. It is as though one were hearing his voice amplified into a large room, complete with echoes off the walls. But what stands in the place of the main, amplified signal is just the un-amplified voice, and what stands in the place of the un-amplified echo is the actual amplified sound-system. This may be an effect common in stage-craft, but it worked brilliantly here to turn the character's pretense inside-out. We could hear, in intimate detail, an image of the insecurity at the heart of his pomp.

Saturday, October 23, 2010



String Quartet #8 - Shostakovich - Borodin Quartet

Introitus - Stravinksy - Columbia SO - Stravinsky/Craft
Mantra I - Stockhausen - Kontarsky/Kontarsky


Gradus 182 - Neal Meyer - Meyer

Neal came over and recorded the 182nd session of his cosmically-scaled piano/self work Gradus: for Fux, Tesla, and Milo the Wrestler. I was struck this time around by the dissociation of the sounds within the decay envelopes from the particular attack envelope/attack rhythms which gave rise to those sounds.The particularly impoverished pitch material of those attacks (Neal is still playing only A-naturals), and Neal's extraordinary spacious presentation allows time for the sound resulting from any particular key-strike to move noticeably from the localized attack location to the dramatically different spatial location of its decay. The resulting musical image is of several musics operating upon each other from a distance. The relative registral location of the attack pitches is pushed back in importance by the music of the tonal shifts arising from them. As Neal strikes a key the image of the intent of that strike is not so much to play a note as to allow its blossoming sound to enter the cloud of sound hanging above it, mingling and altering and being altered and being mingled thereby.

Saturday, October 16, 2010



Symphonie in E-flat "Rhenische" - Schumann - Berlin SO/Karajan

Quintet in G op. 111 - Brahms - Budapest Quartet with Walter Trampler

Symphony in c op. 43 "Le Divin Poeme" - Scriabin - RSO Frankfurt/Inbal

Promethee - Le Poeme du Feu  op. 60 - Scriabin - RSO Frankfurt/Inbal/Saschawa
Songs - Rachmoninov - Tourel/Kahn
When Shadows Fall I Hear You Calling - Isham Jones
Suite op. 25 - Schoenberg - Jacobs

Quartet op. 22 - Webern - Tashi
Prelude for Piano - Nancarrow
Lundu da Marqueza de Santos - Villa Lobos - Seattle SO/Schwarz/Bonfiglio
Rifftide - Coleman Hawkins/H. McGhee
Poet's Gold - various - Helen Hayes, Raymond Massey, Thomas Mitchell
Study #30  - Nancarrow



Reverb Festival
Karen & I wandered around Ballard from the middle of the afternoon until we got tired.

Eric Reimnitz - Hattie's Hat
A pleasant baritone with an attractive glint in his eye accompanied himself on guitar. I was on his side as soon as he sang Woody Guthrie's Take Me Riding in the Car Car. We stayed for the whole set.

John Ramberg and Tripwire - Hattie's Hat
An excellent guitar strummer that reminded me of T-Bone Burnett. He was joined by another guitarist (whose name I didn't catch) for most of his set, and then by Kurt Bloch of The Young Fresh Fellows (and numerous other local bands) for one number. These guys knew what they were doing. Wonderful set.

At this point we walked down to Bad Albert's with Neal and had dinner.

Yuni in Taxco - The Tractor Tavern
I wasn't that excited by this band, so we only stayed for their first two numbers.

Dawn Clement & Jeffrey Harper (sp?) - Volterra
A reasonably sophisticated lounge singer with a nimble soprano voice accompanied herself on an electric keyboard and shared the stage with a bass player. We caught the last four or five numbers in their set.

The Low Hums - Sunset Tavern
We caught just the end of this trippy band's set.

Massy Ferguson - The Tractor Tavern
These guys were pretty good, but I kept wishing they'd pick up the tempo. I wasn't entirely convinced they were in it to have fun.

Nettle Honey - Conor Byrne
Fiddle, Bass, and Guitar playing hoedown. They were a blast though sometimes hard to hear over the audience. We were sitting just a few feet from the stage and people were up dancing and stomping. I think some were trying to punch holes through the wood floor with their heels.


Pastoral: The Color of Water - Meyer
Neal came over again and ran through this piece to rehearse for the concert in Snohomish on the 14th.
The Day I Heard Shelby Sing - Meyer
And then he played a new song he wrote.



An evening of ambient and experimental music with Wayne Lovegrove, Neal Meyer, S. Eric Scribner, and me - Thumbnail Theater, Snohomish

N - Eisenbrey - performed by me
High and Inside - Eisenbrey - performed by me
Snohomish Piece #1 - Eisenbrey/Scribner - live portion performed by Neal Meyer and me
Pastoral: The Color of Water - Meyer - performed by Neal
Snohomish Piece #2 - Eisenbrey/Scribner - live portion performed by Neal and S. Eric Scribner
Oceanic Music - Scribner - live portion performed by Wayne Lovegrove and S. Eric
Zigzag - Lovegrove - performed by Wayne
Chamber - Lovegrove - performed by Wayne
Here and There - Lovegrove - performed by Wayne and S. Eric
Snohomish Piece #3 - Eisenbrey/Scribner live portion performed by S. Eric and me
Song from Deep Silence - Scribner - live portion performed by S. Eric
Snohomish Piece #4 - Eisenbrey/Scribner live portion performed by Neal, S. Eric, and me

This was a friendly and pleasant concert to be associated with. Thank you Steve for inviting me to participate!

The performance space is small and has a warm almost living-room-like ambiance. The piano is older and not in perfect condition, but serviceable. I was pleased that it had more upper-end sound than I was expecting. It doesn't allow for a great deal of subtlety, and I think Neal struggled with that a bit in Pastoral: The Color of Water, but it wasn't so much a problem that the piece got lost. The sound-system was perfectly adequate for the space. Next time we do the Snohomish Pieces (if we do) I think we could turn up the canned portions some more. These contain some fun sounds and it was too easy to drown it out. Wayne's guitar sounded scrumptious.

Our audience was tiny and unfamiliar with the sorts of music we performed, but they were not afraid to speak right up and ask perceptive questions. In general the mix of pieces was good though I think there was nearly enough for two concerts, especially given the amount of chatter between the audience and the performers. The talking as such wasn't a problem, but it did lengthen the evening out longer than planned.

Saturday, October 9, 2010



Assembly Rechoired #51

Schwingt freudig euch empor BWV 36c - JS Bach - Kammerorchester Berlin/Peter Schreier
Praeludium und Fuge in h BWV 544 - JS Bach - Stanislav Surin
Schmucke dich, o liebe Seele BWV 654 - JS Bach - Michel Chapuis

Symphony in C K213c "Il re pastore" - Mozart - Academy of Ancient Music/Jaap Schroder
Waltz in E-flat (1830) - Chopin - Peter Katin
Waltz in E-flat "Sostenuto" - Chopin - Peter Katin


Pastoral: The Color of Water - Neal Meyer

Neal came over to the house to reacquaint himself with how his 1982 score goes on a grand piano, in anticipation of his performance in Snohomish on October 14 at Steve Scribner's concert. Back in the day Neal was concerned that an audience would be unable to hear the details of a piano's high partials in their moil, but his experience with Gradus (more about this massive long-term project in subsequent postings) has led him to a different conclusion. After reviewing the textual material, he played through the piece twice, each time clocking in at about 20 minutes. The leisurely tempo seemed comfortable and right to me, and I look forward to hearing it in public this week for the first time since 1985 or so.

For details on the upcoming concert in Snohomish, which will feature music of Steve Scribner, Neal Meyer, Wayne Lovegrove, and me, please visit Steve's blog.

Saturday, October 2, 2010



Library of Congress Recordings third disk: Woody Guthrie
I'm Confessin': with Lil Armstrong, Jonah Jones, J.C. Higginbotham;
Move Members Move: Rosie Hibler & Family
San Francisco: Harry Partch
Out of the Cradle: Paul Creston
Imaginary Landscape #4: John Cage
Two Madrigals from the Triumphs of Thusnelda: Peter Schickele
Still Crazy After All These Years: Paul Simon
Los Angeles: X
Theme (Update)/Three Sides to This Story: Young Fresh Fellows
Banned Rehearsal #202: Banned Rehearsal
O for piano: Benjamin Boretz
String Quartet: Benjamin Boretz



Seattle Percussion Collective
Presents the Music of John Cage
at Gallery 1412

Child of Tree
Composed Improvisation for Frame Drum and Composed Improvisation for Snare Drum (performed simultaneously)
A Flower
51'15.657" for a speaking percussionist

The last, performed by Bonnie Whiting-Smith, is a combination of 27'10.554" for a percussionist and 45' for a speaker, from The Ten Thousand Things. This was the most thought provoking work of the evening, in part because it plays out an underlying difficulty of Cage's work and thought in general. The text falls into a peculiar interstice between fragmentation and comprehensibility. I hear a desire to sever the connection and the inimical influence that verbal thought has upon musical perception. But my hearing has its own desire when faced with text, which is to comprehend the sense, or the intended sense, of it, even though I understand that this attempt may be exactly what the sense of what I am hearing is trying to tell me not to do. In the end it was very lively. Bonnie is a fabulous performer and always a pleasure to hear.

Kudos to the SPC and their intrepid performers. Becca Baggenstoss dismantled vegetables to lovely sonic effect in Child of Tree, and the rest of the crew: Greg Campbell, Paul Kikuchi, Dale Speicher, Denali Williams, and guest Sarah Bassingthwaighte all did their duly well throughout. A lovely evening.