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.