Saturday, March 5, 2011



The Unashamed Accompanist - Gerald Moore

I don't want to make too much of this recorded lecture by the eminent accompanist, the main point of which is that accompanists have a difficult but rewarding job and that 19th Century art songs are duets in which both pianist and singer have important roles. Hardly earth-shaking propositions. But a common attitude about words and music hangs unexamined throughout: that the point of the music is to reflect the meaning of the words, to act as an illustration for the poem. The problem is that we are postulating that the composer intended to construct a music that disappears into a visual or poetic image, that he intended to write a music that we listen to without hearing. We are asked to play so as to deflect attention from possible musical experiences in favor of something else. Should this really be our default attitude?

Fool, Fool, Fool - Elvis Presley
String Quartet in f-sharp minor, op. 108 - Shostakovich - Fitzwilliam SQ

Skeletal, ghastly, and icily pure, this is the thinking person's Shostakovich - frantic structuralism barely clinging to the pretense of continuity.

Mikrophonie I - Stockhausen - Aloys Kontarsky, Johannes Fritsch, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Fred Alings, Harald Boje, Jaap Spek, Hugh Davies

Episodes without trajectory, the structurally sensual now.

Pole - Stockhausen - Harald Boje, Peter Eotvos

Popular, in that the greater culture leaks in, is roughed up, is consumed.

Tierkreis - Stockhausen - Markus Stockhausen

Little studies in continuity, lyricism, and contrast. Personal and lovely.

Sonata 1980 - Keith Eisenbrey

My live performance of June 6, 2009. The various species of pauses and interruptions are more clearly distinguished here than in my other performances, and I managed to refrain from rushing as much as I usually do. The Chapel piano sounds good.

Pastorale 85 01 13B - Keith Eisenbrey - Fehrwood Ensemble

For this run-through I had the players cut each note short - not quite staccato, but using only enough duration to voice the pitch. As I recall, I later did some cheap overdubbing of this cut (using two cassette decks, to one of which a switch was added to toggle the erase head).

Banned Rehearsal 210 - Banned Rehearsal
Rough throughout, but exquisite right at the end.

Mad Science ca. 2000 - John Eisenbrey

This little two minute tape showed up in a box recently. My son John had made it at an after school class when he was 9 or 10 or so. Among the over-amply-reverberated fart noises the big surprise was a spontaneous and enthusiastic performance of a little song we invented to amuse the kids in the car: "Do the Weedy Weedy at the Bop".

Two by Four - Tom Baker - Jesse Canterbury, William O. Smith

Allowing time for complex steady states to unfold, to define themselves, to allow thinking in their terms.

Strange Flower (album) - The Tipton Saxophone Quartet

Something about the flattened melodicism of the vocal lines in the last cut reminded me suddenly of Brian Eno. The mind does odd things now and then.


Gradus 188 - Neal Meyer


Seattle Composer's Salon at the Chapel Performance Space, Seattle

Wayne Horvitz

Wayne provided a brief overview of his life in composition, with samples - a window into the inherent chaos of a creative mind. I was left with the image of a vital exploratory imagination rooted in a deeply personal demotic sensibility. I would also like to hear that piece for rainstick and paper bag he mentioned, whether Schoenberg comes back from the dead to write it, or whether Wayne writes it himself.

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