Tuesday, September 1, 2015



August 22, 2015
Nabucco - Verdi - Seattle Opera
McCaw Hall, Seattle

Some exciting music is hiding in this mess. Moving the orchestra on stage, with soloists front and chorus behind (more or less) worked quite well, not only for the sound but also so that the whole could be read as a staged oratorio rather than as a theatrical presentation with invisibly produced accompaniment. It also helped to distract from the weakness of the libretto. The musicians, as always, were fabulous.

August 28, 2015
Found Sound + Found Objects = Found Music (and a piano)
S. Eric Scribner and Keith Eisenbrey
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Études d'exécution imminent - Keith Eisenbrey - Keith Eisenbrey, piano

My program notes:

Why? Études d'exécution imminent (2014) arose out of a desire for a music sized to the scale of human intimacy, for a music I could say simply, undeclaimed, for a music we could hear simply, uninflicted.

What? A work of speculative serialism, each of the eight etudes comprises three statements of a mod-17 tone row. The row is designed so that each successive group of four notes is maximally varied as to interval content, and so that the interval between successive notes in even order positions (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16) holds within the etude. In etude 1, this interval is 1 (half-step), in etude 2 it is 2 (whole-step), etc. This allowed me both a rich chromatic pallette and the possibility of an easily discernible regular progression.

Where? Between us.

When? Ever.

Who? Indeed!

Sounds Found (A Garbage Symphony) - S. Eric Scribner - Keith Eisenbrey and S. Eric Scribner, found objects, improvising with written instructions, to 21 pre-recorded sound files.

Steve's {It was at this point in writing my blog on Saturday that the power went out for 6 hours. By the time it came back on I had other things to do, and assumed I could finish Sunday morning. But the power failed again at midnight and wasn't back up until we returned from church. Sunday afternoon was already spoken for with another event, Monday was Banned Rehearsal, and so it isn't until now (Tuesday evening) that I have a chance to finish my sentence (after having thought about it for 3 days)} music is a genuine ordeal, both physically and mentally, in the performing and in the listening. There is next to nothing to cling to. Even what should be familiar is so blatant, set so close to our face, as to be nearly impenetrable. It makes absolutely no attempt to entertain. It is dead set to take the measure of you.

The key is this: it is activity, and not piece, and as such it demands active listening in a way that nothing else I am aware of does. Is it great music? Probably not, but is that the be-all anyway? Is it worth the trouble (and it is considerable trouble)? For depth of engagement, for wealth of glorious noise, for magnificent unapologetic grandeur, absolutely. It's all there, but as the Boss says, the ride ain't free.

Neither Steve nor I are particularly good at publicity, nor are two middle-aged fellows much of a draw in and of ourselves, and so by the time the last pot lid faded our rather thin audience had dwindled to just Neal and Karen. I was never in it for popularity, but I like to think there are more folks in the area that are up for hard, dis-passive work.


August 23, 2015
Smash Your Radio - The Primate 5 [from  The Funhouse Comp Thing]

Ramones style punk girl group arrangement fattened up with a keyboard sound lifted from The Wailers. Not sure where this band is from, but the sound is straight-up Tacoma.

for Milton - Martin Boykan - [from Milton Babbitt: A Composer's Memorial]

Laid bare as a thing of notes, embracing music as a literature. The written score designed specifically so that its printed information and the produced sound's perceived information is jammed as close together as possible.

Itene, o mieie sospiri -Gesualdo - Consort of Musicke, Anthony Rooley
Konzert in G BWV 1049 - J.S. Bach - Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer

Made of bricks, as a theory of memory or of knowing.

August 27, 2015
Petites Pieces Wq. 117 #31 "L'Irresolue" - C.P.E. Bach - Miklos Spanyi

Music as pathology's mirror?

Sonata in E-flat Hob. XVI: Es.2 - Haydn - Christine Schornsheim

In Session at the Tintinabulary

August 23, 2015
Trio 150823 - Keith Eisenbrey
Zither, slide whistle, and acoustic steel-string guitar (a Takemine on long-term loan from my brother Paul). The zither was thrown in my direction by a harp player ten or so years ago. It's kind of a wreck but it appears to be handmade from who knows what scraps. I would totally believe the strings to be the same stock as barbed wire is made from.

August 24, 2015
Gradus 273 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

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