Saturday, January 30, 2016


Rescued Records

January 24, 2016
I've Heard It All Before - The Vagabonds

Several months ago Karen brought home a box full of 6 inch vinyl records, mostly 45s, but some 33 1/3 EPs as well. They had been used as decorations for a function at her workplace, having been donated for that purpose by a used record store (or former used record store). Some of them were cracked, and they all needed some serious cleaning, but for all of that most of them are in playable shape. I've been slowly dubbing them to digital, several each week, while also trying to find on-line information about the bands and artists (I'm a catalogue-ophile). The link above is to a fellow blogger's entry about this band, representing just about all I could find. My first blush reaction is that they would fit right in with the contemporaneous Young Fresh Fellows: power-pop, post-surf.

Banned Rehearsal 415 - [February 1996, Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer]

A honkfest. "So this slide whistle, trombone, tenor sax, drumset, and electric guitar walk into a phonebooth . . ." Spends the first 30 minutes overpowering the medium (cassette tape) finally settling into a mudpot rhythm. It makes a vehemental speech, heavy on the mental. Dragon's snoreatorium. After a bit, Dragon gets up to make coffee. Now the kids are awake too.

January 28, 2016
Banned Rehearsal 600 - [February 2001, Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Isabel K, Neal Kosály-Meyer]

Gentle, laid back, sounds don't assert themselves as the sound they are of (of trumpet, of sax, of clarinet) but are a sound first, recognized later, easily partaking of each other's motions and inflections, sharing a space with no center, as if the whole were overheard from broadcasts indifferent as to their reception. Does it go on too long? Certainly, except that would presume that one started at the start. This gets at what I find attractive about the idea of ambient music: that it can be a wonderful sound starting anywhere, satisfying wherever one leaves, a rich space, precisely incomprehensible.

Old Man Tucker - Bruce Springsteen [from The Seeger Sessions]

Before the whole gang comes in one can sense them lurking.

Rachel Harrington
House of Cards - Rachel Harrington [from Celilo Falls]

Her voice enters the ongoing rhythm with an attitude that has little to do with exactly where in the beat it slides, much more to do with where within the shape of her mouth it arises. Karen and I heard this very strong singer at the Reverb Festival in 2012. She was part of a killer line-up that included Shannon Stevens, Whitney Ballen, and Shelby Earl. I picked up this CD at the show, and got a nice smile from Rachel in return.

Banned Rehearsal 901 - [January 2016, Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer]

Consensus among the banned was that our peformance of my Tambourine Q[x]tet at the Seattle Composers' Salon counted as a Banned Rehearsal and should be numbered. And so the unedited take, from push record to push stop is Banned Rehearsal 901. Lovely how the tambourine sounds emerge easily from the occasion, Janglefarbenmelodie at its low-key best.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

January 25, 2016
Banned Rehearsal 903 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Neal Kosály-Meyer

Among other highlights is Karen's extraordinarily articulate performance on Otamatone. Who knew such an odd little toy could rise to such heights?

Saturday, January 23, 2016



January 19, 2016
Earle Brown Retrospective
Inverted Space
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle
Earle Brown

A screening of The Music of Earle Brown - a film by Susan Sollins-Brown

Seattle is deeply indebted to Inverted Space and their co-sponsors for putting on this hugely ambitious and magnificent concert. My prior familiarity with Earle Brown's music had been entirely by book learnin', somehow no sounds had come near. Given the care with which most of these pieces are designed to be different each time out I am especially glad that my first exposure was live, and breathtakingly sympathetic and convincing. I must also say that the printed program was superbly designed, evocative of the physical look of an Earle Brown score and perfectly clear. Bravissimo!

Home Burial (1949) - Brooks Tran, piano; Whitney Dopierak, projection 

had an attractive old-fashioned murkiness about it, echoed or echoing in the intercard-like projection of the Robert Frost poem upon which it was ostensibly based. Being a short person finding myself as per usual behind a tall person I was unable to read along (or unwilling to distract myself from the sound by trying).

Music for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1952) - Luke Fitzpatrick violin; Hye Jung Yang, cello; Brooks Tran, piano

The early 50's pointillist (blip bloop) sound has a nostalgic hit for me, sending me back to the listening library at the UW in the late 70's. "What are you listening to" (I offer my headphones) - followed by deepening puzzlement . . ."uh, OK .. ."

Novara (1962) - Elizabeth Talbert, flute; Ivan Arteaga, bass clarinet; Trevor Parrish, trumpet; Josh Archibald Seiffer, piano; Luke Fitzpatrick, violin; Allion Salvador, violin; Vijay Chalasani, viola; Rose Bellini, cello; Marcin Pączkowski, conductor

Static energy states transforming by liquid reconfigurations.

Centering (1973) - Luke Fitzpatrick, solo violin; Elizabeth Talbert, flute; Alexander Tu, clarinet; Jameal Smith, bassoon, Renne Millar, horn; Trevor Parrish, trumpet; Elizabeth McDaniel, trombone; Josh Archibald-Seiffer, piano; Allion Salvador, violin; Vijay Chalasani, viola; Nathan Harrenstein, cello; Marcin Pączkowski, conductor

In a dark room of massive knife-sharp plates, like ships, freighters in fog, spinning slowly on a spinning sea.

String Quartet (1965) - Luke Fitzpatrick, violin; Allion Salvador, violin; Vijay Chalasani, viola; Hye Jung Yang, cello

Exploratory, like feelers whiskers antennae, a music that sounds like an intelligence. One can see David Dunn from here . . .

Tracer (1985) - Elizabeth Talbert, flute; Alexander Tu, clarinet; Ivan Arteaga, bass clarinet; Luke Fitzpatrick, violin; Rose Bellini, cello; Carmen Rothwell, double bass; Marcin Pączkowski, conductor

In the midst of a quadraphonic cellphone discharge, a sense of ongoing disintegration.

Special Events (1999) - Nathan Harrenstein, cello; Josh Archibald-Seiffer, piano

I may have simply been getting tired, but this one seemed leashed and narrow, a memory of how a piece might have gone.


January 17, 2016
When Cootie Left The Duke - Raymond Scott [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Laggard beats in stripper rhythm, languid and a bit off the tempo.

Baila La Conga - Lecuona Cuban Boys [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
Serenade Concertante - Arthur Berger - Brandeis Festival Orchestra, Izler Solomon

Even the first entrances sound like re-entrances, steady beats that both are and aren't steady at once - energized steps, like the line breaks in the most brilliant beat poem ever. The big trumpet tune kills every time. At the end a series of muscular cadentials, each not quite but almost inconclusive until there we are at that oh yeah place.

Peggy Lee
January 18, 2016
Black Coffee (single version) - Peggy Lee

Her voice doesn't sidle up, more like it is, at each moment, insinuating itself with a slow quarter spin from the side.

January 19, 2016
Quarter To Three - Gary "U.S." Bonds [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

I'm anything but an historian of pop styles, but the way this starts with an apparently pre-recorded rhythm played through what could be a boombox (a modified sample), and flirts with the notion of a live vibe even though it comes across (as a whole) as a completely manufactured space, all reads as some strange amalgam of off-psychedelia and proto hip hop.

Devil With A Blue Dress On / Good Golly Miss Molly - Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

Love the stuttery drum breaks, and the unfussy quick fade - not lingering, just time to be done.

January 21, 2016
Move Over  - Janis Joplin [from Pearl]

Both fat and tight, the righteous mix. Janis is a gravel road turning quickly out of sight.

Crazy On You - Heart [from Greatest Hits]

The guitar introduction is in your living room's face. From there a ramshackle bridge over the chasm to full-on stadium.

Edge of Seventeen (Just Like a White Winged Dove) (studio version) - Stevie Nicks

An interesting abstraction of what a live sound might be. One example of several: what would be an echo off the back wall of an arena is, here, a canonic-ish re-entrance of voice; or: the backing vocals are playing the part of the invented space's reverberance.

Malleable Gestures - John Corbett, Jim Willett, Davey Williams, Sara Boyd, Ladonna Smith, Trish McCarl, Wally Shoup

As though one had extracted one's best shot at a string quartet by carefully filtering all the sounds from the recorded history of a music school practice room; an aural proof of the existence of ghosts. Where the original sound is from other than violin viola or cello we still hear the string quartet in the inflection;
an alien planet (Bliffmok) in a klongbicklious village at midblamfortink eve . .
a possession uncalled takes up residence, coming through badly on the radio, but we must consider the distance traveled . . .
sounds that wander through a vacant house, or through a pile of boards in the rain.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

January 18, 2016
Gradus 282 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

The first session is a study in Sol Mi Do descent, it bends down. The second bends up.

Sunday, January 17, 2016



January 12, 2016
Garrick Ohlsson
President's Piano Series - Meany Hall, University of Washington, Seattle

Sonata in A-flat Major, Op. 110 - Beethoven
Scherzo in E Major, Op. 54 - Chopin
Etudes in E minor and F-sharp minor, Op. 25 #5 and #6 - Chopin
Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48 #1 - Chopin
Ballade in g minor, Op. 23 - Chopin
Pictures at an Exhibition - Mussorgsksy

Garrick is one of those wonderful pianists who is comfortable enough as himself that he can focus on playing the piece in front of him, without reminding us from moment to moment who you are listening to. He doesn't sway back and forth nor lift his face flyward nor moan in ecstasy (or something). My big takeaways were the cumulating glow of life at the end of the Beethoven, kindled, it would seem, by clarity alone; the Art Tatum-y hit of the Scherzo; the ever-so-delicate tunes of note-clumps in the E minor etude; and the madly disjointed weirdness of Pictures. I rather enjoy the Ravel orchestration, but it's really as a wickedly difficult piano piece that it comes most alive. I made a stab at playing it in high school, and it was heartening to me that even Garrick Ohlsson doesn't always hit the right notes.


January 10, 2016
Ma mere l'oye - Ravel - Orchestre de Paris, Jean Martinon

Finding the culturally exotic in the enhanced remembrance of childhood imagination. The episodic structure - set pieces made of set pieces - focuses attention on the color of the instruments rather than on the structure of the tunes they are playing. No sudden moves, solid forms evaporate, glide away, feather precisely.

Maple Leaf Rag - Joplin - Scott Joplin (on piano roll) [from The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz]

It's unfortunate that the dynamics are so flat. Otherwise, the clarity of his playing makes a pretty good case. A distant cousin of Chopin's mazurkas.

Offrandes - Varèse - Ensemble InterContemporain, Pierre Boulez

I was immediately struck by how similar this is to the Ravel in how it functions. This is Ravel with the sharp edges exposed, the shattered exotic, exposed to violence.

Crucifixion - Arizona Dranes [from Allan Lowe's Really the Blues]

Ragtime blues.

Violin Concerto in D - Stravinsky - Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa, Itzhak Perlman

Like that Buster Keaton shtick where the scenery keeps changing around him just as he nearly deals with the last disaster.

Three Pieces for Orchestra - Kent Kennan - Eastman Rochester Orchestra, Howard Hanson

Studio trailers for symphonies. Coming Soon to a Theater Near You!

In Session at the Tintinabulary

January 11, 2016
Banned Rehearsal 902 160111 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer

Saturday, January 9, 2016



January 8, 2016
Seattle Composers' Salon
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Ivan Arteaga
Ivan Arteaga

Reed voice human voice inside each outside each voice being outside through each voice being inside enclosure through each voice being outside voice's disclosure - holding outside, birthing inside.

Patrick O'Keefe - Three Bagatelles

The first one was done before I got a bead on it, but the second was really pretty. I liked the way the harmonies of the third jostled each other, shoulder contra shoulder, not unfriendly.

Amy Denio

Best title of the night, possibly of the year: Recipe for Disaster. I am still and always in awe at how effortlessly Amy seems to generate good feelings in everything she does. How can one not smile? She has an easy comfort with what I can only call "song-ness", music consists of a bed of rhythm and a play of tune. The joy is in the details.

Keith Eisenbrey (with Banned Rehearsal)  - Tambourine Quintet (or Banned Rehearsal 901 160108) - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer

I was quite gratified both by how easily my colleagues got into it, and by the response. This (and the whole evening) is an example why I love the Seattle music scene.


Alfred Cortot
January 3, 2016
Ballade in A-flat Major, op. 47 - Chopin - Alfred Cortot

The first eight bars comprise four gestures, each in a distinct register. It also divides neatly in two, each half a question and answer, the latter like an echo of the first. Then four bars, two big, two little. Echo's echo. Got that straight? Good thing, because the ground begins to shift something ferocious.

Symphony in D minor, op. 120 (#4) - Schumann - Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz

Schwarz hears this differently than I do, his reading is leisurely, dreamy, and a bit heavy, with a tendency to broaden and luxuriate in a warm glow, rather than to quicken, ignite. This works pretty well for the opening, circling in the dark to an inner light, but never really gets its get-up-and-go up and gone.

Sonata in F Major op. 99 - Brahms - Gregor Piatigorsky, Artur Rubinstein

I love those low cello double stops toward the end of the first movement, an anchor in the bottom of the sea pulled by an unseen ship high above.

January 5, 2016
My Little Zulu Babe - Williams and Walker [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Fascinating, but uncomfortable to listen to in almost every way imaginable.

The Invisible City of Kitezh (Suite) - Rimsky-Korsakov - Philharmonia Hungarica, Richard Kapp

A sound track drifting free of its film.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

January 4, 2016
Gradus 281 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

Three simultaneities open, equivocally similar, identically uncertain. Coherence is a process of connecting presence to memory. When we hit bottom the summit re-emerges.

Saturday, January 2, 2016



December 27, 2015
Banned Rehearsal 414 [February 1996, Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer]

These clothes do not fit. Something is about to itch. Cabin fever. Stubborn drums. Finally boils over. Returns to the sullen wall.

Lauda Anima (midi version) - Keith Eisenbrey

When I finish a piece I usually like it pretty well, but I am always pleased when they get better upon re-listening. The sense I have is that this piece builds itself a delicately balanced ladder, one stick at a time, slowly and precariously ascending into darkness. It manages to live pretty comfortably in midi, but I will always regret that there is no recording of Marcus Oldham's superb performance of it at St. Marks a decade or so ago.

Outrageous - Paul Simon [from The Essential Paul Simon]

Paul gets down to the funk.

December 28, 2015
Qixingshan - Benjamin Boretz - Momenta Quartet [on Open Space 32]

Uncanny intervals, inexorable stillness, ape rage exhausting itself on an empty landscape.

O voi, troppo felici - Gesualdo - Consort of Musicke, Anthony Rooley

I kept getting the sense that all these chromatic shifts would suddenly come into focus and be completely regular, if only one could find exactly the right point from which to hear it.

Konzert in F Major BWV 1047 - J.S. Bach - Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan

Such a small ensemble to make so many disparate sounds. It is as though there are more groupings than are mathematically possible. The secret is that he treats each register of each instrument as a new instrument, so that any two have among them a wealth of possibilities to work with. Thankfully, Herbert doesn't over-inflate his ensemble much for this one, so it comes across more like chamber than orchestra music, which is all to the good.

Petites Pieces "La Capricieuse" Wq. 117 #33 - C.P.E. Bach - Miklos Spanyi

Breaking the stranglehold of baroque practice in the name of private amusement.

December 29, 2015
Quartet in D Major Op. 17 #6 - Haydn - Tatrai Quartet
Concerto in C minor K. 491 - Mozart - English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, Malcolm Bilson

Baroque combinations interrupted by articulating cadences. The soloist's opening salvo drives a wedge into a crack in the rhythm.

December 30, 2015
String Quartet in F major, Op. 59 #1 - Beethoven - Amadeus Quartet

The politics here are of intimates, not nations - familial social.