Saturday, April 9, 2016



April 2, 2016
Stillness, Concentrate - Keith Eisenbrey, piano
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Welcome to my planet. I come in peace. - Keith Eisenbrey
Another - Keith Eisenbrey
J - Keith Eisenbrey
".....such words as it were vain to close....." - J. K. Randall

Leaving aside such words for a moment, it is gratifying in listening to the recordings of these recent pieces of mine to discover how much more clearly they come across as a thing to hear than they do as a thing to perform. That is, I spent a good deal of composing time inventing ways for each of them to do some particular thing - Welcome to slowly pass two independently spinning pitch matrices through each other, Another to . . . (I'm still not sure what exactly Another does), and J to pour attenuated contrapuntal lines through a mutually illuminated space - but the performing of them involves so much ferocious counting and focus on what's coming next that it is difficult to hear what's actually happening, and nearly impossible to get a feel for how it's going as an experience.

I'll have my performance of such words available privately on my soundcloud site (since I don't have permission to make it public), so if you would like to hear it please get in touch with me and I'll send you the link. Part of the mystique of the piece is a notion that only Jim could ever really play it right, so playing it at all might seem futile. But I hope that even the little pianistic wisdom I've managed to glean over the decades allows me to at least share a glimmer of what's there to be discovered.

Rescued Records

April 5, 2016
Wig Wam Bam - Fantasy Four

This was from a box of 7" vinyl disks that Karen brought home from work, after they had been used as party decorations, after having been remaindered from a used record store. There was very little information on the disk itself, and the jacket for this one wasn't in the box, so even figuring out the name of the band took some sleuthing. All I had were the titles of the tracks and "F4". As best I can tell they broke up in 2002 or 2003, so I guessed this came out in about 2001. It isn't a great record by a stretch, but it's enthusiastic and good humored. One could easily imagine them sharing a bill with any number of local bands at some dive bar, in the same vein as Prom Queen or Can You Imagine, but with more of a Tyrannosaurus Grace exuberance.

Nobody Makes A Monkey Out Of Me - The Bugs [from The Funhouse Comp Thing]
Ferocious Alphabets - James Romig [from Milton Babbitt: A Composers' Memorial]

A single twisted twine, segments of which, due to the oddly contoured timespace in which it is cast, can only be observed through past or future portions of itself, refracting its singularity into many.

Tambourine Quintet - Keith Eisenbrey - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer

The tiniest shivers in space, making like speech.

S'io non miro non moro - Gesualdo - Consort of Musicke, Anthony Rooley

Taffy pulling. I kept thinking of Monsieur Hulot's Holiday.

Singet dem Herrn ein Neues Lied BWV 225 - J. S. Bach - Concentus Musicus Wien, Bachchor Stockholm, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

A knockout concerto grosso for voices and continuo - the seventh Brandenburg.

Keyboard Sonata in C Major Wq. 65/16 - C. P. E. Bach - Miklos Spanyi

Miklos plays this one on fortepiano, rather than clavichord. It lives in a gothic splendor of twisty narrow passages, dark yawning chasms, and dank dungeons.

Quartet in C minor Op. 17 #4 Hob. III:28 - Haydn - Tatrai Quartet

A well-ordered life in the age of reason. Stately rooms. long straight halls, courtyards bathed in sunlight. Proportion. Balance. Decorum.

April 7, 2016
Rondo in D Major K. 485 - Mozart - Lili Kraus

A counterfact to the dogma that Mozart's keyboard works can only come alive in all their subtlety when played on fortepiano, with its wide range of timbre from octave to octave. Lili makes do just fine with a clear differentiation of touch.

Symphony in B-flat Major Op. 60 (#4) - Beethoven - Vienna Philharmonic, Wilhelm Furtwängler

WF doesn't slow down in order to relax the tempo. His ritenutos underline the phrase.

Prelude in C-sharp minor Op. 25 - Chopin - Vladimir Ashkenazy

The arpeggios here are not poet-dreamy, but nervous, urgent, coaxing out what might be remembered of another music, if only one could, if only it had ever been.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

April 4, 2016
Banned Telepath 47 Seattle 160404
Banned Telepath 47 Somerville 160404
Banned Rehearsal 908 160404 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy (in Seattle); and Aaron Keyt (in Somerville)

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