Sunday, October 30, 2016



October 29, 2016
Seattle Opera
Hansel & Gretel - Engelbert Humperdinck - Sebastian Lang-Lessing
McCaw Hall, Seattle

I would object to the distracting production more if I were convinced there was anything in
particular to be distracted from. We could at least have been given Zemlinsky instead of this, eh?


October 24, 2016
Die Kunst der Fuge Contrapunctus II - J. S. Bach - Zoltán Kocsis

In which it can reasonably be pondered just how many keys can be implied simultaneously, and whether the sum of those implied keys establishes a new key, in a new realm, within which lurks a hidden fugue.

Keyboard Sonata in D Major Hob. XIV:33 - Haydn - Christine Schornsheim

Approaches to significant tones, all kinds
(such as)
Approaches, imbedded in sets
Approaches, delightful
(but perhaps not)
Approaches, necessarily to astound

October 25, 2016
Requeim K. 626 - Mozart - Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Wiender Singverein, Herbert von Karajan, Wilma Lipp, Hilde Rossl-Majdan, Anton Dermota, Walter Berry, Reinhold Schmid, Wolfgang Meyer

The personal is the cosmic, and this death is personal, as big as cathedral innards. Those soloists are as far from operatic as can be, that is, they are not a personality that speaks, but rather inscriptions burned wholly into the stones of naves, transepts, and choirs.

October 27, 2016
Violin Concerto in D Major, op. 61 - Beethoven - Concertgebouworkest, Amsterdam, Bernard Haitink, Henryk Szeryng

For once he approaches a Schubertian graciousness of expanse: militant unhurry, blaring contrasts, long balance.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

October 24, 2016
Gradus 301 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

Start with a problem to consider: that G-natural in the middle. That's a problem for sure. Gradually it becomes clear not only that the problem is solutionless, but that all the notes are problems.

Saturday, October 22, 2016



Rainy Pass in the past
October 15, 2016
Banned Rehearsal 606 - Isaac E, John E, Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt - April 2001
A sense of deep enclosure or seclusion
the kids come in and blow our cover
conversations among discrete sounds in discrete bundles
resisting accumulation with modest success
gels briefly then falls apart
each to their own workbench

Variants for Two Clarinets - William O. Smith - Jesse Canterbury, William O. Smith

Locationless until tongue click locations us. I think of the years and years in which the clarinet, as an instrument, was perfected to be rich in its timbre and athletically nimble: qualities that also allow uncountable possibilities for exploration into the unconsidered lands.

Problem Solver - Youth Rescue Mission [from Youth Rescue Mission]

Distinct sound-plates in play (including a nice mock Stravinsky orchestration to open) one after the other, narratively episodic, decidedly progressing from a beginning to an end point, to suddenly then start again, the point of all of which is to underscore, and bridge, the distance between them.

October 16, 2016
Gradus 283 - Neal Kosály-Meyer - February 2016

endings of pieces in A. All of them. A list.

or and also

partitions of an alternative universe A Major Rheingold

In Session at the Tintinabulary

October 17, 2016
Gradus 300 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

Back to the countable quantities.

October 21, 2016
Corollaries (Up's Up)
Corollaries (Down's Down)
Corollaries (Up's Down)
Corollaries (Down's Up) - Keith Eisenbrey

A common trope of music criticism is the idea that the structure that generates, or that is presumed to generate, a piece should be perceivable and understandable by a listener. With new or difficult music this often arises in the form of a protest: "Nobody could hear that!", followed by a detailed story of exactly how it could not be heard. The response is usually in the form: "I can", followed by a detailed story of exactly how it could be, and of exactly how, presumably, it was, in fact, heard. Years ago, listening to some early Stockhausen or other, I realized that the least interesting aspect of it, for me, was the fact that it happened to be twelve-tone. I asked myself then why exactly it should matter that the generating structure (the chart) should be what we understand or perceive the piece to be.

One of the underlying points made by Benjamin Boretz, in Meta-Variations: Studies in the Foundations of Musical Thought is the notion that carefully analyzing our methods of thinking about music can reveal alternatives to those methods, and that in so doing new musical possibilities could be invented. I make no claim that I was the first to try this, but sometime in the 1990's I asked myself what music might sound like if I redefined, for compositional purposes, the idea of the modular interval. In other words, what would happen if notes an octave apart weren't treated as the same note, if some other interval were treated as generating matching pitch classes? Specifically I started inventing systems in which the modular interval (traditionally 12 semi-tones) was redefined to be 17 semi-tones (an octave plus a Perfect 4th). Since then I have written many of these "mod 17" pieces, using both content-determinate and order-determinate systems.

I have found that, in practice, thinking along these lines tends to loosen the ties between designed-in structures and my listening perception of what is going on in the music, often to the point where I doubt whether the chart could possibly be derived, even with careful analysis of the score, from the music itself. A problem, perhaps, just not my problem. For me it has been exhilarating. Among other things, it operates as a subtle fracturing of the idea of the note as the atom of musical thought, an exciting result.

In Corollaries I wondered what would happen if I took the 17 integer row I have been working with recently and, instead of applying it to the pitch-classes as a tone row, apply it instead to the intervals between pitches, as an "interval row" - ignoring, as it were, what the notes are as pitch-classes and shifting syntactic emphasis to the relations between them. Of course intervals, being relations and not objects, have some interesting qualities. Is it an interval up or an interval down? Is the inversion of the interval also fair game? For my first foray I decided to go as dirt simple as I could. For (Up's Up) I present the interval row (in three interval-transpositions) as a series of intervals going up (flipping around to the bottom when I run out of keyboard). (Down's Down) is the same but with descending intervals. (Up's Down) are the inversions descending from top to bottom and (Down's Up) are the inversions from bottom to top.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Talon at the Royal Room

October 11, 2016
The Royal Room, Seattle
Greg Sinibaldi - EWI (Electric Wind Instrument) and electronics, Ryan Ferreira - guitar, Ted Poor - drums

Salmon, Eagle, and Raven walk into a bar and pick up instruments.

I got to thinking about what sort of theater this music is. Masked dancers acting out ritual type-stories. The instruments and their accouterments are very like ornate masks or puppets, allowing the musician freedom to inhabit their mythic parts, and to speak in tongues.

The drumstick died in a good cause.


October 10, 2016
The Gospel of the Red-Hot Stars - Tom Baker - Seattle EXperimental Opera, Julia Tai, Maria Mannisto, Paul Karaitis, Liz O'Donoghue, Alissa Rupp, Will Dean, Mark Johnson, Tom Swafford, Jesse Canterbury, Chris Stover, Tom Baker, Brian Cobb, Greg Campbell

from a single wick
slowly caldering plates of color and gesture
background radiation of the chamber of wilderness walls
the paper sky against which it plays

Tapes - Youth Rescue Mission [from Youth Rescue Mission]

A short audio collage poem: biography?

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

the man in the closet giving an interminably circling sermon
piano turning it to comic opera or a comedy of an opera
matching rhythm to phrase spoken
percussion and small pans
the creaks and squeaks of the machinery behind it all

October 13, 2016
Die Kunst der Fuge Contrapunctus II - J. S. Bach - Lionel Rogg

Exploring something eelish, elusive: a meta-tonality wrung from combinations of scale-degree function as they twist and writhe.

Keyboard Sonata in G Hob. XVI:27 - Haydn - Christine Schornsheim

Unmediated contrast. Tonal slippage. Haydn here is a storyteller, comfortable within a social framework.

Concerto in B-flat K. 595 - Mozart - English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, Malcolm Bilson

Mozart tells tales also, but paints the scenery with such magic that we are immersed. The original Virtual Reality.

Fidelio-Ouverture op. 72b - Beethoven - Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer

Ideas shape us.

3 Mazurkas Op. 63 - Chopin - Vladimir Ashkenazy

What is being invented here is a sense of music as a literature (rather than being a service), the immediate model being lyric poetry.

Fantasiestücke Op. 111 - Schumann - Peter Frankl

ladders to no where
shifting centers and spinning compasses
we gather to ourselves what we can

Wild Cherries Rag - Ed Morton [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Ragtime, american minstrelsy, jazz: sadly, each as much a ghetto as a genre, but also an open line of communication to the outside.

Aunt Hagar's Children's Blues - Ladd's Black Aces [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Continuing that line of thought, one presumes there was, even in the heyday of ragtime, american minstrelsy, and jazz, a music that was played within the community that possessed a similar sophistication to everything else that was going on at the time, but which wasn't picked up in the recorded sample.

Muskrat Ramble - Louis Armstrong's Hot Five - Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, Johnny Dodds, Lil Armstrong, Johnny St. Cyr

Conflicted grace.

Travelin' Blues - Jimmy Rogers [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Those ghettos, and let's add country, cowboy, western, and blues, all had direct links to each other, and as they entered the recorded sample those links strengthened. Nice subtly structural use of yodeling, too.

Romeo et Juliette Troisième Tableaux - Prokofiev - Orchestre du Theatre Bolchoi de Moscou, Algis Juraitis

The violin tunes high in the register are a lyric equivalent of the texture of bow on string. Or: these tunes are designed with fret board in ear, leaping from string to string. I kept getting the sense that Prokofiev is playing charades with us, and we're not getting close. The best part of Prokofiev is the interior patterning of meter as rhythm, i.e. what is happening is a pattern of what happens within single beats and their tightly bound neighbors. The balalaika number is a dynamite stand-alone thing.

Lullaby To A Dream - Benny Carter [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

That 1940's microphone warmth, as though we are hearing through scrim of cigarette smoke in black and white.

52nd Street Theme - Dizzy Gillespie [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Tired of being sophisticated. Let's just amaze each other.

Bitten der Kinder - Paul Dessau

I'm still not sure what this is. Some fragment of a theater piece? The info on the CD is less than helpful.

Dancing In The Dark - Sarah Vaughan [from Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz]

Every note is a lovemaking.

Like, Long Hair - Paul Revere and the Raiders [from The Legend of Paul Revere]

Long hair referring, I suppose, to the Tchaikovskonzert opening salvo - and the tail-end "so there" cadence.

I Wanna Meet You - The Cryan Shames [a Rescued Record]

hokey, but OK about it.

October 14, 2016
Buried Alive In The Blues - Janis Joplin [from Pearl]

instrumental vamp

The Montreux/Berlin Concerts Cut 4 - Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Dave Holland, Barry Altschul

Circus clown music (or a rethinking of the Stravinsky of Renard or L'Histoire.) But these clowns are not portrayed, we are placed within their thinking.

Rivals - The Heats [a Rescued Record]

Distinctly Beatlesish, except that neither verse nor chorus is remarkable.

Stepping Stone - Sun Sect [a Rescued Record]

Demo quality post-punk (not quite ready to let go) - or rather aiming at a mid 60's vibe: Neo Proto Punk.

One(5) 1991 - John Cage - Stephen Drury

I scribbled a whole load of words about intervals - but nothing worth sharing. Is there any kind of equivalence between two consecutive pitches and two simultaneous pitches in the 'kind of two-ness' they exhibit? That is, to what extent are their respective intervals the same cognitive thing at all?

Call The Doctor - Sleater-Kinney [from Call The Doctor]

Multi-stranded. Poetically perhaps too heavy a reliance on the rhetorical "they" and "you", the language of conspiracy theories, coercively displacing, alienating us from the big bad out there.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

October 9, 2016
Corollaries Omnibus - Keith Eisenbrey

Late at night along the Interspace, thinking about intervals: just what kind of animal they are.

October 10, 2016
Banned Rehearsal 920 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Neal Kosály-Meyer

I think Steve nailed it, just after I pressed stop. "What just happened?"

Saturday, October 8, 2016



October 4, 2016
The Montreux/Berlin Concerts Track 3 "84 Deg. -Kelvin -6" - Anthony Braxton, Kenny Wheeler,
Anthony Braxton
Dave Holland, Barry Altschul

Morse code rhythms and seabirds. Trumpet provocateur, How did that chorus rhythm get signaled, and still sound like it was invented on the spot?

Chihuahua - Bow Wow Wow

Chi Wow Wow :: Bowhuahua

I Wonder As I Wander - London Symphony Orchestra, Placido Domingo [from Hallmark Listen to the Joy]

Secularization by star-power over-dramatization.

Come As You Are - Nirvana [from Nevermind]

An altar call (Just As I Am, Without One Plea)

Banned Rehearsal 417 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer

roll call
pressure cooker
heap bag

agitate pulverize grind chip (at) forge anew (forge(t)) press and squeeze stipple and stroke fiddle and fuss step back cock a head prop up hoist twist whack and flatten let sit let weather look away see from distances pick up shake each which way plug in set to rolling.

October 6, 2016
Banned Rehearsal 605 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Isabel K, Neal Kosály-Meyer
gentle bell(y)

|| within this mix recognized improvisational attitudes :: recognized faces though some surprise or perplex as to whom? My own thoughts in particular are obvious to me as my own, others I guess at, as do each we all

||nursery sounds infant babble and cry primitive of improvisation :: bodily, innocent of edits, nearly innocent of language (though are we, ever?)

||transparently lives in the room resonance and baseline noise, the way print lives on the surface of paper

twisted place(s)

In Session at the Tintinabulary

October 3, 2016
Gradus 299 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

As the collection increases in count its thingness, as a whole to be grasped, closes, while its thingness, as a space to explore, opens.

Saturday, October 1, 2016



"Phenomenology takes it upon itself to describe the appearance of phenomena and to do so on an originary background which has to be established in a theoretical manner (or perhaps, in a sense, as some sort of a fiction) as soon as we feel its presence behind all concepts. This pure presence, [. . .] far from being just a mere base or a unified and inert undercoat, is on the contrary a product of a preexisting, if not always identifiable, sensory mobility. In other words it is a given, not in the sense of a gift which somehow was previously given to us, but as the "givenness" of something which has always been in existence. Before we can even begin the process of distinguishing ourselves from the world, the famous Husserlian "there is" (es gibt) of the world - of which we became part of by birth - is a given. Our consciousness, incapable of making distinctions or judging, is given to us at the same time as the world; the world shaken by rhythms and movements of the originary, which are incessantly composed, decomposed, and recomposed before they become stabilized in a synthesis of sensory elements, so that ultimately, under the influence of the formation of categories of judgment, they may be arranged under the concept of an object." Marie-Claude Lambotte "the movement of the "originary" in art", translated by Dorota Czerner, The Open Space Magazine Issue 11 Fall 2009



September 25, 2016
Märchenbilder Op. 113 - Schumann - Gérard Caussé, Jean Hubeau

It is exactly when Schumann seems to be falling back on direct repeats and square rhythms that he goes most splendidly askew. In a Boretzian locution, these are program musics, the subjects of which are 'folk songs arranged for concert performance'.

Petrouchka - Stravinsky - Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz

Not the music to accompany a dance of a puppet show, but a puppet show in its own right. The mythic and the orchestral puppet show face each other across the chasm of the dancers bodies. For instance: the opening, where our attention is being pulled from here to there, from this sight to that sight, as though by strings. Not quite coercion, but not quite seduction either. We discover ourselves to be witnesses. The murder occurs while we are there.

Sounds of Africa - Eubie Blake [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Part of the deep undercoat for Art Tatum and Cecil Taylor.

September 27, 2016
Heebie Jeebies - Louis Armstrong's Hot Five - Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, Johnny Dodds, Lil Armstrong, Johnny St. Cyr

Louis digs his voice out from deep in his chest.

Travelin' Railroad Man Blues - Alabama Sheiks [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

This is me. This is my calling card, this my placard.

Romeo et Juliette Deuxieme Tablaeau - Prokofiev - Orchestre du Theatre Bolchoi de Moscou, Algis Juraitis

Grand Russian Ballet of the Tchaikovsky stripe, flagrantly flirting with the resurrection of Empire.

September 29, 2016
Take The "A" Train - Duke Ellington and His Orchestra - Rex Stewart, Wallace Jones, Ray Nance, Lawrence Brown, Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton, Juan Tizol, Otto Hardwick, Johnny Hodges, Barney Bigard, Ben Webster, Harry Camey, Fred Guy, Jimmy Blanton, Sonny Greer [from Ken Burns Jazz]

A thought experiment: Listen to this as though the rhythm section were silent and it becomes deliciously disjointed.

Who Put The Benzedrine . . . - Harry Gibson [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

. . . in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine? In celebration of somebody's awakening.

Black and Blue - Dickey Wells [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

A soliloquy. Sometimes he looks in your eye. Sometimes his eyes drop to the floor as he mutters under his breath.

Too Marvelous For Words - Art Tatum [from Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz]

This is not a pitch/rhythm space into which one enters lightly. The song is captured at exactly the moment of critical fracture, bursting from within.

The Marcels
Blue Moon - The Marcels [collected from Dave Marsh's Heart of Rock & Soul]

Doo-wop is, in its inception, an imitation of instrumental music, but one that allows an interplay of attitudes toward that imitated music in the multiplicity of texts involved: lyrical, nonsensical, onomatopoeical. It's a bit like those old polyphonic works in which each part is in a different language. The song that floats on top isn't the show, it's just the excuse.

Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 - Bob Dylan [from Blonde on Blonde]

Arrangement by whoeverwasthereatthetime. Bob in full-on Revival Preacher mode.

Half Moon - Janis Joplin [from Pearl]

Love the yodel lift at the ends of phrases, and how carefully it is paced.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

September 24, 2016
Corollaries (Down's Up) 160924
Corollaries (Down's Down) 160924
Corollaries (Up's Down)  160924 - Keith Eisenbrey

The house was pretty quiet on Saturday so I recorded the other three Corollaries. Lately I have been considering my attitude toward notes as tokens or atoms of musical thinking. Among other things, this particular project has focused instead on the intervals, and on the gaps between notes in general, as the location of intentional design. In other words, rather than composing patterns of pitch in which the intervals, though considered, are subsidiary, I composed patterns of intervals in which the pitches, as it were, fall where they may.

September 26, 2016
Banned Rehearsal 919 160926 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer

introducing our new friend, Excelsior!

More need not be said. We have a new friend. "Oh the glory glory glory on the horizon!" (Shelby Earl).