"But the willingness to be oneself, outside any mediation, in the immediacy of presence, comes up against two obstacles: the presence of others and the unpredictability of an unstable act." Jean-Charles François "Variations on and for Daniel Charles" Open Space Magazine Issue 12/13 fall 2010/winter 2011
April 22, 2017
Benaroya Hall, Seattle
Symphony in B-flat Major (#5) - Bruckner - Seattle Symphony, Ludovic Morlot, conductor
Thank you Stephanie and Dave for the tickets!
It has been quite some time since I had the pleasure of hearing a Bruckner symphony live, in an adequate hall. The magnitude of sound in play requires space around it in order to articulate its dynamic range. Recordings are all very fine, but the physical space you yourself, as an auditor, are in, is uniquely essential for these works to address you fully.
But it wasn't the sound that struck me this time around (though the local crew performed magnificently), it was the polyvalent transparency between phrases, between lines of ongoing counterpoint, between beginnings of things and middles of things and ends of things, between the symphony and me, that spoke. It was as though an epic timespan, in mid explosion, had been captured in freeze-frame and conjured into being in order to sculpt of negative sound defined by symphonic shards, an explicit silence.
Toccata in F Major, BWV 540 - J. S. Bach
Organ Concerto in A minor, BWV 593 - J. S. Bach
Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543 - J. S. Bach
We were doubly fortunate to finally hear the organ at Benaroya all by itself. I notice they have stopped referring to it in the program by its brand-name. Did the sponsorship contract run out?
April 27, 2017
|Your Mother Should Know|
Victory Lounge, Seattle
Everybody was playing "acoustic(ish)". YMSK was, with two performers (Neal Kosály-Meyer and Karen Eisenbrey), the largest ensemble of the night. Alone In Dead Bars is John Maiello of Dead Bars, and "Liz" constituted the whole of Sun Dummy. Sarah Pasillas was without apparent alias. The performing area at VL is nothing more than a few square feet of space in front of the window bench, on a level with what would be the mosh pit if it weren't just a place for folks to stand at the end of the bar. The combination, and the friends-of-the-acts-full audience, made for a lovely intimate feel throughout, and not just in the banter between, but in the warm play of conversation that swaddled the performances. I have confessed before: I am a sucker for guitar strumming she-minstrels, so I was not sorry to be there at all, even though it was late for me to be out on a work night. Sarah plays with a near-yodel break between registers, to potent effect. Sun Dummy lives, I think, to lift her voice into a spot behind the mask that evokes oboe or english-horn timbre, a bit like Courtney Marie Andrews, but a few steps lower - more mezzo than coloratura. Hearing Dead Bars songs in this context, without the neo-punk band armor, brought out their more tender, vulnerable aspects. Kind of a trip, actually.
April 25, 2017
Jeremiah 17:5-8 - Keith Eisenbrey - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey [take 2 from a recording session at Jack Straw Productions on May 10, 2005]
Part of the pleasure of writing songs, for me, is that it gives me an opportunity to get my compositional jollies - without the self-inflicted intellectually prideful pressure I find when writing for solo piano. In this case, I find all sorts of ways to confuse one voice with another, and to trace multiple non-explicit threads through an otherwise straightforward texture. Must admit, that just toots my horn.
Gradus 90 - Neal Kosály-Meyer [January 2006]
Due to a data entry error I have listened to this twice this same month. I found myself (still puzzling about Bruckner) thinking about silence. I may be misinterpreting somewhat, but in conversation Neal professes to be aiming, in Gradus, at a Cagean concept of silence. Specifically he hopes that no sound made therein would be amiss in a performance of 4'33". But what I was wondering was whether the accomplishment of this is doomed to failure, not because Neal makes 'musical' sounds but because Cage's silence is particular, personal, unique, to Cage, unapproachable outside of his own ear. His verbal explanations and theories about it are no more capable of guiding us to the actual 'it' of it than any other verbal blurble is to any musical experience at all. It can only point at what can't be experienced, report on wonders irrevocably lost.
The Prairie-Grass Dividing - [from Campfire Songs] - Brian Cobb
Paced at first like Korean court music, it accumulates the sounds of everything stowed in the wagon.
Banned Rehearsal 904 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt [February 2016]
Assembled from Telepaths 43, KK&S here in Seattle, Aaron in Summerville, MA. With fine-tipped crayons we scribble tiny textures. Wallace (Aaron's rented spinet) joins in from afar. Quiet plucking of an evening. Drum a long crookedy line. Busy bugs on a forest floor, scattering gently.
In Session at the Tintinabulary
April 24, 2017
Banned Rehearsal 933 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy