Sunday, June 03, 2007

Oh no, not again

Yeah, so what?
I outlined the 2nd movement of my trombone concerto this morning
1st movement is blocked in.
Once I get the 3rd or maybe even 4th sketched in, then comes the details.
The details are supposed to make the difference.
The Devil is in them.
God is in them.
Way too much pressure for me!
If someone should ever happen to want to hear this stuff, I suppose I'll polish.
Unfortunately, then one needs to create a readable score and that's just work!

Yesterday I went to the Beacon Hill neighborhood festival to hear a friend play piano.
You've heard of her on this site before (search "Being Ann Cummings")
A fearless artist!
She also wears masks that fit the theme of the piece she's playing (ooh, ooh, I have a picture. I'll post it later, cant do it from here anyway)
The festival was held on a tennis court.
Absolutely fearless!

A Steinway outdoors is kind of a novel concept inasmuch as she plays classical music. Prokovief, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich and the like.
The other band was keyboards, guitars, and trumpet playing a kind of mellow jazz or something.
Fortunately, there was amplification for the piano.
Looking at things from different angles is always informative and hearing this kind of music in casual al-fresco with screaming children, passing cars, jets overhead, etc., did offer a new perspective.
Listening existentially rather than intellectually.
I don't do emotiomnally (can't even spell it)
Most of the composers were late 19th or early 20th century and some of them had to suffer "The Dictatorship of the Proletariat"
Having thier music (and often thier person) condemned by the simple minded jerks who always seem to float to positions of power.
(I can't seem to let this Seattle Symphony thing alone, can I?)

Anyway, it does seem to bear out my scientific theory that intelligence has mass and therefore weight since it always seems to be so rare at the upper reaches of society and so rife here where I am. (I have another scientific theory that I may post someday)
Everyone I know is smarter than I and everyone I hear about in the news is not.
What else?
O yeah, there were also several childrens acts including tumblers, acrobats, unicyclists, and double dutch jump ropers.
The main feature of these acts seemed to be falling down.
They were charming and a tough act to follow especially with Rachmaninov.
There is a large Chinese population on Beacon Hill and thier children did some dancing. They're kids and anything they try is beautiful.

Surfing around in my ennui (a little known east european 3 cylinder automobile some say is just a cheap copy of a Trabant), I found a site apparently devoted to my secondbest loved novelist, William Gaddis.
Love his work
He is more cynical than I (not tooo hard to do)
He can also write novels (way toooooo hard to do)
Well not any more, being dead and all.
Go check some out of the library.
Some titles are "The Recognition", "JR", "A Frolic of His Own", "Carpenter Gothic", "Agape Agape" maybe there's more, I dunno.
I liked "JR" the best.
The Seattle Library (yet to evict me from the premises) had a booth. the gir...person man...personing the booth handed me a card to fill out challenging me to read three, yes that's right three whole books this summer!
If I can manage to do that, and log them in the aforementioned card, they will give me something, and I'll be entered in a drawing for a "Book Lovers" book bag.
I don't know if I'd call it love, but I do think of them a lot and am almost always in the presence of one or more.

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2 Comments:

Blogger butch said...

For the benefit of Anonomann, if he is having difficulty getting those German computers to work on her link, here is some Bio on Cummings:

Ann Cummings, pianist, artist

Provocative and cerebral are appropriate adjectives to describe the paintings and performances of Ann Cummings. Her work extends from the thinking inherent in Dadaism, Surrealism, Fauvism, Op Art, and classical music. The intent of her work is to present revelations from consciousness.

Cummings' education in the arts evolved from her formal training as a classical pianist, and from independent courses in painting and art history. Cummings began her artistic training as a pianist at age 8. By 16 her piano skills awarded her the opportunity to debut her talent with the Florida Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Hoffman. Further success landed her a four-year scholarship to the University of Florida in Fine Arts, Music Performance in which she graduated with honors. She has performed throughout the United States and into Canada and is often featured on live radio to perform and discuss her work.

As a pianist, Cummings performs with the conviction of presenting the perspective of creative consciousness inherent in the interpretation of classical music. The result is her program entitled, Inside the Music, a new style of piano recitals that include visual arts as part of the performance. The visual aspects of the concerts developed from Cummings' desire to make the invisible visible: i.e. to expose the creative consciousness inherent within the music, its interpretation, and its relationship to the listener. Her concerts are an experience not only of classical music and visual art, but of the drama and struggle of creativity… about human consciousness which beseeches us to express ourselves as individuals and simultaneously discover our relevance as a piece of the whole of LIFE. She has exhibited her works on stage since 1994.

As a visual artist, Cummings succeeds in capturing this same philosophy within her visual works that stand off-stage which she began exhibiting in galleries and festivals in 2002. She continues to focus on the creative consciousness and its interplay between the individual and the community. Her favorite work, A Shift in Consciousness, features the power of the individual in the creative process. Cummings has included her taste for music in this work as it is structured in the musical form known as Sonata-Allegro. It is the thought Inside the Music that Cummings focuses on in her performances, and it is the music of thought within an image that Cummings presents with her visual pieces.

Cummings resides in Seattle, WA with her husband.

I certainly would have loved to have seen and heard her concert, and I love the mask. In a tennis court yet, with the city noises and babbling children accompanying her. Yes that would be fearless. Performance artists can really excite those dormant neurons that hide in dark places within our cortex. Thanks for including the pic of her. That is very helpful.

It sounds like Anonomann has the ticket for you with his recommendation for guidelines on your 2nd Movement of your Trombone concerto, and hey, how about that musician he recommends to play it for you; someone fearless, who is not intimidated by the SSO, and lives in the area?

Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra was comissioned by trombonist Stuart Dempster, with assistance from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music. Donald Erb:


"The first of the concerto's four movements, in a medium fast tempo, is the most traditional and uses the lyrical qualities of the trombone primarily. The linear nature of the music draws in part from jazz. In the slow second movement, we hear the great timbral variety of which the trombone is capable, producing beautiful varied sounds with many different mutes, some of which may be used in several different ways.

"The third movement is very much like a symphonic scherzo. Here, the soloist produces duets by singing one note while playing another. In addition, the extreme upper register of the trombone is featured several times.

"In the finale, the soloist uses what musicians call 'circular breathing,' inhaling through the nose while blowing air into the instrument, a technique known in many non-European musics. Stuart Dempster learned it from playing the didjeridu of the Australian aborigines, who may also make double sounds and bark animal calls through their instruments while the music continues. I attempted to give this movement a thrust that would enhance the primitive quality. It also makes, I hope, a fitting finale."

Rimsky-Korsakov's Concerto for Trombone was originally scored for solo trombone and military band, and is one of the most standard concertos for trombone. The hauntingly lyrical second movement showcases the best singing qualities of the trombone, while the outer movements afford the soloist an outlet for the more brilliant, technical possibilities of the instrument.

Background of "Bone" Concerto:

Having spent many years of my adolescence playing in youth orchestras, counting endless measures, playing trombone for only a few passages, and then frustratingly having to count more measures of rest yet again, I resorted to frequest musical daydreams. In fact, I used to have musical nightmares about not being able to contain myself any longer, and would visualize myself jumping up from the back of the orchestra to unleash improvisations much to the conductor's horror. So imagine how my wheels begain turning when in 1991 I was approached by the Greater Bridgeport Symphony Youth Orchestra (in my home State of Connecticut) to compose a work utilizing their high-school aged students.

Being a veteran of that scene, and a strong advocate for the arts in our schools, I couldn't resist the chance to compose for these forces. My goal was to write a challenging work that would keep all sections of the orchestra on their toes, expose them to odd time signatures, polytonality, and above all, remind them that music was supposed to be joyous, energetic, beautiful, adventurous, powerful, and even humorous!

The name of the 3rd Movement, "James Brown in The Twilight Zone", might benefit from a note of explanation. The title refers to dual compositional elements used throughout; 2 bars from the "turn-around" of the GodFather of Soul's "I Feel Good", and an ascending chromatic passage (originating in the piano and pizzicato strings) which is reminiscent of the music used in Rod Serling's innovative TV anthology. In addition to these very American cultural influences, the Gulf war was being waged and Middle Eastern threads started to weave through the music. The 2nd Movement, "Sorrow Floats", is a reflective Adagio; I must admit I was inspired to name the movement after a chapter title from one of my favorite novels by John Irving. The 1st Movement, "Paradise Utopia", is sizzling with American expansionist energy. I imagine a Donald Trump-like figure maniacally rebuilding the New York skyline. Jazz elements were inescapable, and realizing my old nightmare/dream, quite a bit of the trombone solo is meant to be improvised.

A couple of years ago I made some revisions to the work to make a once-in-a-lifetime recording with my old friend, innovative banjo player and musical partner, Bill Crofut, our buddy, guitarist Joel Brown, and the wonderful London Symphony Orchestra. The sessions were recorded at Abbey Road Studios (where we even met Sir Paul!) and can be heard on my CD, Bach to Brubeck on Koch International Classics.

On a whim, I sent the London tapes to the Boston Symphony's Doug Yeo. In addition to his international reputation as a virtuoso trombonist, Doug has his finger on the pulse of what is going on in the trombone world. Luckily for me, Doug was very enthusiastic about my piece. We have since become friends and I am so honored (not to mention grateful!) that he has championed my composition to the "classical" trombone community. He has performed it at the 1999 International Trombone Festival and with the Boston Pops (including on "Evening at Pops" on PBS stations) to exciting reviews.

PERFORMANCES

The 1999 International Trombone Festival - State University of New York at Potsdam, New York, June 4, 1999, performed by Douglas Yeo.

T-Bone Concerto
The T-Bone Concerto is my very first composition for solo instrument and symphonic band. It consists of three movements called respectively 'Rare', 'Medium' and 'Well Done'. This work was commissioned by The Kentucky Music Educators Association [KMEA] and was written between August 1995 and January 1996. The first movement was given at the annual KMEA-conference in Louisville, Kentucky (February 1996), Jeffrey Thomas being the soloist. The world premiere of the complete work was performed by Jacques Mauger and the Band of the Royal Dutch Marines, conducted by Maurice Hamers, at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam on March 1st, 1996.
In addition to the solo trombone, an important role has been allotted to a kind of chamber music ensemble within the band. This group introduces now and then new thematic material and accompanies the soloist, thus creating a nice transparant accompaniment. The ensemble consists of a double wind quintet (2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 french horns and 2 bassoons) plus an english horn and a double bass. Parts I and II are written in the A-B-A form and allow the soloist to display both the technical and the lyrical characteristics of the instrument. Part III at first develops into a kind of neo-baroque style using the thematic material of the first and second movement, and finally leads to a triumphant finale and a virtuoso conclusion.
Johan de Meij - Amsterdam, February 1996

This trombone concerto conveys a sense of stress that its soloist and orchestra confront together. The trombone part makes effective use of the instrument's full range, and the orchestra agressively comments on the solo line and steps forward in tutti passages of its own. The harmonic idiom is tonal. The initial Allegro begins with surges in the strings that rush headlong into emphatic tutti chords and jittery drum strokes; the trombone makes a punchy entrance before settling into a more sustained line. During the rest of the movement the trombone partakes by turns of the punchy and the more sustained material, and the orchestra remains nervous throughout. The subsequent Lento brings contrast with a tone of resignation, expressed through spare lines that often come together in tangy harmony. Strings, trombone, and oboe start off, and the vibraphone soon adds its distinctive color to the orchestral mix. Other instruments eventually join in, and oboes move into the melodic spotlight as they set a lonely mood which the strings simultaneously and subsequently explore. The trombone begins an actively uneasy central section with some jittery repeated notes, and the music's loneliness remains painfully unresolved at the end, as high flute and oboe lines seem suspended over sustained low string tones. The finale projects by turns the combativeness and resignation of the preceding two movements. Bass clarinet and other low instruments begin with a nudging, rhythmically driven idea that sweeps the trombone along in its mood. Other instruments join in eventually, and the music's defiance dead-ends in frustration and resignation as the tempo eventually slows down from the opening Allegro moderato to Lento. The punchiness seems about to reassert itself, and the orchestra recalls the concerto's opening sweeping scale and chords. The Lento tempo persists almost to the very end, where the final quick crescendo does nothing to dispel the music's dolorous emptiness. ~ All Music Guide

Man I love the phrase,"The Dictatorship of the Proletariat." Art suffers from boring most of the masses a lot of the time. Just look at the state of films. One always has to slink off somewhere to the small art house theater in order to see the Indie features and great foreign films. Many of my friends are bored to tears with my comprehensive reviews and narratives on some of those films, and they bolt out of the theatre during the second reel, simply terminally bored. What is the nature of boredom? Perhaps it is ignorance run rampant. My teenage daughters were "bored" with the Grand Canyon for Christ's sake, and bored if a movie was in black and white, and would not any attempt to read subtitles, because it was just "too boring". I have to admit that Opera kind of bores me secondary to my overwhelming ignorance of it. Classical dance bores me with its repetitiveness, and modern dance thrills me with its innovative sexy and brave steps. At least no one who has ever listened to an original Doug Palmer composition has ever been bored; mystified, perplexed, confused, and pissed off perhaps, but never bored.

I do much wonder why it is a fact that jerks do become administrators, bosses, foreman, and lead persons? What in human nature allows that to happen? IQ is like a mist. Sometimes I feel like mine is firing, and sometimes I feel like I am the dumbest bloke in the room, in the city, and on the planet. I guess that's another fine reason why I appreciate your blog site because it gives me both reason and opportunity to do some research and skim some knowledge off the edges of the copious facts I garner for the comments.

Children performing is, as you say, always a treat. The more the screw up, the more delightful they become. I remember countless concerts that I attended for my three stepdaughters in Elementary School and junior High, and it is both excruxiating and delightful, and it never ceased to bring a smile to my old chapped lips.

Gosh, your "Ennui" vehicle, far from being just Eastern European, is a multinational phenomenon, and it is made by the same company that puts out the Malaise. But hey, the Trabant is a different color of vehicle:

The Trabant is an automobile formerly produced by East German auto maker VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau in Zwickau, Saxony. It was the most common vehicle in East Germany, and was also exported to other countries in the communist bloc. The main selling points were that it had room for four adults and luggage, and was compact, fast, light and durable. Despite its poor performance and smoky two-stroke engine, the car has come to be regarded with affection as a symbol of the more positive sides of East Germany (in former East Germany) and of the fall of communism (in former West Germany, as many East Germans streamed into West Berlin and West Germany in their Trabants after the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989). It was in production without any significant change for nearly 30 years.

The name Trabant means "fellow traveler" (Satellite) in German; the cars are often referred to as the Trabbi or Trabi, pronounced with a short a.

Since it could take years for a Trabant to be delivered from the time it was ordered people who finally got one were very careful with it and usually became skillful in maintaining and repairing it. The lifespan of an average Trabant was 28 years.[1]

There were two principal variants of the Trabant, the Trabant 500, also known as the Trabant P 50, produced 1957-1963; and the Trabant 601 (or Trabant P 60 series), produced from 1963 to 1991. The engine for both the Trabant 500 and 601 was a small two-stroke engine with two cylinders, giving the vehicle modest performance. At the end of production it delivered 25 horsepower (19 kW) from a 600 cc displacement. The car took 21 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h and the top speed was 112 km/h. There were two main problems with the engine: the smoky exhaust and the pollution it produced.

The Trabant was a steel monocoque design with roof, bootlid, bonnet and doors in Duroplast, a form of plastic containing resin strengthened by wool or cotton. This helped the GDR to avoid expensive steel imports, but did not provide much crash protection, although in crash tests it has actually proven to be superior to some modern small hatchbacks. The Trabant was the second car to use Duroplast, after the "pre-Trabant" P70 model (1954-1959). The duroplast was made of recycled material, cotton waste from Russia and phenol resins from the East German dye industry making the Trabant the first car with a body made of recycled material.[2]

More than three million Trabants were made.

[edit] Biography
Gaddis was born in New York City to William Thomas Gaddis, who worked "on Wall Street and in politics," and Edith Gaddis, an executive for the New York Steam Corporation. When he was 3, his parents separated and Gaddis was subsequently raised by his mother in Massapequa, Long Island. At age 5 he was sent to Merricourt Boarding School in Berlin, Connecticut. He continued in private school until the eighth grade, after which he returned to Long Island to receive his diploma at Farmingdale High School in 1941. He entered Harvard in 1941 and famously wrote for the Harvard Lampoon (where he eventually served as President), but was asked to leave in 1944, after a drunken brawl. He worked as a fact checker for The New Yorker for two years, then spent five years traveling in Central America, the Caribbean, North Africa, and Paris, returning to the United States in 1951.

His first novel, The Recognitions, appeared in 1955. A lengthy, complex, and allusive work, it had to wait to find its audience. Newspaper reviewers considered it overly intellectual, overwritten, and perhaps on the principle of omne ignotum per obscaenum ("all that is unknown appears obscene"), filthy. (The book was defended by Jack Green in a series of broadsheets blasting the critics; the series was collected later under the title Fire the Bastards!) Shortly after the publication of The Recognitions, Gaddis married his first wife, Patricia Black, who would give birth to his only children, Sarah and Matthew.

Gaddis then turned to public relations work and the making of documentary films to support himself and his family. In this role he worked for Pfizer, Eastman Kodak, IBM, and the United States Army, among others. He also received a National Institute of Arts and Letters grant, a Rockefeller grant, and two National Endowment for the Arts grants, all of which helped him write his second novel. In 1975 he published J R, a work even more difficult than The Recognitions, told almost entirely in dialogue, with no direct indication of who is speaking at any given time. Its eponymous protagonist, an 11-year-old, learns enough about the stock market from a class field trip to build a financial empire of his own. Critical opinion had caught up with him, and the book won the National Book Award for Fiction. His marriage to his second wife, Judith Thompson, dissolved shortly after J R was published. By the late 1970s, Gaddis had entered into a relationship with Muriel Oxenberg Murphy, and they lived together until the mid-1990s.

Carpenter's Gothic (1985) offered a shorter and more accessible picture of Gaddis's sardonic worldview. Instead of struggling against misanthropy (as in The Recognitions) or reluctantly giving ground to it (as in JR), Carpenter's Gothic wallows in it. The continual litigation that was a theme in that book becomes the central theme and plot device in A Frolic of His Own (1994)--which earned him his second National Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction--where it seems that everyone is suing someone. There is even a Japanese car called the Sosumi. (Gaddis has never been afraid of the pun. There is a character in The Recognitions named Recktall Brown.)

Gaddis died of prostate cancer on December 16, 1998, but not before creating his final work, Agapē Agape (the first word of the title is the Greek agapē, meaning divine, unconditional love), which was published in 2002, a novella in the form of the last words of a character similar but not identical to his creator. The Rush for Second Place, published at the same time, collected most of Gaddis's previously published nonfiction.

After years of critical neglect, Gaddis is now often acknowledged as being one of the greatest of American post-war novelists. His influence is vast (although frequently subterranean): for example, postmodern authors such as Don DeLillo and Thomas Pynchon seem to have been influenced by Gaddis, it has been noted that Gaddis's dialectical narrative style is echoed in the works of Christopher Wunderlee and Jonathan Safran Foer, while authors such as Joseph McElroy, William Gass, David Markson, David Foster Wallace, and Jonathan Franzen have all stated their admiration for Gaddis in general and The Recognitions in particular.[citation needed]

Gaddis has received the following awards and honorary positions: the MacArthur Foundation’s "genius award" (1982), election to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1989), and the Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement (1993). His life and work are the subject of a comprehensive website, The Gaddis Annotations, which has been noted in at least one academic journal as a superior example of scholarship using new media resources.[1] Gaddis's papers are collected at Washington University in St. Louis.

God, Sir Savant, are you in danger of becoming a book worm? Thanks for the stimulating excursion through the state of your mind.

Glenn

3:32 PM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

Actually, by "dictatorship of the proletariat", I was referring ironically to Stalin's interference in the arts.
Your interpretation, is even more chilling; not a failed communistic fantasy, but the way the world is today.
Perhaps I shall add a car chase to the concerto.

7:44 PM  

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