Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jesus Christ!

Rainy day, I even wore my old Gore-tex jacket with the hood.
Coffee at the usual place, then on to the library where I checked the site, published the comments, and listened to the trombone excerpts.
Then I had lunch at my little sandwich shop. Pastrami on rye, lettuce, tomato,dab of mustard.

On to the jazz service at Plymouth church. I was reluctant to go in at first, for some reason. But someone greeted me and handed me a card with the order of services on it. So what the hell?
We go through the jazz and the singing and the prayers and get to the sermon.
It was about Meighan, for chrissake! Something wonderful she did on that long march of hers. Showing something about hospitality.
For some reason that hit me hard, I was seething, my hands clawed up, made fists.
I managed to keep my mouth shut, but I did tell the preacher "the story.
Jeez, There's one venue of solace ruined.
I guess God wants me out of churches.
He's going to be shuffling me off the mortal whachacallit soon enough, you would think He, of all people, would show a little patience.

There's other noon music performances downtown on Wotan's day, I guess.

Anyway, on up the hill to SCCC. The lesson went well. I'm beginning to think my music might be worth a defecatory unit, after all.
I have been beginning this for ten years now.

Especially with Butch's comments on my mp3 links.

After that, I went back to the library and dropped off the George Antheil CD thatI had checked out last week then hopped on a bus for home (I do a lot of hopping these days, trying to pretend I'm still young)

After a short nap we Volvoed to Lakeside School for the third of our Seattle Chamber Music Festival concerts. Debussey, Shubert, and Mendelssohn.
I didn't think much of the Mendelssohn, although it was excellently played and of a barn-burning persuasion. I ventured this opinion to Meredith. She straightened me out on that score, and proceded to criticise the other pieces, which I had liked, especially the Debussey. I ventured no more opinions.

Perhaps I should limit my music discussions to the classroom.

So now I'm home. I'm still seething.
Waiting for the sense of humor to kick in.

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Blogger butch said...


It is a crazy world out there, and here I sit this morning, sleep deprived and cold. It seems the older one gets their metabolism just is permanently out of whack; always too hot or too cold. That hot spell in June was particularly oppressive for me. Thank God Melva talked me into putting in air conditioning a few years ago. So somehow the rain is a welcome guest for the lawns and gardens, but the air seems to either be too warm, kicking up humidity, or too damp, nurturing a chill. Long sleeves or short, that is the question. Some of us have never been able to afford a decent GoreTex covered jacket. It is kind of a Northwest staple for the outdoorsman. I guess I am sort of an indoorsman these days.

I just heard on the radio this morning that Jon Lovitz beat the crap out of Andy Dick on stage in LA and the crowd cheered him. Andy Dick is not well liked, and yet he keeps getting work. Lovitz blames Dick partially for the death of Phil Hartman. Dick got Hartman's wife rehooked on cocaine after she had been clean for 10 years, and Lovitz feels that this helped lead to Hartman's murder by her, and her suicide. Go figure.

Here is some rap from the Plymouth Church:

Worship and the encounter with God are at the heart of our life at Plymouth. We believe that in order to be on a spiritual path and to live out your faith in the world and daily life, vital and life-transforming worship is essential.

From early September to mid June, we have two services each Sunday morning at 8:45 and at 11:00. The services vary a bit in formats. Usually the Plymouth Choir sings at the 11:00 service. At the 8:45 service, the congregation has the opportunity to engage in conversation with the preacher following the sermon. Children are welcome at both services. At the 11:00 service, children are usually present for the first twenty minutes, and are then invited to the service for the Focus Program (Music and Arts).

During the summer, our Sunday service times are 8:30 and 10:30. Children are welcome at both, and childcare is available for children up to six years old.

Plymouth offers a midweek service as well, as part of the Feed Your Soul at Lunchtime program. This jazz worship service takes place at noon every Wednesday. Music is provided by The Plymouth Trio with Susan Pascal on vibraphone, Murl Sanders on piano and Phil Sparks on bass. The half-hour worship experience also includes a short meditation and prayers. Everyone is welcome, but we hope this service especially serves the needs for those that work in the downtown community.

We are a Christian community and church. We are members of the United Church of Christ, a Protestant denomination that exists throughout the U.S. and is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.

We are a people of prayer, turning to God for strength, guidance, challenge and comfort. We seek to follow Jesus, to do the work of love, reconciliation, God-serving and God-revealing, to which he calls us.

We speak to the great questions and challenges of justice and mercy in our personal lives and in our society. We care for the wounded, the hurting and for those experiencing crisis in their lives.

We seek an informed faith and welcome questions. We acknowledge what we don't know, even as we modestly affirm the truth we do know. We take the Bible seriously, but not literally. Preaching at Plymouth is informed Bible preaching.

We are a playful people who believe in living joyfully. We love to sing, to create, and to be moved by the Spirit. We enjoy lively worship, dances, camps and retreats.

We respect, share and work with other churches, as well as people of other faiths. Our community is comprised of people from of all walks of life, all economic conditions and backgrounds, all ages, and all races and cultures. We warmly welcome gay and lesbian persons and their families and friends.

We love the city and what it represents in vitality and diversity. Members of our church come to Plymouth from throughout the Puget Sound Region, many driving up to an hour or more from each direction on any given Sunday.

And yet, even with these bold and compassionate "mission statements", there you sat post-jazz, listening to the sermon, and the spectre of Meighan Pritchard appeared and rattled your cage, your heart, and your brain pan. I do much wonder what the minister must have thought when you shared with him "the story"? God only knows, and often he is mute and busy gathering his own mirth, why Ms. Meighan is continuing to appear like a harpy-like wraith in your life, showing up in shops and cafes, in your sweaty dreams, in your ID, and in your stool proabably. At some point, like you said when you decided to go into the church --what the hell, why not? It will give me something to bitch about, to think about, to create a rant about; and lo and behold as you perched in the puncheon pews, "it" provided you with exactly what you craved, or sort of needed; a reason to kick up your bile, and clench your fists, and retell the story.

But do not let that incident sour you on the free jazz, and those halcyon moments on Wednesday's noon; even though most of us realize there that ain't no free lunch --after the stale donuts, or the strains of Monk, comes the dogma, the message, the con, the membership drive. So enjoy the jazz, and screw them, just get up and leave.

Yeah we all only get a brief fling at life during our particular lifetime. Perhaps you need to spruce up your Zen studies, and rest in the solace that no matter how hard we screw the pooch in our present incarnation, there can be, and probably will be, others. And of course there is Bardo,the life between lives. Check it out. It puts things in some kind of meaningful perspective. As for, or as to your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, or his Dad, hey, that is a work in progress, right?

Wednesdays are the great hump in the week, that moment, that place where no matter what glorius or vainglorius things are occurring during your week, it starts to cascade and descend into the week end. So, yeah, snoop around for us, for us that do not live in Seattle, or travel there midday, mid-week, and let us now what other kind of "music" or performancesd you can ferret out.

I hope your comment about my comments about your mp3 links is "positive". My original comments were, in fact, very positive. I do dig those bars of gold that are sallying forth from your creative cortex. Now that finally you have the grease off your knuckles, you can put those clean hands to work plugging yourself and us into some level of the music of the spheres. Like God's love, it is vibrational,and it is in the atmosphere, in the very air we breathe, under and behind every article in the room, beneath and above and next to --just open your pores, close your eyes, process, tune in,tune out, and go for it.

Nice to know that an early afternoon nap can get you focused for a nighttime performance. God, I am envious of those 24 hour days you have to pursue whatever snags your attention. Retirement, where are you? I need your succor and solace. I crave your caress.

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, born and known generally as Felix Mendelssohn (February 3, 1809 – November 4, 1847) was a German composer and conductor of the early Romantic period. Born to a notable Jewish family, being the grandson of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. His work includes symphonies, concertos, oratorios, piano and chamber music. After a long period of relative denigration due to changing musical tastes in the late 19th century, his creative originality is now being recognized and re-evaluated, and he is now among the most popular composers of the Romantic era.

Mendelssohn's own works show his study of Baroque and early classical music. His fugues and chorales especially reflect a tonal clarity and use of counterpoint reminiscent of Johann Sebastian Bach, by whom he was deeply influenced. His great-aunt, Sarah Levy (née Itzig) was a pupil of Bach's son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, and had supported the widow of another son Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach. She had collected a number of Bach manuscripts. J.S. Bach's music, which had fallen into relative obscurity by the turn of the 19th century, was also deeply respected by Mendelssohn's teacher Zelter. In 1829, with the backing of Zelter and the assistance of a friend, the actor Eduard Devrient, Mendelssohn arranged and conducted a performance in Berlin of Bach's St Matthew Passion. The orchestra and choir were provided by the Berlin Singakademie of which Zelter was the principal conductor. The success of this performance (the first since Bach's death in 1750) was an important element in the revival of J.S. Bach's music in Germany and, eventually, throughout Europe. It earned Mendelssohn widespread acclaim at the age of twenty. It also led to one of the very few references which Mendelssohn ever made to his origins: 'To think that it took an actor and a Jew-boy (Judensohn) to revive the greatest Christian music for the world' (cited by Devrient in his memoirs of the composer).

Mendelssohn also revived interest in the work of Franz Schubert. Schumann discovered the manuscript of Schubert's Ninth Symphony and sent it to Mendelssohn who promptly premiered it in Leipzig on 21 March 1839, more than a decade after the composer's death.

Claude Debussey,
French composer who is said to have created impressionism in music (1862-1918).

I wonder if Das Frau Meredith would ever consider putting her opinions on this blog. That might be way cool. She certainly has a few, and does not seem shy in sharing them whenever the mood strikes her.

As to the Seattle Chamber Music Society, their mission statement:

To foster the appreciation of chamber music in our region by presenting performances featuring world-class musicians in accessible and inviting formats, with an emphasis on developing a broad-based sustainable audience through education and community outreach.

The definition of chamber music has evolved over time. In the 17th century, chamber music referred to vocal or instrumental music performed in a room in a house, as opposed to a church or theatre (where operatic and symphony music was typically heard). By the mid-18th century, chamber music became known by the characteristics that are used to define it today:

Music for a small instrumental ensemble (usually 2 to 9 players, one player per part)

Music performed in an intimate setting

Music that stresses personal expression and the conversation among players, rather than virtuosic display or leadership by a conductor

What makes chamber music unique is its democratic approach. Because there is no hierarchy or conductor to dictate the direction of the performance, each individual is responsible for engaging in a close musical dialogue with the other performers in the ensemble. Chamber music is the ultimate in collaboration, and relies upon the collective instincts, experience, knowledge and talents of its participants to guide the process of interpreting, rehearsing and performing.

Although chamber music historically referred to western classical music written for small ensembles, such as the string quartet, today many kinds of musical styles and ensembles are also considered chamber music.

So, hey, now it is Thursday, and we can only wonder with glee and concern and anticipation what Sir Savant will unearth or overturn today.


6:53 AM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

In re Plymouth,
I've seen nothing that would make thier mission statment untrue.
I was hoping to reconnect with the awe I felt in church when I was a kid.
But, where once I looked up to wonder.
I now look as if from space to a complex but ultimately simply composed universe.
The "God particle" article will be posted soon.

I mean these MP "co-incidences" are just that, easily comprehensible using the simplest arithmatic.
Although, too many co-incidences percievable in two different opposing ways makes one wonder if there's not more to it.
Fortunately, I'm not required, (indeed I'm proscribed), to do anything about the situation.
I'ts all the human imagination, isn't it?
Vanity of vanities, et cetera
If I was asked to define my religious beliefs, I would have to say I was a Wisiwig-ist, or "What I see is what I get" ist.
Your review of my music is very positive. Hardly anyone else seems to want to donate a bowel movement.
That's not exactly true, I just think the euphemism is cute.

10:53 AM  
Blogger butch said...

As a kid, long before I met you, I used to approach the whole issue of religion with an open mind. My parents, as you might recall, were not religious types. They certainly were not "free thinkers" or even "pantheists". They just didn't dig the guilt trips and the tithes necessary to remain club members. For many moons I would accompany some of my little friends to their church, whatever it might be, Catholic, Protestant, Cult, or Synogogue. Even at 8 years old, attending bible study, I would ask questions that were too complex and controversial for the teachers to answer. I was asked to leave several times, setting a pattern for my future life. My grandfather, Earl Carpenter, was a free-thinker, one of the first naturalists and pantheists I ever knew. He and Nature were like lovers, and he treated Mother N. like a mistress; enjoying time alone with her, sneaking off to go fishing, or take a hike, or hunting deer, whenever he could. You knew my Pop. He was a maverick, a communist, an intellectual, and an artist. He wrote several poems about him:


The old man stood as still
as the shadow he hid in,
watching an ugly slash,
midst the tangled brush.
with ancient hazel eyes,
once those of a Peredine,
squinting now,
behind ground glass,
staring long
at a wooded glen teeming with game,
creeks splashing with
big sunset-bellied fish,
air smoldering with the yellow jackets
of honeybees
careening over fat bunches of wild buttercups,
that no longer existed,
and had not
for many empty years;
for the scrub brush blacktailed dog-sized buck
his keen instinct dictated
must cross that naked spot
on that dying hillside swathed
in eleventh growth timber
and scavenger oak
and twisted thorny humpback seedlings.

There was no pristine silence
beneath towering brown barked giants,
no sibilant cries
from the black womb of the forest,
no forest,
as the old hunter
glanced at the tan ever-winding logging roads
on the sloping shoulders
of nearby mountains,
long without game
and truck tracks;
a look that saw
only nineteen axes buried deep
in a great tree,
far from the needle-mantled ground,
and the lumberjacks
who had thrown them
from the brow of a hillock,
bored with fighting a white man's fire.
He recalled the brutal strength
in the massive arms of those men,
tempered like ferrous
by swinging a stropped double-bladed axe,
or wrestling
with a 12 foot jagged-toothed bucksaw
all the waking hours.
The bright flannel shirts
and red woolen underwear,
the huge breakfasts of burned pancakes and fatback
smothered in molasses syrup,
the bad clear whiskey,
and the gut-lonesome dreams
of womanless warriors.
He had been one of them,
slept in sawdust,
worked like a dray animal,
all lathered up and sweating,
his bronzed muscled torso
as hard as the axehead he swung.

A glimpse of a rusted pick-up,
battered, multi-colored, heavily laden,
parked at roads end,
flickered across his memory,
like when he was a small boy
in bibbed blue denim overalls,
playing hookey,
creeping off to a placid eddy
on the deep green Columbia,
wearing worn-out oversize hand-me-down
logger corks,
thrown over his shoulder,
the thistle-choked laces tied together,
the tongues flapping,
with bare calloused feet coated in mud,
carrying a green supple long willow pole,
some assorted fishing lines
tied as one,
tipped with a safety pin;
hearing the horses raising hell
on the farm above theirs
and looking up he saw
his first automobile;
a 1912
smoke-bellowing puffing snorting thing
that banged and clattered along
over the deep wagon wheel ruts,
covering the driver with white alkaline dust;
until seventy years later,
when all Detroit chariots could be damned;
just drive them to road's end,
pile out of them,
grab a rifle, some coffee, salt, and oats,
and beat the hell out of it with a sledge hammer,
slaying the soul
of the metal monster,
and turning your back on it,
and melting into the wilderness
that once was,
and still was
in the mind of the old man
who was startled
by a sudden movement in front of him,
as a small three-point buck
burst into that naked spot,
and stopped for a moment of disaster,
as a 30-06 came up quick,
and the gun cracked and roared,
and the buck pitched forward,
a brain shot taking off half its skull,
and the old hunter heard
its short high bleat,
the death cry;
and the animal had called his name,

The hunter froze,
then turned,
moving as if in a dream,
the bleeding buckdog
for the carrion birds
that perched in the thorn trees
patiently watching the deerslayer
struggle off into the gathering gloom.

Glenn Buttkus 1968

And hey, there was this other one too;


Only yesterday
There were Carpenters that had gills,
Flopping up on the dry rugged land,
Gasping for sweet primordial air.
They huddled in small groups
around red raging campfires,
and peered into the total darkness
of a night sky,
Feeling a strange kinship to the sparkling stars.

As the eons passed,
Wherever a Carpenter toiled as other men slept,
They lifted their handsome heads,
Craned their bull-like necks
And smiled at the stars of ice in an indigo Sky.
They actually saw other galaxies
Long before the great telescopes
were invented.
In their fertile minds they saw
the other side of the sun,
Hopping spryly from star to star
like happy children skipping over pebbles.

They witnessed all these cosmic marvels
before there was language.
Still, they passed on this affinity to infinity
through their groins,
From Carpenter to Carpenter
as the centuries flipped by
like the dry pages of a manic Calendar;
until the last few moments of the 19th century,
when a Carpenter named Earl
joined his brethren
In their vigil of the Sky.

He grew up straight and strong,
matching them with muscle and sinew;
But somehow he was different
from the rest of the clan.
When he scanned the Sky with his clear eye,
He saw so much more than
mythical animals and heroes,
Jules Verne and Buck Rogers;
Much more.

In the infinite depths of nothingness
he saw everything;
A complete logical pulsating harmonious equity.
And he saw a future that could be,
and should be,
that perhaps never will be.
A world without bullies,
hunger, fear, bosses, or profit;
A band of brothers who loved and respected
and supported each other.

As a young man he encountered other men
like himself, with visions
Of their own about the proper world of brotherhood,
and the defeat of Patrician squalor.
Young Carpenter adopted their cause as his own,
and soon
His prophetic picture of a perfect universe
Was metamorphed into the harsh reality of slaves
Shaking their chains in the face of their oppressors.

For over half his life he ferociously fought
Against all of the sons-a-bitches of this earth,
And scores of the bastards knew of his sting.
But sadly, when you use a dagger against dragons
There is no way to keep from getting singed.

You see, robber barons and philosopher kings link arms,
Forming a tremendous wall of stone,
taller than the Tower of Babel;
And this mountain of graft moves methodically,
Crushing all those that stand in it's path.

Carpenter was not crushed,
but he was bound and trussed,
And although his strong angry voice
was heard no more in the halls of dissent,
He was never silenced.

Middle-aged he struggled up a mountainside,
Lifted his gaze from mere manacles
to Mercury and Mars,
And he embraced the only reality larger
Than capitalist greed and profit.
A solitary sun-kissed wildflower
in a damp field of clover.
The numbing all-embracing harmony
of planets unseen.
And the cataclysmic cosmic truth washed over him;

We are merely meat without art.
Art opens up our heart like a sharp knife,
And we can allow other men to see with our eyes,
Within hitherto unexplored regions of soul and space.
And so on that halcyon mountain afternoon,
The artist in Earl usurped the crusader.
What in his past had been hobby became hot obsession,
A gnawing hunger to share and bare.

He gently cajoled his universal brother, the Sky,
Into temporary residence on canvas.
His unsettling uncanny illustrations startled, alarmed, and fascinated people.
The worshiping clamoring crowd dubbed him
Master of the Skies,
And he is.

He controls light, shadow, clouds, mists, the sun and the elements like a Norse God,
And his paintings swirl with the life of his spirit.
Although today, his brush moves more slowly,
And his heart pumps erratically,
And pain rushes through his limbs,
And focus sometimes leaves his eyes,
And dexterity leaves his fingers;
In the teeth of this adversity,
Carpenter paints his pain.
The Sky dares not elude him.

It is closer and clearer than ever.
Stars are within reach,
And fresh new planets teem with fresh odors.
At night, it feel as if he could ride a bolt of light.

Remembering that once
he stood with his grandfather,
And watched the night dance of the heavens,
Punctuated by a comet named Haley.

Today, Sky Carpenter waits like a wolf
For that brilliant comet's return.
He knows how it will be.
He will bellow its name,
and it will come to him,
A great cosmic creature scorching the treetops.
He will lasso that maverick star,
Throw himself on its fiery back,
Grab two handfuls of stardust,
And with space fireflies in his gray hair,
And that wild free look that has always been in his eyes,
He will dig his strong old legs into the comet's sides,
And ride off into the vast silence.

Damn, how can I tell people
That my grandfather pulled down the mother of all comets,
And rode off into some dark distant oblivion ?
For Christ's sake, no one would believe me.

Butch Buttkus
December 1977

So, yeah, I for one can not wait to dig you "God particle" comments and thoughts.


2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

R.M. Campbell in the 20 July "P-I" agreed with you on the value of the works on the Wed. program; I agree with Meredith, however; I really liked the Mendelssohn. To me the Schubert was a banging 30+ minutes of repeating the same rhythm and almost the same melody, but I'm still a fan of Jeremy's!!
-- Anonomann

4:51 PM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

I forget whatever it was I had against the Mendelssohn.
Maybe it's just rigid classical structures in general.
Mainly, I was complaining about M's contrarianism, which kills dialogue.
I agree with you on the Shubert.
I love his Op90 #4 piano impromptu, though.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Butch/Glenn: enjoy the music then leave before the sermon. In the Mid-70s, I dated a woman who was an excellent musician and a fellow Socialist, so she also considered sermons "opiates for the people" to paraphrase Comrade Lenin. But she needed the church as a rehearsal space for an amateur orchestra she conducted, so she agreed to play the organ for the church's services so she could use the church's room for her rehearsals. She would do her organ playing then leave (partially demonstratively) before the sermon and then return just after it to play the organ again during the collection. Her musicians were professional in ability but, because they could make more money as doctors, lawyers, physicists, etc., they had those professions and played in Eva's orchestra for the fun of music making.
-- Anonomann

4:10 PM  

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