Sunday, October 21, 2007

Last night

Laura De Luca played Mozart's clarinet concerto with her usual aplomb.
Wonderful piece of music
Much better than my clarinet concerto

Tchaikovsky's forth symphony filled the hall (IKEA PAC attached to Renton high school, a small place but with decent acoustics,would be better with a full house, so go there, support 'em)
It was announced that this symphony's "program" was his relationship with a lunatic who became his wife and the subsequent disaster. I didn't hear it that way at all. It has never occurred to me any time I've heard it that it had any "program" at all.
The only program I've ever heard is Beethoven's trip to the countryside.
Berlioz's insistence about his drug taking artist in Symphonie Fantastique doesn't seem to relate to the music atall atall.
The only picture or story I perceive from the Tchaikovsky is the usual profoundly moody Russian "Vodka and Frostbite" atmosphere. Even the light bits remind me of crackling ice (I spent a couple winters in or near Fairbanks).
The fuller chords bring back the memory of air as a solid object and temperature as a sure sign that God has better things to do than to keep one from becoming an icicle
But, I am a genius, not an expert.
So there.

Anyway, I'm inspired today and I am going to go to my other computer (Named "Piano", isn't that cute), the one with Sibelius and the lovely GPO (which I refer to at times as "My Orgasmatron" (from "Sleeper" by Woody Allen)and COMPOSE.

I am very pleased to hear from Alex Shapiro and will try to post more pictures of our local scenic beauty.
Any contact with real musicians always makes me feel more like one (a real musician) than I probably deserve.


Blogger butch said...

Laura DeLuca, clarinet, joined the Seattle Symphony in 1986, and is a co-founding member of SCP. She has appeared as soloist in Seattle Symphony performances of Copland's Clarinet Concerto and Robert Starer's Rikudim (Dances) movement from his concerto Kli Zemer. Laura has performed extensively on dozens of recordings including more than 70 compact discs with the Seattle Symphony. She is also featured on many movie soundtracks, including the solo clarinet work on the Academy Award-winning feature-length documentaries The Long Way Home and Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport. Other chamber music activities have included a filmscore premiere by Wayne Horvitz, performances in Portugal with the Moscow Piano Quartet, and Seattle-area appearances in Music of Remembrance, Icicle Creek Festival and Methow Music Festival.
Laura received her formal training at Northwestern University where she studied with the celebrated Robert Marcellus. A committed teacher, she has taught at University of Puget Sound, Marrowstone Music Festival and MidSummer Music Retreat

Perhaps it is still too soon to compare Mozart and Palmer, but your clarinet concerto has its own merits, sir.

Homosexuality, marriage and Dostoyevsky
See also: Tchaikovsky's personal life
Tchaikovsky's homosexuality, as well as its importance to his life and music, has been known to the West for at least 75 years. Suppressed in Russia by the Soviets, it has only recently become widely known in post-Soviet Russia. Evidence that Tchaikovsky was homosexual is drawn from his letters and diaries, as well as the letters of his brother, Modest, who was also a homosexual.[2] E.M. Forster wrote the homosexual love story Maurice in 1913-14, and though not published until 1971 [W.W.Norton&Co], Forster wrote in Chapter 32 that "...Tchaikovsky had fallen in love with his own nephew, and dedicated his masterpiece [Symphonie Pathique] to him."

More controversial is how comfortable Tchaikovsky might have been with his sexual nature. Alexander Poznansky surmises that the composer "eventually came to see his sexual peculiarities as an insurmountable and even natural part of his personality ... without experiencing any serious psychological damage."[3] On the other hand, the British musicologist and scholar Henry Zajaczkowski's research "along psychoanalytical lines" points instead to "a severe unconscious inhibition by the composer of his sexual feelings":

One consequence of it may be sexual overindulgence as a kind of false solution: the individual thereby persuades himself that he does accept his sexual impulses. Complementing this and, also, as a psychological defense mechanism, would be precisely the idolization by Tchaikovsky of many of the young men of his circle [the self-styled "Fourth Suite"], to which Poznansky himself draws attention. If the composer's response to possible sexual objects was either to use and discard them or to idolize them, it shows that he was unable to form an integrated, secure relationship with another man. That, surely, was [Tchaikovsky's] tragedy.[4]

Tchaikovsky with his wife Antonina Miliukova.One of his conservatory students, Antonina Miliukova, began writing him passionate letters around the time that he had made up his mind to "marry whoever will have me." He hastily married her on July 18, 1877. Within days, while still on their honeymoon, he deeply regretted his decision. Two weeks after the wedding the composer supposedly attempted suicide by putting himself into the freezing Moscow River. Once recovered from the effects of that, he fled to St Petersburg --his mind verging on a nervous breakdown.

Tchaikovsky's marital debacle forced him to face the truth concerning his sexuality. He wrote to his brother Anatoly that there was "nothing more futile than wanting to be anything other than what I am by nature."[5]

Moreover, the mental and emotional strain the composer suffered from his abortive marriage may have enhanced rather than endangered his creativity. Despite some interruptions, the six months between Tchaikovsky's engagement to Antonina and his "rest cure" in Clarens, Switzerland, following his marriage saw him complete two of his finest works, the Fourth Symphony and the opera Eugene Onegin.

Because of the intense emotional directness now manifest in Tchaikovsky's music, starting with the Fourth Symphony, in Russia the composer's name started being placed alongside that of the novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky. A typical passage about the two reads, "With a hidden passion they both stop at moments of horror, total spiritual collapse, and finding acute sweetness in the cold trepidation of the heart before the abyss, they both force the reader to experience those feelings, too."[6]

Beginning with the Fourth, Tchaikovsky's younger contemporaries equated his symphonies with Dostoyevsky's psychological novels. This was because they heard, for the first time in Russian music, an ambivalent, suffering personality at the heart of these works. They felt that like Dostoyevsky's characters, Tchaikovsky's hero persisted in exploring the meaning of life while trapped in a fatal love-death-faith triangle in the Dostoyevskian fashion.

For you old timers out there, try and rewatch THE MUSIC LOVERS (1970) directed by Ken Russell, starring Richard Chamberlain and Glenda Jackson.
The compelling and bizarre story of Tchaikovsky's life and music. In Ken Russell's own words: "It's the story of the marriage between a homosexual and a nymphomaniac."

Furious, violently bombastic, terribly unsettling, Ken Russell's 1970 biography of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky (Richard Chamberlain) is a portrait of artistic brilliance beset by the Russian composer's mounting guilt over, well, everything: his homosexuality, his marriage to the increasingly miserable and mad Nina (Glenda Jackson), his hidden attraction to Count Anton Chiluvsky (Christopher Gable), and his suggestively incestuous relations with a sister while growing up. Consumed by his art to the point of explosiveness, Tchaikovsky has increasing difficulty coping with his life, finding some solace in the distant love proffered by his rich patroness (who refuses to meet him but communicates her feelings through letters). Russell intends the film to be a bumpy and harsh ride that descends into grotesque tragedy as Nina is confined to a monstrous asylum and Tchaikovsky becomes ill. Still, there are a few of the usual pop-surreal sequences of which the director is so fond, most memorably a loony visual accompaniment for the 1812 Overture.

Yes, it is pretty impressive that Ms. Alex Shapiro has read FFTL and has joined into the glee and glamour.

Alex Shapiro has become one of the Pacific coast's most familiar composers of acoustic and electroacoustic chamber music. Performed and broadcast weekly across the U.S. and internationally, Alex's music is lyrically expressive, dramatic and often rhythmically driven. Published by Activist Music, Ms. Shapiro's scores are found in libraries and universities nationwide, and are distributed by a diverse list of retailers. Alex's music has been recorded by many artists and is available on CDs from Cambria Master Recordings, Innova Recordings, Crystal Records, DC Records, Centaur Records, Oehms Classics and others. Her life and music were the subject of the one-hour show American MusicMakers, broadcast in February 2006 on public radio stations across the United States.

Born in New York City in 1962 and raised in Manhattan, Alex began composing at age nine. She was educated at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, where she was a composition student of Ursula Mamlok and John Corigliano. Earlier composition studies from age fifteen were with Leo Edwards at Mannes College of Music and with Michael Czajkowski and George Tsontakis at the Aspen Music School. An accomplished pianist, Ms. Shapiro was a student of New York recitalist Marshall Kreisler, and she is an active guitarist as well.

Ms. Shapiro is the recipient of national honors and awards including those from The American Music Center, ASCAP, the American Composers Forum and Mu Phi Epsilon, and she has been awarded artist fellowships from The California Arts Council and The MacDowell Colony.

An enthusiastic leader in the southern California new music community, Alex is a strong advocate for other artists. She is the recent President of the Board of Directors of The American Composers Forum of Los Angeles, Chairperson of ACF/LA's Advisory Council, and has served as an officer on the boards of national music organizations including NACUSA, The College Music Society, and The Society of Composers & Lyricists. Alex's volunteer activism also encompasses three terms she served on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Southern California, including two years as the 30,000-member affiliate's Vice-president.

Articulate, passionate and entertaining, Ms. Shapiro has appeared as a guest speaker at a wide variety of music events, including NARAS' Grammy® in the Schools, the Los Angeles Philharmonic's First Nights series, IAWM's International Congress of Women in Music and ASCAP's I Create Music Expo. Since 2000 Alex has interviewed over 80 composers as the popular moderator of ACF/LA’s Composer’s Salon series as well as its Composer to Composer series at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and she is a familiar guest lecturer at many colleges and universities, including being the Keynote speaker at the Society of Composers, Inc. 2006 National Conference. A longtime resident of Malibu, California, Alex now resides on Washington State's San Juan Island, and when she's not composing she can often be found ocean kayaking, sailing, or communing with the sea life at the tide pools, evidence of which can be found on her blog, Notes from the Kelp.


7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hallo, Glenn!
Thanks for your bios on Laura DeLuca and Alex Shapiro; very interesting.
Also, thanks for recommending the film about Tchaikovsky "The Music Lovers"!! Do you have this film on video or DVD?? If so, I'd like to borrow it or see it with you and Lane when I'm in Seattle ca. 10 Jan. - 26 Feb.).
Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony is my favorite in that genre; though he was not heterosexual, his music is very on-turning to those of us who are!!

2:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hallo, Lane!
Should you go to concerts like this outside of The Cuckucks' Nest, I'd like to join you, please.
-- Anonomann

P.S. My "Wortbestätigung" to send this to you is "dycaf"; is that Esperanto for "decaf"?

2:13 AM  

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