Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 31 - Dressed for Success

Mice and Men rehearsal with costumes (Wayne Wong, as George, dreaming of "Getting the jack together") at Chamber Arts today,

and pianist Alex Katsman (with Erin Lahm, as Slim, in Worksong).

Record Worksong with Marilyn Pratt,

and Tartsong I adding Alix Jerinic and Wayne (the latter and former [Candy] above, with Suzanna Mizell [Curley's Wife] and Maria Mikheyenko [Lennie] behind).

Rehearsal of arias and duets (including Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata: Act I, Sempre Libre, with Ross Halper and Eliza O'Malley), quicky meeting with Eliza and Lars thereafter,

followed by local pub with Harriet and home for 19 more pages of Israel in Trouble (VII. How to Depart from You) orchestration -- with aspects of Camille Saint-Saens's Carnival of the Animals: Finale, Alban Berg's Wozzeck: Act III conclusion, and Michael Nyman's The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

August 30 - Conservatory Corps Cachet

At the San Francisco Conservatory this morning with Harriet March Page and Megan Cullen (later, two more of our fantastic singers) for rehearsal of Amy Beth Kirsten's intriguing Orphelia Forever,

the fog just breaking up,

then with all due speed to First and Howard (South of Market),

near Rincon Hill (what's left of it),

to rendevous with generous choreographer-singer William Loney,

beyond the reflections at the local Peets (with faint self-portrait).

Quick stop on Potrero Hill, where we learn that Goat Hall Productions has been awarded a $5,000 CASH [Creative Assistance for the Small (Organization) and Hungry (Artist)] Grant from Theatre Bay Area (our first successful bid for this particular award -- the CD component was Karl Coryat's dynamic recording of my Camino Real, Op. 110).

Home again, moving right along orchestrating Israel in Trouble, Op. 54, through page 61, specifically --

IV. Fly Away
V. Well, Well, Well, Well, Well
VI. Shouldn't Work for Nothing

-- with grids from Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes: Sea Interlude IV, Dale Evans Rogers's Happy Trails, and Prince's Purple Rain: Darling Nicky.

Friday, August 29, 2008

August 29 - Time Is at Its Exercise

Eight pages of orchestration of Israel in Trouble: IV. Fly Away -- Jacob fleeing his homeland and dreaming of the ladder -- Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes: Sea Interlude IV minimalized and modalized.

Make the Marin and East Bay rounds, past Albany Hill.

[West view from Richard Mix's front porch, with the fog coming in (quite a difference from the c. 100 degree heat experienced just inland a few hours previously)]

dropping off CD and score of Antigone to Richard Mix,

who's on location and on for our November shows.

Brief walk near Briones Reservoir in the East Bay Municipal Water District Lands,

then a bit lost (third time today!) before winding up at DVC to record yesterday's finished orchestration of I in T: III. Eyes Dim,

thereafter home, helping Harriet design an E-Goat Newsletter.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

August 28 - Let There Be Hot, Heavy Music

Quiz 2 in Theory (Treble and Bass Clef -- F Modes), still more students signing up, learned how to get add codes online (thanks to Owen), heard Chris's new piece (quite impressive), record vocals for Mice and Men: Act V, Scene 2 A "Lennie, what you shoutin' for?", plus instrumental versions of Abraham and Isaac: I. The Call, and Op. 98 The Creation: I-III. One hour and forty minutes of the Biblical tome recorded thus far....

At home, Harriet still working away at donor letter mailing, while I finish orchestration (18 pages total for the movement) of Israel in Trouble: III. Eyes Dim (musically inspired by the Igor Stravinsky Abraham and Isaac, despite the different later story line) -- Rebekah turns out to be quite the conniver; with a willing, youthful, somewhat callous Jacob; Isaac blindly clueless, extensively singing away in an atonal/middle-eastern manner; Esau not far behind him. Additionally, good to receive word from the state government today -- evidently tax submission was OK. As well, second day of a heat wave (supposedly temps over one hundred last two days, though porch thermom never registers more than 92 in our experience over the interval...however, we've suspected the little gauge may be past its prime...predict, nonetheless 75 degrees at 2 in the morning), so no complaints.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August 27 - 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Column Operations

Three Greek melodies in Theory today (Mesomenes melody finally posted at, plus the Ludwig van Beethoven "Ode to Joy" (simplified version in C) for dictation.

Subsequent recordings in the lab are vocals and effects for Mice and Men: Act V, Scene 2 "I didn't forget" (above are Wayne Wong [George] and Maria Mikheynko [Lennie] from last Sunday's rehearsal -- upcoming performance info at and, plus instrumental versions of Israel in Trouble: I. If It Is Thus and II. Cunning Hunter. Additionally, post Wicked Prelude from Noah's Flood at

On the homefront, orchestration completed for Abraham and Isaac: I. The Call; and Harriet and I do mailings for SF Cabaret Grand Opera show and 21st-Century Music, delivered in the dead of night,

after which it's time to orchestrate yet again, this time the first page of III. Isaac was old from Israel in Trouble, indebted to the Igor Stravinsky A and I.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August 26 - Another Day

[Mark Alburger - Waiting for Godot: L. What Do We Do Now (after Samuel Beckett)]


Another day done with.


Not yet.


For me it's over and done with, no matter what happens.

More bass clef work in theory, with dictation on Kyrie IV (section I), a few updates on the blog,

including posting of the Chinese Entrance Hymn for the Emperor (c. 1000 BC); evening class is Ancient Music from

Fu Hsi to

St. Ambrose, all on

Left Bank with Aaron, Doug, and Owen -- then home for another orchestrated page (2) of Abraham and Isaac.

Monday, August 25, 2008

August 25 - Perfect Day

A seemingly perfect day in the Berkeley Hills, looking towards Mt. Diablo, and everywhere, beginning with merriment with Harriet and teaching interval numbers, qualities, number inversions, and bass cleff in Theory off of the site.

Then it's off to Cal to try to track down full score of Igor Stravinsky's Abraham and Isaac, which the U.C. Davis computer had cited as extant there last week, but first via the East Bay Municipal Water District Lands (with their ungainly acronym of EBMUD, including San Pablo and Briones Reservoirs) to pick up a still-10-buck one-year trail permit, not held since 2004 (not as good access as the free Marin MMWD lands, but infinitely better than the closed Peninsular district),

jumping over the hills on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, the views to San Francisco and the Golden Gate.

Park near palatial housing near International House and foot it down Bancroft to the new Music Library

(adjacent to the Music Building and Sather Tower). After some wandering through the labyrinths of genre (how one yearns for alphabetical by composer and then by title....), find the score, pay mildly ruinous rates for yet another speciality copy card and copies, and begin making the way home -- back up Claremont Canyon, down on Fish Ranch Road (love that name, imagine cowboys riding carp), merging with 24, Pleasant Hill / Taylor Boulevards, 680, Suisun Valley / Waterman Roads, I-80 -- rather a circuituous trafic-riven route today.

Finish orchestration of Israel in Trouble: II. Esau was a cunning hunter -- total of 19 pages in the selection (a contemporary continuo of bassoon, tuba, guitar, piano, cello, bass + plus horn and trombone obligati),

plus one page beginning instumentation of Abraham and Isaac (the dark Call, with hocketing hushed vocal triplets outlining F# "do-sol, te-fa, sol" then echoes in "sol" duplets), against pedal octave lowest A's (O.K., melody could be re-interpreted as "la-mi, sol-re, mi") and rich Britten/WarRequiemesque romantic appoggiatura chords.

Also design with Harriet, flyer for September 2008, which will additionally be posted at

Sunday, August 24, 2008

August 24 - Soup's On

Six pages of orchestration of Israel in Trouble: II. Esau Was a Cunning Hunter, with a mess of lyrics derived from King James, Revised Standard, and Today's English -- a harmonization in 7th chords of Ghirardello da Firenze's caccia (a chase or hunting song, with two upper strict canonic parts at the unison, and a free bass line, now harmonized) Tosto che l'Alba -- serendipidously replacing the original hocketting Italian syllable "su" with "soup"[!] as Jacob taunts his brother with the temptation of a ladled meal.

Before this, making a table of contents for, and, before that, the weekly Mice and Men rehearsal at Chamber Arts, now with can of beans (or is that soup that Wayne Wong's George is holding, as he holds forth to Maria Mikheyenko's Lennie?) in Act I: everyone's memorized and we're on a good trajectory for the early September performances, concluding practice today with recording of the two Dreamsongs

[Mice Suites: Dreamsong I]

and Threatsong

(additionally graced by Megan Cullen as Boss) posted soon at above and also for

Dinner with Harriet at local bistro (tempted by the chowder), and, oh yes, and decide that it is officially time to acknowledge this crazy work-in-progress The Bible, with an opus number, 168, consisting of --

THE BIBLE (August 24, 2008)
. . . ISAAC
JOHN AND . . .
. . . SALOME

-- which will be eventually supplemented by other works infilling. Meanwhile, have recorded thus far approximately one hour and forty minutes of above.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

August 23 - Reproduction Can Be Fun

Four more pages of orchestration of Op. 54 Israel in Trouble: I. If It Is Thus, Let Me Die (somehow Rachel makes it through the birth of Esau and Jacob, in rhythmic permutations and second substitutions), completing the movement, for a total of seven,

after which Harriet and I watch Elizabeth I, part two, which deals not only with the Virgin Queen, fair Oriana (Thomas Weelkes's As Vesta Was Descending), but also Robert Devereux

(of Gaetano Donizetti operatic fame), Second Earl of Essex

(as in John Dowland's Lacrymae:The Earl of Essex - His Galliard).

While future King James I (of Biblical Version and Shakespeare patron fame) doesn't come across particularly sympathetically, much of his characterization (including his apparent early preference for men -- notwithstanding his eventual fathering of three, and later heterosexual extramarital affairs) and looks are bang on, as true of the other principals therein. The backstory of J, as well as his father and mother (Mary Queen of Scots), are as unbelievable-believable as is so often the case in life (somehow the leper King Baldwin IVof Crusader Palestine also comes to mind). And to think some of us are just happy for an energetic-quiet evening at home... Gotta call it quits for now -- have to get up early and reproduce more Antigone scores, probably not at Kinko's....

Friday, August 22, 2008

August 22 - Gradations

Up the Oakville Grade in Napa for a walk before heading to Marin, etc.,

after a small Goat Hall / San Francisco Cabaret Opera board meeting with Harriet and Meghan.

The Grade starts as a left turn from California 29, with views north of Mt. Saint Helena,

and evidently shelters a government nuclear emergency somewhere in the back country, to wit:

"Oakville Grade, Napa CA

Continuity of Government operations plans provide the capability to maintain essential government services and emergency functions in the most serious of events affecting national security.

A secret underground installation near Oakville Grade is used by the United States Government for Continuity of Government in case of nuclear attack or other disasters, direct satellite communication, , and secure communication links in the event of a disaster.

This heavily protected concrete facility replaced other installations, including those at Benicia, and an underground facility in an old railroad tunnel at Ukiah. This remote area of Napa was considered to be safe from the nuclear fallout from the San Francisco Bay Area. The Oakville Grade structure is near the top of a mountain. Aerial shots taken over the 87 acre Bureau land near Oakville Grade have been reported to show large cement bunkers with large concrete doors, a new road, freshly graded, and some underground facility.

The facility is the result of recommendations by the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Commission's Commercial Satellite Survivability Task Force, which resulted in 1988 and 1989 initiatives to ensure secure national and international communications and continuity of government in case of war or disaster.

It is less than entirely apparent how accurate this account is, but it is included for the sake of completeness, since it might be true."


O.K., so off we go, by a horse,

from a parking space midway (yes, parked on the wrong side of the road near a washout),

between the intersection of Mt. Veeder Road,

with a scrimmed vista of distant Bald Mountain west in Sonoma County

to the crossing of Dry Creek (this stretch of road is actually signed as the latter) and back to the car (still misparked).

From here, on to Marin over the roller coaster of Trinity Road, through Sonoma Valley (of the Moon) by Glen Ellen near Jack London State Park, over the mountains on 116, down Lakeville Road to 37 and 101 to The Magic Flute in the Terra Linda section of San Rafael, to pick up a full score of G.F. Handel's Israel in Egypt, for orchestrational advice while scoring Israel in Trouble, Op. 54 -- which, unlike Georg Frideric's recalls Jacob, rather than Moses....

Contouring around San Rafael Hill on the Robert Dollar Drive with sightlines to the fog-bisected East Bay,

the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge,

East San Rafael and the 101 viaduct over Corte Madera Ridge,

Mission San Rafael / Saint Raphael's

and Mount Tamalpais

to the San Anselmo post box, then late lunch and grading first fall 2008 theory quizzes at Celia's.

Home via Pleasant Hill and a relatively long stop at the lab, gradually recording instrumental versions of Iliad Songs: III. Achilles and

The Wind God: XIII. We Almost Mutinied,

followed by orchestration by degrees, in residence, of Israel: I. If It Is Thus, Rachel's musical scream-in-labor of the unborn rivalry of Esau and Jacob.

Also, while still at school, post Op. 95 Animal Opera: An Orwellian Comedy: II --

a. Will There Be Any Sugar
b. Drive Away Man
c. The Seven Commandments

-- at (pictured is the Alliance of Pigs and Men from the Goat Hall production several years back).