Friday, October 31, 2008

October 31 - Wilderness of Sin

Finish the orchestration of Moses and Aaron:

XVII. Ritournello - "Would That We Had Died"

and begin that of

XVIII. Interlude - "How Long" (Wander in the Wilderness)

Between, do most of the Chronicle section for the December 2008 issue of 21st-Century Music (work-in-progress at and eventually at and in print), while the rain continues to fall on a rainy Halloween home with Harriet.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

October 30 - Into Each Life

Off to Oakland Opera Theater in the evening to take in their double bill of Igor Stravinsky's Renard and Histoire du Soldat, in an incredible and welcome account of the former (definitely an underappreciated work) and an intriguing rendition of the latter -- full report next Monday at and eventually at and in print for Commuter Times and 21st-Century Music.

Before that, in the lab, recording Moses and Aaron --

XVI. Scherzo - "Send Them as Spies"


beginning of XVII. Ritournello - "Would God Had Us Killed"

-- and even earlier, give Quiz 11 in Music Theory (Chord Cycles / Progressions, with examples drawn from Duke Ellington's Concerto for Cootie, Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchstra and For Children, John Cage's Suite for Toy Piano, Jester Hairston's Elijah Rock, and Richard Rodgers's The Sound of Music) and a couple of more pages of orchestration for M&A: XVII.

Oh yes, and the end of summer perhaps, first day of fall, with clouds and sporadic rain all day and night...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October 29 - I'll Go On

"Perhaps it's done already, perhaps they have said me already, perhaps they have carried me to the threshold of my story, before the door that opens on my story, that would surprise me, if it opens, it will be I, it will be the silence, where I am, I don't know, I'll never know, in the silence you don't know, you must go on, I can't go on, I'll go on." [Samuel Beckett - The Unnamable (1954)]

Two more pages of Moses and Aaron: XVI. Scherzo "Send Them As Spies" orchestrated, then head out to teach, giving a somewhat impromptu presentation on early minimalism, and we sing (mostly in solfege) the first dozen or so motives in Terry Riley's In C, followed by a dictation on the second half of Richard Rodger's Do-Re-Mi from The Sound of Music, and thereafter Hiraoki Asakawa's diverting Alburger's Wrath and another fine piece by Matthew Cooper.

Off to Marin, grading papers at Celia's, negotiating a way through early Halloween traffic in San Anselmo, checking the box, and, there's checks, so looks like we'll be going on...

Home without much incident (though there was a bit of construction in Berkeley on the way over), and finish XVI. orchestration, beginning same for XVII. Chorus and Ballet - "Better to Have Died in Egypt."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

October 28 - I Spy

Start the orchestration of Moses and Aaron: XVI. Scherzo - "Send Them As Spies," then race off to school for discussion of Olivier Messiaen's scales of limited transposition and non-retrogradable rhythmic rows, plus dictation on the first 16 bars of Richard Rodgers's Do-Re-Mi from The Sound of Music, and intriguing student compositions by Carissa, Danny, and Daniel.

Lunch scouted out at a Chinese-Japanese place on the outskirts of Martinez (picture above is more like downtown, and during the green, rather than golden, half of the year) and some quick lab work, so to speak, recording M&A: XIV., XV., and the beginning of XVI. Evening class with music from Arnold Schoenberg to Igor Stravinsky (with video reflections aft and fore, respectively vis a vis Scott Joplin, Max Steiner, and Sergei Prokofiev). Left Bank with Doug and Owen. Home. Sleep.

Monday, October 27, 2008

October 27 - Signs in the Sky

Another couple of pages orchestrated for Moses and Aaron: XIV. Postlude - "Be Gone" before heading off to DVC to give the Jester Hairston Elijah Rock dictation, go over two basic rules of voice-leading, and play (and have played) fine compositions by Sheyda, Danny, and John.

Record M&A: 11, 13, and the beginning of 14 -- then head home under radiant semi-desert skies to finish instrumentalizing Postlude and do related for XV. Anthem - "Bless You."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

October 26 - Bacchanalias Americanus / Europus

Our revels are now begun. Up reasonably early printing out the recent Antigone transpositions for Tisha (who will be down next week to share the title role with Eliza); then two more pages of Moses and Aaron: XIII. "This Gold Image", before heading out to Chamber Arts for more rehearsals of

John Billota's The Quantum Mechanic and my

Antigone (with Meghan, Alix, Eli-

za, Dalyte, Kim,

William, Erin, Michael, Adam, Micah, Terrence, and Lisa),

then home past the evening-tinged North Lagoon Mountains,

to finish The Golden Calf orchestration and begin the same for XIV. Postlude: "Be gone"

Saturday, October 25, 2008

October 25 - Golden Opportunity

Up very early for the weekly Ophelia rehearsal, now in San Francisco at Next Stage (1620 Gough, in preparation for Opera Apocalypse there on November 7-9, info at, then lunch with Harriet at Connecticut Yankee, and a walk from Miramar Farms to the frontage road beside California 1 south of Frenchman's Creek.

The light is soft and misty, clear and comparatively balmy for the coast on this October day, to the cypress and sea from rural fields.

East, the land is radiant in repose.

Back to the car, past eccentric signs,

back to the freeway via the pumpkin farms of Half Moon Bay's route 92,

with eccentric houses,

home to orchestrate through page 14 of Moses and Aaron: Bacchanale (The Golden Calf) (4 pages to go)...

Friday, October 24, 2008

October 24 - Heavenly Day

Harriet out on a job on another warm morning while I finish orchestration of Moses and Aaron: XI. Duet and Chorus - "Sing to the Lord / Bitter Water" (Songs of Moses and Miriam, which, in this version alludes to manna, although not Evelyn Manna, above), do the pagination for XII. Quartet - "Thou Shalt" (The Ten Commandments), and begin the instrumental disposition of XIII. Bacchanale - "This Gold Image" (The Golden Calf).

She returns, and I produce an Antigone supertitle libretto for Eliza, and return to Calf for a total of 9 pages of the selection.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

October 23 - A.K.A. Just Add Water and Stir

Finish the orchestration of Moses and Aaron: X. Caccia - "And the People Fled", give Test 10 to the Theoreticians (Added Tones, a.k.a. Non-Chord or Non-Harmonic Tones, with examples drawn from George Gershwin, Kurt Weill, Sergei Prokofiev, and Anton Webern), then record M&A:X, with added audio files of

Crowds of people walking
Horses galloping
Sea waves

Former two panned left to right, with sea waves ultimately descending in volume, the latter cut short and minimum-maximum-minimum volumed.

Return home to begin orchestrating XI. Duet and Chorus - "Sing to the Lord / Bitter Water." -- a.k.a. The Songs of Moses and Miriam + the Israelites raising objections in the desert -- an inundation of G.F. Handel's Israel in Egypt: Part II excerpts and Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring: Tableau II beginning, in a white-note, untransposed-transpositions (i.e. instruments such as A Clarinet and F Horn are re-interpreted in C), steady-meter variant.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

October 22 - Place to Show

At St. Mary's today, as cannot resist detour, being along the way to the weekly Marin run,

detouring through Moraga.

But first another page of orchestration for Moses and Aaron: X. "And the People Fled", followed by a dictation on Duke Ellington's Concerto for Cootie, plus taking another look at Desiree's poignant third composition as well as Hiraoki's entitled Alburger's Wrath. Ha-ha, and a fun piece, as well.

After, the St. Mary's Performing Arts Department, followed by Berkeley detours and off to Celia's and the post box in Marin, returning to orchestrate another page of above, before drowning in a sea of sleep.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

October 21 - Promises, Promises

Finish the orchestration of Moses and Aaron: IX. Storm/Tempest - "At Midnight" (not to be confused with...). OK, you get the picture, and this will be the last one of Tempest Storm. Promise. At least for awhile, since record the same after class today (dictation being the second four bars of the Kurt Weill / Bertolt Brecht Ballad of Mack the Knife from The Threepenny Opera -- also play Camino Real: Blocks 9-10).

Between teaching and recording, at Elephant Bar grading papers, followed by evening class, with music from Richard Strauss to Arnold Schoenberg (across the great 20th-century divide), then Left Bank with Aaron (not of Moses fame), Owen, and Doug -- returning home to begin orchestrating M&A: X. Caccia - "And the People Fled" before fleeing into dreams. Not of Tempest Storm. Promise.

Monday, October 20, 2008

October 20 - Another Day in Paradise

Sergei Prokofiev Peter and the Wolf: Peter's Theme for dictation, sight-singing, and harmony today (as well as the old Disney video), then listening to fine music by Desiree and John, and assisting Seth in the lab, as well as recording Moses and Aaron: VI.-VIII., experiencing a bit of trouble getting the midi files transferred from email into the PC desktop at school, but rectified when using laptop, burning the files onto a CD and then importing them into the Dell that way. Are we particularly surprised?

While taking a coffee break with Doug outside of the lab, Penny relays a Music Department phone call to me -- highly unusual -- it's Marty Rockeach with intriguing news from St. Mary's College -- so must follow up later....

With Moses I.-VIII. now in the iPod, head off to Sacramento State University Library to track down Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite (two copies in the stacks, which is as many as there are in the entire U.C. system -- UCLA and UC Irvine being the only sources -- incredible. Have almost enough change to make fair-use research copies (only have 20's, which the machine does not accept; and some loose change, which it does). A couple of Good Samaritin students provide me with an extra 20 cents and decline pennies in exchange.

A bit of a wander home, then two more pages of M&A: IX. Storm/Tempest - "At Midnight" orchestrated, with Grofeian advice...

...again, not to be confused with Tempest Storm (yes, this was just a lame excuse to post another picture -- she is celebrating her 80th birthday this year, and is still on the burlesque circuit as the art form's oldest active participant, years after her earlier days above)...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

October 19 - News to Storm Your Heart

Up reasonably early, doing two more pages of orchestration to Moses and Aaron: VIII. Intonation - "Then Moses Called" and producing a transposition of Antigone: XVI. You Think You Knew for Micah Epps (he requests down to Dm from Em, but turns out that a version in Cm is already in the computer, so I bring that, and he likes it).

Rehearsals for both John Billota's

Quantum Mechanic and my

Antigone go very well, despite present company having to cover on piano (Keisuke has a conflict today), and William Loney gets to choreograph

XI. The Spring Is Wound.

Production meeting follows,

while William works with Dalyta on XIX. News to Break Your Heart.

I drop William off at his Oakland place (Harriet goes to a grant-writing meeting in San Francisco); heading home, the setting sun sets off the Lagoon and

North Lagoon Mountains,

and I finish orchestration of M&A: VIII and begin IX. Storm/Tempest - "At Midnight,"

not to be confused with Tempest Storm.