The excellent blogger/videographer Thomas Deneuville came over to my apartment a few weeks ago and filmed me playing At the River. There are some nice scenic moments that give you a bit of a Bed Stuy atmosphere. Be careful to turn your volume down for the beginning of the video because there is a VERY INTENSE BOULEZ INTROIT which will scare your cat.
We’re following this little scandal with interest over here at Andres & Sons Bakery Enterprises LLC. I can’t seem to bring myself to feel terribly passionately one way or another; I think it’s best to approach these situations logically. Yes, it’s disappointing when a musician or artist “phones it in”; it’s also incredibly common. People seem to be quite miffed about it, though, so the gracious thing for Golijov to do would be to return most of the commission fee, simply for failing to fulfill his contract (which I assume included language about writing original music). Maybe hold on to a couple grand to serve to compensate him as orchestrator/arranger.
photo: WMUR New Hampshire
Today I have a present for you which I think you will like. That’s correct, a song I wrote!
It’s a setting of an inscription by Thoreau, from A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Recorded in live performance by the young baritone Daniel Schwait (who also happens to be my first cousin!) and my frequent collaborator Tema Watstein on violin.
I am freshly back from an adventure in Iowa with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, listening at home to their performance of Bathtub Shrine. The CD appeared in my dressing room when I went to pack up after the concert. That’s how you should do it, orchestras!
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Jason Weinberger, conductor
Over the past couple of out-of-town jaunts I’ve been reading Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled, at the recommendation of my friend Carl Willat. It’s the third of his books I’ve read, and by far the strangest—it pulls off the trick of being fascinating and willfully boring at the same time. What initially drew me in is that it’s about a composer-pianist (!) who visits an unnamed city to give a Very Important Concert. I’m not implying that my out-of-town experiences have been anything like the events in the book (really! Don’t take this the wrong way!) but I know it will resonate with any of you itinerant musicians. There are some passing details which I know composers will enjoy, too, such as an extended debate about musical theory in which the theoretical concepts and terms are all fictional. Truly, fun times.
Now it’s back to the grindstone; looks as though the next few weeks will be free to compose. I have just delivered a new piece to the Cadillac Moon Ensemble, called Trade Secrets; the parts for Old Keys are mailed out; and the wonderful Kristin Lee is playing a short piece I wrote for her this week at a Metropolis Ensemble fundraiser, though the public-at-large will have to wait to hear it.
Which reminds me, heartiest congratulations to Andrew Cyr and Kate Gilmore, who have just produced a baby boy!