Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Variations on a Theme

Every year for the past decade or so, the four members of my immediate family go on the same trip at roughly the same time of year, give or take a day. Sometimes we take a different route. Sometimes we go to New Jersey first, followed by a jaunt (usually for lunch) around Boston before heading for the Berkshires, visiting relatives all along the way. Sometimes we reverse the order, and punctuate it with different rest stops, restaurants, car snacks, "side trips," and activities. Still, as my son pointed out, our life on vacation seems to progress from one meal to the next, with vivid discussion about our meals in between.

This year our vacation was a little bit different. Instead of travelling as two adults and two children, we travelled as four adults. We listened to ipod playlists (made by the younger adults--Michael and I are not iPodpeople) that we played by running an adapter cassette in our cassette player (our car was made before CD players were put in them). I really enjoyed hearing the distincly non-"classical" music that our children carefully chose for us. It is actually worth sitting in the car for 50 hours to get a sneak aural "peek" into the musical minds of our children. We ended the ride singing along with Pete Seeger at Carnegie Hall, and now we are home. I learned the value of the iPod on this trip.

While I was "gone," Charley Brighton gave a wonderful performance of a solo euphonium piece I wrote on a concert far away in Slough, England. He made a recording of it, and put it on line, making the "where" of the concert for me somewhere in New Jersey, where I played it for my friends. How strange it all is.


Peter (the other) said...

Wow! Was the Pete Seeger a choice of the (ahem) younger adults? If so, very cool. It has been a long time since I have taken such a family trip, and as much as I would give the world to be back with the late family traveling in a car, somehow I imagine some serious fighting over all that music before we had gotten to the Rte. 2 Concord rotary (by the prison, my dad mumbling "geez, youse guys outta be in der").

Congratulations on the performance. The thought of solo euphonium makes me think of the marching Salvation Army brass bands one sees around London at Christmas time. They are always full of an assortment of brass instruments I don't often think of. Have you heard Mike Leigh's short film The Short and Curlies? Rachel Portman's score is for tuba and piccilo duet. I am off to listen to your opus.

Peter (the other) said...

Very euphonious, a length I approve of (stays around long enough to say something and leaves before the idea enters my mind first). I like it as it gets towards the end, it feels like something I find myself doing when writing for solo monophonic instruments, digging for some dissonance via half steps.

Elaine Fine said...

Thanks Peter. I do think that when it comes to writing for a solo instrument, particularly a brass instrument, less, as far as time is concerned, is often more. I am planning to try my hand at a longer piece for euphonium and piano soon.

Pete Seeger's recording was actually our youngest member's (he's 18) choice. Ben loves Pete Seeger for all the right reasons.

Lee said...

Uh, what are the wrong reasons for liking Pete Seeger? I just want to make sure they're not mine!

Elaine Fine said...

You have an excellent point, Lee. How could there be a wrong reason for liking Pete Seeger?