Thursday, May 25, 2023

Made in Hungary

Here's a brand new video of the above-mentioned piece from my "archives" that I wrote in 1996 with Marjorie Hanft.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Good News from the National Endowment for the Arts

You can read more about the larger program here, and about the musical projects here.

From the archives

While poking around in the garage last week I came across a file folder of pieces I wrote during the twentieth century, before I knew that I had the necessary skills to write music. I was deligted to find that at least two of them, with a few revisions here and there, were worth sharing. I engraved them with Finale, made some covers, and have put them into the IMSLP.
You can listen to the interludes here, and the IMSLP link for this piece is here.
The IMSLP link for this piece is here.

I also found these watercolors, which aren't bad. But I'm glad that the creative path I eventually took went in the direction of things musical rather than things visual.

This is one of Pierrot Lunaire noticing a fleck of moonlight coming in through the window on his jacket. This troubles him so much that he spends all night trying to rub it off.

Here's Arnold Schoenberg's setting of a German translation by Otto Erich Hartleben of Albert Giraud's poem.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Um, what does this have to do with music?

I just listend to an interview with Valerie Fridland on Alan Alda's Clear and Vivid podcast that involves, among other fascinating things about language, the purpose of "um" in conversation, and how it helps the person listening to process the information that the person that is speaking is conveying.

Of course I wonder if there is something comparable in musical communication in the pitches, rhythms, and articulations of the written music as well as in the way that a performing musician presents it to a listener.

Valerie Fridland is, in addition to being a professor of linguistics, a blogger.

As soon as I finish writing this post I'm heading over to Language in the Wild. I'm also putting a link to it on the sidebar.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Two Little Night Pieces for Three Violas d'amore

[May 7, 2023]

I. The Moon is a Cracked Dinner Plate
II. Toys in the Attic

[Inspired by Steven Millhauser's 1999 novella Enchanted Night]

You can listen to it here, and find the music on this page of the IMSLP.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Florence Price Piano Music

On my way back from a trip to Boston by train I had time in Chicago between trains to visit Performer's Music. It felt very special to buy these books of Florence Price's piano music in Chicago, the city where she spent most of her career. I also imagine that she might have spent a considerable amount of time in the Fine Arts Building.

What a treat these pieces are to play!

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Elgar Salut d'amour for piano quintet

I love this performance of my transcription!
You can find the music on this page the International Music Company website.

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Telemann Fantasias for solo violin or solo viola

It took several months to do it (several months of practicing the violin set and the viola transcription), but I believe that I now have a good (non-editon--no fingering or bowing suggestions) edition of these pieces. You can find them both on this page of the IMSLP.

If you have downloaded them already, please replace what you have with these new files. One of the beautiful things about making music available in the IMSLP is that I can correct mistakes (one mistake in the violin version was a doozy).

Monday, May 01, 2023

Somebody Somewhere and Succession

Michael and I have been devoting an hour and a half of our Sunday nights to watching two of the new series on HBO. One is wildly popular and one is not. You can guess which one we enjoy more: the unpopular one with the excellent acting, excellent writing, and alternative midwestern universe that celebrates friendship and love in all of its configurations. The comedy in Somebody Somewhere is real, and the characters are both decidedly offbeat and authentic.

The musical component in the episode we watched last night (season 2, episode 2) reflects the comedy of real midwestern life (which I know so very well).

It comes online after Succession, and it serves as an antidote.

We watched the first three seasons of Succesion with interest (and we also watched them after all three were available to stream in, er, succession). There were moments of excellent acting, and there were hints of interesting backstory possibilities to suggest why the main characters were all so damaged, but most of our time was spent in anticipation of what was to come. And what seemed to be interesting plot line possibilities gradually vanished.

Now in the fourth and final season we find ourselves bored with the characters, bored with the plot, and tired of having to keep the subtitles on so that we can understand the mumbled profanity-riddled banter. But we feel what we have to justify our sunken interests.

We have "sunken" so low.

The only thing that I consistently like about the show is the incidental music, which seems to be based mostly on a fragment four minutes into the second movement of the Schubert Opus 100 Piano Trio. Sometimes it is combined with the introductory measures of the Schubert "Serenade," and sometimes it isn't. When the ultra rich moguls are in England the music sounds influenced by Dowland, and when they are in Tuscany the music sounds influenced by Italian Renaissance composers, but not any specific one.