Tuesday, November 6, 2012

HISTORICAL POST: January 21, 2007


JANUARY 21. Today's lunch was two Boca cheeseburgers with pickles, and a salad. Breakfast was a butter bagel and a cappuccino at Starbucks around the corner from Symphony Hall. Dinner was a Mediterranean flatbread pizza and a beer at Pizzeria Uno around the corner from NEC. TEMPERATURE EXTREMES THIS LAST TEN DAYS: 7.3 and 52.5. MUSIC GOING THROUGH MY HEAD AS I TYPE THIS "Winged Contraption". I was hearing it all morning. LARGE EXPENSES this last ten days include down payments on the conversion of the pantry into a bathroom $7000, down payment on three new cellar windows $500, down payment on rebuilding of the mud room $900, 100 square feet of tile delivered $405, pedestal sink and medicine cabinet $135, two large shelving units delivered $340. POINTLESS NOSTALGIC REMINISCENCE: During one visit to Princeton in the late '80s by me and Beff to celebrate the fact that we had gotten jobs -- we stayed at Alison Carver's house on the floor -- Martin and I got into a giddy thing where we made up nonsense jokes and laughed hysterically. Examples: What do dogs have that cats don't? Credit cards. What's the difference between a deluxe pizza and the Queen of England? Pepperoni on the Queen costs extra. What will you find on Nassau Street that you won't find on a woman's back? Hoagie Haven. Bob Sadin, still at Princeton at the time, had heard that Beff and I were in town, and he called us at Alison's house -- at 2:30 am. THIS WEEK'S COSMIC QUANDARY: Since you can't see the back of your head, does it exist? THIS WEEK'S MADE-UP WORD: gastronomization. THINGS I HAVE GROWN WEARY OF coughing. RECENT GASTRONOMIC OBSESSIONS: hot and sour soup with plenty of white pepper. DISCOVERY OF THE WEEK three basement windows falling victim apparently to termites. THIS WEEK'S NUMBER BETWEEN 1 AND 10: 7. REVISIONS TO THIS SITE: This page, Performances, Compositions. NUMBER OF HAIRCUTS I GOT LAST WEEK: 0. DENTIST VISITS SINCE SEPTEMBER: 9. FRAGILE THINGS DESTROYED BY THE CATS THIS LAST WEEK is nothing, as far as I can tell, but the new rug gets covered with a lot of their hair when they play/fight in the computer room. RECOMMENDATION AND PROFESSIONAL LETTERS WRITTEN THIS LAST 3 WEEKS: 0. FUN DAVY FACT YOU WON'T READ ANYWHERE ELSE: Beff and I got engaged over the phone (in Pacific Standard Time). WHAT THE NEXT BIG TREND WOULD BE IF I WERE IN CHARGE: "Party" is no longer considered an acceptable verb. PHOTOS IN MY IPHOTO LIBRARY: 10,229. WHAT I PAID FOR GASOLINE THIS WEEK: $2.24. OTHER INANIMATE OBJECTS THAT WOULD BE A BETTER PRESIDENT THAN THE CURRENT ONE a chocolate-covered pine cone, one of the dots on any Seurat painting, a half-eaten popsicle, the pit of despair.

These updates are getting a little sporadic, and I guess that's the way it's gonna continue to be for a while. It is now SUNDAY, and I have emerged from a refreshing nap to start typing this in the middle of the afternoon. I will finish typing this in the middle of the afternoon. And tomorrow is my brother's 59th birthday.

Soon after the last update, I started piano etude #76, on the clave rhythm -- an idea suggested by Geoffy. While on the train fromWales to Glasgow, I appropriated Beff's moleskine music manuscript book to examine some poly-claves -- that is, clave rhythms notated at different speeds with respect to each other. An etude that simply used the clave rhythm (3, 3, 4, 2, 4 of eighth notes) as an accompaniment figure or melodic motive didn't seem it would be that interesting to write, play, or hear. So I strategized polyclaves getting closer and closer until a monster clave -- six of them, all at the same speed, separated by a sixteenth note each -- would come, sounding like a bizarre arpeggiation thing. Then when I got down to brass tacks, it seemed the next thing to do was start streams of sixteenths interspersed with overlapped fast claves, and then a be-bop solo over a clave accompaniment, and then, and then ... but I do go on. I linked to it in green on the left.

But before I started the etude, on Friday, Beff and I drove up to MacDowell for lunch with Stacy, and, of course, to give more weird beer to John Sieswerda of the maintenance staff. We ate healthily and stealthily at Harlow's, but not until after we helped her figure out how to get the weird DJ setup they have in the library to work. On the way UP to MacDowell, we stopped at Flooring America in Littleton (MA) to look for some nice darkish blue tile for the bathroom, and we settled on some good stuff. We were directed to get 100 square feet, and it went for $3/square foot PLUS a shipping fee from the manufacturer PLUS a delivery fee. It arrived earlier this week.

Friday night I came down with a fairly severe coughing cold, and spent most of the next week re-becoming a connoisseur of cough syrups, antihistamines and throat drops. It's been unfun. The cough persists to this day, 9 days later.

And then it took a little more than three days to crank out the Clave etude, during which Beff made her pilgrimage back to Bangor. We had had a rainstorm here that Sunday, but it turned into a snowstorm in Bangor, and an ice storm to the north and west of us (Stacy said they lost power at MacDowell, thus losing internet access, oh my). So I copied my etude, etc., and got all my stuff together to begin the teaching year. Also started thinking about the orchestral readings that Neal Hampton so generously offered the orchestra to do.

The day before classes started, I had yet another dentist appointment. This time I found out that the dentist had intended to fit a new crown to replace the one in got in 1988 while teaching at Stanford and after crunching a "Hawaiian" chip. I nixed the crown idea, so I got some worn areas built back up, another filling, and some decay removed, etc. This ended the dentist portion of the year. Then I was referred to an oral surgeon in Concord for wisdom teeth removal, and they couldn't get good X-rays of the wisdom teeth using the usual method that makes you almost gag -- so I posed in the panoramic X-ray machine, on which you bite down on something while an X-ray moves aroud your head and makes a single-pass shot of the complete mouth. I now take these to the oral surgeon. One that has to come out is growing in, um, incompletely, and the other three are impacted. The oral surgeon will let me know what has to be done. And then to end the appointment, I finally got fitted for the Nygar. We shall see if that helps things. I finish being fitted on Tuesday -- soon after, I drive to the oral surgeon's office.

I went to Lowe's in Framingham for storage cabinets for the new bathroom -- we still will store food etc. as we currently do in the pantry, but the old built-in shelves are being removed. I bought what Beff and I had decided we wanted, and they were delivered on Thursday morning.

I have nine private students (eight composition students and a senior honors thesis) that I meet weekly, plus Theory 2. I teach as many hours as last semester, but am not teaching an overload, unlike last semester, when, as you already know, I was teaching an overload. So there was the usual stuff on Wednesday, and more on Thursday, which was followed by a faculty senate meeting. During Thursday, Beff ordered a pedestal sink and a medicine cabinet for the new bathroom online for pickup locally at Lowe's, so after the faculty senate, it was on to Lowe's to bring back.

Thursday night was the first accumulating snow of the season, but only about an inch. It was easy to "shovel", and the roads were in good shape, so I accepted Michael Weinstein's invitation to speak to his students at the Cambridge School of Weston. He was teaching a course in local composers (which is what he is, too), and was making them go to Saturday's BMOP concert, so I was there representing the concert as well as Boston composers. I played a bunch of stuff and did my usual spiels on those pieces, and then got a private school cafeteria lunch -- which featured slices of pepperoni pizza with ONE pepperoni per slice -- about the size of your hand, though.

And on Saturday it was BMOP day. I left the house around 11:20 and drove to NEC, as I had a dress rehearsal for my piece WINGED CONTRAPTION -- from 1991, but an actual premiere. At my usual lot, there was the sign $19 EVENT PARKING -- which I wasn't going to pay to park for an hour. So luckily, a metered space was available and I fed it two hours worth of quarters, had a quick lunch, happened into Yehudi Wyner on the street, and we both went to the rehearsal. I took the Edirol with me to record the runthrough from the back of Jordan Hall, and you can listen to it by clicking on the magenta link to the left (it is somewhat distant and very echo-y) -- later I'll have an actual concert recording, and later still an edited one from the recording session this morning. But I get ahead of myself.

The BMOP concert turned out to be a very good one. Three of the represented composers were at NEC at the same time -- 1976-78, me Mike Gandolfi and Mat Rosenblum -- and there was Mario Davidovsky's violin concerto he wrote for Orpheus and a piece by Wes Matthews, who is an enrolled NEC student. I hung around for Wes's dress -- sitting with the composer-in-residence Lisa Bielawa, who turned out to be a lot of fun (she was going to have to emcee the pre-concert thing with composers and she asked me what question I'd like her to ask me. I said, "How did you get so handsome?" I asked her what she'd like me to ask her. She said, "how about a beer?") and watching the score. His piece was very nice and very clear, and after that I rescued my car and drove to the Midtown Hotel -- a block or two away -- where I had reserved a room for the night. After parking and getting my room, I went back to the dress rehearsals.

Where I heard the last half of Mike Gandolfi's boisterous and expertly orchestrated sax concerto, Mario's really cool violin concerto (the soloist was fantastic), and Mathew's four-saxophone and orchestra piece -- a wild and fun affair with some amazing sax playing by the Rascher Quartet. All this time, a strange kind of banter developed with me and Wes and Lisa, and eventually later with Mathew. So after the rehearsal, I went to the room, did a little vegging and a lot of coughing, and at 5:30 went to Pizzeria Uno for dinner. From there it was to the hall, where Lisa and the concert's composers had to sit on stage and be entertaining. And entertaining we were.

I was drafted to do the (I am told) usual brief remark by a composer at the beginning of the program to say how much composers like BMOP (I actually used the word "duh" in my spiel -- if "duh" is an actual word) and even (unbidden) made a plea for fundage. A bunch of Brandeis composers were at the show (as well as hundreds of other people), and it ended up being a fantastic concert, yet again. My piece was last, and for whatever reason, I and Gil Rose (the conductor) got TWO curtain calls (as did Mikey and his soloist).

There was a reception in the Keller Room afterwards, where I saw lots of old friends -- such as Peter Child, Dalit Warshaw, Derek Hurst, Lou Bunk, Nathan Shields, Andrew List, Jim 'n' Willemien (who wanted to have a brief conversation about dental stuff), Ezra Sims, Lee 'n' Kate, as well as some other Brandeis students. After that reception, a bunch of us went to where Cafe Amalfi used to be for a nightcap, and at 1 am, I made it back to the hotel. Good thing, too, for ...

...the recording session for Winged Contraption was scheduled for two hours this morning beginning at 8:30. Miraculously, everybody came that was playing in the piece, and we covered it in 20 takes lasting an hour and 45 minutes. I was trying to keep track of what was clammed (fluffed) in various takes (difficult with ears that wouldn't pop), and Lisa Bielawa lent her ears to the enterprise as well, thus discovering some stuff that had to be covered, and of course earning co-producer credit. And so then I checked out and drove home, made me some Boca burgers, and took a nap. Which takes me up to ... then I retrieved the several pictures I had taken at the recording session with my phone, got them ready for this update, and started typing. Here's me: I started typing.

Beff, meanwhile, stayed in Bangor this weekend because her faculty ensemble was doing a concert at the same time as BMOP. She, meanwhile, came down with the same cold (or we presume it is the same cold). She also did some shoveling, since it snows more in Bangor than it does here. She also ordered a faucet for the new bathroom online, and that will be the last thing charged to US to procure before the new bathroom takes shape.

This week features the final fitting of the Nygar, the oral surgeon consult, a faculty senate council meeting with the Provost, Beff's Maynard homecoming, and the beginning of the tallying of the tax stuff. Oh lawdy.

Winged Contraption, by the way, got a surprisingly positive reaction. Ezra Sims, obviously noticing that it's pretty thickly scored in a lot of places, made light of my program notes where I mentioned I wanted to try to "write less thickly" for orchestra, and that reminded me of my first symphony. Which I called Symphony No. 1. And the groundwork was laid for Marilyn's appearance in my piece with them next November -- as in, "so Marilyn Nonken is playing his concerto with us in November. Cool, huh?"

This week's pictures begin with an overflow from the UK vacation, namely -- two Glasgow at night shots and a store in a mall actually called "Ravel". Then we have shots from the recording session this morning -- Gil Rose, Lisa Bielawa in the control booth, Joel Gordon setting up microphones, Bob Schultz practicing his part (note the glockenspiel to his left with an extra octave), and the orchestra ready to go -- except for the violas.

And for some reason, this line got laughs: "Oh crap, there's a tuba in my piece".








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