Sunday, November 4, 2012

November 4, 2012

Breakfast was a cheese omelette, bacon, orange juice and coffee. Dinner last night was mahi mahi burgers and salad. Lunch was Buffalo wings at Halfway Café. Temperature extremes since last update 27.1 and 73.8. Music Going Through My Head as I Type This All Night Long Large Expenses since Last Update parking at Logan Airport, $95; hôtel in Queens, $110 for two nights(!); various dinners in Brooklyn and Queens $Arm; Christmas gifts $230; Yaddo donation $1000; furnace work $395; The Maids $195. Companies That Have Not Covered Themselves in Glory Delta Airlines for the mammoth security line at Logan Airport Companies That Have Covered Themselves in Glory Delta Airlines, for the extremely fast-moving security line at Salt Lake City Airport; Cubby's in Provo for the Buffalo fries Pointless Nostalgic Reminiscence I was a total loser at swimming lessons that were given at the Cadillac Motel Pool (as I remember) in St. Albans. While others in the beginner class did floating and simple strokes and such, I and another friend named Randy were stuck on Rhythmic Breathing all June and July. It was not until we went camping on Island Pond that I isolated myself at the beach, bobbed on the water a bit and finally straightened myself out and ... floated. Within a minute I tried a simple swimming stroke, and the dog paddle. I could swim. The next summer I went through the Advanced Beginner and Intermediate swimming lessons. Then I stopped. There's a lesson about composition and taking risks here, but it's a dumb one.  Number of Haircuts I got last week 0. Cute Cat Things to Report now they compete at night to sleep as close to my armpit as possible; and of course they go straight for the catnip patch when they go outside. This week's made-up word dagolia, the corner portion of a sandwich that didn't get any mayonnaise or mustard. Recommendation and professional letters written since last update 23. Something I did recently for the first time deposited checks to my BofA account by taking pictures with my phone in the BofA mobile app. Fun Davy Fact you won't read anywhere else I have four blogs (soon you'll read that elsewhere). Photos in my iPhoto Library 22,414. What I paid for gasoline recently $3.73, $3.63, $3.69 in Maynard, $4.25 on the Merritt. Current projects vernacular dances for piano, 100 préludes for piano.  Instead of watching TV, read these sticky gold stars, the corner of the bedroom, some wainscotting I forgot about, a head of steam.

I am weaning myself from Earthlink and the crapfest software I've been using for these updates since 2002. That's a bit more than ten years, for those of you who are being mathematically inclined. Thus this blog now on blogspot, made much less cumberful for me. Heck, I can put in pictures and hyperlinks and embed videos very easily, unlike the old News. For instance, here's Jonathan Keith, a BYU student playing my second étude from memory!




And why was Jonathan Keith from BYU playing BAM! from memory? That's a teeny part of what this update is all about.


For you see, hear, read, and smell, my last update over Earthlinkwards was October 5, so there's a month's worth of stuff up on which to catch. So, first my blogroll and what they're all there for.


ziodavino is for my musings on music, and it's semi-serious. I'll stop when I get to 100 posts, and I currently have 75. I also keep professional pages there (like list of compositions, recordings, etc.) and other stuff being rescued from the Earthlink page.


ziodavino music is there to organize, in a sensical way, all the videos and stuff that are on YouTube and vimeo, and what have you.


ziodavino mobile was originally started as a place to put pictures and stuff that I could post directly from my iPhone, say, if I was on the hammock, etc. Now it's a place to put pictures and stuff of just about everything I do. 91 posts there in October alone.


ziodavino news, which you are reading right now, replaces News on my Earthlink webpage, which means I don't have to start up the computer with the vastly inferior operating system in order to do an update. Nor do I have to choose a bunch of pictures and laboriously reduce the resolution to fit the blog's format. Hey, computers have changed a little bit since the first News in 2002.



Thus is it much easier simply to stick in, say, a picture of the cats enjoying the view from the computer room window, taken on October 11. And wrap some text around it.

So, on October 11, there I was, in the computer room, and the cats wanted to be able to look out. So I opened the window for them, and they looked out. They looked so cute that I snapped a picture. Later, I put it into my new blog on the same day that I created it. And I wrapped text around it.


But starting earlier. Students have been learning species counterpoint since at least the last update, and we are currently in the home stretch. Fifth species ends on Wednesday, and then we go back to the textbook, where some hilarity may or may not ensue. And in orchestration, we have been through all the winds and brass, percussion, and band writing. The students are doing remarkably well — Frank even gave some nice lines to the less-appreciated band instruments, meaning that in a real world situation, they would all make lifetime contributions to his 401(k) to show their appreciation.


Meanwhile, Beff and I continued on our gonzo semester with trips to Utah and Queens/Brooklyn. First things first. I gave a Barlow lecture at BYU, wrapped inside a two-day residency, during which much stuff was done by me. It was a gloriously fun two days, and I even got a hôtel room with a fridge and a stove. I used neither.


I was booked on the only available direct flights from Boston to Salt Lake City and back (Delta, who says it is ready when I am), and picked up by Joseph, whom I had known from the Barlow Endowment Board years earlier. The hôtel was 50 feet from the Provo River, which is a fact that you didn't need to know.



On Monday the 15th, I had a whirlwind day that included eight half-hour composition lessons with BYU students, lunch with a view (also with students), and a coaching with four amazing BYU piano students, all of whom learned études from Book I and memorized them. It was pretty spectacular. And after this coaching, the seven of us — pianists, piano teacher, Steve Ricks — went out to eat at Cubby's, which is noted locally for its Buffalo fries. We destroyed (as in, ate) four orders of them in addition to our sandwiches. And we saw that it was good.

The next day (which would be Tuesday, because it's always what follows Monday) I had five more composition lessons to teach, lunch with students, an early morning rehearsal of Hyperblue (one of the hardest piano trios ever written, and, in this case, written by me), and the Barlow Lecture in the afternoon. I talked about me.


And then was the evening concert, which was quite well attended despite the Presidential debate happening at the same time. I did a little spiel about each of my pieces before it started, and for some kooky reason I said I wrote E-Machines before I was born. I riffed on that more as the evening went on, and everyone got bored with that joke, including me. After the show, there was back-patting, and dinner with students in downtown Provo.


The next day a van service took me and a bunch of strangers to the airport, I got in what seemed like an impossibly long security line, and was through it in eight minutes. Yes, eight minutes. Unsurprisingly, I got into a plane, and then after it got to Boston, I got out of the plane. While in the plane, I neglected to turn off my iPhone, and nobody died. The phone was nearly spent, though — what with all that searching for service and all. I drove home in rush hour and it didn't hurt a bit. Then the next day I did the teaching expected of me.


Speaking of expected of me — my invisibility cloak wore off, finally. I will, at the Dean's request, be chairing a committee, the details of which I guess I'm not supposed to say. Also, one week from today, I will be giving a demo class for prospective students and their parents who are visiting campus. Putting together logistics when it's a music class happening outside of the music building — that's been the hardest thing, what with the keyboard and stereo playback, etc. My short demo lecture is When Composers Fake Left And Go Right, about deceptive harmonic motion, as it looks to a theory student. Naturally I will use the Beach Boys, Schumann, Mahler, Steve Winwood, Mozart, and Puccini.


Also, I ordered 13 quarts of pickles from PickleLicious and The Pickle Guys. I have them now. They are exactly what the Doctor ordered. Given that I have a PhD.


The day after I resumed teaching, Beff and I up and drove to Queens, where Beff's sister had gotten us a hôtel for not much money at all. It rained much. The hôtel self-described as a LaGuardia hôtel, and we thought it'd be a long slog to Beff's gig in Brooklyn, and ...

Wait. Okay. So Beff had a gig in Brooklyn. At the Firehouse Space, which is managed by our old friend Sandra. Geoffy and Maria were to join her for an hourlong concert of Beff's music, and I was tech guy — meaning, I pressed Play for the two video pieces she did. And adjusted volume on the fly, and all that. And having a LaGuardia hotel seemed like it'd be way a long way away. But no, it was a mere 3.3 miles, as the taxi flies, from the gig. And we saw that it was good. We took a flying taxi through the amazingly dense traffic on 495 to the Firehouse Space's area, checked out the neighborhood, and used Yelp to find a nice place to eat. And so we did. Then, owing to the neighborhood (near Graham station on the L), we caught a gypsy cab back to the hotel — no medallion cabs were in evidence, but when we stood on Metropolitan Ave. and gestured for a cab, three of them veered in our direction.


On the next day, we took a long walk in the neighborhood, noted lots of slate rooves (roofs?) and a gigantic graveyard, and met Beff's sister Ann and her son Jack at our hôtel. We drove to the gig, Ann and Jack went into Manhattan for fun, Beff had an interview with Frank Oteri for some reason or another, I bonded with Sandra's dogs, and up is what stuff got set. We did an early lunch at a place called Mother's (I think), and then it was gig time. Geoff and Maria came and rehearsed, an audience materialized from thick air, beer was had, and the gig happened. It was pretty cool. Hey, there were as many Westergaards there as I have ears!

So then back we drove, after getting some takeout Chinese for the hôtel, and the next day we up and drove right back to Maynard. Then stuff got done. And Beff did her drive back to Maine early on Monday morning instead of her customary Sunday midday time.


The following weekend was L'Enfant weekend. Beff and I saw L'Enfant et les Sortilèges at the Boston Symphony, and it was fantastic. And we ate at Legal Seafoods before it, so that was good, too. Beff could not stay the whole weekend, though. She had to leave Saturday morning, in order to be at a recital by one of her students that afternoon.

So, then. On Saturday morning I drove into Boston. And why? For the dress rehearsal of my fourth symphony (or Symphony #4 "Scare Quotes", as it said on the program). It was a concert of the New England Philharmonic, whose composer-in-residence I am, and it was my first time hearing it (an earlier rehearsal was interfered with by our trip to Brooklyn, which is not the right way to put it). The dress did not go so well. So Richard Pittman, the conductor, did another dress rehearsal of it, and it sounded much, much better; and I made me a movie of it. So I drove back home, after which I stopped driving. And that night John Mackey joined me in the audience for the premiere, and it was better still. I don't like the first movement, still, and John said he likes it. So I bought him a melodica.

I don't have the recording of the performance yet. When I receive it, I will have it.

And moi? Then, of course, more of that teaching thing, and, when time allowed, some writing of the third of the three vernacular dances for piano. This one is going very slowly owing to there being nearly no time to work on it, and also owing to the notes not coming out right the first time. Indeed, this third movement is one of my most-revised pieces for some while.


Oh yeah. There was a hurricane, and it was not known whether to call it Sandy or The Frankenstorm. After we got an e-mail from the President of Brandeis telling us school was on as scheduled, the Governor gave everybody in the state the day off. So I had Monday off, waiting and waiting for calamity, and early in the day there was just light wind and mist. I walked to Shaw's (I had closed up the car in the garage, and it's a pain getting the durn garage door to move at all) and got bagels and some other provisions, and by lunch time the wind had kicked up. I picked up some branches from the road, and hunkered up. Beer flowed. Power went out for five seconds five times. Then it went out for an hour, came back, and went out for an hour again. That made me unhappy.


The next day there were a few dozen small branches in the driveway, two medium-size branches also in the driveway and one large pine branch in the yard. Large pine branches fall in every storm, so that was unremarkable. I needed to saw the big branch into pieces, so I did. And then I drove to BJ's in Hudson for firelogs and other provisions. They were closed on account of no power. So I drove to the BJ's in Natick, got the stuff, had to deal with several storm-related detours, and back I got. No biggie.


Then I saw that another old tree had fallen in the forest abutting the dam and taken out a bunch of power lines on Taft Avenue — parallel to our driveway and about 100 feet from it. Taft Ave. didn't lose power after Irene, so it was their turn. After much delay and then much chainsaw noise, they got their power back Wednesday night, and all was good. I did my teaching, and then I stopped. And Beff was here for the weekend.


Though ... on Thursday I noticed that the shower water wasn't as hot as usual, and then noticed that the heat hadn't come on. No amount of cajoling, by me, could make the furnace start up. *soupir* Thus did I have to go to teach, from which I called Papalia about it, and they scheduled a guy to come out on Friday. Meanwhile, I was to speak for Travis's class of composers at Gordon College, so out there I drove — it's on the North Shore — and met Travis, did the gig, and drove back in rush hour — which was particularly silly because of lots of Frankensandy detours that don't usually exist. I drove right through the center of Concord, that's how screwed up the detours were. Beer was then had, and by me. And on Friday, furnace guy said something something something flooded, extremely rare, gimme 395 bucks. And then we showered.

Also. More of the Earthlink wean has included putting Davy's Lexicon into the ziodavino blog. And we saw that it was good. We also saw that it was goo.

Upcoming, I will be doing Phase I of Karel Husa Visiting Professor shortly. Before that, it's the deceptive harmonic motion thingie at the 'Deis. And then it will be time to prepare for Thanksgiving. Hayes and Susan are coming for that, and we are going to the Gardner Museum the day after Thanksgiving.


It's been traditional to have pictures at the end of these updates, but there are already lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of them at zio davino mobile. Here are a few anyway. But first, my finger tentacles.



The Provo River



Rosé in Brooklyn.



Taft Avenue after Frankensandy.


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