Friday, April 4, 2008

April 4 - Music as a Gradual Process

Morning magic, and record Op. 161 Genre Implosions No. 1: 4 Gradual -- two Gregorian graduals, Psalm 146 and Hec Dies, in juxtaposition, the latter overlapped.

Boy soprano solo (6 bars) in the second movement of Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms for dictation in Theory, with its bluesy melody (Mi and Me), varied rhythms over a basic Do-Re-Mi --


Sol Re Do Re Mi Do Re Mi Do Re Do Me Do Re Do --

and Please Mr. Postman altered harmony...

I vi IV ii V I...

... with an inevitably descending bass and two common-tones at a time for a stretch (since the harmony moves in thirds), at least when harmonizing traditionally.

Thereafter, Marin time, over the Richmond Bridge with views of San Rafael, picking up the April 2008 21st-Century Music, plus post-office and paper grading, then home

on 101 with the Big Rock Ridge looming,

over the divide between Marinwood and Novato,

tilting beyond Mt. Burdell

and Deer Island (a nomenclatural stretch, as it is surrounded by marshlands).

Off I-80 at Cordelia

and up Susuin Valley

where Twin Sisters unite above arbors

and the serene loneliness of a white ranchette

appears threatened by the encroaching development of those conscienceless conceivers of Ranch Solano.

The hills and cows don't seem to know the difference,

the slopes greening up as

the Pants-with-Nobody-Inside-Em Orchard blooms.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

April 3 - Birth, the Sequel

Start yet another new piece today -- 24 Preludes and Fugues ("Standards"), Op. 162, with popular songs overlaid on the J.S. Bach Well-Tempered Clavier, beginning with X. Fuga, in E Minor ("Autumn Leaves"), written, printed out, and sent as a midi file over the internet before heading off to school.

Quiz day, 11th in the series, Chord Sequences with works drawn from Duke Ellington, John Cage,

Bela Bartok, Jester Hairston, Richard Rogers, Olivier Messiaen,

Muddy Waters, and

Richard Berry.

Record the new fugue in the lab, Harpsichord 1 setting with generous amount of reverb.

Home, and then right out again with Harriet, back to Napa and Dry Lake Canyon,

for a lovely, though fairly shady, walk, with seemingly Turkish spires peeking through the trees

and wires.

Cars are bearing down

and trucks are veering round,

so it's time to decamp to dinner al fresco at Joe's on the new patio adjacent to the new park and new walkway along the old Napa River.

Back again, and write X. Preludium (prelude) to go with the fugue above, this opener a more overt usage of the pop standard than in the imitative counterpoint that follows.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April 2 -Birthday Behemoth Beatles Beam-Up

In the lab recording Mice and Men, Act V, Scene 1 C with vocals (Curley's Wife an octave up) and a cow crescendo of barn sounds (raw material also used in recording of Act IV opener), which Doug, Sebastian, and David seem to enjoy.

Then off to William Loney's in Oakland for a Steven Clark Amok Time rehearsal -- show will be up again at Boxcar Theatre on April 14, info and production / rehearsal shots soon at

Captain Kirk -- William Loney
Mr. Spock -- Karl Coryat
Dr. McCoy -- Mark Alburger
Lt. Uhura / Stonn -- Suzanna Mizell
Mr. Chekhov / T'Pring -- Cynthia Weyuker
T'Pau -- Susan Clark
Composer / Director -- Steven Clark

Ah, yes, the birthday -- home with Harriet late for cake and ice cream -- we'll celebrate a bit more tomorrow with a Napa adventure.

Meanwhile... good to hear from Bette, George, and Sorrel... decidedly lower key festivities than last year's big 50th...

Before all this, Theory dictation/harmony of Paul McCartney's Yesterday (7-bar main theme)


Re Do Do
Mi Fi Si La Ti Do
Ti La La
La La Sol Fa Mi Re
Fa Mi Mi
Re Do Mi Re La
Do Mi Mi

I vii III7 (V7 of vi) vi IV V I V6 vi II (V of V) IV I

with the nicely ambiguous interplay with D Relative Minor --
reminiscent of the Renaissance Quando Ritrovna of Constanzo Festa...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April 1 - Fuels Day

Driving hither and yon today, as is so often the case, but first write up Marin Symphony for Commuter Times, below


Aaron Copland once said something to the effect that
music is pretty much about the melody, and, while this is way overdrawn, there is still much to be said about the notion.

The Marin Symphony's "Season of the Silver Screen" continued on March 30 with a program that was less cinematic but rather more anamnestic.

OK, I admit -- had to google that last word for dramatic effect: it means, according to, "the recollection or remembrance of the past; reminiscence" and it brings to mind the memorability factor in music.

I'm home now. I'm remembering the music of the concert. What do I remember, just off the top of my head, without referring to my notes, but rather, instead, just the notes of the concert that I can remember?

The Haydn Cello Concerto, with its opening thematic gambit of a demonstrative C, followed by dotted "long-short" rhythms B C D E F and the cadential (ending) phrase of F E D E F C B C.

Catchy tune, which I've seemed to know all my life, and indeed the piece was astoundingly only relatively recently re-discovered (1962) at just about the time I was tuning in.

Also memorable was Hai-Yi Ni's animated and elevated playing, bringing a still-youthful demeanor and freshness to the endeavor as well as the experience of a solo career that dates back to 1991.

Keeping on the Aaron Copland citations, this is an actual quote: “A melody is not merely something you can hum.” And this definitely came to mind when recalling the sometimes-impressive efforts of Pierre Jalbert in "Fire and Ice," a 20-minute work that comes with a resounding several concluding minutes of excitingly strident percussion that forced its way into the consciousness.

The proceeding "Ice" was an age of stilled strings and shimmering by-now-a-bit-over-used bowed vibraphone strokes that left its own glacial moraine in the mind.

And as for Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 7, here's the composer on the subject -- "Wherever I go, I have nothing else in my mind but my new symphony, which must be such as to make a stir in the world, God willing."

And here's the cinematic Herr Rosenberg in Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus"... "A young man trying to impress.... Too many notes."

And, while this is unfair, and probably irrelevant, and Dvorak was not all that young at 44 when he completed this symphony, still we can hear the composer working hard to astound.

And the Marin Symphony gave it a gorgeous run, from the purely sonorous side of the street. And Dvorak provides symphonic solutions here that are not always the expected ones, and that go beyond some received norms.

Still, what remains? For that, his best symphonic workouts were next to come in his remaining two symphonies.

What lingers in the mind is that the composer had a ways to go. But that the Marin Symphony has come a long way, and continues of late to produce quality concerts on a par with the best.


Theory dictation is second part of Richard Rodgers's Do-Re-Mi, with increasing harmonic rhythm, followed by bits of Olivier Messiaen and blues.

Evening class a conclusion of music from Alban Berg through Dmitri Shostakovich and Messiaen, then Left Bank with Doug and Owen, and finally home to Harriet and page 17 of Variations on Americana orchestration.

The birthday hits tomorrow....

Monday, March 31, 2008

March 31 - Above and Beyond

Record Credo of Genre Implosions No. 1 and do orchestration of Variations on Americana, astoundingly through page 16.

Before this, help Nick Montes re GarageBand, and do a demo recording of Difficult from Vocal Sonatina No. 1 ("Spitzer"), ultimately with Helium Voice which maybe, possibly, kinda is a keeper -- actually finishing it at home.

Previous to that, Richard Rodgers Sound of Music: Do-Re-Mi first 16 bars in Theory for dictation, sight-singing, and harmony -- how can one resist the apparently only other song to feature solfege on sequential notes of a scale since Guido d'Arezzo's Hymn to St. John? One can't.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

March 30 - The Journey Out

Time to leave the Vaca Mountains and English Hills again, at least for awhile,

turning and getting on I-80, the northside of the Lagoon Mountains as a bumpy dark green horizon,

the south side of the Poverty Hills starting to sere out against rogue cumuli.

Harriet's driving, so I get to take slightly better pictures than normal of some of the 680 sights, including Long Barn and its backing fingers of vegetated canyons reaching up to the Sulfur Springs summits,


the Hovel Hills,

and Horse Farm

On beyond, approaching cloudier conditions near Orinda,

up to

and through the Caldecott Tunnel

for another rehearsal of Antigone: III-V and San Rafael News at Berkeley's Chamber Arts with Eliza, Kristin, Beth, and Janet;

then to the City for a brief practice with John Partridge, checking the Goat Hall mail, dropping the PHNH key off with Erling, lunching in the chill of Connecticut Yankee, and checking out the Phoenix Theatre near Union Square (an interesting 49-seat venue six floors up in the Native Sons Building) -- ultimately heading to Marin, approaching the Rainbow Tunnel

through the 101 Headlands Canyon,

down the Waldo Grade with Mt. Tam rising.

Stopping at the Strawberry Starbucks yields views north to Horse Hill,

west to an outlying eminence in greater Mill Valley,

and south back to Marin City and the highlands beyond.

It's Symphony night, but we're early, so we take our leisure by driving the long way around China Camp, three-quarters circling San Pedro Mountain,

past the Brick Yard,

to the heroic viewpoint at Rat Island Cove, where Mt Burdell looks great

at any distance.

So does the isle itself

(just offshore of the picnic area),

a spot of singularity,

as distinctive a presence as the shadowy Turtleback beyond.

We arrive at the Civic Center, with Frank Lloyd Wright's singular spire,

and views of the north slope of San Pedro Mountain (across from the druid-circle-flowers of the duck pond's artificial island),

the eccentric light sculpture in the round-about (one assumes Frank Lloyd Wright's own?), and

Mt. Tam glowing in the half-light beyond the parking lot.

Concert is fine (and in color, live) and will be reviewed tomorrow, appearing in Commuter Times this Friday, and excerpts at and

Page 4 of Variations on Americana orchestrated upon return.