Thursday, January 31, 2008

January 31 - Birth and Transposition

Composer Brian Holmes

who plays a multitude of brass instruments, including garden hose (topped with a French horn mouthpiece) -- which he performed during his opera Fun with Dick and Jane

during Fresh Voices

at The Thick House

several seasons back, featuring Sarah Hutchison (same series as premiere of my opera after Tennessee Williams's Camino Real) --

and who goes online by the monicker Cabbage Horn (whence the opening picture above), checks in with,

"Happy Birthday Happy Birthday Happy Birthday Happy Birthday" filling up a comment post at

I delete it hastily, tell'em thanks, but it's not my birthday...

He writes back, "Oh, it's Philip Glass's


What else could my response be than,


Oh I

Oh I get

Oh I get it

Oh I get it now"?

Quiz 3 for the Music Theoreticians, with musical examples drawn from the Northern Arapaho Rabbit Dance (Dear Sweetheart),

Gregorian Chant,

and the Scholia Enchiriadis.

In the lab thereafter, to record the original chamber score (English horn, clarinet, voice, and harp) of

Mice Suite No. 2:
I. Breathsong
II. Tartsong I
III. Tartsong II
V. Deathsong I

Full orchestration of IV. Dancesong, previous small orchestration of VI. Deathsong II, and the chamber-score-on-GarageBand VII. Hartsong seem to be appropriate for now.

Next, on to Marin, via California Route 4 between Martinez and Hercules (shot is eastbound on a considerably sunnier day),

over the Richmond Bridge, with its view of Mt. Tamalpais,

to San Rafael

and environs to check the post box and pick up the February 2008 issue of 21ST-CENTURY MUSIC (

Grade papers at Celia's

eventually finding the way up to Novato

(N.B. it's dark by now) to drop off the new Mice Suite recording to Suzanna.

Then it's over the lonely flats of Route 37,

through the Sulfur Springs Mountains

near St. John Mine,

and home, putting up Block 7 from Camino Real on the myspace site, featuring Brian Rosen

as Gutman.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January 30 - Glorious Day

Page 6 of Mice and Men, Act V, Scene 1 A "Jus' feel that hair" prepared for publication.

Theory dictation is Rex Coeli (Glorious King) from the Scholia Enchiriadis (c. 850), but certainly not in the original notation,


as quickie, first-part-only bass line, then we all provide upper harmony as directed on the boards and sing same, with the old oblique-motion gag. Finally, intriguing piece from Curtis Cochran featuring IM7 iim7 iiim7 and IVM7 in Bb.

Doug and Mark Steidel like the looks of the blogspot sites, and consider starting a composer site and a travel site respectively. Trying to find a picture of Mark, find one of Owen Lee instead, looking like he's ready to start a latter blog himself!

Home along not nearly such an adventuresome path, via local Mexican joint with Harriet, the Vaca Mountains shining away in the distance (although not as golden as in this summer shot).

The evening slip-sliding away, cruising to great heights and putting up the January 2008 issue at, a few medieval composers at, and images from The Lord's Prayer, Variations and Theme, Interrupted Interludes, The Twelve Fingers, Henry Miller in Brooklyn, The Playboy of the Western World, and The Pied Piper of Hamelin at

Also put up sound file of Op. 107 Out on the Porch: II. I'm Already in Trouble at

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

January 29 - Bwa-Ha-Ha

So Harriet gets an email from Beth Henry (that's her above playing Widow Quin against my head-damaged Old Mahon in our opera on John Millington Synge's comedy, The Playboy of the Western World) which includes an mp3. H can't download it on her computer, so I stop what I'm doing, log on, download the sound file and it plays back a voice, menacingly,


That's it.

Ah, technology. What a joy... All in good fun.

And, appropriately enough, with that classic sinister sound, it's Dies Irae Day for the Music Theoreticians, so we have

but certainly not in alto clef in the third week of the course (referred to, but actually never actively utilized in first semester -- there seems like enough else to do). This will be keyboard solfege for next week.

We look at nice pieces by Joel Davis and Ira Feldman, play and talk also about Erik Satie

and the harmonic ambiguity of Gymnopedie No. 1 - are those GM7 and DM7 chords IM7 and VM7 in G or IVM7 and IM7 in D? Turns out, the latter, given key sig and ultimate goal, but initially, one can be led astray...

I am led astray, wandering over to Mimi's for lunch, grading papers in a joint w/ internet access, and even an electric outlet. What more could one want?

The world turns beautiful upon leaving -- shredded stern clouds and patches of sunshine,

crucifix lightpoles,

ruddy trees counterbalanced with the harsh metal of stadium lights and solar pannels in the DVC parking lot,

cars huddled against the cold,

a glowering Mt. Diablo across the sports field,

naked russet branches against the torn sky,

the Music Building in a surreal glow.

Inside, hours before class, the room is empty save for a double Mark;

a few students hang in the hall (composer Sebastian Najand, a new student, and tenor David Chavez);

and open lab time at the DVC Music Technology Center remains a hotbed of activity,

the latter watched over by Doug Michael.

The Music Literature class runs Medievally, from about 400 and Boethius (c. 480)

to Guillaume de Machaut (c. 1300-1377) and 1400,

with a little Kingdom of Heaven (the opening scene's evocative lyre and percussion),

plus Monty Python and the Holy Grail (the penitente-head-clobbering parallel-organum Requiem bit).

Quick quiz and it's time to head home, empty classroom again (reverse image from the reflective window glass),

fifth page of Mice and Men, Act V, Scene I C "Jus' Feel That Hair" prepared for publication and then prepare for temporary oblivion.

Check email just before retiring, and Maggie Tennenbaum

requests an mp3 of her marvelous recording of The Proposition

from Cats, Dogs, and Divas (after Harriet March Page, the CD just recently completed)

that she may post on her website -- a request I am delighted and honored to honor.