Friday, February 29, 2008

February 29 - Leaping Lizards

It's not really an urban commute if one passes one of these puppies from time to time. And it is indeed time for a little country music -- that is, music from our country, but first we have to get there

as the fog exposes one of the Buckhorn nipples

and sends a chill blanket careening down towards Long Barn

and a crisp line at Horse Farm

where the world is reduced to an unknown banner of blue, white, and green,

the simpler the better,

with perhaps a running fence,

and the land looks elemental -- be it Stonewind (from the north)

Summit (from the south)

or the Rill,

near a first glimpse of Trash Valley (true to form, arguably trashy),

though Eden remains, well, Eden -- untouched.

Theory dictation is Charles Ives's

Variations on America (the Spanish variation [well, as it was also originally an English tune, guess this is not quite so American after all, yet as a heterogenous blend, maybe still so] with other excerpts below):

Melodically, F harmonic minor: Do Do Re Ti Do Re Me Me Fa Me Re Do Re Do Ti Do
Harmonically, i iio6 V7 i6 V7 i iio6 i64 V7 i iio6 i6 V7 i to M6 downbeat

then in the lab to record Antigone: I-V (V. Where Is Your Pain above and below) and

The Bald Soprano: XVIII. The Fire.

Next, leaping over to Marin,

the ascent of the Richmond - San Rafael Bridge, with Mt. Tam beckoning,

sheltering San Quentin in its bosom (and what happened to the sunshine?).

Dropping the March 21st-Century Music Journal ( and off at the printers, with an interview re Frederic Rzewski's

The Fall of the Empire, then

time to head home for episodes 6-9 of I, Claudius, with Caligula (in this case, a young John Hurt in his first major role) threatening.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

February 28 - Time Warp Again

After morning fun and games, it's Quiz 7 in Theory, with excerpts drawn from late Baroque through early Romanticism, including works of J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach (above,

(his Solfeggietto, with its reverse use of C harmonic minor in beats 3-4 of measure 2), W.A. Mozart, and Franz Gruber,

plus Frederic Chopin's Prelude in B Minor.

Might be auspicious here to compare above with XV. Chopin from Op. 107 Out on the Porch.

And let's just throw another movement from same in there: XVI. Family Myth (based on Muddy Waters's Hoochie Coochie Man)

And since we're troping along here, how about XIII. Left-Handed Pisces (auspicious number, appropriately enough, derived from George Crumb's Pisces from Makrokosmos, Volume I)

Return home to reload, then blasting to SF via I-80, past the nipply Buckhorn Mountain,

the sinuous northeast quadrant of the Sulfur Springs Mountains...

(writing this at rehearsal, which just ended -- heading home, will continue there...)

...with its precipitous slopes,

rills, and rolling savannas;

the anomalous St. John Mine Hill Farm;

and the jump-off of Vallejo Cliffs.

Then it's over the still-relatively-new Carquinez (Zampa) Bridge,

by Crockett,

Refinery Canyon,

the long marches of housing at Hercules,

and a couple of herculean highrises -- at Albany Hill,

and Emeryville (plus a 9/12 threatening seagull -- although actually heading away),

with details

downright abstract.

Ahead, George Lucas's loading-dock-cranes-inspiration for the Imperial Walkers,

through Yerba Buena Tunnel over the suspension section of the Bay Bridge,

with views of a distant Mount Tamalpais;

a closer, spotty San Francisco;

and the foggy spine of the city, somewhat obscured by that alarming new tower.

A man searches for housing, out of reach in the metaphorical billboard,

as Potrero Hill looms up beyond I-280,

to the exit at 18th Street.

And here we are, cresting the hill at 19th and Texas, looking West to Sutro Tower, with Goat Hall in silhouette to the south (left),

but on we go, looking south at 20th and Connecticut,

ending up at Potrero Hill Neighborhood House.

The view north is impressive and so is the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra rehearsal -- with pictures over at as of March 1.