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.