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Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Chatter, a Soprano, a Guitar & 2 Beers

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on October 10, 2018

photo inside Dialogue Brewing by Martin Ly, 10/09/2018Martin Ly photo

So, in the past I’ve written about the wonderful music I listen to on Sunday mornings, put on by ChatterABQ.org in Albuquerque. Then I drink americanos made by the espresso baristas there. Tonight, the concert was at Dialogue Brewing. They have beer. Really good beer. I had two P-Funk Porters while I listened to the music.

Such music. The guitar work by Martin Ly Martin Ly was truly exceptional. He performed El arpa y la sombra (for guitar) by Leo Brouwer, who is an award-winning Cuban composer, conductor, and classical guitarist. I felt the piece was performed by a master, but Leo Brouwer is the real master. Quite a musician. And so really also is Martin Ly. I found a YouTube video of him playing Mallorca on an acoustic guitar, but he played an electric one for the concert tonight. There were other performers as well, such as David Felberg, who makes Chatter happen every week. He played a complicated John Zorn avant-garde piece called Passagen. Quite strange to my ears, but Mr. Felberg plays the hell out of violin or viola, so he was up to the task. After that, Luke Gullickson played a piece called Nothing is Real, by Alvin Lucier, on keyboard and amplified teapot. Yes, I said teapot. He then played another piece on keyboard called Julia, by Bunita Marcus.

If I had gone and only heard the guitar work of Martin Ly, I’d have considered it a well-spent evening. The real treasure came in the second part of the program. All of the musicians performed, and were joined by Jennifer Perez, soprano. The piece they performed was Death Speaks (five parts), by David Lang. Extraordinary. I loved it, even though I try to avoid opera and musicals and such, but not anymore. Jennifer just blew me away with that incredible voice of hers. I was mesmerized by her depth and her emotion. I could listen to her powerful voice anytime, and never get enough. Really, it was like a spiritual experience. Perhaps it was enhanced by the beers, or I was influenced by her striking beauty, but I was carried away. Jennifer Perez

I hope to hear her sing again. I’d love to photograph her.

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Slam Poets and Charles Ives

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on July 29, 2018

Albuquerque’s slam team came to Chatter Sunday this morning. Gabe Reyes, Sophia Nuanez, Rene Mullens, and Bianca Sanchez added some spunk to the Sunday concert, material they are taking to Chicago, to the 2018 National Poetry Slam, Aug 13-18. The week-long festival is part championship tournament, part poetry summer camp, and part traveling exhibition. It is the largest team performance poetry event in the world.

Of course, U.S. composer Charles Ives needs no spunk. His music always takes one in different directions. We listened to his Concord Sonata from 1920. The sonata was divided into four parts: Emerson, Hawthorne, The Alcotts, and Thoreau. He is one of the first American composers of international renown, though his music was largely ignored during his life, and many of his works went unperformed for many years. Sources of Ives’ tonal imagery are hymn tunes and traditional songs, the town band at holiday parade, the fiddlers at Saturday night dances, patriotic songs, sentimental parlor ballads, and the melodies of Stephen Foster. Charles Ives was among the first composers to engage in a systematic program of experimental music, with musical techniques including polytonality, polyrhythm, tone clusters, aleatory elements, and quarter tones, foreshadowing many musical innovations of the 20th century.

The music was performed by a brilliant pianist, Emanuele Arciuli. His repertoire ranges from Bach to contemporary music, leaning towards U.S. music.

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He was joined a few times by Jesse Tatum on flute,072918 (27a) startling us from the darkness behind the audience. It was a great concert. Mr. Arciuli has a passion for Ives’s music you’d have to hear to believe.

And of course, there was a woman in the audience I noticed. I saw her as she entered the building while I was getting my Americano from the espresso baristas. She has a gorgeous smile, and it was a pleasure just to admire her and her beautiful black hair and luscious form.

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Here she is on the far left, applauding the flutist, pianist, and slam team.

I love Sunday mornings.

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Slowly I ….

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on June 17, 2018

Listening to Isao Tomita’s electronic version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition as I write. Tomita p at an exhibition It is far stranger than Mussorgsky ever imagined, of that I am sure. I like some of Tomita’s works very much. This one not so much. Lately I have acquired many CDs of his work. I love his live concert, done in 1984: The Mind Of The UniverseMind of the Universe and have enjoyed his version of Maurice Ravel‘s Bolero, as well as Tomita’s 1974 studio release: Snowflakes are DancingSnowflakes Debussy’s tone paintings. However, I disliked his version of Gustav Holst‘s The Planets so much that I posted it on the CD trading website SwapaCD immediately after listening to it. Someone had already requested it automatically, so I packaged it and bought postage to ship it out tomorrow. I’m a fan of electronic music, but not all of it.

Lazy, lazy day. I was up last night on a movie set until 3am this morning, crawling into bed as soon as I got home. I woke this morning early, but just turned over and went back to sleep until 8:30am. The movie is a local production here in Albuquerque. Seems like movies are being made here every day. I was not a character in this movie, but a background actor, sometimes punching a bag, sometimes watching and cheering a fight, sometimes doing my version of sit ups (touching my toes from a flat position). The movie scenes are for Caged, taking place in a gym. Caged “It is the story of TJ, a young man from a privileged family, who drops out of law school against his mother’s wishes to pursue his dream of becoming an MMA fighter.” I was fascinated by it, and the gym, as this was the first time I’d ever been in one.

I made coffee this morning and fed the two cats. Drank my coffee while playing Microsoft’s daily solitare challenges. Made breakfast. Decided to go back to bed. Slept until 4:30pm. Now, that’s a lazy day! Got up and read for a short while. I’ve been reading Khaled Hosseini’s And The Mountains EchoedMountains I’ve really enjoyed the first half, but could not get back into it today; perhaps I will later this evening. Hosseini wrote The Kite Runner,  but, although I thoroughly enjoyed the movie: Kite Runner, I did not read the book. Hosseini is a good writer, and writes real stories of real people caught up in circumstances of violence and social change beyond their control, sometimes beyond all comprehension.

I’ve switched my music to Tomita’s compilation called Different Dimensions, a CD subtitled “The Ultimate Collection of Future Sounds.” Different Dimensions Hopefully it is not, but it is a good introduction to Tomita’s work. Some are very good, some are fascinating, and some are just odd, which is pretty much how I feel today.

I have also thought about my dad today, on Father’s Day, and changed my Facebook profile photo to his photo, from the 1940s. Dad on skates He and my mom roller skated a lot growing up, and were partnered by their coach for competitions, which they won a lot of, being Tri-State champions at it. I’m told they did not like each other at first, Mom&Dad09031949 but they appear to have gotten over that. My dad died of lung cancer many years ago. I wish he was around. I’d love to pick his brain. Oddly, when I posted that photo of him, all my mom could think of to comment on was the fact that his skates had wooden wheels, as they all did back then. When she commented, I noticed that she had changed her profile picture to a photo of her in 1978. I was living in Albuquerque at the time, and had no money for plane tickets, so I never knew she had changed her hairstyle so dramatically – Mom in 1978 – 1970s big hair. My brother said it’s her Liz Taylor look. I swear I’d never have recognized her on the street in that hairdo. She and my father were divorced by then, and I probably didn’t see her for many years after I left town permanently in 1975. She must have added the flag banner via Facebook, perhaps for Memorial Day. She’s 87 years old now.

No word from my step-daughter Maya today. She has always given me step-dad cards on Father’s Day, but perhaps we’re growing apart now that we no longer make and sell wine together after the winery closed. I had hoped for a call, or a text, or a Facebook message perhaps. She posted photos of her and her dad, and her brother with his young son Zen.

I always enjoy any time I get to spend with her. She’s the one person in my lifetime that I have really loved with all my heart, and I wish I saw her more often. Her smile warms my heart. Me & Maya 2017

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Sunday: Cancer, Chatter, Sonatas and Interludes

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on April 29, 2018

Ran across a wonderful post by my step-daughter Maya this morning. Exactly nine years ago was her last round of dealing with cancer. A tumor had been removed from her brain in 2004, but it regrew and she had chemotherapy. When that didn’t work, she had a type of radiation treatment called a Gamma Knife: several low-energy tightly-focused beams of gamma radiation (think x-rays) are focused from varying angles simultaneously on a tumor. It was followed up with a light regimen of broad-beamed radiation coupled with chemo again. It worked. She has been cancer-free since the end of all those treatments. However, on April 29, 2009, she was in a hospital again. There was a new mass showing on the scan of her brain. Turns out it was nothing more than scar tissue from the radiation treatments. A big scare for all of us, but after relatively minor surgery, she was right back home. So, she likes to remember each of these low or high points in her life. This is what she said:

Choroid plexus carcinoma papilloma: It took me a long time to remember this term, even longer to understand it & even longer to appreciate the significance of it in my life!!!
Choroid plexus: a network of nerves or vessels in the body that produce the cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain.
 – Carcinoma: a cancer arising in the epithelial tissue of the skin or of the lining of the internal organs.
Papilloma: a small wart like growth on the skin (eww! ) or on a mucous membrane, derived from the epidermis, usually benign.

This is a brain tumor usually found in children, diagnosed in me at the age of 21 in the right ventricle of my brain with a part of it benign & another part cancerous…(Not even my brain tumor knew what it wanted ). Removed in 2004 and then revisited on April 29, 2009 to make sure that sucker was gone!

Never worried more or felt so much joy in my life. I’m so happy she’s still in this world.

On Sundays, however, my brain turns to Chatter Sunday again. Wonderful celebrations of music and poetry that brighten my Sundays. I almost did not go. Conor Hanick is a highly acclaimed musician: Conor Hanick

He has performed internationally to wide acclaim in repertoire ranging from the early Baroque to the recently written. In addition to the Kennedy Center, Mondavi Performing Arts Center, the Kultur und Kongresszentrum Luzern, Kyoto Concert Hall, the Dewan Pilharmonik Peronas in Malaysia, Hanick has performed in virtually every prominent arts venue in New York City, ranging from (le) Poisson Rouge and The Kitchen to Alice Tully Hall and all three halls of Carnegie Hall.”

However, what he played was Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano by John Cage. I don’t know if you’ve ever listened to anything by John Cage, but his music is out there, as in weird, meticulous and arresting. It is not what I’d prefer from music. Wikipedia says he is: “A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments.” Uncertain and non-standard, to be sure. I wouldn’t have gone just for that. However, the reason I went was Jessica Helen Lopez, nationally recognized, award-winning slam poet, and former Poet Laureate of Albuquerque, NM. jessica-helen-lopez-head-shot  She is an exciting poet to listen to. Her eclectic, opinionated style fascinates me. She is full of passion, and she resonates with the intensity of a zealot, and the joyful ecstasy of living. I love listening to her. I sat with her and her husband. Meeting him made me wonder what it’s like living with someone like her. Never boring, I’m sure, but I didn’t say that out loud.

So, instead of the usual three-part program: music-poetry-music, Jessica went first. We had our regular two minutes of silence after she left the stage, and then John Cage, for over SEVENTY MINUTES! It was a very long seventy minutes, let me tell you. Twenty sections! 16 sonatas and 4 interludes. John Cage is an acquired taste. This particular piece involves a modified piano: strings cluttered with nuts and bolts, pieces of rubber and other dampening devices and even an eraser. The idea is to sort of calm the pianoness of the piano down, I think. The music is like having a stage full of instruments, like a xylophone, drums, cowbells, wind chimes, and other acoustical things. In that sense, it is fascinating. I’d never heard a piano sound like that before. It offended me, in the sense that I didn’t expect sounds like that from a piano. I am, sadly, rather conservative about some things. If there had been a multitude of acoustic things being struck, played and banged, I’d have liked it for the virtuosity in handling so many items and having them all part of a single composition. However, Cage’s work strikes me as more like a structured structurelessness. I’m thinking that he has a certain structure diagrammed out, and goes back and populates it with random notes. The result, to my way of thinking, is something intellectually striking, but lacking in passion.

John_Cage_(1988) What Cage’s music is, I think, is more immediate, as in, you are here listening now, and your mind is not free to wander. I can, and do often find my mind roaming while I am listening to and enjoying music. With something by John Cage, I cannot. It’s interesting and creative, yes, but not something that inspires me, to either an emotional state, or dreams. In short, I hope I never sit through such a concert again. I love many different types of music: Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, and newer styles of classical music, Cajun, outlaw Country, Country-rock, classic rock, blues, blues-rock, jazz, salsa, merengue, tango, and electronic. However, I only like a particular piece or a singer or musician if there is passion. Even electronic music can have passion – Morton Subotnick’s The Wild Bull, for example. Otherwise, I don’t care. Same for people. I’m not saying that I am an exciting person, but I feel passionate about politics, or the work I do or the people and things I love. I want to see, hear, feel, and touch passion.

Cage’s works? Once is enough. There will be other performances. And, next month there is a Chatter Cabaret, featuring works by Chopin and Messiaen. I’m going just to clear the Cage from my brain.

 

 

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T’rung, Tranh, Bau, etc. & Chatter Doors

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on November 6, 2017

Well, it’s been weeks since I posted. Managed to act in two short independant movies (only two lines each). Had fun. Also did background for the web series T@gged. I can be seen in one episode, since the camera shot two of the main characters directly through me and another guy for two scenes, and then we both were directly on camera in the final scene. Just worked as a data wrangler for a local 48-hour movie project that will be shown on Nov. 15 here in Albuquerque. Can’t say much or post photos of any of that just yet.

However, I did attend Sunday Chatter again. It is chamber music performed 50 Sunday mornings a year, in, currently, an antique door shop. Photos to follow. I’m glad I went, because it was a real treat, again. We were fortunate to have multiple award-winning Vietnamese immigrant Vân Ánh Võ Vân Ánh Võ perform for us. In addition to her hypnotic singing, she also performed with three traditional instruments: a Dàn T’rung, a Dàn Tranh, and a Dàn Bau. The Dàn T’rung is a bamboo instument of a varying amount of tubes, but hers has three rows of 16 bamboo tubes to replicate a full chromatic scale, consisting of three full octaves. Dàn T’rung

The Dàn Tranh is an extraordinary Vietnamese zither, a beautifully crafted instrument, with, at my count 19 strings. Dàn Tranh

There was also a single-string instrument, a Dàn Bau, another type of zither. 110317 (65) .

All of this would have been enough, but in some of her compositions she was joined by two violins, a viola, a cello, bass, flute, piano and percussion.  Did I say extraordinary already? Ah, well, it was. And the music was as beautiful as Vân Ánh Võ herself. 110317 (64) Needless to say, I was doubly enchanted.

In addition to all the music, however, Chatter always has a poet perform. This time it was Arizona native Jaclyn Roessel, a Diné (Navajo) member of several creative educational groups, an alumnus from Arizona State University, museum professional, and winner of several Jaclyn Roessel awards. 110317 (61b)

It was quite a day.  The music of Vietnam on European and Vietnamese instruments, and poetry by a Native American. Much to think about, in terms of musical variety, costly and genocidal wars, and also of rivivals in culture and pride in one’s heritage.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey

by Jaclyn Roessel

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

Please remember everyone will be drawn to the vivacity of your sweetness. Take note of who loves you without wanting more than you can be. Remember, especially, the ones who know you are still growing and leave room for you to be all your beautiful forms at once, as you choose.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

Watch for those whose words align so beautifully with their actions that you lose track of what is said and what is done because the lines of distinction have been erased with intention, attention and devotion.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

Live your promise to be the giant of your dreams, the queen who is king, never bowing down, submitting to anything less than you deserve.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

Your light can brighten the darkest places but don’t fear reaching out for a hand to hold. It’s in the darkness where touch can feel the warmest, where kisses can go deep and love of your true self can reach back into the cave within.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

Remember you come from the heavens. You are not solely stardust but the core of its brightness, your shine will at times be too bright for those around you. Look for the ones who instead of walking away or turn their back on you, sit in your presence with heart-shaped sunglasses so they can continue to stand in your love light.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

You are the goodness of the nectar, the sweetness of the fruit, the genesis of the bloom…you, dearheart, are a gift, hold that truth close.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

Remember you are beautiful and are the strength of your people, your mother, her mother and her mother. You are the pulse of a bloodline that traces the circle we walk around the fire in the Hogan. You are the antidote, the medicine that cures.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

You are a vision prayed into existence, the gift to a people, the leader of the next generation, a vessel of solutions to your people’s heartache. Continue to shine your prismatic rays as you uncover the treasure in the womb of your soul.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

You are not simply a universe…your existence is the past, present and future. You are a resilient multiverse brimming with the light of millions of ancestors and descendants. So rest in the simplicity of your greatness knowing deep within you there is only complexity of the love of the people you are from.

Finally, some of the doors:

 

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Four B(s): Bach, Bukowski, Becktell & Brown

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on October 15, 2017

bach-johann-sebastian  Charles-Bukowski  Nathan Brown  JoelBecktell

So, another inspirational Sunday morning, spent at Chatter, a weekly event feauring music and poetry, and espresso drinks and baked goodies.

Bach is Johann Sebastion Bach, a composer who began decomposing  in 1750. He produced quite a body of work, and wrote some of the best music ever. We listened to his preludes from Cello Suites 1, 2, & 3, interspersed with readings of the modern-day poet Charles Bukowski, who has been decomposing since 1994, and a  little of the poetry of Nathan Brown, who is not dead yet. The music was played on cello by Joel Becktell, also still alive.

Loved the music. Hard to believe that a cello can produce all those notes, because they did sometimes come fast and furious, but so harmonious that one has to listen carefully to notice that. The poetry rocked as well. Here’s a very famous poem of Bukowski’s:

                 so you want to be a writer?

Charles Bukowski, 1920 – 1994

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it. unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don’t do it. if you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your typewriter searching for words, don’t do it. if you’re doing it for money or fame, don’t do it. if you’re doing it because you want women in your bed, don’t do it. if you have to sit there and rewrite it again and again, don’t do it. if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it, don’t do it. if you’re trying to write like somebody else, forget about it. if you have to wait for it to roar out of you, then wait patiently. if it never does roar out of you, do something else. if you first have to read it to your wife or your girlfriend or your boyfriend or your parents or to anybody at all, you’re not ready. don’t be like so many writers, don’t be like so many thousands of people who call themselves writers, don’t be dull and boring and pretentious, don’t be consumed with self- love. the libraries of the world have yawned themselves to sleep over your kind. don’t add to that. don’t do it. unless it comes out of your soul like a rocket, unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder, don’t do it. unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don’t do it. when it is truly time, and if you have been chosen, it will do it by itself and it will keep on doing it until you die or it dies in you. there is no other way. and there never was.

From sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way by Charles Bukowski. Copyright © 2003 by the Estate of Charles Bukowski.

 

We also listened to JS Bach’s preludes for Suites 4, 5, & 6. Powerful stuff, very ably performed by Mr. Joel Becktell.

On Charles Bukowski’s tombstome is written: “DON’T TRY”. That’s all it says. But it is the title of a poem by Nathan Brown, and it also became the title of a book of poems that are a collaboration of works by Nathan Brown and Jon Dee Graham.

Here is Nathan Brown’s take on “Don’t Try”:

                          To spend

even a minute pondering

what he might have meant,

Would be to ignore his advice.

Tricky bastard, that Bukowski.

So, forget about ‘im. He’s dead.

Which would also be his advice,

if ghosts were prone to giving it.

And, his epitaph does remind me

of something dad told me long ago,

right after a more upstanding

deacon stormed out of his study

at the church in a thick cloud

of righteous indignation:

Man… that guy

is gonna overshoot heaven

as sure as hell.

(from: TO SING HALLUCINATED: FIRST THOUGHTS ON LAST WORDS, by Nathan Brown, published 2015  (copyright © Nathan Brown), Mezcalita Press, LLC, Norman Oklahoma.)

It’s such a pleasant and inspiring way to spend my time, especially on a Sunday morning, when, at first I went because I had nothing better to do early on a Sunday, but now I go because there is nothing I’d rather be doing.

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Another Month Begins; Not Bored Yet!

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on August 6, 2017

Last month wasn’t very busy. I was paid to work as a background actor on the TV series Graves, just once, and I worked a few hours on a local independent film for no pay. I only hiked three times. I took a weekend acting class. I had an audition – no word on that. There was a shareholder’s meeting, at the 21-year-old winery I have been working at for the last seven years, to try to figure out what to do next after the death of our founder. I had a CT SCAN/angiogram on my heart with a fancy new machine that looked like a giant metal donut. I left a bit woozy from the drug and the scan. I saw my new heart doctor for the results, and I had a pre-exam for my upcoming annual health checkup. The culmination of July was an acting gig for a 48-Hour Movie project, which is part of an international competition among people who make a short movie in 48 hours from start to finish, including all editing, and that led to two events in August.

Director

That’s me (in hat, sunglasses, scarf) as a fake director for the movie within the movie

So August started rolling right away on the 1st, with a day at the winery netting grapes to keep the birds from eating them. We’re keeping the winery going for now. Anyone want to buy a winery? I think that’ll happen soon. I got the see the 48-Hour movie we made on Thursday August 3rd, along with 13 other shorts, out of 41 total. I decided to celebrate with my fellow Group A participants at local brewery Sidetrack, getting a shrimp po’ boy to eat from Crazy Daves’ food truck outside (to balance the two pints of heavy beer). Since the second group of short movies (Group B) finished while we were there, a few of us wandered over to Boese Brothers Brewery nearby for their after party, and I had another beer. A late night, and it cost quite a few bucks, but it was fun.

CCG movie 2017

The Casting Coffee Group who made the movie

Saturday the 5th, there was a meeting of group I’m part of that made the 48-Hour movie. We’re certain we’ve won several awards, but we won’t know until August 18.

After that, I went to the 11th Annual Gala of the Guerrilla Photo Group, a wonderful collection of photographers, models and makeup people, who not only improved my photography skills, but introduced me to the local movie-making scene. There were lots of friends there, a dozen sexy models, lots of photos to view and to vote on as a favorite. My favorite was of a wonderfully sexy teacher/poet with a book centered firmly between her thighs, but it was already sold.

Had another beer at the Albuquerque Press Club’s bar, so I also visited the Pink Ladies’ food truck for a fantastic carne adovada burrito.

Today it was back to Sunday Chatter, the weekly Sunday morning music concert. This one was not as wildly fantastic as the last one I wrote about, but it was nice. A husband and wife duo played music for cello and guitar that they had rearranged from traditional presentations. An orchestral piece by Gabriel Fauré still sounded damn good for just cello and guitar. Four of Johann Sebastian Bach’s works for harpsichord were recreated by having the guitar play the notes for one hand, and the cello play the notes for the other hand. (No. 8 in F Major, No. 10 in G Major, No. 6 in E Major, and No. 13 in A Minor). Fun!

There followed a piece from Oliver Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time”, but of course, only performed on two instruments. And there was “Allegretto Comodo” by Radames Gnattali, and “Reflexoes No. 6” by Jaime Zenamon. The duo is called Boyd Meets Girl, and they’ve just released a CD of their arrangements.

Boyd-Metcalf

Laura Metcalf and Rupert Boyd

There was some great cornbread too: blue corn meal, corn, cheese, and chile, blue corn two pieces of which I scarfed down with my freshly espressed caffè americanoamericano

25 days still to go in the month of August!

Doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning, and a movie audition in the afternoon. More netting of grapes at the winery on Tuesday, and another shareholder’s meeting next Sunday. Hopefully I’ll have news of our 7-minute movie being wildly successful on the 18th. But, for now, the rest of the calendar for August is empty.

 

 

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Another Extrordinary Sunday

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on June 25, 2017

beethoven  espresso

My favorite Sunday morning activity is “Chatter” at Las Puertas in Albuquerque, formerly known as Church of Beethoven. The music is always different, but along the lines of chamber, symphonic, and other orchestral works; they are sometimes from centuries past or they could be more recent. It is always fascinating and enjoyable. And, being able to enjoy freshly espressed coffee is an integral part of the fascination.

My mind sometimes drifts along during the concert, and today was no exception. After hearing the poet in mid-concert, and during the two minutes of silence before the next musical performance, I was thinking about writing, probably a poem, but at least writing down a (time wise) back and forth monologue, hitting memories that bounce around in my head, a place where time is fluid. Such was briefly my plan for when I would arrive home.

Howsoever, as much as I had enjoyed the music from the first performance, which was a beautiful sextet by Richard Straus (Opus 85), played with passion and virtuosity, I was astounded by the second half of the program: string sextet No. 1 in B-flat major (Opus 18) by Johannes Brahms. Notwithstanding that there were no horns 😀, only six stringed instruments, I was blown away.

Our local trio of musicians (David Felberg on violin, Shanti Randall on viola, & James Holland on cello) were paired up with three members of the Sybarite-5 group out of New York: Sarah Whitney, a tall, dark, passionate violinist, Angela Pickett, tightly focused on viola, and Laura Metcalf, colorfully dressed, exhibiting high intensity on cello. I noticed, or seemed to, that the women showed more emotion while playing. Whitney, although tightly focused on her music, seemed ready to cry at times, as though a sad memory kept threatening to burst though, but sometimes a smile would appear. Pickett was less expressive, but she did smile at the end of each piece. Metcalf was so intense it was entirely palpable from where I sat; I did not see as much emotion on her face as Whitney, but she was clearly enjoying herself, and satisfied with what she was playing.

Sybarite women

Whitney, Metcalf, and Pickett

The men, well, the men were just as focused, expert, and intense, but I never saw a sign of any emotion cross their faces. An odd thing to notice. It was curious, but not important to the concert. I briefly wondered if female musicians are able to multitask memories, emotions and intense playing of music, more so than male musicians who are focused on getting ‘er done right?

At any rate, the Chatter/Sybarite Mash-up was intense and electrifying.  I was nearly jerked around in my seat by the changes in intensity. The music would swell and fade, and change and pop, and reverberate in my head while the musicians gave us their all. The symbiosis of these six expertly played instruments was intensely pleasurable. I’ve heard amazing things at Chatter Sunday before, but this, this just blew me away. Nor was I alone: applause is usually reserved for the end of a particular piece, no matter the stops between movements, but the four parts of the Brahms string sextet each received applause from those who could not hold back until the end. When the concert was concluded, people jumped to their feet with thunderous applause. It was not the usual sort of slow rising by a few, then more, then all; everyone jumped to their feet as the last note fell away.

I like many types of music, as long as it is played with passion. The Chatter musicians and members of Sybarite did not disappoint. They played their hearts out, and gave all of us there assembled an uplifting start to what would have to be a great day.

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