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pierrot lunaire and other moonshine [Nov. 8th, 2009|11:06 pm]
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Today my wife caught an early flight to the deep south for a short business trip. My own Monday flight to California got postponed, so that I will spend the week at home. I went to church, where the pastor spoke about generosity, and the hymns were charmingly traditional. Then I went to Barbecuties BBQ, where I had pulled pork.

In the mid-afternoon I drove to a small, lovely chapel at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, where the Dallas Modern Music Festival presented a free concert of the chamber music group Ars Nova accompanying soprano Jessica Abel, who handled the speech-singing in Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire. I enjoyed the performance very much. Pierrot Lunaire marked an early entry in the atonality sweepstakes, which dismays audiences who want their classical music to be comprised chiefly of Beethoven's Pastoral, Mozart's snappier light opera, and any of the over-performed Haydns (but none of the under-performed ones). Yet the average modern movie-goer hears more atonality at any given science fiction, suspense or horror movie, and the piece's dissonances do not any longer pose a great challenge except to a certain rarified listener. Jessica Abel did a great job, capturing a slice of cabaret and cafe, without either doing the airy archness that some classical singers try to substitute for street smarts in leavened material, nor the Broadway-play staginess that the material could inspire. As might be expected, I found my limited schoolbook German wholly inadequate to follow the songs, but perfectly serviceable to figure out from the lyric sheet which of the 21 songs was being sung.

red headed woodpecker

[appealing soprano Jessica Abel, sans Pierrot-esque neckwear, imagined as a red-headed woodpecker singing about the madness of the Moon]


The attendance was not heavy, but the performance was a treat. I enjoyed not only the Schoenberg, but also the two short instrumental pieces, Joan Tower's "Petroushkas" and Barbara White's "My Barn having Burned to the Ground I can now See the Moon". I hope that Ars Nova presents many more events (this is its first season), as I enjoyed it. They even had a pre-concert hour presentation in which one of the artistic directors, the chamber group and the singer illustrated points about the 21 Pierrot pieces.

After the concert, I drove home and took our dogs for a walk around the pond. It was a gorgeous early November day, with nearly warm weather and a cloudy sky. Few people were in the park. A father pushed a perambulator by, in which sat a child of about 2. She was quite excited to see our dogs. Her father said she had seen them all the way across the park, which was exceptional, as she apparently has an eye condition of some sort. Our dogs behaved like charming champions, allowing the cute little girl to pet them inexpertly, as is the way of small children.

I then uploaded some files to ccmixter for remix. I am involved in co-moderating a project by which musical accompaniment will be created for an art exhibit called "The White Cube". After a week or two of drafting, creating samples and conceptualizing, I was glad to see the project begin to operate. Already one person has remixed the samples. I hope that others at ccmixter, and perhaps beyond, will create ambient remixes from my sample pack and post them at ccmixter by the December 7 deadline.

I went to Market Street, where I had 2 slices of pizza and a little fresh fruit. Then I watched the football game involving the local professional sports team, had a very nice call with my father, and then finished watching the game.

I have a lot to do this week, but I am content.
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