Author Topic: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter)  (Read 15813 times)

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Offline Cato

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter)
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2012, 02:38:25 PM »


And now I've learned that commentary on music can do the same thing. I'm delighted by Cato's attention to detail, his understanding of the purely musical narrative, and his ability to find words that communicate his insights so vividly.


(* pounds the table *)

Well, many thanks to both of you!

Stay tuned for little essays on about half of Episodes and Elegies : I want Paul to give a final approval.

So ask him for a copy of the score, and for the link to the performance.
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Cato

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter)
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2012, 09:18:15 AM »
This is the middle of a little essay written for Paul Nauert's Episodes and Elegies for piano.

Again, contact Paul for a link to the performance and for a copy of the score.

After the Prologue, the First Episode continues with the idea of 9ths, minor and major, still in the air.  The opening bar has the right hand playing a curious twittering from E to F# and then from F to G twice, while the left hand, also in the treble, finds its way from Db to D.  This augurs what will happen in the rest of Episode I: a good part of the piece happens in the middle and upper register, and contains arching figures galloping or even leaping upward (e.g. bars 4-11, 28-31, 40-43), recalling the frustrated flight of the Prologue.  Keep your ears open to the heart of this fleeting episode: a soft and mysterious quasi-C minor theme is played under that curious twittering, now rocking from Gb to F above.  Large and somewhat ironically grave chords marked pesante interrupt the here-and-there merriment a few times, and attempt to have the last word, but the last bar begs to differ!

The musical arches of Episode II  feature runs of notes upward and downward, often culminating in capstones or keystones of 9ths or 7ths (e.g. bars 15, 16, and 26-30).  And the links to the previous sections, pesante chords and a variation on Episode I’s twittering (cf. bars 41-45 and bars 1-8 of Episode I), show us that the two sections are parts of a larger story.  The arching figures give way to a lonely linearity in the final bars (69-95).  An Eb starts the long melody, and there seems to be a struggle among Eb, E, and C to establish the dominance of their respective minor-scale sounds.  A final large, slow arch brings the movement to a close, and also forms a bridge to the First Elegy, whose opening melody in a D tonality gives the impression of a lonely Dalinian landscape, where an enigmatic figure wanders among a few strange yet recognizable objects. 

Surrealism did not give rise to much music: Erik Satie, George Antheil, and early composers of musique concrète were considered candidates.  But at this point in the work it is worth considering whether Paul Nauert has, intentionally or not, forged his own musical bridges into a land beyond reality.  The silences, the unexpected juxtapositions of exuberance with loneliness, the long solitary notes echoing off into bleak, unknown horizons, all create a canvas worthy of Dali, Miró, or de Chirico. 

Elegy I offers us this surreal nature, as it unifies major elements heard in the first 3 movements: e.g. the “D melody” contains both the yearning upward arching of the earlier music and the happy twittering.  During the opening bars, the solo line is joined subtly by a second and then a third voice, and we hear a reminiscence in bars 25-30 of the Prologue’s final moments.   The trinity of voices, a deliciously polyphonic episode, forms a ninth (D-G-E) and fades away into silence.  With tender difficulty, a long unadorned theme starts a descent punctuated with happy, upward dancing pirouettes, but weighed down by low notes in the bass.  The pesante chords of the earlier music reappear as tamed shadows, or as Paul has written, as “little chorales” (bars 70-73, and 83-87) and alternate with shadows of the birdlike calls from Episode I.  The First Elegy ends with a melody in the higher register: the theme ends on D to contrast with a low C in the bass, the interval of the ninth preserving the unifying idea in the work, and also offering us a vast emptiness between the bass and the treble.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2012, 09:30:35 AM by Cato »
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline Cato

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Episodes and Elegies by Paul Nauert
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2012, 09:27:39 AM »
For the essay on the Prologue, see page 1 of this topic.   0:)
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Cato

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter): Episodes and Elegies
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2012, 09:34:32 AM »
Keep your eye on this space!   $:)

I have finished my little survey of Paul Nauert's Episodes and Elegies for Piano.

I want him to read the conclusion first, before I place it here.  So be prepared!  Get those copies of the score back out, and re-listen to the link with the performance.  If you have done neither (???) then send Professor Paul a message requesting such!   0:)
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Cato

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter): Essay on "Episodes and Elegies"
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2012, 04:10:29 PM »
With Paul Nauert's approval, here is the complete essay on his piano work Episodes and Elegies.


Quote
The opening Prologue contains a desire to fly away into freedom: the opening bars contain the instruction to 'bring out the uppermost line' which rises and seemingly wants to escape upward through a quasi-C# tonality.  But then silence intervenes, along with a minor 9th mysteriously cradling a syncopated figure barely rising (bars 4-6).  This dialogue, with variations and marked by silences, forms the structure of the Prologue, as the next bars indicate (e.g. compare bars 4-6 with the minor 9th on A-Bb in bars 16-18).

Of great melancholy is the lonely music in bars 19-28, where the cantabile line desperately wants to burst free, but is brought back down and ends in a variation of those minor 9th figures heard earlier, and it becomes obvious that escape to the stratosphere is not allowed for some reason.  Pathetic, frantic flutterings show that Icarus has crashed.  Of interest is how the fluttering on 16th notes in bars 33-34 contain minor 9th "arpeggios" (the entire up and down begins on F# and ends on G, with an intervening upward Bb-B and downward from D to Db), which link them to the dominant minor 9th figure heard in bars 4-6.  We hear a variation on that motif in bars 36-40, and the silences marking off the two half-note chords in the bass show us that the game is over.  We end mysteriously and even simmeringly in the bass, with that C# submerged with a low E, under a C minor chord, pulsing with its Eb and insisting therefore on the primacy of that minor 9th sound, causing one to sense a doubled minor mood."

After the Prologue, the first Episode continues with the idea of 9ths, minor and major, still in the air.  The opening bar has the right hand playing a curious twittering from E to F# and then from F to G twice, while the left hand, also in the treble, finds its way from Db to D.  This augurs what will happen in the rest of Episode I: a good part of the piece happens in the middle and upper register, and contains arching figures galloping or even leaping upward (e.g. bars 4-11, 28-31, 40-43), recalling the frustrated flight of the Prologue.  Keep your ears open to the heart of this fleeting episode: a soft and mysterious quasi-C minor theme is played under that curious twittering, now rocking from Gb to F above.  Large and somewhat ironically grave chords marked pesante interrupt the here-and-there merriment a few times, and attempt to have the last word, but the last bar begs to differ!

The musical arches of Episode II  feature runs of notes upward and downward, often culminating in capstones or keystones of 9ths or 7ths (e.g. bars 15, 16, and 26-30).  And the links to the previous sections, pesante chords and a variation on Episode I’s twittering (cf. bars 41-45 and bars 1-8 of Episode I), show us that the two sections are parts of a larger story.  The arching figures give way to a lonely linearity in the final bars (69-95).  An Eb starts the long melody, and there seems to be a struggle among Eb, E, and C to establish the dominance of their respective minor-scale sounds.  A final large, slow arch brings the movement to a close, and also forms a bridge to the First Elegy, whose opening melody in a D tonality gives the impression of a lonely Dalinian landscape, where an enigmatic figure wanders among a few strange yet recognizable objects. 

Surrealism did not give rise to much music: Erik Satie, George Antheil, and early composers of musique concrète were considered candidates.  But at this point in the work it is worth considering whether Paul Nauert has, intentionally or not, forged his own musical bridges into a land beyond reality.  The silences, the unexpected juxtapositions of exuberance with loneliness, the long solitary notes echoing off into bleak, unknown horizons, all create a canvas worthy of Dali, Miró, or de Chirico. 

Elegy I offers us this surreal nature, as it unifies major elements heard in the first 3 movements: e.g. the “D melody” contains both the yearning upward arching of the earlier music and the happy twittering.  During the opening bars, the solo line is joined subtly by a second and then a third voice, and we hear a reminiscence in bars 25-30 of the Prologue’s final moments.   The trinity of voices, a deliciously polyphonic episode, form a ninth (D-G-E) and fades away into silence.  With tender difficulty, a long unadorned theme starts a descent punctuated with happy, upward dancing pirouettes, but weighed down by low notes in the bass.  The pesante chords of the earlier music reappear as tamed shadows, or as Paul has written, as “little chorales” (bars 70-73, and 83-87) and alternate with shadows of the birdlike calls from Episode I.  The First Elegy ends with a melody in the higher register: the theme ends on D to contrast with a low C in the bass, the interval of the ninth preserving the unifying idea in the work, and also offering us a vast emptiness between the bass and the treble.

Episode III has similarities hearkening back to Episode I (e.g. both place the hands in the treble for the opening bars, and the upward dancing nature of both will be easily noted).  As Episode III contains in part a sparse, unadorned character punctuated by silences, the last half of Episode II will also easily come to mind.  Thus one hears some connections in Episode III, as if two earlier events in one’s life are now more explicable because of a new one now happening.  The happy “curious twittering” heard in Episode I returns transformed right at the beginning with a major third of A-C#, but now with silence as an accompaniment.  And the “serious” chords which interrupted the merriment in Episode I are now a single mezzopiano 5-note chord in bar 5.  Of interest is the rising-falling theme in bars 9-16, which begins and ends on G#, and then starts again, only to descend to G# in the bass.  Some (usually rising) 16th notes comment on this motif, before taking the stage themselves. This section contains an irregular time signature (14/16) which provides an extra moment of emphatic silence for the descent into the bass, threatening a return of the loneliness of the preceding Elegy.   Two more dancing bars of irregular time dispel the G# motif, until in bars 31-36 its rather quizzical cousin in the treble is quickly absorbed and banished by the irregular 16th notes in the bass, which insist on the last word!

Episode IV (marked energico in the first bar) does indeed continue the energy of the preceding piece, along with variations on assorted elements heard earlier, e.g. the dancing avian struggle for ascension, interruptions of the ascent by “mini-chorales” (bars 13-16), and a long, lonely theme set apart by silence (bars 32-48).  The latter section can be heard as a dim memory of the 3 voices from the opening of the First Elegy.  But again the jauntiness of the other characters in the story chase away the gloom, which makes one last attempt to bring some seriousness into the atmosphere (bars 69-85).  After some rumbling octaves (!) in the bass, 3 quick 16th notes (E-D-G#) get the final word.

Hearkening back with triplets and quintuplets to the Prologue and Episode I, the Second Elegy bounces around a mystery announced in the opening with our familiar 7ths and 9ths.  The whirring notes try to ignore this transformed vox clamantis in deserto  (bars 13-18, marked “bring out the sustained line”), and after a pause the opening motif is heard in a different guise, which the 32nd- note triplets furiously (fff ) try to chase away.  It seems to work, but things are now very different: after a little disorientation (bars 23-24)  the triplets quietly reform.   Then there is a very important pause, and the listener may think that there is not much elegiac about the Second Elegy in comparison to its predecessor. 

I was especially  reminded at this point of Anton Bruckner’s answer as to why his Symphony #2 had so many pauses: “When I have something important to say, I take a deep breath.”  And so it is at bar 28 that one of the most beautiful and mysterious sections of the entire work reveals itself to us, as if we have unexpectedly and unwittingly entered the Holy of Holies.  With the pedal held for the entire section (bars 28-40) the music blends together that opening mystery with the bird-like flutterings, and then, very softly, another chorale (hexachord-pentachord-hexachord), of which only a single C# is held...until the vision fades away.  There is a Scriabinesque mysteriousness at this part of the Second Elegy which is not to be missed. Then we are quickly whisked away and a very low B insists 4 times that what we have beheld is now gone.

As is befitting, the Epilogue is short: it opens with the same note (B) from the Second Elegy’s conclusion, and will strike the listener as a koan in a musical haiku.  The meditation on the mystery continues with fragments of the earlier happiness (e.g. bars 6, 8, and 12), silences, and lonely notes.  Bar 13 recalls the opening of the Second Elegy, and as middle C fades away, it is joined by the eternal wonderment of a Db and a G below.
 

"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter)
« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2012, 09:52:49 AM »
Groovy!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Cato

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter)
« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2012, 03:35:29 AM »
Again, let me recommend Episodes and Elegies to the members here!

Paul's music shows us a different universe of sound, dissonant to be sure in comparison to other universes, but the open ear should detect more than just a dissonant foundation.  Episodes and Elegies reveals a great beauty, and a great emotional range, from joy and playfulness to the loneliness (as I termed it in the essay) of a voice of one crying in the desert.

And so I would hope that the members here will take advantage of the opportunity to contact Paul for a copy of the score and the link for the performance.
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter)
« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2012, 06:39:47 AM »
I was on vacation, so it was not practical to attend to the score/recording.  And now, I'm just back, so it's not practical yet, still. But soon!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline PaulSC

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter)
« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2012, 11:32:54 AM »
Good to hear, Karl!

And a belated public thank you to Cato now that his commentary is complete. He has succeeded in helping me see my own music in a different light.

And … In related news, Nonken will be here in Santa Cruz, California on Thursday, April 5 to play the set again as part of an evening concert and to work with me on a studio recording of them.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 11:41:11 AM by PaulSC »
Musik ist ein unerschöpfliches Meer. — Joseph Riepel

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter)
« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2012, 11:33:23 AM »
Splendid, Paul!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Cato

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter): Paul Nauert
« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2019, 09:27:24 AM »
Has anybody heard of - or from -Paul Nauert recently?

I checked the website for his college, and it seems not to have been updated in some time.

Is my memory that he was suffering the beginnings of Lou Gehrig's Disease correct?
« Last Edit: August 26, 2019, 12:02:12 PM by Cato »
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Cato

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter): Died July 26th
« Reply #31 on: August 26, 2019, 12:01:37 PM »
Such a scandal: Paul Nauert died from Lou Gehrig's Disease on July 26th, and the website of his university has nothing about it!

I found this after digging a little more deeply:


Quote


We are deeply saddened that our alumnus Paul Nauert (GSAS ’97) passed away on Friday, July 26. Paul received his doctorate in music theory in 1997 under Jonathan Kramer's sponsorship. He was an accomplished composer, pianist, and computer programmer as well as music theorist. After graduation he was a beloved teacher and colleague at UC/Santa Cruz. He was chair of the music department when was diagnosed with ALS. His many friends supported him throughout his ordeal, which he confronted with courage, perseverance, and grace. He will be deeply missed.

See:


https://music.columbia.edu/news/paul-nauert-1966-2019
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter): Died July 26th
« Reply #32 on: August 26, 2019, 12:52:13 PM »
Such a scandal: Paul Nauert died from Lou Gehrig's Disease on July 26th, and the website of his university has nothing about it!

I found this after digging a little more deeply:
https://music.columbia.edu/news/paul-nauert-1966-2019


Thanks Cato for the update (below a screen capture from the link - nice to see a pic of him) - ALS is a terrible disease; as a retired GI radiologist, I worked closely w/ speech swallowing therapists, stroke patients were the most common ones examined but there were many w/ progressive ALS - sad that he was 'so young' and talented!  :(


Offline Cato

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter): Died July 26th
« Reply #33 on: August 26, 2019, 05:27:51 PM »
Thanks Cato for the update (below a screen capture from the link - nice to see a pic of him) - ALS is a terrible disease; as a retired GI radiologist, I worked closely w/ speech swallowing therapists, stroke patients were the most common ones examined but there were many w/ progressive ALS - sad that he was 'so young' and talented!  :(



It was an honor for me that he liked my little analysis of his Episodes and Elegies (q.v. above).

I cannot find the link to his score, but Spotify has a performance of the work:

https://open.spotify.com/album/5QBA3xpLrdk22dzkxn2J3S
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Cato

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Re: (Paul's Parenthetical Patter)
« Reply #34 on: August 26, 2019, 05:31:04 PM »
Here is a YouTube version:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/LmGWMUszg7c" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/LmGWMUszg7c</a>
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)