Started by BachQ, April 07, 2007, 12:21:26 PM
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Quote from: Karl Henning on May 29, 2023, 09:42:52 AMIt's Memorial Day in the US, and the MFA has an Open House: free admission for Massachusetts residents, including free admission to the special Hokusai exhibit. There's a Lego interpretation of the Great Wave
Quote from: Pohjolas Daughter on May 29, 2023, 09:52:32 AMImpressive!And lucky you getting to go...hopefully some of the veterans are taking advantage of this today too.PD
Quote from: Karl Henning on May 29, 2023, 10:07:22 AMAnd, my obligatory visit to the Chihuly Tower
Quote from: Karl Henning on June 02, 2023, 04:17:10 PMI've not contributed much to GMG lately, let alone to this thread. I had my weekly Physical Therapy today. He had to take it a bit easy on me today, mostly out of consideration of the day being such a scorcher (we hit 90° today) ... between the after-PT weariness and the incoming rain, I was horizontal until a bit after 5PM. Still feeling beat, but I thought I'd offer an update, unglamorous as it is. I've said before, so I apologize if there's the sound of a broken record, the recovery of my left hand is slow going, and in terms of my perception of restored function, it's not a straight line. That's that, so far. Musically, compositionally, before my stroke I had tons of steam, and could juggle more than one project at a time. In my present reality, I still do not feel much motivation to do any creative work. Once I release the church choir from weekly service for the summer, I'll attend to the two remaining organ solo pieces of the Op. 169. Then I need to clean up the score of the Third Symphony. Beyond that, I do not see as yet. Monday, Peter Bloom, Carol Epple and I have lunch to consider the future of the Henning Ensemble. Pam Marshall has moved to Portugal, and Ellen Allen has withdrawn, practically unable to commit to a pro bono effort. I do not see a future for the Ensemble, but perhaps Monday will open my eyes. I mean this simply as a report. not whingeing, as I know there are many composers who have less occasion for encouragement than I have generally enjoyed in the past. Even more pointedly, I admire not only the beautiful work that Maria does, but how she has persevered to do her work, with much less favorable opportunity than has blessed me erewhile.
Quote from: Karl Henning on June 02, 2023, 04:44:29 PMI certainly knew nothing, in my pre-stroke innocence, of how much work for the brain physical therapy is.
Quote from: relm1 on June 03, 2023, 05:36:09 AMSounds like lot of transitions all happening at the same time. My uncle had a stroke a month ago and is slowly recovering. You have to learn to use your left hand again? Is it sort of like having an operation where afterwards that limb has to be retrained to do what it always used to do? Wish you a smooth recovery.
Quote from: Karl Henning on June 02, 2023, 04:17:10 PMMusically, compositionally, before my stroke I had tons of steam, and could juggle more than one project at a time. In my present reality, I still do not feel much motivation to do any creative work. Once I release the church choir from weekly service for the summer, I'll attend to the two remaining organ solo pieces of the Op. 169. Then I need to clean up the score of the Third Symphony. Beyond that, I do not see as yet.
Quote from: Cato on June 03, 2023, 06:16:37 AMActually, I find that a good amount of work, even without recovering from a stroke! Have you taken a recent look at that libretto for a comic opera entitled The Magician of Moscow, (Ohio)
Quote from: Karl Henning on June 03, 2023, 07:24:33 AMThe last I met Charles was here in Boston. He was in town when Peter Serkin played the première of his Fourth Concerto (another absolutely cracking piece.) I met him in the lobby of Symphony Hall at intermission. He was most gracious and did in fact remember me.
Quote from: Karl Henning on June 03, 2023, 07:24:33 AMCharles Wuorinen's birthday is coming up, and Mark Gresham asked if I would write "a sentence or two" about what it was like to work with Charles, for inclusion in the weekly Earrelevant newsletter:In the late 80s, I wound up pursuing my doctoral work in Composition at the University at Buffalo (or the State University of New York at Buffalo, "if you're not into the whole brevity thing") I say "wound up" because my path to Buffalo was no bullet train. Be fair, it sounds like a line from Comedy Improv Night: "Who chooses to go to Buffalo?" I had entered the Graduate Composition Program in Buffalo, not knowing with whom I might study. Morton Feldman, who had been l'Eminence grise in the UB Composition Faculty, and of whom I knew nothing but his name and the title Rothko Chapel had passed away, and the two front-rank composers whom the Department brought in pro tempore were Louis Andriessen, who would take a pied-à-terre in Buffalo, and Charles Wuorinen, then on the faculty at Rutgers, who would shuttle to Lake Erie weekly. I was not given the choice of which gentleman to study with, but was simply informed (not that I had any quarrel with the result) that I was to work with Charles. We graduate composers met each of the two at a weekly seminar in which either Louis or Charles would present a piece of theirs. So possibly the first I saw Charles was in this seminar, during which he played for us Garrick Ohlsson's recording (with the San Francisco Symphony) of Charles' Third Piano Concerto. Somehow, I was the one who ended up silently volunteering to turn the pages of the score, so my entrée to Wuorinen's work was listening to this powerfully athletic, exhilarating concerto, while keeping abreast of the score in real time as page-turner. When soon after, we met in his studio for the first time, he told me, tongue-in-cheek, that in the composition studio, ideally, he would train up "little Charles Wuorinens." Only now as I write this, I think of the satirical Soviet cartoon of the miniature Dmitri Shostakoviches, and I wonder if Charles had this in mind. In any event my experience working with him in the studio was that, if he did not always laud the work which I brought in (he didn't) he did give me some space. I wrote the pieces I was interested in trying out, and did not try to "write into" Charles' world. To my benefit throughout our work together, he consistently and on the whole patiently encouraged me to expand my own sound world. My music would never sound as if I were seeking to imitate Charles, but rather I internalized the musical benefits.The second notable incident in Charles' studio followed a Graduate Composers Concert. Nobody on the Graduate Composition Faculty defended or justified the practice, but we Graduate Composers were given exactly one and only one concert each semester in which we might present our work. If it sounds ridiculous and stultifying, it probably is. Charles spent only part of the week in Buffalo, as I've said, and so he did not attend the Graduate Composers Concert in my first semester. The Chairman of the Graduate Composition Faculty did, and also joined us students for the obligatory beer and Buffalo wings after. Well, in his opinion, none of us had been adventurous enough in our compositional efforts on the program. Even at the time, it struck me as next door to a sarcasm, that the Department only gives us one chance per semester to present our work, and then upbraids us for concentrating on what we already understand to be our strengths. "All right," methought, "you want outside the box, I'll give it to you. So, for the second semester's concert, I devised a piece completely unlike anything I'd written before, and incorporating elements which I was not sure would really fly. Six of us Graduate Composers had formed a performing ensemble for ourselves. For this piece, I had a blackboard on stage, and I began by writing the phrase Tranquil Ankles on the board, and I invited the audience to speak the phrase aloud. For the first section of the piece proper, I re-harmonized "Silent Night," displaced the notes of the melody registrally so that there was no discerning the tune, and expanded the time scale in a manner which was something of an homage to Feldman. The second section was a kind of invention for two clarinets, both leaping between high and low registers so that the listener might puzzle as to which was playing what, accompanied by bowed notes on the marimba (this section afterwards drew a compliment from the new head of the Electronic Music Studio, Peter Otto.) For the final section of the piece, I stood up, and walked out of the ensemble and up the aisle amid the audience, declaiming line by line a poem I had written. At the end of each line, the ensemble remaining on stage responded with a musical phrase. For the final line of the poem, I was at the back of the hall and I punctuated the line, "I sang to the sky, and day broke," by snapping the metal bar to open the door. The whole piece probably ran ten minutes. Contrary to expectation, and indeed to my astonishment, Charles had remained in Buffalo for the concert. I wondered if I might "have some explaining to do," since I wrote this piece quite apart from the music I was showing to Charles, week by week in the studio, and this designedly quirky piece, I had kept dark from him.I therefore went into my weekly meeting with Charles, completely unsure what to expect. "That piece of yours," he opened, with mild bemusement. "It was twice as long as it needed to be." Which, the plain truth to tell, was fair. "That said," he went on, "There was something in your piece that nothing else on the program had."The last I met Charles was here in Boston. He was in town when Peter Serkin played the première of his Fourth Concerto (another absolutely cracking piece.) I met him in the lobby of Symphony Hall at intermission. He was most gracious and did in fact remember me.
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