Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

July 24: Big excitement in BH

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Where to start? First of all, yesterday Hamner’s conference had an outing to Inhotim, which is an amazing combination of botanical garden, sculpture park, and art installations. My friend and former student Claudia, who lives in BH, had contacted us and suggested we go there together, and we’d already been planning to go with Hamner’s group. So we met at Inhotim.

It’s bizarre. One of the installations is a big sort of prison-looking structure with five rooms. Each one has a different light show, music, and furnishings. Like the one with old newspapers projected on the wall, with a floor made out of foot-thick foam rubber, where Yoko Ono screeches bizarrely in an endless loop. Or the one that’s full of hammocks and plays Jimi Hendrix.

Another installation has a bunch of huge girders stuck in concrete at random angles. We spent a good bit of time going around kicking the girders to hear the sounds they made.

There were some birds around as well, though I kept getting in trouble for wandering off to look at them. Or just stopping to look at them while the rest of the group abandoned me.

Great Kiskadee (aka Bem-te-vim, in Portuguese)
Sayaca Tanager
Rufous-collared sparrow
*White-Browed Warbler
*Yellow Tyrannulet
Social Flycatcher
Great Egret
Masked Water-Tyrant
Black Vulture
House Wren
*Nacunda Nighthawk
Neotropic Cormorant
And yet another of these damn birds that really look like Orange-Backed Troupials, but those aren’t supposed to occur here. Fourth one I’ve seen.

*I’m taking Leon’s advice and starring the ones that are life birds for me.

I think the best part of the whole place was an installation in a huge aircraft-hangar sort of building with about 50 speakers arranged all over and a bunch of chairs. A spoken word and musical piece plays, with each individual voice or instrument in its own speaker. It was eerily haunting and moving. Worthwhile.

So we were supposed to meet Claudia and her husband and son to go to a bar and musical show in the evening, but our bus got mired in traffic. The BH Galo soccer team was playing the Olimpia team from Paraguay, and it was the final game for some championship cup. The entire city lost its mind, apparently. We had to give up on getting back downtown early in the evening, and instead we stayed with Hamner at his hotel for a while.

His hotel is how the other half lives — very posh. Peggy, Robin, and I are sharing one room in the Best Western, and it looks like a mini-barracks with three little beds. Anyway, we went to a mall across the highway and had beer and munchies — I had manioc fries, mostly. Then around 10 we got a taxi back to our hotel. The game was starting then, so the streets were deserted. Around 11 there was a hell of a lot of yelling and fireworks outside, and Peggy went downstairs to find a TV with soccer. Apparently the doormen set her up in the exercise room with a big TV, where she watched the game. It was a nail-biter, and the local team won in penalty kicks.

Robin and I, meanwhile, tried to sleep. About 12:30 the game ended and we awoke to a cacophony of fireworks, yelling, honking, and general insanity outside. I turned on a light and read until about 3 AM, when I was tired enough to fall asleep finally. When I awoke at 7, there were still occasional explosions going on outside.

Hey, Joe.

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Let’s see — it’s a weird and twisted journey that gets me to the point of this.  I was doing my patriotic duty by watching the debate and reading Wonkette‘s liveblogging of it, and Wonkette pointed out that, in the process of pandering to the middle class, both candidates managed to say “Hey, Joe”.  This led to this video clip. And then, of course, I spent way too much time looking at related clips, winding up with this one.  The thing about Red House is that hearing it always makes me so sad that Hendrix died so young.  Imagine the blues he’d be playing now.  It’s a tragic loss to all of us.

On the plus side,  a contact of mine on Flickr just posted this:

The day before his 81st birthday, playing in Rotterdam.  Thank you, God, but why the hell couldn’t we have Jimi that long?


Saturday, December 8th, 2007

Tonight was the second (and final) performance of Handel’s Messiah at the new River Campus.  I’ve sung in the university’s Choral Union off and on for about 15 years, but this semester was our first in the new auditorium.  It’s acoustically stunning.  Sure, Messiah is overdone, but it was still a pretty damn good performance.

I ran into someone I know afterward who said without a trace of irony that he could hear me over all the rest.   Aaarrghh.  It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t exactly what I always said to Sophie after choral performances, with quite a few traces of irony.

What a great wife I have

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Robin went to town to do some errands today, and when she came back, she said “I got you a present.  I know it’s not father’s day, but you’re not my father.”  And gave me this:

That’s right, it’s the Sea of Holes bike jersey.

At the Fleadh

Saturday, May 12th, 2007

Here I am in St. Louis at the Fleadh.  There’s free wireless on the lobby floor, but it only works for me if I’m very close to Starbuck’s.  Last night we did some registration and worked out most of the kinks.  That was just the duet and trio competitions, though; today we’ll be handling registration of about 2/3 of the competitors and scoring of the vast majority of the events.  It’s going to be hectic.

Meanwhile, the hardest part of coming to downtown St. Louis, as usual, is the parking.  I got mine comped, but not until I’d already parked myself in the garage across the street, so I wind up paying $14 for last night and having free valet parking tonight.  Okay, I’m a whiner, but when you live in the boonies you just get used to being able to put your car pretty much anyplace where it won’t get stuck in the mud.

And now, back to the grind.

Choral Union!!!

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

I love choral union.  It’s the university’s non-auditioned community choir.  Every semester we meet on Tuesday nights, and then perform something with the University Orchestra.  This semester we’re doing Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum.  Tonight our accompanist wasn’t there (death in the family) so we just listened to a recording of the piece and followed along in scores.  It’s not too hard.  Handel has lots of notes, all those melismas, but he doesn’t do much that is really surprising.  Predictable is good, when you read music the way I do (i.e. poorly).  And it’s in English; I don’t mind other languages much, but many of the members have a problem with them.  And when we did Mozart’s Requiem a year or two ago, a bunch of people called Speak Out (column in local paper where illiterates can rant anonymously) and complained that we were always singing in furrin lingo.
Anyway, it was nice to see everyone again.  My friend and chiropractor, Jim, was there – we’re baritones.  There aren’t a lot of baritones — a big clump of basses sitting in the back, but just a few of us up front.   And I saw my friend Judy, who does a lot of cycling and is the only female tenor in the group.

Furthermore, Robin and I met at the gym again this afternoon and then went out for dinner before choral union, and I’m filled with uxorial bliss.


Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

I’m home having a glass of wine, having made it through this semester’s choral union concert.  We did Rutter’s What Sweeter Music.  Followed by an arrangement of “Christmas Song” (i.e. “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”).  Followed by the third suite of “The Many Moods of Christmas”.   It went pretty well, actually, if you overlook a couple of weak entrances.  “‘Ark, the herald angels sing…”  I like the Rutter a lot; the Many Moods is a bit soppy, but suite 3 contains BOTH Hark the Herald Angels AND Angels We Have Heard on High, which are my two favorite carols.  Chestnuts roasting turns out to be Robin’s absolute most hated Christmas song.  (Mine’s The Little Drummer Boy).  Anyway,  there was a good crowd, and they seemed to like it.

Next semester we’ll be in the new River Campus Performing Arts Center, and we’re doing Handel’s Messiah.  I’ve done Messiah a few times before.  Should be fun.