I'll try to make this fairly quick, but hopefully exciting. While I haven't posted much this year, I've actually not been completely dormant. For starters, I'm playing with an orchestra again, which has taken some of my free time. This might not sound like much, but it sets up the next part: That orchestra is playing my piano concerto, with the help of an old college friend. I give you the Town and Country Symphony Orchestra and their annual chamber concert at Parkway United Church of Christ. On Sunday February 10th David Peek will conduct the TCSO and Andreas Boelcke in a performance of a keyboard concerto by Bach, Gabriel's Oboe from The Mission, and my first (and so far only) piano concerto.
Again, this will be Sunday, February 10th 2019 at 2:30 pm.
Parkway United Church of Christ
2841 N. Ballas Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63131
I'm running a small fundraising drive on Kickstarter to offset my own expenses related to the project.(Most prominently a plane ticket to get the pianist from Berlin to St. Louis and back.) Please feel free to take a peek at my Kickstarter. You can buy a CD there, a score, or a few other nifty things. And anything we raise beyond expenses will go to support the TCSO in their mission to bring great free music to the community in western and northern St. Louis county.
Either way, please come to the show. I hope that you will enjoy it. There will be a little bit of something for everyone. And . . . it's free. (Best price ever.)
I'm not dead yet. In fact, quite the opposite. It was a rather productive summer, though not one when I wrote much. Instead I concentrated on recording. If you're familiar with my Studies and Inventions you'll know that they aren't studies in the traditional "if you do this you will learn to play better" sense, but rather more in the "I'm playing around sketching stuff with new techniques" sense that visual artists might use.
The first piece, Study No. 8: "Scherzo," plays with a heavy front loaded double dotted rhythm in the Russian style and some "black key/white key" games in something of the manner of early Stravinsky, which is to say the left hand and right hand aren't always in the same key precisely. Stravinsky sometimes called such pieces "scherzi" or jokes, so I've taken that title.
Next is Study No. 9: "French Moment." This one is a little more straightforward. It's mostly an experiment in modality, dancing between the Phrygian and Aeolian flavors of e. (Mostly settling on the former.)
At this point I started to get a bit more daring with my video production. (Marginally.) For the next piece, Study 10: "Something Jazzy," I decided to use that distinctly American style of splashy signage which is roughly coaeval with the music I wished to evoke.
I should, perhaps, confess that I actually shot this next video before the one above. But it is a much more complex and ambitious experiment. It accompanies a piece called Study 13: "Slate Grey Skies," to which end I felt obliged to play with light in more complicated ways. It doesn't precisely tell a story, but I hope it evokes a strong mood. I have particular adjectives in mind, but I will leave it to you, dear listener, to name them.
Lastly I wrap up with a simple but playful piece called Study 14: "Syncopated Rhythm." It's quite short, so there aren't any fancy cinema tricks here. Just a pianist. In a hat.
I did also record a few pieces by other composers. Since I, of course, play other people. Several of them can be found on the youtube channel. Along with other sorts of endeavors entirely. But I will wrap up there for now. Thank you for following along.
Among other things I spent my summer and early fall experimenting with recording and crafting short videos of various sorts. Most were musical and told no story apart from a mood. But several were meant to accompany poetry, and this told a story of sorts. (Since I tend to tell a story with my poetry. Usually. Not always, but far more often than not.)
The videos aren't all that. Two are little more than glorified slide shows, really. But the third involved some location shooting and a bone-fide actor. Unpaid. Volunteer. Which is to say me. Fortunately, the acting was quite simple. (I walked. I can't do much, but I'm a reasonably competent walker.)
Without further ado, three poems:
a tiny flower
Westward Through September
All three can be found elsewhere on this blog, should you wish to see them in print. But I present them here more as they were intended to be experienced. As always, thank you for joining me.