Commission Music

Commission Music
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Wednesday, 12 March 2003

Friday

I'm not going to work, I'm going to reveiw the Other Minds Festival!

So I went to the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre at 1:00, to show up for the final wineglass rehersal. It was to be the only rehersal with the everyone together. I'd never met any of the choir members or soloists before. so I showed up at 1:00 and the wineglass players were sitting in the suditorium waiting while the stage hands set up the stage. There was actually complicated staging, so this was not a short wait. Also, whenever there were questions, someone needed to be able to answer them and Lentz, the composer, was in and out, mostly out. Nobody knew where he was.

So I had a long conversation about handbells. Apparently there's a contingent of secular handbell groups looking for secular music. More such groups than you'd think. a few of the wineglass people were also handbell people and they said that they tended to play works by the same few composers over and voer again, just because they didn't want to always play hymns. Opportunity is knocking! after i get everything else done and stop procrastinating, I need to find out about writing for handbells.

finally, after a long wait, we got on stage for a sound check and then a rehersal. We did not manage to play through the piece. I was lost most of the time. My stand partner, who is a professional singer who has sung opera and toured for years and certainly has read more music than I have, was also lost most of the time. Things were not coming together. It looked worse and worse.

One of the guys at my table was having trouble staying seated during the rehersal. He kept getting up and taking photos. then he'd go for a walk. It was just too long for him. It was too long for me too. And a complete trainwreck. When they turned us loose at a quarter to 6:00, i had not eaten since breakfast and felt doom hovering over the entire endeavor.

I went out into the lobby to tell the folks handling tickets that my dad wouldn't be showing up until after my call, so could they tell him that I'd meet him at intermission.

then I started eating GORP. Linda bought food for the staff to snack on while working. I wasn't working that day, but I sat in the supply closet and inhaled all the GORP, some sushi, some treck mix, a soda pop, a ton of cookies. No work, yet all the food. They told me not to feel guilty, so I didn't.

Christi's mom and her friend Joyce came and were in the lobby. I sat with them and said that the whole mini-opera was going to fall appart completely after the first three minutes. I felt better about it, though, from the food. Just smile and look confident and any errors will be placed at the feet of the composer, not the ensemble. So when it was time, I went back stage and waited around again for a long time and missed the composer's talk.

I got in a long conversation with a floutist. she's auditioning bass players to play rock and roll at the national flute convention. I got her card. I'm going to try out if the dates work. Then official people told us instructions about getting on and off stage. they cautioned us that the glasses were worth $200 each.

We got on stage and found that my fingers were dry and were not going to make sound no matetr what I did because they had gotten wrinkly and weird from rehersal. thinking quickly, I switched to my index finger. fortunately, this worked, since I opened the piece. (I'm not making this up...) So I started playing and then my solo was over and then other folks started playing their wineglasses too and then the guy who kept getting up during reheral knocked his wineglass over and broke it. wine sprayed acorss my table and we all jumped. I had been repeating as mantra to everyone, "smile and look confident and everyone will think it was on purpose." so when he knocked over the wineglass we all looked startled for a moment and then smiled and tried to look confident. He later told me that if I hadn't kept saying that over and over again before hand, he might have lost his cool. anyway, my dad said later that he thought it was onpurpose, since it was set up to look like a cafe and people always drop glassware at cafes.

the conductor loudly whispered measure numbers to us and we were able to stay mostly together. He had been making changed to the score (big huge changes) druing rehersal. christi was running the supertitles for the opera singers. she was following the score and projecting the lines as they came up. nobody told her the score changes, but she managed to hold it mostly together. The projectionist was impressed. apparently it takes alot of practice and training to do the supertitles at the opera. He was surprised that Christi could just pick it up and do it. Especially since she didn't have the most recent version of the score.

Anyway, amazingly, we got through it without a trainwreck and stayed together a lot better than in rehersal, especially because of the whispering. I was amazed at how well it went. Not to say ot was perfect. Five more times, and I'd have it solid.

so afterwards i asked my dad what he thought and he said, "Actually, I liked it." I'm glad. I don't want him to feel like all those music lessons and that undergraduate composition degree was wasted.

In the second half was Jack Body's Sarajevo for piano, which got a lot of people, especially, Christi, excited. Then they played Three Sentimental Songs for piano and percussion trio, which was a world premier. For that, he took three kids songs, like Daisy and set them for crazy marimba lines and celesta and fun toy-sounding percussion. the percussionists sang at one place. The last song, the audience was suppossed to sing along, but I didn't know the song. I told my dad that he hadn't sung enough to me as a child. He said that I complained to my mother when he tried to sing to me. Which, I did. I remember him howling the song Barney Google and me running to my mom to get him to stop. anyway, I noticed Evelyn Glennie in the audience, slapping enthusiastically. The percussion parts were fun to watch, but since she could sing along with the marimba weh she was playing it, maybe she has perfect pitch and can watch people play and know what the notes are? Her skills boggle my mind.

There was a very long pause, longer than even an intermission would be, while we waited for William Parker to set up. finally, after more than twenty minutes, he came out and played a short set. It was very low-key. There was excitement when the vocalist asked what the difference was between a soldier and a murderer. But it peaked there and didn't ever creep above that. The audience wanted to get excited and the band tried to comply, but then, while trying to creep up in energy level, William Parker suddenly announced that he was done. It was sudden. There was polite applause. I later learned that one of the guys deliberately streched out the set-up time way beyond the allotted five minutes because he considered t part of the performance and OM was forced to cut him off to avoid thousands of dollars in overtime pay to the tech crew.

We went out to the lobby and the folks working there started dimming the lights up and down to get folks to leave. Very rushed. My dad said he had to go because it was an hour commute each way and it was late, so he took off. Then Christi went around making sure that everyone had a ride to the reception afterwards. Daniel lentz invited folks to self-hosted reception in honor of his birthday and Cafe Desire. So we gave Zeppie and Jack Body a lift to the reception. Body remarked that the Parker set never reached orgasmic intensity. Christi highly praised Sarajevo. We talked about other things that have since slipped my mind. He was extrodinarily nice and friendly, though.

There was cake at the reception. I talked to Dina, one of the wineglass players, about the New York subway. She loves it. I'm going to record her talking about it soon. I decided to buy a glass of dessert wine. Amy X Neuburg was standing at the bar also trying to get dessert wine. I accidentally tried to pay somebody else's tab, so she asked if I was going to pay for her too. I said I would cuz all of her music was so cool. She asked some questions about wineglass playing, were we playing thw whole time? We chatted and then Lentz came by, so I gave him a CD of mine, Faux Pas. I told him it was a birthday present, but I was just kidding around. He took it seriously, though and asked me to sign it, so I did. At some point, he took off saying the party was moving to his house.

Around 1:00 or maybe 2:00, the waitstaff started encouraging us to leave. Jack wanted to go to the Lentz place and so did Amy X. I did too, but Christi wanted to go home, as did Amy's husband. We offered to drop them both off at the Lentz place, but there were issues, for example, the bug did not have enough seatbelts.

"It's ok," Amy explained, "I never die in accidents."

But then how was she going to get home? Jack's hotel was just blocks from the party, so he said that she could dleep with him in his bed. Amy's husband objected. Jack exclaimed, "I'm gay!!!" Anyway, none of them got a lift from us, since Amy's husband decided they they should verify that there was actually a party before leaving her to sleep with gay Jack.

I reluctantly decided not to go, since I was going to be working at the EYH confrence in the morning. It was probably a good idea to skip, since I later heard that Jack asked Amy how she slept (apparemtly, she found a ride home afterall) and she said it had been terrible. They started tearing up the sidewalk only an hour after she went to bed, at 8:00 AM or something.

So I went home to sleep. This is my celebrity gossip, though. Maybe I should send it to the Chronicle gossip woman, Leah Garick?

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