I find music in unexpected places. A few years ago I watched the excellent Spanish movie Cría Cuervos (Ana Torrent and Geraldine Chaplin). In it Chaplin is a pianist & she plays an etude over and over. The credits listed Frederico Mompou as the composer. I did a search & easily found the etude in a collection of his complete piano works, played by the composer himself. I also found the pop song by Jeanette that is featured in the film.
Mompou’s piano music is charming, playful, at times a little sentimental. Some reminds me of Gershwin’s etudes, a touch of Satie. There is, as one would expect, a distinct Spanish flavour to much of it with pieces that are variations on folksongs, dances, Chopin. I was happy to discover classical world music.
To this mp3 collection I added some work by Mexican modern composer Silvestre Revueltas – Music de Feria: a set of his string quartets & Troka: various orchestra compositions. I came across ‘Feria’ as 2nd hand cd at a store that was once around the corner from me on the Danforth. I enjoy string quartets & this intrigued me. Troka is a download when I wanted more of his work.
Both collections reflect rather than replicate his Mexican heritage. Energetic in some pieces, mellow in others. Clearly modern but not atonal. Rich harmonies, sweet melodies, & appealing. It is refreshing to find, in both cases, Latino composers who aren’t mariachi homages. There is an amazing range of excellent classical music outside of standard repertoire – these are two great composers to widen your horizons.
When I was turning twenty-three life was a lost treasure that I no map for, futility seemed a nice, kind way of looking at it – why bother – but I was driven at the same time to bother. A Doors song was my theme ‘music is your only friend’ and I believed that – I was a little town queer who felt isolated and threatened.
Lucky I wrote a lot – driven to expresses something. Though I never knew exactly what is was I wanted to say – I kept trying to say it. I had some booze buddies, musicians and poets. Smoked a few joints with them and hung out in my family’s basement. I had a room there decorated with Beatles posters, my paintings – art getting the inner out some how.
Drunken, near blackout fits of sex. Oops, what did we do last night, sort of stuff. Seeking and not connecting with anything other than the shame of being what I was with no one to share that with.
I became more eccentric as years went on but the patterns were really set then. The things that I held closest to me: music, books, paintings all around me. My writing and some friends who were more extensions of my fears & wants than companions.
Got a job at Famous Players thanks to the mother of my best friend Howard. Flo was box-office there & that was to be my position, it quickly became assistant manager & candy boy. Made lots of pop corn.
Gave me a steady income and some sense of being functional. Added at the same time to my sense of not fitting in. I think that was a big thing for me then, wanting to be like the others yet not wanting to be like the others. Wanting acceptance without wanting to conform to some pattern.
The year before I got the job hadn’t been that bad or good, aimless and pretending I was looking for some job to steady my Dad’s need to see me working and out of the house.
The folks were never that approving of my writing or painting – like many, they figured that stuff was only good if it made one lots and lots of money. Sex wasn’t discussed at all and I didn’t know how to go about telling them I was queer. It wasn’t till I was ready to leave the Cape many years later that I told them. Not that it was such a shock mind you.
Looking back I really didn’t know how to establish myself as a man, as an adult. Booze was one of those adult things but I felt I had to hide how much I drank & how often. Sad, but true. All those secret nooks and crannies.
Most of which had no real outlet then and there. Little was I to know what the journey of my future was to hold. But I survived wanting to wake up dead, wanting to end the confusion and pain and made it past 23 and even past 24 and finally here I am.
every Tuesday 2019
June – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C. capfireslam.org
August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet