Rossini Sarasate

Gioachino Rossini’s (1792 – 1868) William Tell Overture has been seared into my memory thanks to the Lone Ranger & Bugs Bunny. Of course little of music in that overture actually appears in the opera. Imagine some soprano galloping to the galloping bit 🙂 I have that tucked away somewhere. 

On an mp3 collection I have his String Sonatas, various Overtures, Piano Music, Barber of Seville Highlights, La Boutique Fantastique, Matinees & Soirees Musical & the Stabat Mater. At one time I wanted to hear behind the big hit so I added these to broaden my knowledge base. This is all pleasant orchestral, the paint music is romantic, I love the Stabat Mater. But the string sonatas are my particular favourite.

The version here is my lp to mp3 transfer from an MHS edition which I really loved loved loved. This is sweet, playful, happy music. Music I loved so much that I have two other versions of it as stand-alone double cds. All three are different but the same, different tempos, sound quality but great. I’d say by whom but that doesn’t matter. These sonatas would be fine by any string quartet. Get them.

Near Rossini on the shelf is Spain’s Pablo de Sarasate (1844 – 1908). I have two stand-alones of his Spanish Dances on violin one & the other on piano. The dances are fiery, romantic & energizing. Some of them are immediately recognizable even if you don’t know who the composer is. I have various versions of some of them on classical guitar, by string quartets, orchestras, harp, mariachi bands, worked into progrock noodling, jazz guitar, flute, sax. Music for the ages.

Daily Delay

“The delay at the Bloor-Yonge station is static stacic static.”

Jan pulled her ear buds out to hear the announcement. Another delay! Oh, well, there never was a good time for the daily delay. Just what she needed. Keeping the subway running, people happy and people safe were a constant battle. Keeping them safe sometimes meant they would be unhappy. Delays made them very unhappy. 

She wondered what was it this time. Hopefully not another jumper. No, the delay wasn’t long enough for that. She listened closely to the dispatch numbers. They weren’t calling for the track clean up crew. 

The train started up. As it passed through bloor she saw police gathered around the men’s room door. Not worth getting off for. Crime on the subway wasn’t her beat. It wasn’t anybody’s beat. 

There was this code of silence around so much public petty crime. If they reported it all, the paper would be twice a large and there weren’t enough advertisers to pay for the rainforest it would take to keep up on all the pick-pockets, purse snatching that went on.

They saved that valuable resource for real crime. Murder or assault. Stealing candy bars from the Gateway wasn’t real enough, anymore. Plus the more of that petty stuff that made the press the less people felt safe. Everyone wants to feel safe in a city this size. Especially when they were crammed together on public transit. 

Though she never understood how some people found these things were so startling. It wasn’t as if assault was just invented. That this was the first time someone had been robbed.

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Ravel, Tartini and Bach

Next on the classical shelf is a nearly 8 hour mp3 collection of work by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), Giuseppe Tartini (1692 –1770) & soprano Amelita Galli-Curci (1882 –1963).

Ravel is best know for his Bolero & perhaps his Pavane for A Dead Princess But he did actually write more than that :-). His string quartet is often paired with Debussy’s string quartet which reflects the impressionist style that Ravel wrote in. I have the Bolero & Pavane in other collections. In this one I have the complete solo piano music & his piano Concertos, which includes the concerto for left hand written for a concert pianist who lost his right hand in the war.

The Bolero unwittingly set the template for much popular music. It starts with a single instrument & every 8 bars or so adds another layer or beat – which is how many jazz, pop arrangements are constructed. It’s almost mathematic in the progression & variations. Sadly Bolero itself is a piece of music I don’t care every to hear again though. The Pavane is elegant & so relaxing it frequently shows up in collections of the most relaxing music ever.

The solo piano is similar to Debussy but a bit more mathematical as opposed to impressionist. Dreamy, relaxing. I love the sonatas. The String Quartet is surprisingly sensuous as the strings wrap around each other & you.

I had one of Tartini’s violin concertos as lp to cd transfer but wanted a better quality, so picked up the Complete Violin concertos. Best known for the Devil’s Trill, these are great Baroque pieces full of trills &, I’ve been told, virtuoso challenges for violinists.

Also in this collection is Leopold Stokowski’s Bach Transcriptions which includes the Toccata & Fugue. The orchestral sound is lush, soothing & even spiritual at times. I love the toccata & this is one my favourite versions. Stokowski turns Baroque Bach into orchestral Beethoven. Stokowski is best known for his work on Walt Disney’s Fantasia – which is a movie that introduced many generations to the power of classical music & his orchestrations are the key to the success of the movie.

Finally in this collection is Amelita Galli-Curci. She was one of the most popular operatic singers of the 20th century. I’m not a big opera fan but this set of 1917-1928 recordings is one way of stretching my ears to music I’m not that familiar with. The sound quality is okay, as it is often is with these period recordings. I’m happy with these but don’t ask me to decide who is better her or Maria Callas 🙂

Ink

“Get your lazy ass over here! You hear me. Get that lazy ass of yours over here pronto!” Jen hung up the phone satisfied she had done all she had to do. 

It wouldn’t be her fault if Jim didn’t get there on time. No one could find fault with her. Unless it was because she had made the call. It wasn’t up to her to be anyone’s alarm clock but she didn’t want to see Jim get fired. 

Jim was told if he was late one more time that would be it. She didn’t really like Jim but was used to him. She didn’t want to have to learn how to put up with some other jerk off.

She went to the customer washroom. There was still time to check to make sure she looked okay. Her hair was not too wild but not too tame either. Her lip ring was healing. The redness gone. It didn’t distract too much from the eyebrow piercing or the shock of pink she’d had put in her hair for the week. Something  to change appearances around a little. The customers liked variation. Jim felt consistency was reassuring. He didn’t like change.

She could tell by the way his eyes sort of narrowed looking for a safe place on her face to look at. There were no safe places.

She glanced at her wrist watch. Hello Kitty’s face looked so snug strapped in the middle of her full sleeve, roses & koi tattoos. Expensive but not nearly as painful as the she had expected. Both arms. A girl never had to worry about what to wear with these. She held both arms out in front of her, turned them to enjoy the wrapping and overlapping vines, castles stars & comets that danced along and over her shoulders down her back. Sweet. Sweet Sweet. What would she get done next.

Jen went to the front of the shop. She didn’t want to open up till someone else was there. The design books were laid out, a sketched pad was by her station & she began working on the pirate ship she knew would look good on Jim. 

Yes today was the day he would get his lazy ass inked once and for all.
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Quantz Rachmaninov

 

Johann Joachim Quantz (1697 -1773) Flute Sonatas. Next are two cds of lp transfers of MHS albums. Quantz inspired both Bach & Mozart so I guess this count as back-to-the-roots music. The sonatas are for for various combinations – 1, 2 or 3 flutes. plus stand-alone Works for Baroque Traverse flute The solo flute pieces aren’t really solo but have a cello or harpsichord continuo to pillow the sound. All are dainty, charming, playful & relaxing. Rarely emotional.

Which is not the case with Sergei Rachmaninov. (1873 –1943). I have a pair of 2cd sets in with his Piano Concertos; the other with his Preludes. These are romantic masterpieces that are at times over-the-top melodrama. So dramatic that some pieces frequently turn up in in movies, cartoons almost as parodies of themselves. His music has inspired endless, uncountable movie soundtracks – when you hear a piano cadenza with stirring strings you can ‘blame’ Rachmaninov.

One of the things that often happens when I’m writing about these albums I get the urge for more. What can I say, plus the current covid19 crisis lock down, I needed a little diversion so I checked Rachmaninov on iTunes to see if there was something I could add, I was not disappointed & now I have Rachmaninov: The Complete Recordings – performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy, Bernard Haitink & Concertgebouworkest. over 13 hours of music in 205 tracks. I’d say this is enough 🙂 I have listened to all & am quite pleased with it. His range is a little wider than I expected with some rather expressionist pieces. The work for two pianos is a delight.

If you want mood music for writing a Harlequin love story this is perfect. The influence of Liszt & Chopin cannot be denied but Rachmaninoff takes things to a different level of unapologetic sentimentality but never gets as sugary as Tchaikovsky. Needless to say I love Rachmaninoff. Like the other composers I mentioned he is emotionally open. He wears his heart on his sleeve as he pounds the piano not even taking the time to wipe the tears from his eyes.

The Cocktail

The restaurant staff went back to their duties. The other diners went back to their meals. The waiter brought a cocktail and put in front of him

“From the owner. Sorry for the confusion. I’ll be right back to take your order, sir.”

Joe smiled. Once again sticking to his guns had brought him a reward. He was about to take a sip when he was interrupted by a man in the booth behind him.

“Would mind not taking so loudly on your cell phone.” The man snapped.

“I am not taking on my cell phone.” Joe put the drink down. “I haven’t even taken it out of my pocket.”He patted the pocket to demonstrate that fact and realized he had left his cellphone at home.

“You just out it back there. I heard every word of that conversation you had. None of us are interested in your difficulties at work.”

“Here! Here!” Chimed in the older woman. “There should be a law against using those infernal things in public.”

“Agreed, madam. Some people have no shame about what they say and no respect for those us they inflict their obscenity riddled conversations on. I came here for a quite meal.”

Joe shank back into his booth. “I … I don’t have my cell phone here.”

“You calling me a liar?” The gentleman got up from his booth. His whiskered face red and puffed.

“What seems to be the problem.” The waiter materialized. “Oh! You again.”

“This man thinks I’ve been talking on a cell phone, when in fact,” Joe gave a small laugh. “I don’t have one with me.” He turned his coat pocket inside out to show it was empty.

“Harumph.” The bearded man went back to his booth.

“Enjoy your red zipper cocktail. I’ll be right with you to take your order.’

Joe sighed. He sipped his drink. It was a tart, clear, reddish concoction that tasted of strawberries and celery. He found it quite refreshing. It reminded him of his mother. How she would made sandwiches for his lunch at school. She would put unexpected things in them. His revere was broken by a short man bumping his table to get his attention.

“You didn’t flush.” The short man glowered at him.

“Flush?”

“Yes. You went to the bathroom and didn’t flush. I saw you go in.”

“Didn’t flush!” the man in the booth behind him said triumphantly. “I’ll bet he didn’t even wash his hands.”

“You would be right,” the short man continued. “Didn’t flush and left the steaming heap for me to face when I had to go in there.”

“I haven’t left my booth since I got here.” Joe protested. He held his hands out to show how clean there were.

“Your type is what makes going out for a meal such a torment. You know that don’t you. A Goddamned ordeal.” The short man walked away.

“Shame.” the older woman at the near by table smirked at him. “A man your age. I’m not surprised though. Ignorance is bliss. Isn’t it.” She laughed.



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Pierné et Greig

Sadder than a one-hit wonder is a no hit wonder:-) Such is the case of Gabriel Pierné (1863 –1937). I have an over 7 hour mp3 collection that includes the ballet – Cydalise et le Chevre-Pied; Impression de Music Hall; Chamber Music; Harp Music. I knew of him from an  MHS completion of 20th century composers which included a movement from Cydalise.

Being a slightly obsessive about obscure (to me) composers I did an iTunes search & downloaded more of his music. Apparently one of choral works in his biggest hit. Cydalise is sweet & pastoral with the usual ballet moments of duets etc. Enjoyable, as are the rest of the works I added to my collection. The chamber music includes works for violin, piano quintet etc. Plus a set of his delightful harp music.

Also in this mp3 collection by Edvard Grieg (1843 –1907) are his Music For Strings, Old Norwegian Romance. Grieg has a higher profile than Pierné. Pierné’s music is more in the modern classical style more playful than lush, harmonic but not overly romantic. Grieg is romantic, lush & often overly emotional (check his piano concert). Romance is built on the heroic ballad melody, ‘Sjugur and the Troll-Bride’ (thanks google). Stirring & at limes brooding I love it.

To round this collection I added two lps to cd transfers of Leonard Bernstein: Favorite Overtures (Hérold, von Suppé, etc); For Young People (Dukas, Strauss, etc).

A Man & His Bed

he’d slept on that bed for years. same mattress. new sheets when needed. always freshly washed. changed once a week. that’s the night he slept the best. the night of the fresh sheets. he loved the bed. the welcome it offered at all times. unquestioning. mattress given a longer life by spinning it in spring. flipping it in the fall. 

the bed was the refuge and support the cradle of dreams. he laughed to himself the cradle of dreams. he was turning into a bad bed poet. he’d move it every now and then from a corner to more central in the room under the window. then opposite from the window. all moves of maybe three feet in any one direction at any time. not enough space in the room for a dance with the frame.

sometimes he shared the bd with others. no more than a night but not often. it was sturdy enough for a sexual romps. play with with willing bodies. but he felt that sleeping in it was something for him and him alone. he didn’t want to share this refuge retreat with anyone for long. he never learned how to sleep with others. didn’t want to. that would certainly be the deciding factor in any long term relationship. live in or other wise. the bed was his domain to be shared briefly but not over night.

sleep was a bargain between him and the bed. unequivocal.

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every Tuesday 2019

November

Thursday 7 – Hot Damn It’s Queer Slam! – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – 7 pm – featuring Wes Ryan.
December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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Pachelbel Paganini Pepusch

Under P are a couple of Lp to cd transfers of  Musical Heritage Society recordings. On one is Johann Pachelbel (1653 –1706): Canon, Partitas; J Frach: Concerto, Sinfonias; George Handel: 1685 – 1759 Alexander’s Feast, Sinfonia. On the other is J.C. Pepusch (1667 – 1752: Flute Sonatas; Haydn: Flute Trios. All from about the same period mostly in Germany.

The most famous piece is Pachelbel’s Canon which became & remains a mainstay on relaxation & meditation cds. Stately, leisurely & soothing the Canon is a sweet piece of music. If you think you’ve never heard it, trust me, you probably have in commercials & movies. The other music on these cds is equally as pleasant, soothing – but if I heard any of it anywhere I probably wouldn’t recognize it.

Also under ‘p’ is Paganini (1782 –1840). I have as  stand-alone 24 Caprices for Violin; & tucked away in an mp3collection: Violin Concertos, Guitar Music. The violin virtuoso of all time 🙂 his Caprices are playful, emotional & nearly every violinist since recording was invented has recorded some of them & frequently all of them. Of course listening to the entire set at one time is a tiring & one loses the power of individual pieces in the rush of all of them.

The mp3’ are more recent additions. I thought one day here’s a virtuoso who must aha written more than this one famous set of Caprices. I did have some of the guitar so I started with more of that. His writing for guitar isn’t as show-off as in the Caprices. Neither are the violin concertos but all are listenable.   Many composers are trapped by a biggest hit or two & we lose sight of their other works. Dukas for example. Or if there isn’t a big hit they get forgotten like, well, I’ve forgotten them myself. No – I mean composers like Debussy or Pierné.

Saved By Censorship

John was (verbing) down the street he stopped to (verb) with Mary. He asked her how her (noun) was that day. she smiled and opened her (noun) and took out a (noun) and showed him pictures of her (noun)John (verbed) when he saw them. ‘Would you like to (verb) with me’ he asked her. ‘Not today,’ she (verb) ‘I would much rather (verb) with you later this week.’‘I’ll have to (verb) my (noun) if I can (verb) with you.’He gave her a quick (noun) and went on his way.’

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every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

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October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March

March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April

April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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Mussorgsky

My introduction to Mussorgsky was Fantasia’s Night on Bald Mountain as a child. I was unaware of him as composer mind you. Later it was Emerson Lake & Palmer’s take on Pictures as at Exhibition – rock bombast. Then Tomita’s electronic interpretations of Pictures came along. I love the stereo work on it – the birds chirping from speaker to speaker.

I also had an lp with orchestral suites from Boris Godunov on one side & Borodin’s Polovetsian Dances on the other. I can still hear the bell in Boris suite.From MHS I had an lp of his solo piano music. Emotive romantic nostalgic. One piece was called “Nurse Locks Me In A Closet.” Who could resist that title 🙂 

What I have on the shelf are cds of Songs; Pictures; Boris Godunov: 3 cds; Khovanshchina 3 cds; Piano Music/Pictures; Boris Suite, Pictures, Bald Mountain. I also have Live From the Met cassettes of Khovanshchina that I’ve kept sit is quite different from the cd version. As you see I have various versions of Pictures at an Exhibition: orchestral, solo piano, two pianos, organ & somewhere a jazz take. The Gates of Kiev shows up often for grand military moments in movies, TV.

 

His music is impressionistic, romantic, patriotic & lyric. He’s not as emotional as Tchaikovsky, not as austere as Shostakovich, or as calculated as Stravinsky. His operas have Wagnerian epic sweep. Like many Slovak composers he makes great use of folk melodies. If you are unfamiliar start with an orchestral Pictures at an Exhibition.

 


Real Trouble

‘What would make you do a thing like that?’ 

I knew from the tone of my Dad’s voice I was in real trouble.

‘Sometimes I don’t know what gets into your head. I really don’t. Your mom and I do our best to make a good home for you. We lead a good life. Give you a good example and then you go and do something like this.’

I knew there wasn’t much I could say. At least not until I knew just what the thing I had done that he was talking about.

‘Don’t you have anything to say for yourself? No, wait before you attempt to apologize or explain let, me explain one thing. Your mother is up in our room crying her eyes out. You understand. This is going too far. Much too far.’

My mom cried at the drop of a cake, so I wasn’t too distressed to hear that whatever it was I had done had started her off on another jag. It wasn’t my fault that she needed professional help. Help my Dad figured wasn’t really right, morally right, that is. What would the neighbours think if my mom went to a shrink. They’d think we were a family like all the others. 

‘Now, I’m listening.’

My Dad sat on the arm of the sofa. His perch from which he was ready to pounce.

‘Dad I’m … What exactly did I do?’

‘Oh! Now it’s the innocent act. What did I do? God, why was I cursed with such sons.’

‘Dad you are being melodramatic.’ I wanted to add ‘again’ but bit my tongue. No need to antagonize him any further. 

‘You mean you really don’t know what you’ve done.’

‘No.’

‘Then I really don’t know what to tell you.’

‘You could start by telling me what it is that set you off like this. It’s been a pretty ordinary week, so far. Haven’t missed any classes. Did okay on that last quiz. Haven’t stayed out late. Haven’t played my stereo too loud. Haven’t hogged the Internet for hours on end. I even took out the trash last night. Didn’t I?’

‘You better have. How old are you?’

Oh I knew what it was. My social life. My lack of ‘action.’

‘Old enough, Dad. Why does it always come down to this? Always. I will date when I’m ready to.’

‘That’s not it. I know what you did. You mother knows. We just don’t know why. Maybe it has something to do with your age. Peer pressure. Someone that would entice you into that sort of behaviour.’

‘Dad what are you talking about? Does it start with a ‘b’?’

‘Don’t make fun, son. Please, that won’t make it any easier on us. Mocking us all the time. I know you kids enjoy that sort of thing but we parents just see it as …’

He was speechless. His eyes glazed as he gaped over my shoulder. I turned around.

‘Mom! How long have you been there?’

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every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
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September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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Mozart

Let’s get this catalogue out of the way first – My Mozart collection, in various boxsets, mp3 compilations, includes Abduction From the Seraglio; Clarinet Quintet; Piano Trio; Concertone; Sinfonias; Serenades; Divermentios; Musical Joke; Flute Quartet; Flute Concerto; Flute Quartets; Horn Concertos; The Magic Flute; Masses 1; Mass 317/Exsultate; Regina; Ave Verum; Overtures; Cosi Fan Tutte; Mass 427; Church Sonatas; Le Nozzie Di Figerro; Piano Concertos: 9 cds; Piano Sonatas: 5 cds; Piano Trios; Violin Concertos 1 2; Violin Duos; Piano Quartets; Violin Sonatas; Requiem D Min;  Serenade #9; Quintets; Variations; Serenade#19; Nacht Musik; String Quartets 6 cds; Symphonies 11 cds; String Quintets; Oboe Quartet; Piano Clarinet Trio; Violin Sonatas; Piano Four Hands; Woodwind Concertos; As well as a set of Bryn Terfel arias from the operas.

I am a fan 🙂 One of the first pieces of his that I totally loved was the Concerto for Harp & Flute. It transported me & still does. I had many of these on lps. First as box sets of the piano music that I ordered from Vox, some singly from MHS, then the bulk from Time-Life who did a complete Mozart in 5 lp box sets. I loved getting things in the mail. Some of these are lp to cd transfers.

 

It is hard to pick out favourites as I love the string quartets, the piano sonatas delight, his flute music is charming, his operas are okay (I’m not really an opera fan). The Magic Flute is a good intro to opera. His masses are moving and soothing. His range is amazing with sparkling music for flute, oboe, bassoon, & glass harmonica (yes this was a thing.) Oddly cello was never singled out for a solo extravaganza. My most recent addition was his music for piano four hands.

I also have pieces by his father, even his rival Antonio Salieri. Mozart didn’t write in a vacuum & I like to have ‘context’ for my favourites. I have jazzed up Mozart. Plus The New Koto Ensemble Of Tokyo plucking away at his war horses 🙂 (They also do a great version the Four Seasons). 

Mozart’s operas are excellent starts for people who don’t know or think they like opera. More emotionally open than his chamber music they edge toward the more romantic period. An innovator, a genius from a time when classical music was pop music 🙂 Much of his output was chamber music – pieces written for families – this was entertainment at home before radio.

 Sleep

‘Let’s check it now.’

‘Look, it’s nearly 3 a.m. Let’s get some sleep and we’ll check the tape in the morning.’

Frank was already plugging the cable connector from the camera into the back of the TV. ‘Tom this is what we came here for. We’ve been doing that jungle walk for two weeks and now we finally have something.’

The screen came to life. Murky movements jumped back and forth.

‘Worse than the Blair Witch.’

‘You try sometime then.’ Tom snapped back.

‘Sorry I was just …’

The picture came into focus. The sound was muffled, distant.

‘Shit!’ Tom hit the top of the TV.

‘That’s not going to do much.’ Frank laughed. ‘Turn it up.’

‘Why bother with that.’ Tom pulled the cables from the TV. ‘Let’s use this.’ He opened his lap top. ‘I have a program in here that will refine things considerably.’

It took the tape several minutes to be downloaded into the computer.

‘Couldn’t you get anything faster.’

‘You making a crack about the size of my hard drive?’

‘You said it not me.’

The program flashed that it was ready. The sounds were still muddied but with some audio editing Tom played them back clearly:

‘We call the time to change

we call the time to change.’

‘That’s not what that kid said.’

‘No, that’s what we heard first though. Remember. I thought it might be the wind in the trees.’

‘We call the time to change?’ Frank repeated. ‘Wonder what that can mean. We call the time to change.’

The lights in the room dimmed and the computer screen blinked on and off and on again.

‘Whoa! Better not say that too many times.’ Tom pulled the curtains shut.

‘You don’t think …’

‘You know what I think. I told you we would be playing with …’

‘We are not playing here Tom. This is serious research.’

‘Right and these are serious results.’

‘Okay. Let’s see what else we have there then. ‘We call…’ Frank began.

Tom put his hand over Frank’s mouth. ‘Enough with that. We have to be careful when we don’t fully understand.’

‘But it’s just words Tom.’

‘You know that isn’t so.’

The teenage boy appeared on the screen. His lips moving.

‘What! I can’t hear him.’

‘There’s no audio here.’ Tom punched at the keyboard moving back and forth along the audio indicator.

‘Silence.’

‘When did the sound cut out?’

Tom did more inputting.

‘Seems to have cut out when he appeared and comes back when he disappears.’

‘He’s the one called Mambo? What did they say he was called? Cha Cha?’

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every Tuesday 2019

May

Stratford Festival – Henry VIII

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Mompou and Revueltas

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.

Plotless Outline

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.

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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 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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Mendelssohn

I have a 40 cd boxset of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Masterworks – I did replaced the one that had some of his organ works with a downloaded complete organ works. Even at 40 cds this is a sampling of his output. He died at 38! He either burned out like a lightbulb or exploded like a supernova.

I did have a some lps, then cd’s of his work before I  picked up this set. I knew the hits, as it were, but that was all. Like many composers he was reduced to a few concert warhorses & of course the Wedding March. The box set includes complete: symphonies, piano concertos, violin concertos, chamber music, choral works, lieder, some oratorios & more. 

I bought it at HMV for about $70. The sound quality is good, though the recoding levels change from cd to cd. some are louder than others. The musicianship is excellent including the likes of Kurt Masur, Dietrich Fischer-Dieshaku. So it was a solid investment in my classical collection.

Mendelssohn is a romantic composer in the Beethoven sense – rich, playful, emotive works for piano, orchestra that sweep me away, though he rarely becomes as over-the-top as, say, Liszt or Chopin. It is delightful music that doesn’t call attention to technique.

 

Much of it was new to me and his choral music lead to my greater enjoyment of that form. He also incorporates choir & solo voices into some of his symphonies. I added the organ music for the melodic work & also to have an organ version of the wedding march, which to me is rather funereal & spooky. ‘Here comes the deceased, all dressed in pine”

Death

‘Did you know Greg well?’ Jane asked the sullen man beside her.

‘Met him a few times in the neighbourhood. You know at the annual street sale. Sometimes I’d stop to chat while he was working on the front bed of his?’

‘Front bed?’

They had both stepped out of the funeral home chapel to smoke.

‘Garden. A little patch of tulips & crocus. He kept pretty much to himself. Did you know him?’

‘Same as you. I have the house cross the back laneway from his. We’d wave sometimes when he was mowing the back lawn but that was it.’

‘So you live in this neighbourhood, too?’

‘Yes. I have seen you at the corner store a few times.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Well, sad though isn’t it?’

‘It happens.’

‘Makes you wonder though, just how well you know people. Like he’s lived here nearly 15 years and I didn’t even know his name.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Yours is?’

‘Jane Brown. That’s my husband over there.’

‘Right. Good looking man.’

‘Thanks. And yours?’

‘My husband isn’t quite that real. Single life.’

‘I mean your name?’

‘Ah, right. David Peters. I’m at 46 Amber and you?’

‘52 Green.’

‘Amber is that one street away. We’re nearly neighbours too.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Small world, yet it seems too far at the same time. A few hundred yards. Sorry I never got to know Greg better. Not many other gays in this area, you know.’

‘Haven’t given it much thought.’

‘I suppose not.’

‘You knew Greg was … gay?’

‘Not that we ever talked about it but that rainbow flag, single white male living alone except for the occasional male visitor. It adds up.’

‘Rainbow flag?’

‘Yeah, in the back yard. I think he had one in the front too. That one would go up around gay pride.’

‘Oh, that’s what that was all about. The changing banners, I just thought there were decorations not signals.’

‘See, you’re learning more about him already.’

‘So you are … gay too?’

‘Yep. Not much point is pretending otherwise.’

‘Strange that you’d live so far from the heart of town … you know … where I understand most of that goes on.’

‘I like it out here. Quieter, feels safer even if it isn’t.’

‘Isn’t safer?’

‘Oh yeah. Didn’t you hear about the swarming at the school a block over. Pretty nasty stuff. Glad I’m not closer to the school than I am. But yeah, this is pretty much like the neighbourhood I grew up in. Nice houses with families.’

‘Doesn’t keep death away from the door though does it.’

‘Not many places do Jane. Not many places do.’

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


http://www.queerslam.com

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 in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Locatelli Lully Plus

On my classical shelf  are three cds of lps to cd transfers all from MHS recordings. The first of which is Jan of Lublin: Tablature and Introduction to Medieval  & Renaissance Music. For decades I thought Lublin was the composer’s last name, but it where he is from. These are transcriptions from organ music to guitar. I don’t have my original lp so have no idea who did these transcriptions or who is playing the guitar. I didn’t realize these were originally organ music until I tried to get more & all I could find where organ pieces – even then they were scattered. There was no one lp of the organ music.

Jan is a renaissance composer & I first heard a piece  of his on the MHS compilation Introduction to Medieval  & Renaissance Music. I love these Introduction lps for the range and quality of the music. All selected from MHS releases – so it was easy to track down the Lublin. Good luck on finding these transcription but they are well worth having.

Another composer I first heard on an MHS compilation was Pietro Locatelli. here I have his music for  Flute and Guitar; Two Violins; Oboe and Guitar; Two Flutes; along with Johan Stamitz’s Flute Concerto. I love Renaissance flute music and these two composers wrote delightful, playful and sometime relaxing chamber music. The Locatelli was intended for living room entrainment in which the children would play his music. Life before radio.

 

The last is a pair of Baroque composers together on a cd of MHS lps: Jean-Baptiste Lully: Suites; Georg Philipp Telemann: Flute Trios. Lully was a French court composer & his music is sweet, a bit busy but charming. He also wrote a few operas that are still performed today. Telemann was a German court composer. Here I have a sonata of his flute trios which are soothing & also charming. I have more  Telemann but that can wait until I get to ’t.’

Just Start

‘I’ll start by explaining ….’

‘Why don’t you just say what you are going to say. Don’t explain it to me. just start.’

‘Yes, but …’

‘Just start and once you’ve done you can explain, if I don’t get it. Okay.’

Dave had an address to give the local PTA. Not often were gay fathers asked to address anyone expect lawyers and case workers, so he was rather nervous.

‘Ahem,’ he gave a little cough. ‘ Do you think this is what I should wear?’

‘Bad start, Dave. Don’t ask these parents what you should wear.’

‘Steve, that is not the start of my talk. I was asking you, if you thought this is what I should wear.’

White shirt, unbuttoned at the collar, black dress pants, black loafers. Neat and tidy.

‘I don’t know.’

‘What do you mean?’ He looked himself up and down.

‘Let’s see your undies. You can’t do this in those …’

‘You want to heard how I sound or what.’

‘Of course. I think you are worrying way too much. Those that get it will, and those that don’t, will never get it. It won’t matter how conservative you dress, how polished or even-handed you sound they’ll stop hearing you after you say homosexual or gay. So let’s hear it …’

‘Ahem,’ another throat cleaning. ‘I’m David Bradly and both my son and daughter are in classes at this school. Jan is in third grade and Cliff in sixth grade. They’ve both been here at Cedar Grove Public school for the past two years. …. Good so far?’

‘Yes. Go on.’

‘Do you think I need to tell them more, like how we came to move here, as opposed to staying in LA or …’

‘Yes, and while you are it, you might bring an overhead projection of our financial portfolio and notarized copies of our bank statements, as well.’

‘No, I just mean, I don’t want them to think we dropped in here out of the blue to invade their community.’

‘Dave, you know very well we aren’t the only gay couple in Cedar Grove.’

‘We aren’t?’

‘If you’d stop trying to fit us in like a normal hetero couple, you may have noticed. There’s the two women over on Green Crescent.’

‘Yes, but they don’t have any kids in this school. Do they?’

‘No. But one of them is on the town council.’

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November 1 -30

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November 15: Hot Damn! It’s a Queer Slam – 8p.m. – Buddies In Bad Time Theatre, Toronto


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet