Piano!

Aug. 2nd, 2011 05:22 pm
tmcg: (Default)
Hearty recommendation for Kunis Piano Moving. They did an awesome job yesterday moving my family-heirloom upright. I have my piano again! I will have much to say about that (and pictures), but for now I say "Hooray" and "Whew."
tmcg: (duet)
As linked by [livejournal.com profile] sleigh and [livejournal.com profile] fastfwd (that I've seen so far), Pearls Before Breakfast by Gene Weingarten, an interesting and very nicely written Washington Post article about an experiment setting up a virtuoso musician as a subway busker to see what kind of response there'd be from passersby. Includes video.


Ascoltando

Oct. 18th, 2006 12:27 pm
tmcg: (aw)
I've been cramming Italian in preparation for going to Tuscany, Florence, and Venice, and yesterday I had the coolest experience: I listened to an aria I downloaded (so my monthly emusic allotment wouldn't go to waste) and understood fifty percent of what I was hearing. When I looked at a transcription of the Italian, my comprehension went up to eighty percent. (I forgave myself for not knowing the verb for "to dissolve"; it doesn't appear on a whole lot of "most frequently used verbs" lists.) Understanding what they're singing, directly and without resorting to summaries or paraphrasings or having to follow along the English side of the libretto line by line--what a concept!

It was Jussi Bjoerling singing "Nessun Dorma," which by the way is like a shot of heroin directly into the aesthetic pleasure center of the brain. Or maybe adrenaline and soma? Was that the stuff Vila drank on Blake's 7?

I now fully appreciate the beauty of the line Ed il mio bacio scioglierà il silenzio che ti fa mia ("And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine"). And thanks to this translation (by Mark D. Lew, from back in 1997...god I love the Internet), the verb "to set" now gives me a most pleasurable hit of etymology-as-poetry.

My plan was to crowbar into my head as much Italian as I could, just to help us get around while we're there, and then let it go and try to regain my onetime fluency in Spanish. But I'm really kind of loving the language, and when I get back I think I'd like to finish Level 2 of the Rosetta Stone course I've been doing, and enjoy this newly unfiltered experience of Italian opera for a little longer.


tmcg: (duet)
Because it has mildly interesting charting features and will stream recommendations I can listen to when I'm roaming with my notebook, I signed up with last.fm and plugged their Audioscrobbler into Windows Media Player. To give it the beginnings of a sense of what I listen to, I set WMP to play a shuffled playlist of the Irish traditional music I have in mp3 format. That means the albums and stray tracks I've downloaded from emusic, and a handful of CDs I ripped so that I could listen to them on my mp3 player. It took twenty-three hours to play through the entire list. Given how vastly much more Irish traditional music I have on CDs than I do in mp3 files, and given that Irish traditional is maybe an eighth of the music (LPs, cassettes, and CDs) in this house, that's a bit boggling.
tmcg: (leafy starry)
Missed Readercon in early July to help some friends get a truck and pack it for a big move, and was very sad to see them go, but they made it safely and successfully cross-country and much relief was had by all.

In later July, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival )

In still later July, birthdays and gig )

In early August, Echo Lake )

This past weekend, make room! make room! )


tmcg: (duet)
Yeah, I kinda gafiated for a while there. Not sure if the gafiation is completely over, but hey, it's been spring for almost two hours now and I've been nudged, so I'm poking my head up and peering around a little.

[livejournal.com profile] ogre_san, I haven't forgotten that I owe you email with an attachment. :)

[livejournal.com profile] stevendj, I haven't forgotten that I owe you a phone call. :)

We had a fun and busy St. Patrick's Season (usually it's a week; this year we had gigs over two weeks, including all three weekends). My spring resolutions are to get my banjo repaired, get my piano moved from the place it's temporarily occupied since 1987 to the place I live now, and acquire a flute that likes me better than my last one did; a bouzouki that doesn't give me carpal-tunnelish pains to play would be nice too, but may take a little longer.

I'll be at I-Con this weekend (I'll post my programming schedule in a minute), and I'll be back in chat (finally!) on Thursday night.

Hope everyone's been well.

tmcg: (duet)
If anyone happens to be in Manhattan this evening, a bunch of us are playing Irish music at Kenny's Castaways on Bleecker Street from 6:30-7:30 as part of a benefit evening for the Heart Association. I think it's a $5 donation. Lots of terrific music follows, singer-songwriters and others.

(running for train now)


tmcg: (happywilly)
Been swamped with work the past ten days, but I did get in to see the Roundabout's revival of Pacific Overtures at Studio 54. (I never made it to Studio 54 in its disco heyday. The first time I was there, in the nineties, it was a strip joint. It makes a really cool Broadway theatre, cocktail tables and working bar and all.) The show was fantastic; anyone who can get there before its limited engagement ends (Jan 30) should do so. I got discount tickets through WBAI. (Which by the way is a great deal: You make a donation to the listener-supported station during David Rothenberg's show on Saturday morning, the station gets money, you get decent, affordable seats, the house gets warm bodies.)

I'd experienced Pacific Overtures only through audio recordings, and since the last time I listened to it I've become a Kurosawa devotee, learned some Japanese, and read a lot about samurai and Japanese history, so the show came alive for me on several levels. I was impressed by the pit band and by how tight the production was musically (wind/strings/synthesizer/etc. on one side with the conductor, percussion on the other side, conductor with his back to both percussion and stage). I loved the fact that Alvin Y. F. Ing had been an original cast member and reprised "Chrysanthemum Tea" for this production. "Someone in a Tree" was nearly a showstopper; at the end of it I heard grunts of awe from the people sitting around me, an inarticulate wow that applause couldn't convey. The updating was masterly, and the finale gave me chills.

The last musical I saw was an updated production of The Frogs at Lincoln Center (with [livejournal.com profile] stevendj), which was also terrific--and also, very consciously, politically timely. Hmm. I could get used to a steady diet of live Sondheim.
tmcg: (happywilly)
Because the show must go on, managed to marshal sufficient resources against this cold on Saturday to go in and do box office for closing night of the Open Book's production of The Last Christmas of Ebenezer Scrooge--a dramatic reading for four players adapted by actor/director Marvin Kaye from his book of the same name, which picks up where "A Christmas Carol" leaves off. Lawrence Van Gelder reviewed the show in the December 10th Times, calling it "an exploration of friendship, penitence, guilt, anti-Semitism and brotherhood in the true spirit of the season."

I found it entertaining and quite moving. The way the work was broken into parts reminded me at times of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood, and the players (H. Clark Kee, Nancy Temple, Stacey Jenson, and Marvin Kaye) did a terrific job, moving fluidly through narrative and characterization with great skill and what I took to be an obvious pleasure in the challenge and fun of ensemble reading.

Didn't do my health any favors by going out, but it was well worth it. The guy it looked like I might have to give CPR on the train home is another story, and was an adrenaline rush of quite a different kind. (He was okay when we pulled into the station, and an ambulance was there waiting.) I need to get recertified again.


IAW

Jul. 9th, 2004 10:46 pm
tmcg: (milphil whistle)
I'm off for another week, to the Catskills Irish Week this time, for flute classes and set dancing and sessions. Back next weekend sometime, depending on whether we get crash space after our bungalow rental runs out.


tmcg: (duet)
For anyone in the NYC area looking for some good music tonight on short notice, there's a benefit concert for the uilleann piper Jerry O'Sullivan up in Yonkers. Information at the Tara Circle site.

The music should be great, and I hope the weather will cooperate.
tmcg: (Default)
Rick Springfield is remarkably well preserved.

I know this because a DJ on WPLJ a couple of weeks ago played "Jesse's Girl" (which has inexplicably, unless one figures music-corporation payoffs, come back into the illusory popularity that's really the self-fulfilling hype of commercial radio stations) and said that Springfield would be making an appearance on a late-night talk show I'd never heard of (which isn't saying much). I actually made an effort to watch this--did a Web search, found out when the show was on, tuned in.

Dude. He looks great. A little too slick as an entertainer--you can see the gears working behind his eyes, give smoldering look to this camera, throw head back on this note in practiced simulation of suggested orgasm--and without quite the vocal range he had before, but still a very nice, lean package.

So, I'm outted. Still have a little crush on him, mumble mumble years after high school. Still like his music, which is mostly bubblegum (hey, I like bubblegum, in the right flavors) but sometimes delves some deeper lyric places. It took me till just a few years ago to admit that I'm a huge fan of Billy Joel, and I'm still doing penance for disavowing any knowledge of the band Foreigner when a friend claimed to be playing one of their albums for me at a party attended by people I did not want to admit my secret musical vices to (leaving her the sole recipient of the group's scorn, a profound betrayal on my part). So maybe there will be some catharsis in admitting that I have three of Springfield's albums on the CD jukebox in my office, which suggests that yes, I did actually go out and acquire them with intent aforethought. And that I think "It's Always Something," on the CD Karma, is a terrific song. Dings a nerve in me, anyway:


When I was a kid the teachers and the priests said,
Why you let him run around like that?
My father said, If the boy wants to play the guitar, I say we let him.
Through the hard years he was my rock
When I just could not win
So it goes y'know my father died
Just before my leaky ship came in....


--Rick Springfield, "It's Always Something"



Camus said "Crushing truths perish when acknowledged." (That's how I remembered the quote, anyway. Here's a different translation.) Probably doesn't apply to crushes. Guess I'll hit Post and find out.

tmcg: (duet)
I've been trying to write a eulogy for the session at Mary Kate's (link still works for now), or at least a detailed report on the farewell session (last Sunday, March 21st), and I find that I can't do it justice. I just get all blubbery or all long-winded and pontificating about how great it was. Sessions have a life span, and this one lasted a good five years; it was cut short by the venue changing hands, but five years is a darn good run, and it went out in a swell of poignant pride and affection and laughter. Then again, I could have seen the session lasting another decade or more. I wish it had that chance. I wish I could do better by it than this short summation.

Maybe twenty musicians showed up, which was a lot for that space. Sessions grow like trees, adding rings with each new set of arrivals as they pull up chairs around the periphery, and this was a grand, broad, vibrant oak. Mary Kate spoke with firm, tearful, and humorous eloquence, despite her aversion to microphones ("I can go talk to every table in the place, but put a mike in front of me and it's a different story"). Jo-Ellen, as she has done for five years, guided the starting of tunes and songs with a sure hand, and sang "Caledonia," "Danny Boy," and "The Parting Glass" as beautifully as I've ever heard them sung, as well as a couple of sweet and haunting songs I don't have names for. The place was packed, and the appreciative audience energized the musicians and singers. It was a terrific night.

I'll play music with those people again, at house parties and if an alternative venue is found, but that particular synergy of music-fostering host, cottage-cum-roadhouse-cum-pub ambience, and available local musicians was unique. I grieve its end.
tmcg: (duet)
The News and the Post both ran articles this week about Irish seisiun life around New York City, and sent photographers to Dempsey's, which used to be my regular session. The Post's Website is resisting my efforts to find a direct link that works, but here's the piece from the News: A Wee Bit o' Fun: This week everybody's Irish, and New York has the music to prove it. I'm psyched that the session, and the other ones mentioned, finally got some press in the major tabloids.


tmcg: (Default)
The fiddler Johnny Cunningham died of a heart attack on Monday night. The Website, in a link arrived at by clicking "News," has some lovely reminiscences.

The last time we saw him perform, it was in a concert with his brother Phil--a great night of music and laughter that I won't soon forget.

The seisiun in heaven just got a lot livelier.
tmcg: (pirate)
If I had a time machine, or a past viewer, I would use it to go back and see Patrick Hamilton's Angel Street at the John Golden Theatre in New York in 1941. Opening night, and then closing night, because there might have been some fun closing-night tricks. When my dad played Inspector Rough in a summer-stock production of the play, the stagehands substituted a dead fish for the brooch that is rather climactically found in a locked drawer. I'd like to have seen what he made of that. In fact, I think I'd use my time machine to go back and see all the plays my dad was in. Then I'd go see Angel Street on Broadway. And everything Alfred Drake was ever in. And Mary Martin. And all the musicals I grew up listening to the original Broadway cast albums of. And then I'd get started on Shakespeare.

I don't have a time machine or a past viewer, but I have a video of the 1940 film Gaslight. Which is the next best thing. I just reread the play, and now can watch the movie. Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] stevendj.


tmcg: (Default)
Black Hole Strikes Deepest Musical Note Ever Heard is a little heavy on the puns and a little garbled in the explanations, but the subject is pretty cool, and poetically, uh, resonant.

Via Bob.
tmcg: (Default)
My Abell whistle has arrived. African blackwood with sterling silver that glows like mithril. A thing of beauty.

putting it through its paces )
tmcg: (scream)
Okay, I just saw a teeth-whitening-stuff commercial in which a woman is dreaming that she's dancing in a Riverdance-like line of Irish stepdancers, all of whom are dressed in white silk, and all of whom are William Shatner.

Not even I could have hallucinated something like that.

irrelevant musical note )