Saturday, July 23, 2005

Miscelaneous Musings

It's a lot of work being Abbot of one's own Monastary. Don't worry, the analysis of Beethoven's Ninth is proceeding apace, but there are many decisions concerning the details of the settup for it that I had to make before it could actually be started. Since those formatting decisions are now in the bag, I have entered the music up to the first statement of the main theme for the Allegro, and I should have the entire exposition ready by the end of the day tomorrow.

Add to that monumental project the fact that 1] One of my Lexicon MPX-G2's needs repair, and I'm communicating with Lexicon about that, 2] One of my sets of PA speakers requires the same, and that's looking like a DIY type of deal, 3] My new Mac Mini hasn't shipped yet (But the wireless keyboard and mouse are on the way: Bluetooth rocks) [I simply must have access to my 23" Cinema HD Display to get screen captures of entire pages for this project] and add to these gems the Mother of all Distractions, 4] I got a new Godin Multiac Grand Concert SA electric nylon string guitar Thursday, which has captured quite a bit of my attention. So, as you can see, I have a lot on my plate right at the moment, figuring in my busy gigging schedule on top of it all. Good thing I'm a "no wife, no kids, no pets, no girlfriends" kind of guy, or my life would really be impossible!

Oh yeah; I have a new BMW on the way too. No, not an automobile (Never had one of those: I'm a full-sized, four-door, 4x4, four-inch lift, 33" AT tires, V-8, American pickup truck kind of guy, since I live in the most remote high mountain desert region of Far West Texas and enjoy outdoor sports). No, not a motorcycle (I already have two of those: K1200LT and R1100RS). A bicycle. Mountain Bike, speciffically. I'm sure I'll have to make some time to ride that when it arrives as well. Hey: All work and no play...

I have been listening to the Ninth in both the solo piano versions and the orchestral versions a lot since I made the decision to analyze it (It will be the soundtrack for my life for the forseeable future, though I'm swapping between it and Pat Metheny's "One Quiet Night" and "Beyond the Missouri Sky" for a break in the drama and some perspective-adding relief), and it is amazing the different prism you can view that symphony through simply by listening to Liszt's transcription. A large part of the formidable nature of that symphony for me from a listener's standpoint is definately Beethoven's scoring. The piano transcription makes the actual music much more transparent since I'm not being constantly carried away and distracted by all the fine details of the orchestration. It's looking more and more likely that I'll have to do an orchestral analysis after the harmonic/thematic/formal one.

Quite often I feel like I'm not "relatable" to very many other musicians. I say that because when the subject of listening experiences comes up, I feel like what I experience and what others experience are quite different things the vast majority of the time. At least, judging from what others describe to me. One outcome of this is that I am constantly amused by what others tell me about the music that I compose. Since I make my living as a guitarist who gigs at least three days of every week, and over 60% of my set consists of my own material, I get a lot of feedback. Anecdote in point: I was performing at a very small and laid back Art Opening a few months back, and it was one of the few gigs where I didn't bother with any amplification. I just brought one of my 1979 Anthony Murray classicals, set up in a corner, and enjoyed myself while the Marfa/Alpine/Fort Davis/Marathon artistic hoi palloy hob-nobbed (I love playing art openings: The artists are as interesting as the art, and people watching during gigs is a fun sideline). Anyway, near the end of the night, a very attractive young lady came up to me, and in a delicious French-Canadian accent said, "Your music is so peaceful." Of course, I had just finished playing a Prelude of mine that was full of harmonic "storm and stress" from my perspective - one that I wrote at the sad conclusion of my pursuance of the lady who was doubtless the love of my life - and so I just smiled and said thanks: I have to admit not understanding reactions like that to my music.

The reason I bring this up is because as I go through this symphony of Beethoven's, I will be describing in unabashed terms some of the emotional and spiritual effects this music has on me. You may not relate. In fact, Beethoven probably wouldn't relate. I suppose that's OK: One of the coolest things about music is that the same work can mean very different things to different listeners. Beethoven's Ninth, as I've said before and will say again, is my favorite of all compositions and it is constantly taking me into new and uncharted realms of spiritual and emotional awareness. Even with the score in hand as I listen, these effects are not diminished for me (And in at least one classical music community I'm part of, there is almost universal agreement that reading a score while listening diminishes the listening/relating part of the experience: I cannot relate to that in any way, as reading the score while listening actually enhances the experience for me). Anyway...

Apple said "seven to ten days" on the Mini, so I'm hopeful that I'll have the first analysis post ready by the end of next week.


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