This concert requires a different sort of practice for the cellist.
In Robert Hughes' duet for flute and cello (Sonitudes) I had to buy a new drumstick and am practicing using it on the strings...with the cello on the .....well, you'll see! And in Lou's string quartet I am also practicing my drumming, but this time with the flat of my hand on the body of the cello.
I encourage you to google Lou, if not to read more, to see the photos. I think seeing him helps give a sense of this unusual and wonderful man. One of his teachers was Henry Cowell, who many of you heard in the "C" concert and who encouraged the use of known tunes. Lou taught at Black Mountain college and worked with John Cage. He also studied Balinese and Javanese gamelans. He and his partner Bill Colvig made an American gamelan, using reclaimed materials for special sounds and tunings. From all these influences he developed a very personal style. I find it elegant, touching, inventive and different from a lot of 20th century music in being what I think of as non-aggressive.
A Lou story: For many many years he and Bill lived in Aptos (near Santa Cruz) and was composer in residence at Cabrillo Music Festival, which I played. One year he invited a friend and I to camp in his backyard during the festival. That sounded fun, so we arrived with a little pup tent and a hibachi and set ourselves up. Lou came out, shook his head and disappeared for a while. He came back with a huge cabin style tent which we all erected. We thought that was great! But he shook his head again, disappeared for a few minutes and came back out with an asian carpet which he placed very carefully in the tent. THEN we were set. Except the hibachi.
He took us inside and showed us around the kitchen, just warning us that a certain pot in the fridge was their 1000 year old family soup and was never to be emptied. (one just adds to it, and boils it...a lot)
The Alphabet Concerts started as a 2 year project. We presented 23 concerts in 2010-2011 with composers names representing every letter of the alphabet (ok, 2 months will double-up).
The fun was finding more repertoire than we had known before, and just putting more music on the map! It stared in January, 2010, with composers whose last name (or lack of one, Anon) starts with "A".
And......everyone who came to that got a card with a lovely "A" on it. In February a "B" card.... The cards are designed by different local artists starting with Andree MacColl, Bonnie Boren......and Bonnie is also designing the "U" card. "V" was designed by Victoria Ehrlich, and "W" by Emily Roeder. "XY" was by Elly Lichenstein and David Bowes supplied the last card;"Z".
At the final concert and party, we ate alphabet soup and zwetschendatschi, drank wine from the A-Z winery, and gave prizes for the best collections of letter cards. In April, Roger and Eileen Weeks, Paul Besco and Gary Shepard were our guests for a very enjoyable lunch at Chez Panisse. VERY enjoyable!
It was all so much fun that we decided to continue the frivolity with A-Zed through the centuries. This time we are collaborating with Cinnabar Theater and we very much appreciate their support! After the September concert, all others will be held at Cinnabar Theater. We look forward to seeing you there!
Well...the backround for the a-zed concerts...
After many years of playing opera (SF) and Symphony (SF) and various other orchestra, solo and chamber music concerts, it seemed time for a substantial project that involves lots of playing, lots of friends, and searches for music that we had not known before.
Now, more than half way through, it turns out that all those things are happening and it is even more fun than we had imagined. So many wonderful musician/friends are jumping in with ideas and a willingness to play for, frankly, very little renumeration. And the audience is a gas! So great to see friends on a monthly basis!
So...more ideas are always appreciated! And thanks to all!!