Friday, August 27, 2010

From the "H" concert.

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Thank you ,
Charlie Lucke
for the wonderful photos!!
...showing the cello technique used in Robert Hughes duet "Sonitudes"
...Robert Hughes talking about the inspiration for his piece, and a bit of history about Lou Harrisons quartet.

Mariko Smiley and Maria Caswell
listening to Bob before playing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Practicing fo "H"

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 am writing this between practice sessions)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lou Harrison 1917-2003

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)