April 20 - Halfway Mark

The big day.

Somehow, we pretty much pulled it off. Seemed like a big success -- everyone apparently well-entertained -- music to cry and laugh to: beautiful, scary, funny...

Biggest surprise was turning around just before intermission to see that the crowd had well-nigh doubled since the downbeat (from around 100 to 200).... delightfully unexpected.

Nice turnout from students and colleagues, with many new faces as well...

Last minute changes included doing the first movement of Psalm 6 instead of the second, with Phil graciously allowing me to deliver the text in surreal sermonic counterpoint to his cypher playing, plus joining Lisa McHenry for snippets of "Creole Banjo Player."

No trainwrecks, Suzanna recovered from illness in fine form, many pieces actually quite wonderful from our expert instrumentalists and vocalists, nice responses from audience -- focussed, appreciative attendance, with laughter at the right times and occasional spontaneous clapping between movements, plus a standing ovation.

12th-hour addition was, at the urging of Karl Coryat, a happy birthday at the end. From this happy suggestion, was able to implement improvised composition that could represent the present year: Grating Prelude, in the spirit of Igor Stravinsky's Greeting Prelude on Happy Birthday for Pierre Monteux. In this turnabout, quickly requested that the high instruments play members of an Eb dominant 7th while low ones repeated an E major (Fb major in original) in the rhythms of The Rite of Spring. After some characteristic hits, all joined in on an "Igorian" chant-style rendition of Happy Birthday over the top...

Nice reception followed afterwards, downstairs in the social hall, with cakes and plenty of pictures. Old First proved a wonderful partner in this event, and hope to hold more in future...

Notes, Soloists, Texts

Early Oboe / Early Voice (Complete Works, Volume 1, 1974-1975)
Instruments of Deconstruction (Complete Works, Volume 2, 1976-1978)
Contrary Comotion (Complete Works, Volume 3, 1978-1981)

1, Psalm 6 , Op. 1 (1974): V-X Philip Freihofner, Oboe
Pitches and rhythms derived from Cageian algorhythms
I am wearied with groaning;
all night long my pillow is wet with tears,
I soak my bed with weeping.
Grief dims my eyes;
they are worn out with all my woes.
Away from me, all you evildoers,
for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
The LORD has heard my entreaty
the LORD will accept my prayer.
All my enemies shall be confounded and dismayed;
they shall turn away in sudden confusion.

2. Ecclesiastes, Op. 3 (1975): V.-VI. There Is Evil Bianca Showalter, Soprano
Troped on George Crumb's Ancient Voices of Children
VI: 1 There is . . . evil . . . under the sun, and it lies heav[il]y upon men . . .
4 [I]t comes into vanity and goes into darkness
V: 1 Guard your steps when you . . . draw near . . . to the house of God . . .
. . . listen[ing] is better than to offer . . . [a] sacrifice of fools;
for they do not know that they are doing evil.

3. Variations and Theme, Op. 6 (1976): XV-XVI. Alexis Alrich, Piano
Troped on John Cage's Sonatas and Interludes

4. The Twelve Fingers, Op. 8 (1977): VIII. Sonata Alexis Alrich, Piano
Eight-note lipogram after W.A. Mozart and Henry Cowell

5. Three Places in America, Op. 13 (1978): III. Swarthmore... Alexis Alrich, Piano
Neoclassical, neolatino, neomedieval necromancy Lisa Scola Prosek, Piano

6. Some Stuff, Op. 16 (1979): II. Urban Scherzo Bruce Salvisberg, Flute
Rondo interruptus after The Rolling Stones's Some Girls Michael Garvey, Bassoon
Alexis Alrich, Piano
Victor Flaviani, Percussion
John Beeman, Bass

7. Missa "The a Deux," Op. 21 (1980): I. Kyrie David Chavez, Tenor
Cantus-firmus mass on Vincent Youmans's Tea for Two William Loney, Tenor
Kyrie eleison Lord Have Mercy Karl Coryat, Bass-Baritone
Christe eleison Christ have Mercy Christopher Lujan, Bass-Baritone
Kyrie eleison Lord have mercy

Desert Muse (Complete Works, Volume 4, 1982-1985)
Bass and Range (Complete Works, Volume 5, 1985-1986)
A Windblown Rock in San Rafael (Complete Works, Volume 6, 1987-1988)
One-Hour Color Processing (Complete Works, Volume7, 1989-1990)
8. Duo Sonata No. 1 ("Hyphenated"), Op. 22 (1981): III. Serenade- Clare Twohy, Violin
Minimalist-Balinese-Rag-Swing Aaron Urton, Tenor

9. Orpheus Cycle, Op. 24 (1982): Y: Lyre's Melody Lisa McHenry, Reciter
After Wagner, 50's rock, club jazz, Bali, and Beethoven William Loney, Tenor
Karl Coryat, Bass-Baritone
Bruce Salvisberg, Flute
Rachel Condry, Clarinet
Alexis Alrich, Piano
Clare Twohy, Violin
Aaron Urton, Cello

10. Stolen Students, Op. 25 (1983): I. Rondo Alexis Alrich, Piano
Reverse sonata after Philips Academy Andover academics

11. Sinfonietta, Op. 26 (1984): I. Allegretto Orchestra
Pseudo-Crumbian sketches mapped over Leos Janacek

12 Aerial Requiem, Op. 27 (1985): X. Agnus Dei Voices and Orchestra
Minimal minimalist paean to Paul Miley, lost over Wyoming
Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi dona eis requiem
Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi dona eis requiem
Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi dona eis requiem sempiternam

Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world grant them peace
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world grant them peace
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world grant them peace everlasting

13. Merton Songs, Op. 30 (1986): VIIIb. Five Angels Eliza O'Malley, Soprano
Punk hemiola after Thomas Merton's La Comparsa en el Oriente (A Conga)
Five angels beating bongos
Seven saints ringing their bells
Where clothes made out of paper money
And shoes made out of shells.
They clatter like a box of nickels,
Holding candles, on fire:
They whirl these as solemn as wise men,
Paper temples in the air.

Lights fly like birds behind the cane
And shot flies after, but in gourds,
When the camparsa goes off to the plains
With fires in her mouth, but no words:
For ten angels ring gangarias
When the comparsa goes away,
With all the mountain people and pilgrims
Dancing down to Camaguey.

Then pray for us, Mother of Jesus,
Caridad, Merced,
Queen of Cobre and of the three towers
That watch over Camaguey:
The ten angels are playing gangarias
And the comparsa goes away.

14. Crystal Series, Op. 32 (1987): I. Crystal Bells Philip Freihofner, Oboe
Developmental idylls to Crystal Alburger (b. 1987)

15. Songs for Rebecca, Op. 34 (1988): I. Spiral Marilyn Pratt, Soprano
Lydian cascade after texts selected by Rebecca Jones
....this spiral has no bottom and no top....

16. At a Photo Shop, Op. 37 (1989): I. English Mark Alburger, Tenor
Overseas karaoke after a language lesson
You want take photo?
No, I want develop and print
Several roll film
All right each sheet negative print
How many sheet
Three sheet this one roll only develop
Not print
All right. Give them to me.
When will they be ready?
In three days.
In advance all right or not all right
Because day after tomorrow I
Just want to other place go visit.
Can. We try satisfy your request.
This is the order slip.
Fetch photo time please bring along.
You here sell not sell color film?
Sell. You look these several kinds not bad.
Camera use 135 film, want to roll
Kodak 135. Have photo album.
Have. You want big volume or small volume?
Both kinds all let me have a look.
You look. This kind big one can put four sheet
Color photo. Cover also good looking.
Small one each page put one sheet take with.
Very convenient. . . .

17. Trumpet Concerto ("Macho Concertino"), Op. 40 (1990): I. Danny Weinstein, Trumpet
Assembled from student sketches in theory classes

Lost in Place (Complete Works, Volume 8, 1991-1992)
Beyond (Complete Works in Progress, 1993-2000)

18. Mice Suite No. 1, Op. 41 (1991): I. Worksong Orchestra
Act II Mechanistic Ranch Prelude later used in Mice and Men, Op. 45

19. Helena Suite, Op. 44 (1992): I. Beautiful Women Janet Lohr, Mezzo-Soprano
Cantus on S. Foster's Beautiful Dreamer, after dating service
Beautiful Women Don't Go to Singles Bars
The truly beautiful woman who finds herself single
Does not go to singles bars
But she is out there
And she would love to meet that special man
If you are single, successful, and interested
In finding a special lady
Call Helena
Do not confuse this with a dating service
There are no embarrassing videos, no silly questions, no awkward moments
For more than twenty-five years Helena
Has been introducing thousands of singles one by one
Resulting in countless successful marriages
And she can do the same for you.

20. San Fernando Hub, Op. 48 (1993): I. Fresno Karl Coryat, Shout 1
Dantean Thrash Inferno after United Parcel Service Workers William Loney, Shout 2
Fresno! Fresno, your truck's fillin' up! Janet Lohr, Shout 3
Lancaster! Douglas Mandell, Shout 4
Put a raincoat on Mojave!
Who forgot about Ridgecrest?

21. L.A. Stories, Op. 50 (1994): Business As Usual: Information Wanted Mark Alburger, Tenor Spy vs. Spy after Lecture Notes and Wanted Poster at Claremont Graduate University
Who Decides (a look a way you talk)?
Information Wanted
$1000 Reward
(Look a way)
Management Does Nothing
Friday April 20
An aggravated assault reported at Cal Poly
A female student was reported at
9:30 in Parking Lot A
The assailant strangled
The victim with a rope
And then he burned her with cigarettes.

22. San Rafael News, Op. 51 (1995): V. Lifespan Voices and Orchestra
12-Tone 12-Bar Major7th Encyclic after Encyclopedia article
Elephants Dogs Cats Horses Whales Carp Eagles Owls and Parrots
Parakeets Box Tortoises Giant Tortoise Redwood Tree Creosote Bush

70 years 18 years 14 20 years 60 years 30 5 years 16 years
12 years 100 200 3,000 years

Every higher organism has a species characteristic average lifespan
That is defined and limited for the best interest in species survival

For an animal to live forever after procreation
It would deplete the food supply and then jeopardize the species survival

Immortality would half the process of the natural selectivity
Which is the major instrument in adapt ion for all species survival

Mortal generations have superior adapt ion via sexual means
Than an immortal populace in the challenges of species survival

23. Mice Suite No. 2, Op. 53 (1996): V.-VI. Deathsongs Marilyn Pratt, Soprano
Extracted from Act V: ii of Mice and Men, after J. Steinbeck Susanna Mizell, Soprano
Ah'm lonely I want to talk to someone Karl Coryat, Bass-Baritone

Ah ain't 'sposed to talk to you

Ah jes' like pettin' sof' things

Well, who doesn't ever'body like that

Just feel that hair
It's soft 'n fair
Ah'm tellin' you
It's silky too

Now Curley's hair
is tough like wire
But my is sof'
Sets men on fire

But Ah, you're messin' it up!
Ah you're messin' it up!
Ah you're messin' it
That's enough!
Ah you're messin' it


24. For My Brother For My Brother, Op. 56 (1997): 1.. A Poem... Lisa McHenry, Voice
Poem sent from S. to M., music returned by M. to S.
Now that age....

25. Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 61 (1998): III. Menuetto Orchestra
Grid derived from Ludwig van Beethoven's Op. 21
Comments overheard after L.A. premiere of Gorecki's Symphony No. 3
("It wasn't classical it was symphonic....
It wasn't a symphony, because it did not have a sonata-allegro")

26. Henry Miller in Brooklyn, Op. 77 (1999): XIa. June's Song Susanna Mizell, Soprano
Troped on Weill's Threepenny Opera and Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale
(Words by Mel Clay)
What do men see in me?
Why don't they let me be
Just a girl in a white dress
Trying to be good

But I get so mad
You want me to be bad.

You want to be my slave
You want to crawl and beg
You want me to tuck you in
And be your woman

Men are such little boys
Grateful little things

If you make me
I'll break you
You'll hate me
And be happy

Just a girl in a white dress
Call me mommy.

27. Antigone, Op. 88 (2000): X. Quartet - "Come On Now" Eliza O'Malley, Soprano
Troped on W.A. Mozart's The Magic Flute Male Chorus
(after Sophocles and Jean Anouil)
Come on now miss
Give it a rest
Chief will be here soon

I have my orders
Don't want to know
What you were doing

People's excuses
We'd never get work done

Tell them to let me go
Shan't run away
My father was Oedipus
I am Antigone

Antigone well well well

Take your dirty hands off me!

What about stiffs
And dirt and such
You weren't afraid of that


Opera in the Dark (Complete Works in Progress, 2001-2006)

28. The Bald Soprano, Op. 94 (2001): Overture Orchestra
After Eugene Ionesco, troped on Rossini's Barber of Seville

29. Out on the Porch, Op. 107 (2002): X. Creole Banjo Player II Lisa McHenry, Mezzo-Soprano
Words by Harriet March Page, after Verdi and Debussy
I'm going to new orleans
looking for you great grandfather
great-grandmothers father killed you [be]fore
I was born
thrown in some dark alley
a creole banjo player

30. Camino Real, Op. 110 (2003): Block 12 Suzanna Mizell, Soprano
After Tennessee Williams, and George Bizet's Carmen William Loney, Tenor
Why do you wear that outfit?
Safety and fun. What are you going to do?
I will establish a beachhead beside you on the Camino Real
How about lifting your veil?
I cannot do it, but you can.
Here I go lifting your veil.
Ah you're hurting me
I'm not hurting you. I am sincere.
That wasn't much to give up golden gloves for.
Are you sad?
Ah! Plus you're heart's as...
Big as a baby.
Mine's about to break.
We must have known it.
Love's no more than dirty words
Painted on fences by schoolkids
You didn't notice my beautiful eyes.
You look like all gypsy's daughters;
I'm back from Walgreens on the Camino Real

31. The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Op. 116 (2004): Overture - "Rats" Voices and Orchestra
After Robert Browning, and W.A. Mozart's Cosi fan tutte
Rats! They fought the dogs and killed the cats
And bit the babies in the cradle and ate the
Cheeses out of the vats
And licked the soup from the cook's own ladle
Split open the kegs of salted sprats
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats and even
Spoiled the women's chats
By drowning their speaking in
Squeaking and shrieking in
Fifty different sharps and flats.

32. Waiting for Godot, Op. 128 (2005): IV. Aria - "Two Thieves" Eliza O'Malley, Soprano
After Samuel Beckett, and Stravinsky's Rake's Progress Kat Cornelius, Soprano
Two thieves crucified at the same time
As our Savior.
As our Savior.
Two thieves, one was supposed to have been saved
And the other
Saved from what?
I'm going.
And yet. How is it -- this is not boring you, I hope --
How is it that of the four Evangelists
Only one speaks of a thief being saved
The four of them were there
Or thereabouts.
And only one speaks of a thief being saved.
Come on, Gogo, return the ball, can't you,
Once in a way.
I find this really most extraordinarilly interesting.

One out of four.
Of the other three, two don't mention
Any thieves at all, and the fourth says both abused him.
What's this all about? Abused whom?
The Savior.
Cause he wouldn't save him.
Saved from hell?
Imbecile! From death!
I thought you said hell.
From death! From death!
Well what of it.
Well then the two of them don't agree.
And why not?
But one of the four said that one of the two was saved.
Well, they don't agree, and that' all there is to it.
But four of them were there or thereabouts,
And only one speaks of a thief being saved.
Why believe him, rather than the others?
Who believes him?
Everybody. That's the only version anybody knows.
People are bloody ignorant apes.

33. The Ring of Harriet, Op. 142 (2006): Cats...:XXIII "Brunnhilde" Suzanna Mizell, Soprano
From Cats, Dogs, and Divas (Page, Verdi, Wagner) Maggie Tenenbaum, Soprano
brunnhilde transformed by life Janet Lohr, Mezzo-Soprano
two and a half years ago Lisa McHenry, Mezzo-Soprano
after 16 years I went back Cynthia Weyuker, Mezzo-Soprano
to my old voice teacher

thought I'd pass myself off as a
character mezzo but he said oh no you're a

dramatic soprano and you
must be brunnhilde you've got to be kidding I said
but he wasn't

I fell in love with her
she's such a spoiled child
lusty and wild a goddess
for god's sake

with a magic sword with which she pierces the hearts of heroes
And my favorite part her

father's favorite daughter the god wotan is the
father of her several sisters and the mortals siegmund and sieglinde

twins separated at birth who have found each other
and have found incestuous consummation

wotan orders his favorite daughter brunnhilde
to kill siegmund brunnhilde agrees

but when she meets siegmund
earthly womanly ungodly feelings well up in her and she

vows to save siegmund well human feelings naturally render her powerless
and siegmund is slain

then there's this incredible scene between wotan and brunnhilde
where he tells her how much he loves her but now she must die

brunnhilde humbles herself and virtually sings her way up his body
no mere mortal can sing like this it goes on for about an hour but
I have I to show you just a little bit how it goes

[Die Walkure excerpt]

the most amazing thing is while I played her four men came out of the woodwork
with whom I shared (well not all at once)

a mutual conjugation a kind of a serial sex

so if you're looking for a guy put on these horns and carry a spear
it really works