June 30 - Church Partisans

To St. Gregory's Episcopal tonight for Diana and Greg's 10th wedding anniversary with Harriet performing Weill, Diana Bernstein, and on and on except when it's not (a few organizational issue, but, hey, we're all friends here)... Fine time had by all, and an impressive layout as church decked out in candlelit tables (hm...) with delicious food and drink. Many friendly folks, including Douglas and Miriam, Sharon and Gus, Sanford Dole, Pat and Paul, Scott and Dave, Ruth Ann and Ruthe, church people, Concert Chorale people, Goat Hall people...

Brisk evening, after pleasant blustery, as-pretty-much-as-usual beautiful clear day -- happy to be out and happy to head home....

June 29 - Wiki Flickr

Am becoming more adept at gathering and organizing public domain photos from web into computer, and, for now, anyway, relying less on scanning, such that courses will probably have a little more art and a little less notation for a while, for better or for worse. Still dreaming of the orchestration of Waiting for Godot 56....

June 28 - Rendezvous Reunion

Sub for lunch and sub for Kurt Erikson's Music Lit course, kinda giving them a blitz review in one hour of what I more-or-less cover for a week in my own class -- ah, the wonders of the new laptop (have reconciled to use iPhoto, since other program still crashes on occasion).

After recording orchestrations of Waiting for Godot 31-32, blitz off to classy Sausalito to rendezous with old high school buddy, fine musician, and general crazy guy Brian Gibson, who is out here from PA touring with his 14-year-old son and new girlfriend, all very nice, and having a good time, impressed with scenery and the lack of summer rain, as well they should be. Bit of talk about the sad fiery news from Tahoe basin....

We do Sausalito things like meet at the Elephant statue park and wark along the waterfront -- a fairly balmy, not-to-windy evening, so Hurricane Gulch mercifully does not live up to its name. Full moon comes up over SF Bay with the city shining brightly beyond, and life is good as we have pizza (deja) outside with a bit of live music. Pictures of recent Goat Hall Productions on the laptop and a new album from Brian, reminiscences and news.

Home via San Anselmo and gifts in the post box, so all's well....

June 27- Space Frontier

Miss my appointment at the Apple Store, becoming so engrossed in recording the orchestrations of Waiting for Godot 28 and 30.

June 26 - Composers Squaretable

Dinner with Harriet and Dave Meckler at local chi-chi pizzaria with breezy outdoor seating and we talk shop, the universe...

June 25 - Chop Water / Carry Wood

There's always the next day, until there isn't, so we go on.

Week 2 of the six-week summer semester, and am able to record the orchestrations of Waiting for Godot 27 and 29.

June 24 - The Old 1-2-3

Astoundingly enough, first rehearsal of The Playboy of the Western World today, with

Suzanna Mizell - PEGEEN
Robert Benda - CHRISTY MAHON
William Loney - SHAWN KEOGH
Kat Cornelius and Lisa McHenry - two of the FOUR GIRLS
Mark Alburger - OLD MAHON

Took us up on stage immediately (our last rehearsal in Goat Hall until who knows when) in the lights, took publicity stills afterwards -- one particularly good, with cast harrassing Christy with rope around his neck -- Act III..... So far, so good, music seems tuneful, with plenty of tricky rhythmic quirks....

Then a walk from the water treatment plant (at bluffs upon seaside) to the first off-the-Coast-Road housing area (directly on cliffs above water) in

Moss Beach -- third beautiful Sunday in greater Montara....

Back to GH for another excellent Godot, etc, performance, with Keisuke playing sensitively at the pianistic helm... The end, for now, although cast has agreed to soon record, and a number of folks suggested more performances.... Meanwhile, other good news is that Cynthia and Eliza most likely will round out our ingenue needs in POTWW

Home late -- quite fatigued -- good night!

June 23 - A Sierra Nevada of the Mind

Thought I was going up to the Sierra today, but thought I figured out how to use Photosmart again, by filing in a differet way, then spent hours getting everythig into place, only to have the aforesaid computer crash again, seemingly permenently, so went back to iPhoto, the organizational slow boat.

Also approaching 56 in the orchestration of Waiting for Godot....

June 22 - Et Tu, Godot?

Premiere of excerpts of Act II from Waiting for Godot, after Samuel Beckett, the notes, selections, and cast are....

WAITING FOR GODOT (after Samuel Beckett) loiters in a barren Igor Stravinskian trope of The Rake's Progress, through which wander trespassers from the same composer's The Rite of Spring; Alburger's Antigone, Bald Soprano, and The Nativity According to St. Matthew; Olivier Messaien's Quartet for the End of Time, Ralph Vaughan Williams's Mass in G, the 70's rock tune Baker Street, Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach and Satyagraha, Leo Delibes's Lakme, the hymn tunes There Is a Balm in Gilead and Now the Day Is Over, the rumba in Adolph Deutch's Some Like It Hot, Maurice Ravel's Mother Goose, Lionel Bart's Oliver!, Henry Cowell tone clusters, Gioacchino Rossini's The Barber of Seville, Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, boogie-woogie, Pop Goes the Weasel, Terry Riley's Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band and No Man's Land, Claude Debussy whole-tone scales, heavy-metal rock, 12-bar blues, Please Mr. Postman, Frederick Rzewski's progressive revelation, Steve Reich's rhythmic displacements and substitutions of notes and rests, cartoon music, Harold Arlen's The Wizard of Oz, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Joe Garland's In the Mood, Latin rhythms, Alban Berg's Wozzeck, Balinese pentatonics, Alberti basses, Renaissance dance forms, Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, G.F. Handel's Messiah, Conrad Paumann's Mit Ganzcem Willen, and Muzio Clementi sonatinas.

Mark Alburger - WAITING FOR GODOT, Op. 128 (2005)
Tragicomic Opera in Two Acts after Samuel Beckett
XXXVI. Aria - A dog

XXXVII. Duet - You again!

L. Trio - What do we do now

LIII. Trio - What's the matter with you all?

LIV. Scena - Simple question of will power

LVI. Arioso Trio - Go and see is he hurt

LVII. Dream Duet-Aria I - Don't go / Have you not

LIX. Dream Aria-Duet III - Was I sleeping

LX. Epilogue - What's wrong with you?

VLADIMIR Eliza O'Malley
ESTRAGON Meghan Dibble
POZZO Kat Cornelius (LUCKY in Act I)
LUCKY Janet Lohr (POZZO in Act I)
BOY Lea Grant

Everyone does a fine job, pretty much on a par with Wednesday -- as with second run-through on dress, no Keisuke, but we manage.

Consensus seems to be that with just computer, show is tighter, but with addition of piano, we have more fluidity....

Also on show, Dave Meckler's hilarious The Albion Deity with bang-up performances from Harriet and Meghan, Ray Christensen's heartfelt The Hired Man, and Cynthia Weyuker's amazing musical saw, voice, and looping digital delays....

Recorded some close-ups of Godot during a c 10-minute warm-up rehearal, plus more stills, plus filming whole show from the booth, as usual. Additionally, Ray had a video crew, so will look forward to that retelling as well....

June 21 - Guinea PC

All the computers in the lab have been updated, so I become a test case for the new Cubase program -- works pretty well, and record more Waiting for Godot orchestration: 20, 21, and 25 -- so now 1-26 are in final orchestrational form....

June 20 - Best of Times...

Two run-throughs of Act II of Waiting for Godot in dress rehearsal.  First time among our weakest, with line lapses and character breaks, then we turn around and turn in our strongest performance of second part to date -- Hallelujah! Lawd willin, we are ready for opening night...

Before this, lunch at a new Mexican restaurant (for me, anyway) in Walnut Creek -- nice outdoor seating, mimosas, and grading papers, a block away from the Apple Store, for another session. Find a workaround the errant Photosmart program, so perhaps I can use it in class after all...

June 19 - Student / Teacher

Am taking another class this semester -- Tim White's Digital Production again, as last summer. Good to hang around with him and just take in the general recording and computer wisdom....

June 18 - Academic Elision

First day of the summer semester, and first day using iTunes and iPhoto in class, rather than CDs and overhead visuals.  A lot easier -- will take quite a while to completely make the transition, but a good start.  Nice classes, then back to Kinko's to finish printing books and off to SF for second week of Fresh Voices VII tech rehearsal.

Good to hear Cynthia Weyuker's saw, Dave Mecker's Albion Deity, and Ray's The Hired Man from light booth....  We are finding a new dramatic flair in Godot Act II -- now all we have to do is continue to review music and lines....

June 17 - Godot and Go

Three-hour Waiting for Godot Act II rehearal at noon today was a quick turn-around from last night -- lots of good work done, including slow-motion, weightless, tai-chi movements for the extended scene when all four main characters are grounded.

Then back to Montara continuing to walk south adjacent to the coast road,

this time from what amounts to downtown Montara to the outskirts of

Moss Beach, via the Montara Lighthouse Hostel, the Santitation District building (right on the ocean..., and a beautiful side trail between designer houses to spectacular cliffs...

Checked in re Father's Day on both generational fronts, then home to prepare for first day of summer semester. Astouded to learn that the local Kinko's is closing yet an hour earlier (suspect it is all Fed Ex's fault -- a lamentable coming together), so will have to get up early and publish both Music Fundamentals and Music History Volume I texts at next printhouse to southwest....

June 16 - At Last

Great show tonight -- capacity responsive audience at Goat Hall, the computer worked, and our cast, and other performers, in top form. "Well, shall we go?" -- indeed!

Filmed part of Act I up close an hour before the show, plus some more stills, and it looks like we'll do both Act I and II excerpts next week (rather than just the latter). Lea might have to be out of town due to family emergency, so Kat has agreed to understudy, as she is never on stage as Lucky/Pozzo when Boy is on, aside from the Doppleganger addition....

Wonderful to have Dawn Chambers with us again from New Mexico / New York for her Spinster Song -- sung this time by Meghan (previously by Dawn and Sarah Hutchison -- all who have done bang-up jobs in this appealingly outrageous music). Harriet and Dawn and I hit C.Y. late, then took D back to airport before the trek home...

Also in audience, good to see Jane Goldsmith, Debbie Haun, Peter Josheff (again -- so he was able to hear the tracks, not that he hasn't from hearing Elisa rehearse....), Maggie Tennenbaum and beau, Kat's crew, Ken Bullock from Commuter Times (who seemed to enjoy it, as appeared to be the general consensus -- certainly diction apparently was pretty good, as the jokes got laughs) -- fluidity and tunefulness (to the point of "earworms") were among the comments (and, OK, difficulty). Keisuke and cast outdid themselves, and KN and I beefed up the volume just a bit, which probably actually did help projection.

Back in town by noon tomorrow for 3 hours for Act II...

June 15 - Waiting for an Amp

Waiting for Godot, Act I tonight, as part of Fresh Voices VII at Goat Hall, 400 Missouri Stree, San Francisco (also tomorrow), the selections performed are

I. Nothing to Be Done

V. Wait for Godot

XIV. I'm Hungry

XV. Bozzo

XXVIII. Stop! Back! Turn! Think!

XXIX. His Hat

XXX. Now

XXXI. Thank You, Gentlemen

XXXIII. Mister

XXX. At Last

Cast is

VLADIMIR - Eliza O'Malley
ESTRAGON - Meghan Dibble
POZZ0 (LUCKY in Act II, next week) - Janet Lohr
LUCKY (POZZO in Act II, next week) - Kat Cornelius
BOY - Lea Grant

With Keisuke Nakagoshi, piano, augmented by computer tracks, which cut out during the third selection, as amp suddenly became disconnected. The cast and Keisuke carried on admirably despite all, and the audience was apparently entertained and appreciative. I was stuck in the lightbooth, so concentrated on the situations at hand, including filming a show that will proved difficult to sync up with the MIDI version....

Looking forward to a more urtext performance this evening...

Also on show Dawn Chambers's dynamic Spinster Songs (a pleasure to now have experienced Meghan, Sara Hutchison, and Dawn all interpretting this material in their unique ways), plus a commited selection of pieces (with Harriet, Lea, Bianca Showalter, Kat, and our Fashion God friend) from John Partridge, Brian Holmes's winning Updike's Science (with another expert Philip Glass parody), and Allan Crossman's evocative Lorca Songs, with Eilene Meredith....

June 14 - Apple a Week

Weekly trek to the Walnut Creek Apple store for the One-To-One instruction -- surprise, surprise, spent much of it learning to import clips into iMovie -- have already just about filled up the little MacBook, so will use exterior hard drive to do the work Still having issues with the Mail program and iPod, which have not exactly been solved... plus closing in on Waiting for Godot 55 orchestration and still organizing pictures on iPhoto in preparation for summer classes, which are nicely filling up, and begin Monday....

June 13 - Moving Pictures

 Picked up a video camera at Fry's, spent the afternoon hanging black drapes on the stage at Goat Hall -- precarious ladder work, difficult angles, fairly exhausting.

We were able to rehearse Act II Waiting for Godot, in addition to the dress rehearsal of Act I. The second part has come a long way and will go farther still. Part one experienced that "second rehearsal syndrome," where we had higher expectations, but pretty much the same challenges. There were many wonderful things happening in both acts, and we should peak in performance.

First videos of Goat Hall rehearsals by yours truly -- fun to take up that side of endeavors, and a new respect for the excellences and challenges of videography.

June 12 - Photo Dim

Spent the last unscheduled day of semester break manually organizing pictures, to prepare for summer semester, in iPhoto -- because the PhotoSmart program still crashes in the picture library -- and then found a better way to organize via photo rolls with redating. As iPhoto insists on grouping by importation date, I simply reassigned import numbers to reflect the birth years of composers.

Somewhere in the fullness of time, am aiming for the orchestration of Waiting for Godot 54...

June 11 - Yes, Let's Go

Wow! Godot is a go. Ran lights tonight for tech rehearsal -- we're costumed and propped (both Eliza and I bought carrot and parsnips -- no turnips avail, and they look better anyway, surprisingly like white carrots -- at The Good Life, unbeknownst to one another).

Also bought a cooked chicken, but Janet likes the idea of plastic cheeseburgers, so we'll go with that....

Oh, yes, and the music and the acting. Sounds good, looks good. Balence just about right, with computer and no Keisuke tonight, but am sure he will fit right in on live piano. Lighting is dark and spare, everyone is finding appropriate business and moments -- not many slip-ups. Harriet took some pictures with the new camera -- despite having to take action shots and shooting against unfinished backdrop (we only had half a black box -- will finish on Wednesday) and not realizing that zoom was a possibility, the first (7 again!) shots turned out pretty well -- one of Meghan good enough to use as a promo...

Had a ball running the lights for Godot -- kept fairly narrow pools-of-light focus on whatever was happening -- pretty much improvised and just made it up as we went along. Tree is a giant fan, Pozzo's rope a bright orange extension cord matching P's vest;

Lucky in brown shirt and barefoot;

Vladimir in brown jacket; Estragon in blue shirt and pretty much matching socks;

Boy in forest green pants, shirt, jacket -- now more leprechan than angel... All other costuming black, with the shiny, cheap bowler hats...

Lisa Prosek's Jakob borrowed the black boxes from Goat Hall, which we were using as the mound, and has not returned them -- so we switched to a small raked platform (sloping up toward center stage) covered with a black drape, which is actually much better visually and dramatically (superior to have Lucky deliver his speech and Estragon sleep on the bias). Nothing else on set, as per Beckett's direction -- although the situation we inherited from the Little Night Music production of quite some time back has elevations at extreme stage right and left, which we use for Estragon's scoping of the situation, and for the Boy's two appearances (stage right only).

Bianca and Harriet checked out the show, and liked it very much. Cast in great voice and both funny and disturbing, as should be.... Lea particulalry likes the Act I twisted arpeggiated octave substitution blues ("Thank You Gentlemen," as Pozzo and Lucky depart) and the Act II "You Again," with it's funky looping progressive revelation.... Janet feels the opera feels inevitabably springs from the play.... Bianca wanted more... Harriet said it bespoke of artistic genius.  Gee.... Of course we have to pull it off now for audiences...

Even the cheesy disco ball effect works for the rising of the moon in each act. Cue for its removal iboth times is the "Well, shall we go?" / "Yes, let's go" routine.

Amazed that most of my note for the cast were dramatic ones, rather than purely musical ones -- understand now why stage directors usually had more to say than I did after dress rehearsals -- I used to figure it was because I was busy conducting, but perhaps the real reason is that by "hell" week, the music will come off best when the stagecraft is well in place.

There was some other good singing previous to this, in John Partridge's music, featuring Harriet, Kat, Lea, Bianca, and whoops! suddenly her name escapes me -- she reined in the rain of Brian Holmes's The Fashion God (on Hurricane Katrina and FEMA fashionista head Michael Brown) last year...

Yet before, Harriet and I had one of our sunny, windblown fetes at Connecticut Yankee (another gorgeously clear N. Cal. day, even in SF) -- split a cheesesteak + house red and a coffee specialty drink known as an Improper Bostonian.....