Let's Have A Partita!

Get the respite you deserve another time.

Location: Cantonment, Florida, United States

Well, uh, hmm...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Good Afternoon, or whatever it is when you're reading this.

Hi, thanks for reading, I appreciate it. Both of you. Now, I have just realized how hard it is to keep up with this. Heck, my emails are hard enough. I have an email from someone that's been sitting in my inbox for two days because I just know it will take me an hour to respond to it (you probably know who you are, if you're reading this, and if you aren't, then THHBBBWWTTT!). Anyway, I wanted to post today just to say I did, and I think I'll upload another somethin' somethin'. Here's a poem I did in poetry class last year making fun of Lord Byron's poem, "Don Juan." It's pronounced Don Jew-in, by the way, had nothing to do with Don Juan, and it was dedicated to one of his critics. I felt that it was a rather sarcastic and quite pompous poem as he used a lot of French, did a good deal of fudging the spelling of words so they'd rhyme, had Roman Numerals separating the verses, and made lewd remarks about the critic. So, I figured I'd give him a taste of his own sarcasm! Ha! Of course, he's been dead for about two hundred years, so... uh... well.

I use his rhyme scheme by the way.

If you want to, just type the French words into one o' them free online translators. I don't feel like it right now.

Ralph Fiennes
(pronounced ral-ff fee-enn-ez)

Lord Byron! You're such a very good poet,
So clever and witty. All other artists must
Bow down to you. Though most don't know it,
you actually rule all poets in the (crust)
afterlife... what happened? I was interrupted wit'
some parentheses. Now this poem is a bust.
I think such literary devices that exist only to make
things rhyme properly make poems sound fake.

Perhaps you and John Cage are getting along
splendidly, as I feel there is about as much
philosophical oomph to to 4'33'' as your greatest song.
Compliments such as these can touch
a nerve if I'm not careful. If I go on too long,
simply tell me, and I'll address your szuch.
At the very least, and certainly last, I have the honor
of being compared to you by critics, in some measure.

Lordy, if that is your real name, I really should
be nicer, after all, you are very famous.
Jealousy is poison, te sachez, and I very well could
kill myself with it. But you can't blame us,
(ok, you can blame me) if I desire occasional good
reviews of my work. Why, a speeding bus
would hit me with less force than one word from
one of these bloodthirsty critics. They call me a bum.

He that rests on his laurels will have pollen on his butt,
as they say. But who is they? And have they
ever sat on laurels themselves? I say, I don't know what
that phrase even means. But it sounds good. Hey!
I know! Perhaps I should aspire to be more like the great
John Milton! Then my writing would surelay
be worthy of a legacy! Although, I'm not sure I would desire
my legacy to be, "misunderstood by people who glamorize fire."

Well, I'm finished now, and I hope that I wasn't too savage,
I really do admire your work, Mr. Byron, I just
Wanted to have a little fun. I just don't like feeling average,
aspiring to be great. Of course the fact is that most
of my writing in life will be done in classrooms. A badge
of honor really isn't necessary. To be thrust
into the limelight is not really appealing to me. I can't
see how how you handled it (you didn't). Thus ends my rant.

Monday, May 29, 2006


While you're here (all one or two of you), take some time to head over to Gratiafied. It's another blog here at e-blogger, so it'll be easy to get to. If you need it, here is the url: gratiafied.blogspot.com. It is a veritable cornucopia of hilarity and good posts. It's run by the one and only Mark Babikow, one of the reasons I wanted to play guitar in the first place. I must give credit much of my family with my musical desires, my Dad and his Silvertone, my Mom and grandparents with the Kazuo Yairi classical. However, Uncle Mark, having given me some cool guitar gadgets, showed me why guitar was cool, what with his sunburst Yamaha and extensive Stevie Ray Vaughan records. So, go check out his blog, I'm sure you'll be glad you did.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Wha' happen'd?

Both are equally artistically valid, right?

What has happened to art and music? Why on earth do people consider chance composing "music", or mixed media "art"? *(I need to point out here that I am naming mediums that exist within larger concepts, namely Atonality and Avante Garde, these are just particular mediums that annoy me. These just seem to be the ones I hear about most. I could just as easily have named serialism or found art. In fact, the urinal above is found art. Thanks to Ted from thettt.com for pointing this out.) The answer lies in everyone's desire to be special and cutting edge, part of something that is new for the sake of being new. The final frontier in the early part of the twentieth century (or so people thought, anyway) was atonal music. Atonal music, in short, is music that has no tonal center, or "key." There are no chord progressions, no feelings of rest, and consonances and disonances are of equal value. It means that in the world of atonal music, one either can do whatever, meaning that any ability for expressing oneself has gone out the window, or that one has to follow mathematical patterns to such a degree that a calculator would be able to do the same job. The visual art world felt a similar blow with the same types of philosophy in the Avante Garde, essentially a forum where the old dividing walls that showed what a given discipline had to offer were destroyed. The Dada movement, which was self-proclaimed anti-art, typified the move away from tradition. Anything went, such as Marcel Duchamp signing his name to a urinal and hanging it in a gallery or Jackson Pollock tossing cans of paint at a canvas. My main complaint is that all of this was 1. Done for the sake of being new, not better. If someone wants to break a rule for the sake of expressing something that otherwise was inexpressible, that's fine. However, breaking a rule and changing the definitions are two different things. 2. There was little to no respect for what came before. It's ironic that those who started the change (Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Berg, and others) highly respected the former masters such as Bach, Beethoven, Haydn and countless others. In fact, as these 20th century men matured, many of them reverted to "ancient" forms of the Baroque and Classical era. It was the art world in general that latched onto some of their ideas and created inept and half-baked imitations. That seems to be common in every era of art. That being said, I still blame Schoenberg and his utterly unmusical serialism for much of the modern philosophy of music, because even the most "well executed" serialism is novelty at best. 3. It requires little musicianship, and indeed little skill in general. Much of what I hear "serious musicians" doing nowadays is atonal music. The problem is, it is indistinguishable from that which a five year old could produce. People do it because it's easy. It insults the truly genius because they have no room to shine and are quite stunted by this "freedom." How can they say they are genius when the only works that the musical elite will accept are "modern" atonal works? It insults the learned because they are told that we all need to be the same, and that their knowledge is just bigotry toward the ignorant, and that if one were truly enlightened he would become modern and independent. Just like most people have been doing for millenia.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Gould Grief!

Ok, bad pun aside, Glenn Gould is my favorite pianist, bar none. Why? you ask, so smugly behind your tight lipped grin underneath your pencil thin moustache and long black cigarette holder with a half used Lucky Strike sticking out of it. I'll tell you. 1. His incredible rhythm. No matter how fast or slow he plays, he is like a metronome. Even with buttloads of rubato, he always gets the tempo back. 2. His sound. He has such wonderful precision and is so allergic to wrong notes (as one of his recording engineers put it), and his tone is fabulous. Such a firm, clear attack and evenness of sound (only partly to do with his pianos, which always had stiff action, he would have sound that way on any piece of garbage piano he put his hands to). His staccato made it easy to hear even the densest of contrapuntal textures. 3. His concentration. He could focus on as many melody lines as he wanted (a shame he never recorded the 6 part Ricercare from A Musical Offering). 4. His output is mostly Bach. 5. He was a perfectionist. I don't like hearing mistakes, especially when they are recorded and I have to hear them every time I play a record. Never happens with Gould (except for his live recordings from the fifties and early sixties, but those were just because he had no control over the recording process and hated performing before audiences). 6. He admitted when he didn't like a certain composer or piece of music, and sometimes refused to record them. He disliked Mozart (I don't like his music either, but Gould didn't like him) and refused to record the Fugue from the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue. So, with all that said, do yourself a favor and get the following records:
A State of Wonder- both 1955 and 1981 recordings of The Goldberg Variations in one package, including the superior analog version of the 1981 recording.
A Consorte of Renaissance Music- recordings of Byrd, Gibbons, and Sweelinck
Bach Keyboard Concertos
Well Tempered Clavier books 1 and 2
The Gould Variations- a best of that's halfway decent, the best part is it has video of him playing pieces from The Art of the Fugue.
The Two and Three Part Inventions
The Silver Jubilee album- has some of his mock interviews poking fun at music critics, as well as some fine piano playing.
So, there you have it! A good beginning to Gould! Next time, Wanda Landowska! Maybe!

Another fine day...

By gosh, it's another day and I actually feel like posting on this darn thing. I just realized I made a lot of promises my first day that I have to keep. Well, I guess I'll start off with something easy. Here's an exchange I envisioned as being something out of a MAD TV Abbot and Costello routine. It works well if you imagine "Kirk" as a young fellow walking along a dirt path, scratching his head as he looks at directions hastily scribbled on a used napkin written under the influence of Nyquil at four in the morning by an old Army buddy. He comes upon a dirty general store that has two bib overall totin' old fellers sitting on a couple of creaky rocking chairs that would go for a fortune on Antiques Roadshow, but instead are being used to elevate the combined 138 year old buttocks of these dirty old timers from gravity's harsh ways. Now that you have that lovely image in your head, enjoy the following:

Kirk: Excuse me, could either of you gentlemen tell me how to Horgslort?
Coot1: Well, let's see now, I reckon I could...
Coot2: You reckon you could? Do you "reckon" often? Do you also "dagnab" as well?
Coot1: Well, don't you reckon?
Coot2: I haven't yet gotten to the point where I can fully reckon.
Coot1: I can reckon. I am fully prepared to reckon.
Coot2: Well, I'm not prepared to reckon. It's too early.
Coot1: What does the time of the day have to do with your reckoning capabilities? I'm up now and I have no problem with reckoning.
Coot2: Yeah, well, you got up earlier than me.
Coot1: That doesn't make sense. Are you making any progress toward reckoning?
Coot2: I think I might, wait, wait, no not quite...
Kirk: Gentlemen! Please!
Coot1: Son, this doesn't concern you. Well, if you can't reckon, can you hornswaggle?
Coot2: I don't even know what that means.
Coot1: It's one of them old coot words we always use. I think it's a kind of pasta made from horns. And swaggle.
Kirk: I just want to know how to get to Horgslort!
Coot2: Well, why didn't you say so?
Coot1: He did say so.
Coot2: I was just saying that for comedic effect.
Coot1: Then you are a comedic genius.
Coot2: Son, you are in Horgslort.
Kirk: Really?
Coot2: No, not really.
Coot1: Son, you're about as quick as a turtle walking through molasses uphill with a lead safe on his back full of copies of War and Peace.
Coot2: Ooooh, good analogy.
Coot1: I know, I've been waiting for a chance to use it.
Kirk: Are you guys gonna tell me how to get to Horgslort?
Coot2: If you haven't figured it out by this point, we've just been messing with you. Son, I've never even heard of Horgslort.
Coot1: I've heard of it. I've even been there. It's where I met my wife. And my other wife.
Coot2: Why didn't you tell me that? I thought one of the signs of a good friendship is that people share things with each other. Ya varmint.
Coot1: What, you're Yosemite Sam now?
Kirk: Just tell me how to get to Horgslort!

And that's all the further I got. I think it came about after thinking about the two redneck fishermen in The Blair Thumb. By the by, this won't happen often, but I have just presented uncopywrited material FREE OF CHARGE. Enjoy it. And, if you are unsatisfied with it, you can return the unused portion for an item of equal or lesser value. Oh, and don't steal from it without my express permission. Of course, if you ask, it won't be stealing. So, uh, yeah.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I saw the news today (oh, boy)

Well, this will be my third post tonight (not counting drafts), so just what the heck do I do with my spare time!? In answer to that I'd like to change the subject and leave you with this parting thought on my first day with all of you (all zero of you at this point):

It's easy to focus on what the rest of the world wants of us, it's even easier to focus on what we want for ourselves, but it's most rewarding to allow for God to determine our focus, and in time, we'll find that's the easiest and most natural thing of all, and we'll have to fight to do otherwise (unfortunately, as long as we're in this world, we will).


Ok, no, I didn't just say "toodles."


Lutefisk? No, Guitar Fisk! Ok, I'm sorry, that was bad.

Well, as I said, there would be musical things on this blog! So, here's the first one. This is me with the greatest living guitarist, Eliot Fisk. You simply must go to Amazon and listen to his recordings of the Paganini Caprices, and look at his cd "Fur Eliot" which has his excellent transcription of Scarlatti's K27 sonata. Matter of fact, one of Fisks teachers was the Great Ralph Kirkpatrick, the man who re-codified Scarlatti's sonatas in the 1950's and replaced the old numbering systems for Scarlatti's sonatas. I am so glad to have met Fisk and to have seen him play. It is really something else. If you get the opportunity, go, and take your friends with you!

By the way, on looking at this picture, I realize that I was a lot thinner then, and that was only a year ago. Wow. I've gained a good 15 or so pounds since then. Such is life!

Good Gravy

Well, they said it would never happen. They said it was impossible. Yet, Tony Danza got his own talk show AND they made a fifth Planet of the Apes movie. Also, I am doing my own weblog. Yes, it is part of a community of blogs rather than one of my own domain, but this is far cheaper and easier to deal with.

But, I digress.

Welcome to my weblog! Here you will partake of rantings of the political sort as well as religious discussions (I don't like the word "religion," people put weird connotations to it, and after all, how many of us practice what the apostle James calls, "true religion?" But that is a topic for later!), various mp3s of my own compositions, essays on music topics, links to other peoples' blogs (you must check Gratiafied), possibly cartoons and scripts (all copyrighted of course, I am a musician and we are very anal about copywriting things), and all the things that you'd expect to find in a weblog. I don't expect many people will read it, which is why I'm not too afraid to print anything I like. Besides, the only way to shock people these days is to tuck in my shirt, go to church, use clean language (hell isn't swearing, it's geography), and vote republican. Oop, there I go on a diatribe. Sorry folks, I just get pissed when I hear people lauding guys like Eminem while they don't know who Glenn Gould is. Not that I can fault someone for that really, I mean not everyone likes classical piano. But they should. Anyway. To wrap up my first post, I'd like to say, thanks for reading, and if you can stand my pea soup thick sarcasm, then we're well on our way to becoming fast friends.