no pics today


keeping it short

I need to keep my blogging time short today. I got up all charged up to some work (see below).


I was shocked to read the rules for the upcoming AGO improvisation context in the magazine (link to pdf of the page in the mag)

“The structure of this competition recognizes that improvisation is not simply art of the present. Rather, many of the best improvisations result from intentional cultivation of an individual’s musical imagination and are achieved when working with themes well known and purposefully selected. Throughout this competition, competitors are encouraged to explore different historical styles of improvisation, but are not required to perform in specific historical styles. Instead, the environment, the instrument, and the competitor’s own musical voice will each inform a performance. “(emphasis added)

Wow. I never thought I would read that in an AGO mag. I was not awarded an AAGO rating in the 80s when although I managed passing scores in the test but flubbed a small modulation thus flunking by the rule that one could not have a low score in any one of the many sections they tested. I know that the modulation I improvised was probably not textbook, however I’m pretty sure it made some kind of musical sense. After that i turned all of my improvisatory thinking away from standard AGO improvisation thinking which was basically  improvising in the context of 18th and 19th century harmonic language as far as i could tell.

Now it looks like my way of improvising is making a bit of an inroad into the stodgy organization  I have remained a member of for decades.

I was reminded of this last night at the concert Eileen and I attended thanks to the generosity of my cellist who holds season tickets but couldn’t make last night concert. We heard a group called the Dave Douglas Quintet. The improvising was stunning by any measure especially the rhythm section. When I have heard some working musicians who seem to be functioning under the umbrella of the context jazz improvise I am riveted by the coherence and beauty of what they sometimes do. i also wonder about the “genre.”

I suspect that the music i heard last night will be viewed historically as evolved away from the jazz of the last century as my own little improvs moved away from AGO standards. Obviously working in the line of jazz improv the practice has evolved into an exciting and beautiful art of a high level. I would love to know what Miles Davis would make of it or for that matter how Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock think about what they do.

arranging music for a week from Sunday

So I spent some time looking at organ music based on the hymns we will sing on the last Sunday before Lent. I found one piece that I think I can easily transcribe for piano trio. I also found another piece by the composer of the anthem for the day. Technically I am supposed to contact these composers to ask if i can arrange their work. I’m not planning to do that so I’m not mentioning who they are here except to say that I have had communication with both of them online and it’s not always been pleasant. heh.



another work day for jupe

Thursdays seem to be turning into another work day for Jupe. It’s a rewarding day. Yesterday I spent about two and a half hours in actual rehearsal with Amy and Dawn on violin and cello. In addition, I had to prepare scores for the rehearsal and managed forty minutes or so of organ practice. All of this on a day I was extremely worn out from Wednesday’s work. Good grief. I always seem to make full time jobs out of part time ones. This dates back to my work at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Oscoda.


At least I make more money now than then.

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Despite the fatigue, rehearsing with Amy and Dawn is very rewarding to me. The Haydn piano trio we have been working on sprang to life yesterday. Amy and I read a Mozart sonata that we had not played before. After we finished reading through it, I was looking at the notes in the edition we have. I had remarked to Amy that it reminded me of Haydn in places. The notes revealed that Mozart had not completed this piano trio. Instead Maximillian Stadler had written almost half of the work. According to Groves, Stadler was a prominent musician contemporary with Mozart and moved to Vienna after Mozart’s death to supervise his estate for Mozart’s widow.

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This explained the unusual remote keys in the latter part of the work. It was not this, however, that reminded me of Haydn. Instead it was the second section of the opening movement which is attributed to Mozart.

The piano trio spent a good deal of time working on music for upcoming Sundays at Grace. This meant going over “Air for a G string” for this Sunday as well as a charming little sinfonia by Scheidt for the postlude. After having made sure we have our signals straight for Sunday, we proceeded to rehearse the Haydn. Then the little piece by Thomas Tompkins we have been working on, finishing up with the trio I wrote for us. Satisfying, but I did walk home very tired.

coping with trump

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Dawn and Amy both remain very upset about President Trump. Amy is still trying to deal with forgiving friends and family for voting for him. We did chat a bit about this. I pointed out that I hadn’t had the heart to mention to Eileen that Trump was having a press conference yesterday. She was contentedly working on her most recent weaving project of blankets for some soldiers in Afghanistan. I didn’t have the heart to tell it was going on. I heard some of it on the car radio driving back and forth to see my Mom at the nursing home.

I didn’t have the stamina to listen to this press conference or even to read it in its entirety. i found an annotated version of it by Financial Times, but for some reason when i tried to link it in just now it is behind a firewall. Fuck that.

China figures prominently in Richard Haas’s book, A World in Disarray, which I am reading. Understanding the history and fine balance of the relationship between China and the USA highlights the extreme idiocy of Trump’s taking a phone call from Taiwan in the first days of his presidency.
It is mind boggling that someone so ignorant and entrenched in the popular entertainment culture approach to business is the president of this country. Reading the news is like watching a daily train wreck. Good grief.

Collection | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This is cool. Thousands of online records of their collection.