All posts by jupiterj

in between


I was thinking this morning about what is important to me in music. I talked about this a bit with my cellist yesterday while we were waiting for the violinist to show up. She had looked up the Clara Schumann movement we are performing Sunday and was talking about the interpretation of the players. I said that what’s important to me regardless of the style of music is that it “lives” and has rhythmic life.

I was thinking of that later after she (the cellist) said that she had an acquaintance that disapproved of professional musicians. He felt that they were depriving him of his own connection to music by insisting on learning the craft of music when it should be available for everyone and not require special knowledge or study. The violinist chimed in that she knew a young singer who had talent that would benefit from training. When my friend suggested lessons, the young singer demurred. She prefer to offer her voice as it was to God when she sang in her church.

We had come to this point in the discussion, when I explained what I say to people who think that doing 11 minutes of Clara Schumann (for example) at church turns prayer into a concert: music is a constituent element of being human and that art can lead us into being more connected to life including the life of prayer.

In response to the person who didn’t approve of professional musicians, I said that this was an act of disrespect of what music is… it trivializes it in a way that does it a disservice. Ultimately it is this lack of respect which troubles me, not lack of respect for me or my music in particular but that beauty deserves a place of honor in our lives and it takes a bit of an effort to meet it half way.

At the same time I was thinking of the fact that the new music embedded below is seen as trivial by many trained professional musicians. I’m happy to be categorized by some of them (not necessarily my piano trio players or other locals) as a bit of a hack or superficial musician. I remember what my teacher Ray Ferguson said about listeners who told him they thought that French Classical music was trivial (“that dumm de dumm de dumm de music). He said something like he didn’t mind and still planned on learning and performing it.

There are at least two local composers to whom I have shown my compositions who have failed to respond to them. Literally. I dropped off or emailed them music and received no response. Both of these people are fine composers in their own right and are not even all that narrow. I do wonder about it but not too much. Fuck em.

I have to suspect that they have reservations about my work and not comfortable talking to me about it. Or maybe I just fall in between the cracks of their lives. I mildly regret this since I do like having colleagues. But one of the lessons life has taught me is that I am a difficult companion and colleague and that with Eileen’s love I can continue to thrive as a human who likes to make up music, music that others from both extremes might think unapproachable on the one hand and trivial on the other.

Toujours gai Archy!

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Wednesday evening I was feeling depleted after disappointing myself with my rehearsal techniques at the Wednesday choir rehearsal. I flicked on this video on my YouTube stream and was immediately attracted to the groove and the sound.

Thursday night I ran across this. I quite like it. I can remember when rap began I wasn’t impressed with much of it. It didn’t seem to have a lot of music. Now you have a hip hop group like this which is entirely live and making some very cool music. I know it’s long for an embed but I like the live performance very much.

Before listening to this I played through the first six of seven two part inventions of Bach. It doesn’t seem contradictory to me to like Bach and Leikeli47. Incidentally the band is wearing TSA uniforms and Leikeli47 refers to them as the TSA band. Cool.



Time for Jupe to take a step back from stuff


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Eileen and I may go out of town. I want to get some serious work done on the composition for the silly AGO USB Stick. Yesterday I spent about an hour dumping my hand written sketches into Finale.  I only managed to get a small portion in, but I was pleasantly surprised that I have done so much since I have been worrying about it.

I can remember as a young man working  on a piece all alone in a resort cabin. I believe I was working on an oboe sonatina for my brother and his wife. It was both dedicated to them and written for them to perform together (which they did). I recall it was a small cottage of basically one room. I taped manuscript sketches on the walls. It helped me hold the piece in my mind as I developed it.

I would like to get in that sort of a mental space next week, except I would like Eileen to be with me.

I was very unhappy with my performance as choir director last evening.


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I put a lot of thought into the rehearsal. In the last year or so, I have rehearsed pieces in the order they will be performed. But it is better to think carefully about the order of rehearsal and the objectives and then develop an order for the rehearsal.  This is what I did yesterday.

The choir did fine. But in retrospect I think I shouldn’t have spent so much time at the piano during the rehearsal. Usually I rehearse from the organ bench. It turns out that when I sit at the piano in our present set up it puts too much distance between me and the choir. So that even though I took time to help everyone put their music in order for the rehearsal I still had to work hard to keep people with me.

And a good deal of the new music is challenging for the group. Plus I had several people absent due to illness and one person had to leave because she didn’t feel well.

I should go walk on the treadmill and skip my martini this evening. But I’m not doing to do either.

The piano trio is playing Sunday. We rehearsed today and it was very satisfying. It is a  delight to meet with this people and make music.Sunday should be fun. This is part of my problem. Everything I do i enjoy. I just find myself in need of better perspective.

I felt off balance much of yesterday including a staff luncheon/meeting. When I talked privately to Jen about it, she said that it was not apparent. But I was working at being appropriate in my comments and behavior. It did take work.

When I’m this tired and distracted it’s harder to do the reading and thinking I like to do. Instead I have been playing more crossword puzzles.

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