pre solo & ensemble post

A quick post before I jump in the car and drive an hour to accompany a high school violist in a Solo and Ensemble Festival.

Here I am sixty years old and still attending these things. ¬†All the festivals of my high school youth blend into each other for me. I can remember playing a piece by Vivaldi on the trumpet in a district Solo and Ensemble festival in high school. The piece I am accompanying today is also by Vivaldi. I think it’s a better piece than the one I played years ago.

Anyway I surprised my band director (who accompanied me) and got a “one” (the highest rating). The judge scared me when he stood up and told me that I played Vivaldi in a manner that was authentic or something like that.

I took it to State and my band director (whom I adored) seemed pleased when I got a disgraceful “Three” on it.

I seem to remember that was the festival where I met a pregoth girl who fascinated me and answered my comment that I wrote poetry with a ever so high school blase, “Doesn’t everyone?”

The school bus for the ride home was waiting for me when they finally found me chatting up this creature. Again my band director seemed a bit annoyed and amused at the same time.

Last night Eileen and I managed to go the concert we thought was the night before. It was pretty good. I admire the group Ethel. You can hear selections played by them at this link, although their line up of actual players seems pretty flexible.

They began and ended with pieces from the list that appears when you click on the above image at this link. Their first album had this cover and seems to have been called “Light.” However the tracks at the link do not correspond to the ones on Amazon (link).

They began the program with “Arrival” which is called “Nepomuk’s dances: arrival” at the Amazon link. It is an admirable piece and made an excellent starter piece.

They did an encore with the piece called “Lighthouse.”

Both are credited to “Ethel” as composer on Amazon.

I believe that they do a lot of improvising and these pieces may have evolved in initial group improvising of the original players.

However “Arrival” seems very tightly organized and composed to my ears. “Lighthouse” was much looser which led me to suspect it was an actual little Jazz composition they chose to cover.

In between they did a variety of stuff include a tune by Terry Riley (“Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector”)

Terry Riley

and one by John Luther Adams (“Wind in High Places”).

John Luther Adams (NOT John Adams)

The latter was pretty interesting in that John Luther Adams only used open strings for a three movement piece. He made an effective use of harmonics. The players put ear buds in one ear for this piece. I imagine it would be so they could listen carefully to themselves and distinguish their harmonics from the rest of the band. Very cool and evocative piece.

They had a guest artist, a Pueblo composer and performer named Robert Mirabel. He made some pretty new agey but attractive sounds on an array of flutes and rhythm instruments. He was very animated and goofy at times. A good addition because he obviously was having such a good time and admired the rest of the Band’s playing.

Well I have to get dressed and drive at this point and can regale you no longer.

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