Monday, April 25, 2016


Tomorrow is the last regularly scheduled Space Exchange show. The Thunderbird Cafe is closing for renovations some time in May. Colter Harper is playing with Ghana musician Osei Korankye, Jeff Berman, and others.

Throck and I will be hunting for a new space, and/or we hope the series will continue once the TBird reopens.

I've made this statement on our Facebook group, and I reiterate: I have been determined to be positive from day one. If it only lasted a year, then it would have been a great thing for a year. It's been four and a third years. That's pretty amazing.

Some of the theme nights we've staged: music of The Band, Paul Motian, Anthony Braxton, James Bond films, Thelonious Monk, David Lynch films. Presented Dylan Ryan, Lina Allemano, Reb Beach, Tony Grey, Sean Jones.

You should probably attend Tuesday, and we hope to see you in the future.

Some examples:

Friday, April 1, 2016

Concerto for Orkestra, movement by movement

Concerto for Orkestra is a ten movement suite for creative music orchestra. The movements, in order:

1. Processional
2. Fiat
3. Gyrodyne
4. Pram
5. Incline
6. Bumper Car
7. Dirigible
8. Monorail
9. Dromedary
10. Recessional

Movements 2-9 are named for some mode of transportation (and even movements 1 and 10 suggest movement by foot). Notes on each:

1. Processional. This is one of two movements actually performed prior to the composing of this work as a whole. The minor third opening in the bass underlies many elements of the piece as a whole. The movement is very Sun Ra-like, unapologetically, an additive structure to open the suite.

2. Fiat. Fiat is a sporty Italian car, or an edict. The opening in particular had a taste of Ennio Morricone's '60s/'70s crime drama films.

3. Gyrodyne. The opening eighth-note pulses are another important element to the work as a whole. The 12/8 rhythm suggested a helicopter motion to me.

4. Pram. The word Pram has multiple meanings; most pertinent, a pram is both a old-styled baby buggy, or a simple dinghy. This movement is generally aqueous, ebbing and flowing. I referred to it as "fake Takemitsu", and I stand by that. Nizan considered it to be an improvisation captured on page, and I won't argue that.

5. Incline. A bittersweet love poem dedicated to my adopted city. Anyone in Pittsburgh knows what an inline is. 

6. Bumper Car. The other movement performed (once) prior to the composing of CFO. Its original title was Action Figures, and in that form was dedicated to Willem Breuker. The melody has a Vivaldi feel.

7. Dirigible. The working title for this was "dirge-like", which transposed to "Dirigible" pretty easily. Nizan mentioned something about Lalo Schifrin, and I can't deny it, I would add David Shire.

8. Monorail. Is it too obvious to name a largely monophonic melody "Monorail"? I don't know. This was the last movement started, though I consider it very important for the flow of the piece as a whole. This one rings of Messiaen, at least some of the simpler, more relaxed movements from his orcheatral works.

9. Dromedary. This refers to camels crossing the deserts, moving on when nothing else will. It's also a reference to dromedary-class warships. What better way to align with that than a mutated military march.

10. Recessional. This is inspired by another piece that I won't mention. All I can say is, write a closing theme that leaves them wanting more.