Monday, June 9, 2008

Moving to Tumblr

Tumblr looks like it will be easier to post to...with video, pictures, etc. Plus it's a lot cleaner. This will be my new blog:
Lyndhurst Leaves

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dame Evelyn Glennie

Today famed percussion soloist Evelyn Glennie gave a master class at Wake Forest University here in Winston-Salem. Four people performed, with ages from high school through college. There were a few things that were recurring thoughts that she had with each person and I feel that I might not have noticed some points of her overall philosophy of music and performing had I not been taking notes. She mentioned a few times about how we need to listen to our body when we perform. Really our body is a part of the instrument so we should always be aware of what the body is doing and how it is interacting with all the instruments we play as percussionists. I also got the feeling that she really thinks orchestrally even when performing a solo piece. She mentioned several times to think about how a trumpet or some other instrument would play this section. One thing I really liked about the master class was the impression I got about how she must really experiment with all the different ways to create sound on a percussion instrument. Like playing on the deadest part of the marimba bar (the node) and then playing near the center to create a different timbre. I think that's not something that many percussionists (or at least students) think about very often. One of the great benefits of the master class was to see how a soloist approaches music. It kind of makes me think of the cellist Pablo Casals. It was said of him that he would break any kind of tradition if he felt that the music called for it. It's all about the music.

Most of my notes are approximations of what she actually said today, however I was able to write one exact quote that I thought was very illuminating. She said "Don't be afraid of silence. It's really a heavy sound, a present sound." I don't know that she purposefully said silence was a sound but I get the feeling that she does think of it that way. The composer John Cage wrote about silence and said there really is no silence. He was able to go into a completely sound-proof room at some point only to find out that the silence wasn't absolute. He could hear the blood rushing through his veins. There is no such thing as a true silence. As I perform I do try to remember the importance of silence but actually thinking of it as a sound is quite a different thought altogether!

Tonight Tonya and I went to see her perform with the Winston-Salem Symphony. What a great performance! I was a little disappointed in the Schoenberg performance, though. It seemed at times that they simply hadn't rehearsed it enough because some parts weren't as clean as they could have been and the emotion also seemed to be lacking somewhat. But they definitely made up for it in the concerto! As accompanists to Ms. Glennie they were great. And she was just wonderful! I had heard the Schwantner in concert at least once before but it did not impress me. What I remember most was the performer seemed to have so many instruments that in order to play them all he could only play them at short spurts. It didn't do much for me because there wasn't enough time to appreciate any one thing he was doing. I don't know how much Ms. Glennie (or Schwantner) might have changed the soloist's part since then but the performance tonight was magnificent. Tonya and I have talked about creating a more theatrical atmosphere with lighting and Ms. Glennie used that tonight which I think really added to the whole experience. Hopefully this is where classical music is going. To me it definitely makes it more exciting. If you ever have the opportunity to see Evelyn Glennie perform, do it!


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tribute to President Hinckley

Tonya and I just finished watching President Hinckley's funeral on BYU TV. As was said of him, he truly was a giant among men. Sometimes it doesn't sink in how much someone has done until their accomplishments are enumerated as his were today. I really liked the fact that after the funeral as the cortege was making its way to the cemetery they talked about what a greatly humble man President Hinckley was. All that was said of him really makes me think that there is the man who should be at the top of our list of those we want to emulate. Tonya told me that he's always going to be "her prophet" since she was the prophet when she was baptized 9 1/2 years ago. What a special man. He will be greatly missed.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A few things about Nicholas

Earlier this year in a previous post I wrote about firsts with my children. This week Nicholas and I had another...this was the first time we really played ball together. We have several wiffle balls and this fat kids bat and we took turns pitching to each other. It was a lot of fun and I think he's already a better pitcher than me!

He also gave a talk Sunday in primary and read nearly the whole thing. This was really neat for me to see since when we practiced on Saturday he seemed to have a much harder time reading. Either he had more of it memorized than I thought or else he really read it...I like to think the latter!!

ps. I wrote this on Sunday but didn't post it since I thought I had a picture of us playing baseball, but Tonya took a different picture of us. As I re-read this entry I noticed what could have been a typo. It wasn't a fat kid's bat we used, but a fat bat for kids!


Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's still in me

It feels really good to think that there's still some poetry in me. I've hardly written any poetry over the past several years and it's something that I miss. Thinking of the how the Bible says that if we don't use our talents we can lose them I have sometimes thought that when I have more time to think and write poetically maybe that won't be there any more. I'm happy to say this talent has not completely left me!

This week I had an assignment in one of my classes to write an artistic statement, kind of like my mission statement as a musician. I think the fact that pretty much everyone--even families--should have their own mission statement is kind of dumb and wasn't looking forward to this assignment but then when Dr. Rothkopf said that he wanted this to be something that would really jump out at him and said to be creative it kind of piqued my interest. I thought, "ok, I'll write my statement as a poem!" So here it is. I'm pretty pleased with the result and think it will be something I use on my website if I ever set one up to promote myself musically. I hope you like it.

I want to talk to you. I want to communicate the universe to you. When I perform and hit that precise plane where my rhythm is right in time with you I want you to be there. When I’m not playing merely notes on the page but pure music--when it flows through my fingertips and out to you--that’s when I want you to be listening.

Music touches me. Music moves me. I want to take you where I’ve been, feel the pulsing, driving rhythms I’ve felt. I want you to hear the beautiful celestial sounds I have heard. I’m going to keep moving. If you come with me, I’ll take you there. Let’s go.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dinosaurs live!

Yesterday Nicholas and I went to see the new touring show "Walking with Dinosaurs" and it was spectacular! Regretfully I didn't take my camera or I would have posted a picture here. Nicholas's love of dinosaurs is definitely one way that we are different. I never got into them the way he does when I was a child. I saw the ads for the show and really knew he would like it but I wasn't especially excited about it. But now, all I can say is the show is completely worth the money and is truly something you should go see. Yes, they are puppets, but they are life-size puppets and are truly amazing. Seeing and being within 50-100 feet of these magnificent animals was like nothing I've ever seen before and I'm still overcome with how beautiful it was to see them! I especially thought the Brachiosaurs were so beautiful--they were so huge! I think the only thing that could probably compare would be to see a whale in the ocean. Of course the tyrannosaurus rex was the star of the show--no the T-Rex's baby was the star of the show, but again to see that giant animal walking around...just magnificent.