13. February 2007 · Comments Off on Very Moving, Very True · Categories: imported, Links

So the next time you, or someone you know, think that musicians are overpaid,
or charge too much for your son’s bar mitzvah, or think that they are playing
for free because they must enjoy it so, or think that the arts don’t matter so
why pay to have them in the public schools, remember Kjersten and Angela.
They lived to make you happy performing the music they loved up and down the I-5
corridor and beyond. They deserved so much more in life than what we paid
them, given what we received from them. And they deserved so much more life.

I know I shall miss them. And whether you know it or not, you shall miss them

Niel DePonte is the Music Director and Conductor for Oregon Ballet Theatre.
Kjersten Oquist was 36, and Angela Svensen 31 years old.

Please read the entire thing here.

Musicians have to do a lot of driving. Around here a number of musicians are members of more than one orchestra. Some call it the “Freeway Philharmonic”, as they drive so much.

News of a drunk driving accident (do we really call it that? Or perhaps it’s called a drunk driving murder?) in Oregon, killing two musicians and injuring another, is simply heartbreaking.

We do our best to be safe when we drive, but drunk drivers are beyond our control. This news is just very, very sad.

Prior to my drive home from UCSC I started to feel an awful pain. I’ve had this before. My ear aches so badly I can hardly stand it. I used to think I was dealing with an ear infection, but I finally went in once and the doctor said she saw nothing at all. (Well, aside from what she was supposed to see!) Later I showed Dan where it was aching so (sometimes a dull pain, but sometimes a very sharp pain) he suggested it was maybe my jaw rather than my ear. I am guessing he is correct. It feels like my ear, but it is on the outer part — what I’m now finding is called the “crest of helix” perhaps? — and maybe it’s really my jaw that is making this ache.

Whatever it is, it’s real agony, to be sure. So I will attempt to rest up good and proper now, as I still have a student and an opera today.

BUT … while I was driving to and from UCSC I did enjoy a most wonderful listening experience!

I’ve written about this Barber CD before, right after I downloaded it from emusic.com. It’s just wonderful! I would so love to play the Capricorn Concerto sometime (San Jose Chamber Orchestra perhaps?). A Hand of Bridge is great. Mutations from Bach is wonderful. And how can anyone not love the Intermezzo from Vanessa? (Opera San José did Vanessa years ago, but I barely remember it for some reason.) Canzonetta for Oboe and Strings caused me to sit in my car even while I had arrived on campus. It’s lovely. Finally, I began my drive home with Fadograph of a Yestern Scene, which is another work I wish I could perform.

So that was all lovely. Even the final work, which I listened to while in pain.

After those, I moved on to some more Barber—two works I’d added to my burned CD because I like to fill these things up. So in my library I pulled out Barber’s Summer Music for woodwind quintet. This is a work I’ve looked at but never performed. Woodwind quintet isn’t my favorite ensemble, but I wouldn’t mind working that piece up for a recital. (I do have to play one next year at UCSC.)

To complete my trip … and to cause great awe … was Knoxville, Summer of 1915 from this CD, featuring Dawn Upshaw. (I was so happy to read that she is doing well now, after her bout with cancer.)

Ahhhh … that work! How can anyone not fall apart when hearing it, I wonder? Is it one of those pieces that only makes some of us ache? If so, I feel extremely sorry for those it cannot reach. The words, by James Agee, are stunning.

We are talking now of summer evenings in Knoxville Tennessee in that time that I lived there so successfully disguised to myself as a child.

…It has become that time of evening when people sit on their porches, rocking gently and talking gently and watching the street and the standing up into their sphere of possession of the trees, of birds’ hung havens, hangars. People go by; things go by. A horse, drawing a buggy, breaking his hollow iron music on the asphalt; a loud auto; a quiet auto; people in pairs, not in a hurry, scuffling, switching their weight of aestival body, talking casually, the taste hovering over them of vanilla, strawberry, pasteboard and starched milk, the image upon them of lovers and horsemen, squared with clowns in hueless amber.

A streetcar raising its iron moan; stopping, belling and starting; stertorous; rousing and raising again its iron increasing moan and swimming its gold windows and straw seats on past and past and past, the bleak spark crackling and cursing above it like a small malignant spirit set to dog its tracks; the iron whine rises on rising speed; still risen, faints; halts; the faint stinging bell; rises again, still fainter, fainting, lifting, lifts, faints foregone: forgotten. Now is the night one blue dew.

Now is the night one blue dew, my father has drained, he has coiled the hose.

Low on the length of lawns, a frailing of fire who breathes….

Parents on porches: rock and rock. From damp strings morning glories hang their ancient faces.

The dry and exalted noise of the locusts from all the air at once enchants my eardrums.

On the rough wet grass of the back yard my father and mother have spread quilts. We all lie there, my mother, my father, my uncle, my aunt, and I too am lying there….They are not talking much, and the talk is quiet, of nothing in particular, of nothing at all. The stars are wide and alive, they seem each like a smile of great sweetness, and they seem very near.

You can see it, can’t you? And to hear it through Barber’s music. Ah! But THEN … these following lines. Even reading them now makes me cry.

All my people are larger bodies than mine,…with voices gentle and meaningless like the voices of sleeping birds. One is an artist, he is living at home. One is a musician, she is living at home. One is my mother who is good to me. One is my father who is good to me. By some chance, here they are, all on this earth; and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying, on quilts, on the grass, in a summer evening, among the sounds of the night. May God bless my people, my uncle, my aunt, my mother, my good father, oh, remember them kindly in their time of trouble; and in the hour of their taking away.

After a little I am taken in and put to bed. Sleep, soft smiling, draws me unto her: and those receive me, who quietly treat me, as one familiar and well-beloved in that home: but will not, oh, will not, not now, not ever; but will not ever tell me who I am.

If you do not want to go get the music now, you will only be half my friend.