slippery when wet – part II

remember that (admittedly ridiculous) lightsaber fight scene in star wars: episode II – attack of the clones where master yoda opens up a can of jedi whoop-ass right in count dooku’s face?  i believe there are some haydnesque metaphors in there [i’m picturing a white-wigged composer shuffling past Ludwig, johannes, and gustav, muttering something like: step aside boys, lemme show you how it’s done.]  the entire length of joe “papa” haydn’s thirty-ninth symphony (outta 104!) might be half the span of a single mahler movement, but who the eff cares?!  it’s not how big your piece is, it’s how you play it.  and when maestro carlos is on the podium, watch out.  several unexpectedly silent breaks are written into the beginning of this score, but at one point, coach kalmar created a pause so pregnant, it started crowning.  and judging by the facial expressions of several musicians, i’m gonna say this rather ballsy move was off the cuff ~ long live classical music improv!  anchored by carol “eighty-eight fingers” rich who rocked it on the harpsichord, the bare-bones band proved that ol’ #39 may be minor in key, but not in significance.  the beaver regrets not giving you guys a standing o.

about the time rimbaud was writing free verse, and redon was smearing dreamy pastel flowers, and nietzsche was challenging objective truth, claude debussy was doing his best to escape papa haydn’s shadow by composing stuff like la mer (for those of you who skipped out on high school french 101, the sea).  and considering the final atonal chord of the piece, i think he did a pretty good job.  don’t get me wrong, though – within the first few minutes, as uncle claude offers his impression of a constantly transforming sway of waves, it’s difficult not to get sucked into the undertow of this beautiful music.  the magnificently loud ending of first section alone commands every hair follicle within earshot to stand at attention – only to leave them aimless and drifting as the sound fades away without triumph.

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2 Responses to “slippery when wet – part II”


  1. 1 Dan Rasay March 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I got the inside scoop on what happened. Apparently someone within earshot of the stage had a beeping alarm/cellphone. Carlos waited for the patron to silence the device and started the piece over from the *beginning*. I was sitting upstairs and didn’t hear the beeping… initially I thought it was just a super, super long G.P.

    Come on folks… turn your cellphones off & leave your beeping digital watch that you don’t know how to use at home (your pocket or purse doesn’t count). Anecdotally – for the second time someone in the audience left their watch alarm beeping during the Saturday morning patron’s rehearsal.

    • 2 classicalbeaver March 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      thanks for the scoop, but i like my version better – long live improv! alright, seriously folks, you can keep your perfume-doused, beeper-wearing, tb-infected infants at home… or at least in the lobby.


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