tonight, brushing my teeth, i laughed thinking about the time i spent an evening with a prominent new music ensemble after their concert, and how i’d wanted to look my best, and how, at the end of the night when i scurried out into the middle of 9th avenue to hail them a cab, i tripped, flew forward and landed flat on the pavement, scraping my hands and hearing them scream.
I only remember one person from the two weeks I spent at Brevard Music Center before I packed my things and left without saying goodbye, not even to him. I don’t remember his name, but he was big with blonde hair and a southern accent—Arkansas, I now remember. A kind of trumpet jock, we would pal around every day, and I attached myself to him as I had many a trumpet jock before and after. Well, one night I remember practicing and he kind of wandered into my room and asked if I would show him how fast I could play. “Play the fastest thing you can,” he demanded. Of course I refused, with every insecurity firing off inside. “Please,” he continued. “Don’t be weird. I just want to see.” And on and on this went, with him pleading for me to play fast and me saying no. Now, if you know a trumpeter, try to imagine walking up to one of them and asking them to play their highest note for you. It would never happen. But anyway, finally I surrendered and played a chromatic scale up and down the span of an octave as fast as I could. “Come on, you can play faster than that,” he said. I tried again. “No really, go faster.” And it probably wasn’t long after this night that I left.
berio in bed (at Easky House, Easky, Ireland)
re-copied score. took five days. head is mush. that was step one. #johncage #whatididforlove
today in censored phrase markings (robert palmer’s first piano sonata)
Tried reading 31’[58.9864” for a pianist]…tonight/today @ Third Street. Oh no. Oh no Oh no. It’s impossible music. Am I in over my head? Do people really play this? Did Cage? I wondered if I should rewrite it, page by page, but that’s a tremendous amount of work, too… and will it help? Probably would. I’d write measures in either 2/4 or 3/4 etc. and put auxiliary matters above the staff—harp notes too. I could try for one page and see what difference it makes. But shit, I’m a little spooked. [David] Tudor re-wrote whole scores. Augustus [Arnone] does too. I suppose my time has come. I could color coat according to 8ve. RH regular [for] loco, yellow [for] 8ve [higher], pink [for] 15ve [higher]. LH regular [for] loco, orange [for] 8ve [lower], brown [for] 15ve [lower]. And still be spatial, but just replot it. Fuck, really? Doesn’t have to be pretty. Maybe have it go by minute? One page per minute? No… because there are long breaks @ times. But I might owe this to the piece, and there IS still time. I’ve done good work, but if I really do want to do this piece live or solo as apiece, I need to approximate as little as possible, to not prepare it loosey-goosey with a “this is as good as it can get” attitude. Maybe it’ll be okay, and the more I dive in and separate the pieces, the better. Better than just running through it imperfectly and indefinitely and inconsistently till September. Also, will get me writing notes again, which is perhaps a good thing considering I want to write my [new work for piano]. Rehearsing with Lara went nicely—I’m glad I WENT, and now it’s just about preparing a good lineup of ideas for Saturday. Keyboard came today; I’m excited to try it. Will attach a contact mic tomorrow and see what results. Sheesh… write every note of the Cage again? Fuck. Like copying a Schubert symphony. With repeats. Well, painful or not[,] I can also write chords…patterns… Two pages a day? Three is maybe best. Three pages a day and I’d have it in a week. And I should do it at the piano. I mean, is it possible to make impossible music possible? Easy? Easier? Well, legible—let’s start with that. I need to just fucking SEE what’s going on in a way that I—not Cage—can understand. In Winter Music I could work with the score itself; it was messy and perhaps not, metrically at least, what Cage wanted (though I argue it could be/was) but this? It’s different. Durations aren’t free, and it’s not all on the fucking keys.
the good news: I finished my initial mark-through of Cage’s 31’57.9864”. the bad news: this is supposed to take me 4 seconds
won’t stop can’t stop
final tuning for today’s recording session of the Edward T. Cone 21 Preludes (at Maui Cultural and Arts Center)
behind a bunch of books on the piano I grew up playing, this: