A 365-Day Project

"We Are All Mozart"

A project to create
new works and change
the perception of the
music of our time.

Mantra Canon score pages Dennis

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Here's some news that you didn't expect. Beginning this summer, we are bringing back Kalvos & Damian -- not the old format of the New Music Bazaar, but rather Kalvos and Damian: In the House! We shut down the show in September 2005 after 537 episodes (Komposer Kombat was the last one), but the demand for our show has never quite relented. We will start with the four interviews we did not broadcast during the show's initial run, and then continue with Art Jarvinen and, if things go well, with Lisa Whistlecroft. By then we should have a schedule set up. K&D will not be on the air, which will give us more flexibility to conduct the interviews at our leisure and not be locked into time or geography. The show will be recorded on each end (or all three ends, if David "Damian" Gunn stays home) using a Skype connection, and the resulting recordings dropped atop one another. Fun a-comin!

Speaking of K&D, the long lost actual in-studio concert recordings will be here tomorrow, courtesy of Bert Klunder. Bert along with Stu Bautz recorded every concert that was given on the air, but those concerts were entombed for many years (some more than ten!) in the Goddard College ProTools studio. A steady stream of failures, right down to our DVD pack blowing up their burner, kept the recordings from being available to us. Tomorrow I should have a hard drive full of concerts in hand. Some will find their way over to the K&D site.

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One of the gratifying aspects of WAAM is the variety of results. Commissions did that; there was no clue what might be coming next. Today, probably before you read this -- but then, I don't really know the time anywhere -- is the premiere of She Who Saves for soprano and two natural horns, in Sydney. (I talked about the piece back in January.) As soon as I hear how it went and get a copy of the performance, I will post it. I am very excited, and wish I could be in Australia today...

May 4th saw the premiere of Fanfare:Heat with the Vermont Youth Orchestra, which I have not written about. Fanfare:Heat is a dark orchestral dance, full of tension and surprise. Exploding onto the stage and then hiding in short solos for oboe and harp and piano and violin and building into fragmentary brass chorales and staggering strings, the fanfare has the sensibility of a post-romantic symphonic dance movement in footsteps of nines and elevens. No musician is untouched by the ebb and flow of melody and the ultimate torrent of sound. Horns call and rip, strings answer, trumpets cry, trombones slide, percussion pounds, winds scream, bringing the melodies to a huge crushing halt. The idea was also to give the young musicians a challenge, something tricky to count that sounded coherent and exciting. They got it. The Vermont Youth Orchestra conducted by Troy Peters really knocked it out of the park.

A very special performance was I lift my heavy heart on a text from "Songs from the Portuguese" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The piece had been commissioned for Beth Griffith and her trio with Andrew Bolotowsky and Bern Nix. I have said before that having Beth sing my music is a gift, and being the cynical and world-weary type, I don't hand out that sort of compliment lightly. One of the rewards of creating the Ought-One Festival was having Beth rehearse John McGuire's A Cappella in our living room. And she was the first to take my old, old composition i cried in the sun aïda seriously when we performed it at Lotus Music & Dance back in 2006 in Manhattan. There is a joy in having one's music taken seriously; Troy did it, and Beth did it. And in this case, there was even more. There are moments of surprise. When I was a much younger composer, the name Andrew Bolotowsky was already legendary. Every remarkable composer whose work included a flute part also included Bolotowsky, who was born the same year as I was, 1949. Like the moment when Joan LaBarbara came to our radio show, this was a humbling experience. How could it be that these brilliant people were playing my music? You can listen to that performance here.

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There's an intense discussion about archiving going on at NewMusicBox. It's a topic I'm passionate about, and will be working my portion of the commentary into an article for eContact! later this year. If you read the NewMusicBox discussion please join in or at least send me some feedback in areas that haven't been covered.

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We brought a tree down yesterday. Behind the house was a tall dead ash, killed either by age or by the annual flooding. A month ago we noticed it had started to lean toward the house, and shed the bark about 20 feet up from the ground -- not a good sign. A handyman (really, they still exist) came by Wednesday for a few wheelbarrow loads of horse manure, and I asked if he could take it down. Certainly. Maybe next week. This morning, the tree was leaning further, and one of the branches was touching the roof. No, not good. I grabbed the climbing rope from the truck, tied a solid piece of maple from the woodpile to each end, and threw one up and over the stout branch nearest to the bend. Once there were two equal lengths, I called Stevie down and she and I started to apply pressure. The idea was for it to come down to the southeast, missing the house and deck to the south but not getting caught in the trees to the east. We had to keep it from rocking and choosing its own path. Dry, cracked branches fell off. We dug our heels into the soft soil of the flood plain (note to self: next time do not wear shorts when backing up through brambles) and kept the pressure applied. More branches fell and then there was the telltale crack. We backed up quickly, keeping the pressure on. It split and fell with a resounding crash -- precisely southeast. It's dry and ready to cut into firewood for next winter.

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Stump looks like a wolf
Walking past the paddock the other day, Stevie noticed that a tree stump on the near bank combined with one on the far bank to create the illusion of a wolf, sitting and looking back over its shoulder.

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