Sunday, June 19, 2005

What Should've Been

... Posted by Hello

Tonight I'd hoped to blog about the Paul Bailey Ensemble's performance this evening at Whittier College. Due to an unfortunate sequence of events I was unable to attend as the snarl of LA traffic turned a prior commitment into a much longer, more involved procedure than I'd planned. Keep me on that mailing list, Paul. I still want to see this band and I'm going to be all over that CD when I can apply ears to it. I hope there will be another gig this summer.

Skulking in the door in my disappointment at missing the show I see that Mr. Bailey had answered my meme gauntlet earlier. Quite thoughtfully too. When mentioning pieces that he listens to or mean a lot to him he hit on several significant works that I also hold dear.

Like 8 Lines by Steve Reich. I first heard that work as Octet (same piece, alternate title). It was the first piece of minimalism I'd ever heard. It was the first music I'd ever heard that opened my mind to music beyond mainstream radio. It riveted me and led me to devour Reich's music. Of which, Music for 18 Musicians is also a treasure. Ultimately it was Desert Music that made me conscious of my desire to compose music. Then came a spell when I worried that my creative ideas would always sound derivative of Reich's phase-heavy music. After working with atonal composition, free improvisation and keeping an open ear for all kinds of sound I managed to develop a wide array of influences and feel like my music sounds like me now. But I have a great fondness for Reich and the ideas he opened me up to.

And Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass. Growing up in Portland, Oregon, KBOO was my lifeline to hearing "new music." And I remember the late night with headphones on taking in that opera for the first time. The final act was like arriving at a surprising location after an unbelievable journey. I promptly made a cassette copy from vinyl and proceeded to wear those poor tapes out. My ideas about opera have changed a great deal as I attempt writing my own. But I also have a high regard for the experience of hearing Einstein on the Beach.

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