tracks : raising a ruckus with bears!

This is for an old friend with whom I’ve fallen out of touch. Hopefully they’ll like it.

  1. It’s Oh So Quiet — Björk
  2. Karmacoma — Massive Attack
  3. Cafe “La Humidad” — Roberto Goyeneche
  4. The Upward March — The Bell Orchestre
  5. Sappho — Dave Douglas
  6. Hey-Hee-Hi-Ho — Medeski, Martin, and Wood
  7. Sister Kate — The Ditty Bops
  8. Mission to Moscow — The Hot Club of Cowtown
  9. Back In The USSR — The Beatles
  10. She Turns Me On — Jim’s Big Ego
  11. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight — Bob Dylan
  12. The Two Women — Paul Kotheimer
  13. “Uh-Oh, Chango!”/White History Month — Don Byron
  14. Too Late — Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek feat. RES
  15. Raga Tilak Kamod – Shruti Sadolikar Katkar
  16. The Wind That Shakes The Barley — Dead Can Dance
  17. Hora Ca la Ursari — Taraf de Haïdouks
  18. Stay Loose (Lyrics Born remix) — Jimmy Smith
  19. Rebels of the Sacred Heart — Flogging Molly


(by Peter Shaffer) Equus is one of those famous plays that I never read but could probably fake knowledge of it. It’s the story of a young man, Alan Strang, who is put in a psychiatric hospital after blinding six horses. The play centers around the doctor, Martin Dysart, and his attempt to unravel the cause of Alan’s actions. Dysart has his own neuroses — a distant wife, a recurring dream about carving up children, and he constantly questions the morality of his job. Alan, for his part, is deeply suspicious of Dysart’s objectives, but eventually opens up. Dysart interviews Alan’s parents — a very religious mother and an atheist and overbearing father. He elicits from Alan flashbacks and dreams and eventually pieces together a psychosis in whose logic the blinding of the horses is inevitable.

The original stage directions are given in the version I have, so you get a real sense for the theatricality of Shaffer’s writing. That is, I think, the strongest point in the whole piece. What bothered me was the cleanliness of the psychoanalysis. It’s appealing to think that even the most horrific events have rational antecedents, that we can make acts of cruelty into acts of passion, and while this story may exemplify that approach, I got the sense at the end of the play that I had witnessed a particularly clever sleight of hand. It’s a very neat case study. However, apart from that, we have the effect of the process on Dysart himself, which Shaffer teases out in a really beautiful and true way.

It’s definitely a play worth reading and I’m sure worth seeing as well. I’ve heard there’s a movie version, but I think the play is too theatrical to be suited to a realistic film, so I think I’ll give it a miss. I’m sure it would only accentuate the things I didn’t like about the script and eliminate the theatricality by using real horses or something.

voice lessons

I had my first voice lesson in a long time today. I have a ton of stuff to work on, but the good news is that I can sing A-flats with few problems. It’s just that my larynx and diaphragm and everything else mostly refuse to cooperate. Hopefully I’ll have enough time to practice and improve in the next week around all of the Verdi Requiem rehearsals and concerts.

livejournal syndication

So thanks to Darcy, I believe, I have a syndication feed for this blog on livejournal. Unfortunately, the way livejournal is set up, you can comment on the post directly within livejounal, so that the comment will not show up on the main blog. I have no idea how many comments I have missed (probably not many), but if y’all livejournalists could remember to comment on the main blog, that would be cool.

I looked around for quick (< 5 minute) fixes for this, but haven’t found one yet. Maybe when I’ll have more time I’ll look again.

Mahler 8 : favorite moments

We just finished 4 performances of Mahler’s 8th Symphony, the “Symphony of a Thousand.” It’s the end of the subscriber season, and what a way to go out. Although the review was not as favorable as I had hoped, but you can’t please everyone. I think that this is one of those pieces that most audience members experience, especially those who haven’t looked at the score before heading to the concert hall. Here are some of my favorite moments from the piece:

  • The opening, naturally.
  • The violin (and later also viola) solos on “infirma nostri corporis” and “uns bleibt ein Erdenrest.” They’re so independent of everything else and just plain bizarre that I instantly fell in love with them.
  • The tenor line on “ductore dic te praevio,” which is completely buried in the texture. No matter how hard we sing, nobody will really hear us. It’s depressing and fun at the same time, like tilting at windmills.
  • The choral opening of the second movement on “Waldung, sie schwankt heran.” Again, one of those creepy, almost musically alienating moments.
  • The women’s chorus on “Jener Rosen.” It’s just so pretty, like the Knaben Wunderhorn songs.
  • The Mulier Samaritana solo. I heart Stephanie Blythe. That plagal cadence at the beginning is so… resonant.
  • The Mater Gloriosa solo. I don’t know what the effect on the audience is, but she was right behind us and it was great.

Next up : Verdi’s Requiem. I’ll always remember this Mahler though — what a trip.