from Sunday, March16th of the year2008.
So, we just finished the third and last show with the Holland Baroque Society; it got better each night! One of the weirdest things about doing these “not quite classical” shows is how much venues influence the quality of the performance. I feel like there is a general veneer of old-fashionedness with classical music venues that everything is equally pleasant and straightforward. We were basically playing rock venues these last few days, and it was interesting to see how much more pleasant the experience was on the last night, in Eindhoven, where the people who worked in the hall were so much more pleasant and sunshine and light and happy to help. I felt like I was running around thanking everybody profusely; they’d just look at me and smile and insist that they were just doing their job. I’m going to send their ass a fruit basket.
One of the more surreal elements of this was that we were playing immediately before that band The Eels, whom I kind of love. However, they were clearly in the middle of this giant tour and were 215% not feeling our random show; they were constantly bristling about space, about light, about this that and the other thing. It was disappointing but understandable. At midnight, Teitur & David (violin, who randomly knows some friends of mine in New York, sassily pictured here) and I played a mini-gig in a technical closet by the dressing rooms; I played A Hudson Cycle, we did some Faroese songs, it was crazy. On our way out of the venue, David totally sass-talked the Eels’s tour manager and I thought there was going to be a fight, but we escaped unharmed into an art deco bar playing trashy dance music.
Working with a baroque ensemble was completely fascinating; there are a lot of things that come naturally to those players that I am perpetually trying to notate for modern musicians to play ““ one thing has to do with a specific kind of bowstroke where there is a little “bloom” of sound in the middle of the note. Earlier this year, I over-notated it for that concerto Seeing is Believing and basically got what I wanted. For this project, I wrote nothing, and they just did it naturally. Very satisfying. In a lot of baroque music, all the players are playing all the time, or at least in really obvious phrase-lengths; the sort of rhythmic footprint that my music takes is completely foreign to baroque musicians; they had to really exert (which I like) to place the entrances.
Off to play a show in Brussels with Teitur! We poached the bass player from the Baroque Society and he’s going to play with us. He has one of those “Trustworthy” names “” Clemens “” that I wish we still used in English. I am going to lead a campaign to bring back 1) pagan names (like in the Wicker Man where it’s like Rowan, and Willow, and Sergeant Neil Howie is horrified that nobody has a Christian name) and 2) Puritan Names. Job-raked-out-of-the-ashes? Totally. More-fruit. Iceland is sort of out of control because everybody is called Raven Battle and Hawk this and Victorious that. I don’t think we could get away with that in English just yet.