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Font Thoughts

from Saturday, April26th of the year2008.

So, I went a whole bunch of times to see Satyagraha at the Met. Last Tuesday, they asked me to be interviewed on Sirius Radio Intermission Broadcast Spectacular or whatever that thing is, and it was super fun! This woman Margaret Juntwait had some of the best questions about music I’ve heard on the radio in a long time. Maybe there is something to this sattelite business after all.

A few scattered thoughts about this production:

  1. Every time I went into the lobby, somebody was looking giddy. I heard more than one person say, “I can’t believe we’re at the Met!” This is a good thing.
  2. If at any point during the production I thought to myself, “these tempos sure are a little slow,” the last eight minutes were all the sweeter as a result of the waiting. I made a mental note not to rush things.
  3. This opera is one of Philip’s first pokes outside of his own ensemble. He sticks an electric organ in the pit as a sort of a security blanket, and also as a way to cover up some of the complicated breathing required to sustain the endless arpeggios. I will say, at the risk of getting in trouble, that while the orchestra generally sounded awesome, there was a major Piccolo Situation that verged on the aggressive: even if you don’t like the music and if it is very very very hard and very very fast, you don’t have to chip the top of every arpeggio. It reminded me of somebody being told to set the table and slamming down the fork and the knife and the plate and the dessert spoon. Chill it out. Also: turn up the organ! I want those arpeggios up in my grill.
  4. Love that Richard Croft!

I was online this morning trying to see how financially reasonable it would be to design my friend a t-shirt for his birthday (very!), and in so doing, I uncovered some pretty amazing font choices. Check it out:

Under the sub-heading “Foreign:”


Excuse me?

But then, even better, weirdly found under the sub-heading “Scary,”


temple_of_doom_flaming-heart.jpgWhere are we, the Temple of Doom? It’s pretty intense to think that even the web coder dude didn’t flag this as “completely insane.” What’s scary about Devanagari? How is that any more or less scary than “Alfred Drake” or, for that matter, “China Town?” Anyway, moving on to another delight from “Scary:”


Ahahahahah! And then finally, my favorite:


HOLLA! Try getting a racist font named after your ass’s opera, Chuckles! I totally beheld him again at George Steel’s awesome Stravinsky show at the Park Avenue Armory last week. I totally seen the Pope’s Car beforehand! Plus Wuorinen and Stravinsky Religious Music! A Glut of Orthodoxy! Difficult Iconz on the Upper East Side! Nadia and I got stuck in a barricade for about ten minutes. She had her viola on her back, so we thought that maybe we could convince the police officers to let us through on account of “she has to play a concert” (which wasn’t true). The best was the guy next to us with his giant Eli’s bag overflowing with the makings for tsimmes taking pictures of the motorcade with his iPhone. I went home and listened to the Mass about sixteen thousand times as well as Wuorinen “The Winds” CD, which has those genius Bassoon Variations on it (a beautiful piece for harp, timpani, and bassoon).

I think I can really confidently say that there is no piece of non-Anglican music that has had such a profound influence on me than the Kyrie from the Stravinsky Mass. There are about sixteen things that for me, contain a hugely erotic charge:

  1. The first note
  2. In the third iteration of the first gesture (as in, the third big phrase), the lego-brick wind octaves expand out into chords that I steal on a daily basis
  3. The ends of the phrases feel like tying shoes: you don’t get how it works, but it is really elegant and quick.

Listen here:

[audio:05 Stravinsky Kyrie.mp3]
Kyrie from Stravinsky’s Mass
Leonard Bernstein on DG


  • Even as I type this, a judge is granting Charles Wuorinen a restraining order against you.

  • hopefully your nights didn’t have the taping fiasco in the last act.

  • It was great seeing you at the top of the Met last Tuesday.

  • BOM! Bom(oooooooooooooo), pluck Bom(oooooooooooo), pluck, bom booooooooo…

    You so crazy for liking those Bassoon Variations! Isn’t there some sort of Rule about that? They are great though.

  • Also, I think there’s a giant repeat in that violin/piano duo. like, minutes of music, go back and try again. who does he chuckle he is.

  • Satyagraha was amazing but how did you manage to sit through the last third of it more than once? I really really really don’t inderstand.

    Nico responds: because the last eight minutes are my favorite-favorite.

  • You were wonderful on Sirius, I did not not know of you until that moment but I now listen to “Speaks Volumes” non-stop…no that’s not true, sometimes I sleep.
    Satyagraha was also wondeful. Richard Croft was sublime. If only there were an HD broadcast…

  • Jocelyn and I went on Monday – it was pretty great. Check out my post on my site when you get a sec:

  • you’ve been pitchfork’d!


  • woah! increadibly creepy (yet oddly aesthetically pleasing, in a disturbing way) photograph on bedroom community. I bet CW isn’t posing for album covers in some kind of avant-garde demented bloodlust (although, the Ernst Blofeld mockup kinda does the trick…….) Can’t wait for the album [and crosses fingers for Skip Town and that other interesting looking track]

  • I agree that the organ was way too soft. This student-type was sitting next to me last Tuesday with the score in hand (and I thought I would be the Glass geek!); at the second intermission, I asked to see it because I couldn’t hear the organ at all during “Protest”, and the organ’s buzzy runs under the strings are my favorite part of it. Well, the score don’t say nuttin like “Organ: ppp” or “Organ: part is written ‘just for fun’– don’t really play it”.

    I also agree that “Evening Song” was gorgeous, esp. with the images of King and Gandhi, surrounded by a darkening sky, both unexpectedly Alone. Reminded me of King Lear in the storm…