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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:”
But then, even better, weirdly found under the sub-heading “Scary,”
Where 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:
- The first note
- 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
- The ends of the phrases feel like tying shoes: you don’t get how it works, but it is really elegant and quick.
[audio:05 Stravinsky Kyrie.mp3]
Kyrie from Stravinsky’s Mass
Leonard Bernstein on DG