Sarpur fyrir maí, 2009

fermingardagur

hún elsku frænka mín, Þorgerður María fermist í dag.

Mikið súrt að geta ekki verið með henni, en yngri börnin eru á Egilsstöðum sem fulltrúar Njálsgötugengisins.

Innilega til hamingju með daginn, Þorgerður mín!

frábær grein

ég er að hugsa um að fara að beita þessum aðferðum á krakkana. Höfum reyndar gert hluta af þessu, bara ekki markvisst.

Væntanlega er það ekki of seint.

urrg

upptakan af Sinfóníutónleikunum síðan í gærkvöldi er ekki á netinu 😥 Þetta voru þeir af tónleikum hljómsveitarinnar sem mig langaði allra mest til að fara og hlusta á, en ég varð jú að vera á fjáröflunartónleikunum fyrir ferð Grallaranna til Tékklands.

Vonandi er bara verið að safna saman tónleikum af Listahátíð til að spila í útvarpinu í sumar einhvern tímann.

(þetta er önnur útgáfan af þessari færslu, hin ákvað að birtast bara ekki neitt. Sjáum til hvort þetta verður í tvítaki)

móðir mín

já, tvöföld merking þessa titils núna, hún mamma bara stjórnaði einum albestu barnakóra landsins fyrr og síðar – ég er með upptöku hér af verkinu Móðir mín í kví, kví, eftir Jón Ásgeirsson. Segi verki ekki útsetningu þar sem þetta er mikið meira en bara útsetning á þjóðlaginu.

Núna í kvöld var ég á ljómandi góðum tónleikum hjá Gradualekórnum sem er á leið í keppni í Tékklandi. Sungu meðal annars þetta verk, mjög flott og vel flutt hjá þeim, alveg toppur barna- og unglingakórstarfs hér núna.

Þessi gamla upptaka af verkinu er bara svo miklu betri…

mislestur

var að keyra framhjá klósettturninum við Hallgrímskirkju áðan, þar er auglýsing, byrjar á Reyk-eitthvað, ég las Reykvíkingar.

Svo var annað orð undir.

Drepa…

hei og svo

vann Barcelóna leikinn sem ég horfði ekki á í kvöld, þar sem ég var á aðalfundi Tónverkamiðstöðvar (gekk snurðulaust) og við skáluðum í freyðivíni og átum jarðarber, þar sem safnið fór ekki forgörðum í brunanum í mars…

er að verða

pínulítið þreytt á þessu ofnleysi. Tja reyndar eiginlega svolítið mikið pirruð.

Heyrðum loksins frá rafvirkjanum og þessi teikning sem við fengum í hendurnar bara hreinlega dugir ekki til. Svo sem eins og við þóttumst vera búin að finna út.

Hann sendi eiganda Kokku póst og ég vona að hún sé að reyna að finna út úr þessu fyrir okkur. Höfum samt ekki heyrt neitt frá henni – gæti verið að hún hafi reyndar ekki gert reply to all.

Hlýtur að vera hægt að finna út úr þessu. Ekki reikna ég með að neinn sé að henda 60 cm gaseldavél með rafmagnsofni, frá Ilve til að við getum hirt úr henni stykki…

prag-olomouc

Gradualekórinn er að fara til Tékklands í keppnisferð eftir nokkra daga. Verður spennandi. Þær halda tónleika á fimmtudaginn kemur í Langholtskirkju klukkan (hmm, já, klukkan hvað) 20:00. Mæli með að fólk kíki, þetta verða pottþétt mjöööög flottir tónleikar. Kórinn er landi og þjóð til sóma.

Sjá hér fyrir þá sem eru með flettismettiaðgang.

naumast

maður er bara alltaf að heyra í flottum kórum af landsbyggðinni. Í kvöld var það Kammerkór Akraness undir stjórn Sveins Arnar Sæmundssonar, voru með tónleika í Guðríðarkirkju í Grafarholti. Hef reyndar aldrei komið þangað uppeftir áður, fínn og mjúkur hljómburður, ekki of mikill endurómur, alveg passlegur, allt heyrðist. Það getur verið galli en í kvöld var það bara kostur. Kórinn var tandurhreinn og fínn, nákvæmur og samhljómandi. Ég var sérstaklega hrifin af karlaröddunum, mjúkar og fallegar og góður heildarhljómur. Konurnar voru fínar líka. Eitt það fáa sem mér fannst mætti bæta var að í þetta góðum hópi er alveg óþarfi að humma tóninn áður en byrjað er að syngja.

Takk fyrir mig, virkilega notaleg stund.

kammer

Vegna sparnaðar er verið að leggja niður kammerdeildina í Suzukiskólanum – allavega í bili (nánast verið að skera niður hjá okkur um 20%). Að spila kammermúsík er það skemmtilegasta sem Freyja gerir, á sellóið, enda er það ógurlega gaman, þannig að þetta er mikil synd. Eitthvað er verið að reyna að búa til sér skóla fyrir þetta, sjáum til hvernig til tekst. Hér er allavega smá sýnishorn af því sem Freyja og vinkonur hennar hafa verið að gera:

hovhaness

hver hér hefur heyrt um bandaríska tónskáldið Alan Hovhaness?

Nei, hélt ekki. Ekki ég nefnilega heldur.

Spiluðum sinfóníu eftir hann á tónleikunum í dag, lokatónleikar SÁ í vetur. Ótrúlega magnað stykki. Jón Lárus rúllaði því inn á vídjó og ég er að hlusta og horfa núna. Myndin bara svona semigóð, enda hunderfitt að taka vídjó í Seltjarnarneskirkju, allavega á vorin, stórir gluggar og ljós á móti. Hins vegar ekkert að hljóðinu og þetta var bara frekar flottur flutningur. Gæti hugsast að það færi inn á þúrörið fljótlega, nenni því samt ómögulega í kvöld.

Takk fyrir, Óliver, takk allir sem voru að spila með í kvöld og þeir sem hlustuðu.

Þetta er eitt af þessum áhrifaríku verkum sem var verið að tala um í færslunni á undan. Meyr núna…

eitt besta ávarp

sem ég hef lesið ansi lengi var ræða haldin af Karl Paulnac yfir foreldrum nýnema hjá Boston Conservatory. Svolítið löng en verulega þess virði að lesa alla.

„One of my parents’ deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not properly value me as a musician, that I wouldn’t be appreciated. I had very good grades in high school, I was good in science and math, and they imagined that as a doctor or a research chemist or an engineer I might be more appreciated than I would be as a musician. I still remember my mother’s remark when I announced my decision to apply to music school she said, “you’re WASTING your SAT scores.” On some level, I think, my parents were not sure themselves what the value of music was, what its purpose was. And they LOVED music, they listened to classical music all the time. They just weren’t really clear about its function. So let me talk about that a little bit, because we live in a society that puts music in the “arts and entertainment” section of the newspaper, and serious music, the kind your kids are about to engage in, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with entertainment, in fact it’s the opposite of entertainment. Let me talk a little bit about music, and how it works.

The first people to understand how music really works were the ancient Greeks. And this is going to fascinate you; the Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us. Let me give you some examples of how this works. One of the most profound musical compositions of all time is the Quartet for the End of Time written by French composer Olivier Messiaen in 1940.

Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered the war against Nazi Germany. He was captured by the Germans in June of 1940, sent across Germany in a cattle car and imprisoned in a concentration camp. He was fortunate to find a sympathetic prison guard who gave him paper and a place to compose. There were three other musicians in the camp, a cellist, a violinist, and a clarinetist, and Messiaen wrote his quartet with these specific players in mind. It was performed in January 1941 for four thousand prisoners and guards in the prison camp. Today it is one of the most famous masterworks in the repertoire.

Given what we have since learned about life in the concentration camps, why would anyone in his right mind waste time and energy writing or playing music? There was barely enough energy on a good day to find food and water, to avoid a beating, to stay warm, to escape torture why would anyone bother with music? And yet from the camps, we have poetry, we have music, we have visual art; it wasn’t just this one fanatic Messiaen; many, many people created art. Why? Well, in a place where people are only focused on survival, on the bare necessities, the obvious conclusion is that art must be, somehow, essential for life. The camps were without money, without hope, without commerce, without recreation, without basic respect, but they were not without art. Art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are. Art is one of the ways in which we say, “I am alive, and my life has meaning. ”

On September 12, 2001 I was a resident of Manhattan. That morning I reached a new understanding of my art and its relationship to the world. I sat down at the piano that morning at 10 AM to practice as was my daily routine; I did it by force of habit, without thinking about it. I lifted the cover on the keyboard, and opened my music, and put my hands on the keys and took my hands off the keys. And I sat there and thought, does this even matter? Isn’t this completely irrelevant? Playing the piano right now, given what happened in this city yesterday, seems silly, absurd, irreverent, pointless.

Why am I here? What place has a musician in this moment in time? Who needs a piano player right now? I was completely lost.

And then I, along with the rest of New York, went through the journey of getting through that week. I did not play the piano that day, and in fact I contemplated briefly whether I would ever want to play the piano again. And then I observed how we got through the day. At least in my neighborhood, we didn’t shoot hoops or play Scrabble. We didn’t play cards to pass the time, we didn’t watch TV, we didn’t shop, we most certainly did not go to the mall. The first organized activity that I saw in New York, that same day, was singing. People sang. People sang around fire houses, people sang We Shall Overcome. Lots of people sang America the Beautiful. The first organized public event that I remember was the Brahms Requiem, later that week, at Lincoln Center, with the New York Philharmonic. The first organized public expression of grief, our first communal response to that historic event, was a concert. That was the beginning of a sense that life might go on. The US Military secured the airspace, but recovery was led by the arts, and by music in particular, that very night.

From these two experiences, I have come to understand that music is not part of “arts and entertainment” as the newspaper section would have us believe. It’s not a luxury, a lavish thing that we fund from leftovers of our budgets, not a plaything or an amusement or a pass time. Music is a basic need of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of our lives, one of the ways in which we express feelings when we have no words, a way for us to understand things with our hearts when we can’t with our minds.

Some of you may know Samuel Barber’s heart wrenchingly beautiful piece Adagio for Strings. If you don’t know it by that name, then some of you may know it as the background music which accompanied the Oliver Stone movie Platoon, a film about the Vietnam War. If you know that piece of music either way, you know it has the ability to crack your heart open like a walnut; it can make you cry over sadness you didn’t know you had. Music can slip beneath our conscious reality to get at what’s really going on inside us the way a good therapist does. I bet that you have never been to a wedding where there was absolutely no music. There might have been only a little music, there might have been some really bad music, but I bet you there was some music. And something very predictable happens at weddings people get all pent up with all kinds of emotions, and then there’s some musical moment where the action of the wedding stops and someone sings or plays the flute or something. And even if the music is lame, even if the quality isn’t good, predictably 30 or 40 percent of the people who are going to cry at a wedding cry a couple of moments after the music starts.

Why? The Greeks. Music allows us to move around those big invisible pieces of ourselves and rearrange our insides so that we can express what we feel even when we can’t talk about it. Can you imagine watching Indiana Jones or Superman or Star Wars with the dialogue but no music? What is it about the music swelling up at just the right moment in ET so that all the softies in the audience start crying at exactly the same moment? I guarantee you if you showed the movie with the music stripped out, it wouldn’t happen that way. The Greeks: Music is the understanding of the relationship between invisible internal objects. I’ll give you one more example, the story of the most important concert of my life. I must tell you I have played a little less than a thousand concerts in my life so far. I have played in places that I thought were important. I like playing in Carnegie Hall; I enjoyed playing in Paris; it made me very happy to please the critics in St. Petersburg. I have played for people I thought were important; music critics of major newspapers, foreign heads of state. The most important concert of my entire life took place in a nursing home in Fargo, ND, about 4 years ago.

I was playing with a very dear friend of mine who is a violinist. We began, as we often do, with Aaron Copland’s Sonata, which was written during World War II and dedicated to a young friend of Copland’s, a young pilot who was shot down during the war. Now we often talk to our audiences about the pieces we are going to play rather than providing them with written program notes. But in this case, because we began the concert with this piece, we decided to talk about the piece later in the program and to just come out and play the music without explanation.

Midway through the piece, an elderly man seated in a wheelchair near the front of the concert hall began to weep. This man, whom I later met, was clearly a soldier even in his 70¹s, it was clear from his buzz-cut hair, square jaw and general demeanor that he had spent a good deal of his life in the military. I thought it a little bit odd that someone would be moved to tears by that particular movement of that particular piece, but it wasn’t the first time I’ve heard crying in a concert and we went on with the concert and finished the piece.

When we came out to play the next piece on the program, we decided to talk about both the first and second pieces, and we described the circumstances in which the Copland was written and mentioned its dedication to a downed pilot. The man in the front of the audience became so disturbed that he had to leave the auditorium. I honestly figured that we would not see him again, but he did come backstage afterwards, tears and all, to explain himself.

What he told us was this: “During World War II, I was a pilot, and I was in an aerial combat situation where one of my team’s planes was hit. I watched my friend bail out, and watched his parachute open, but the Japanese planes which had engaged us returned and machine gunned across the parachute chords so as to separate the parachute from the pilot, and I watched my friend drop away into the ocean, realizing that he was lost. I have not thought about this for many years, but during that first piece of music you played, this memory returned to me so vividly that it was as though I was reliving it. I didn’t understand why this was happening, why now, but then when you came out to explain that this piece of music was written to commemorate a lost pilot, it was a little more than I could handle.”

How does the music do that? How did it find those feelings and those memories in me? Remember the Greeks: music is the study of invisible relationships between internal objects. This concert in Fargo was the most important work I have ever done. For me to play for this old soldier and help him connect, somehow, with Aaron Copland, and to connect their memories of their lost friends, to help him remember and mourn his friend, this is my work. This is why music matters.

What follows is part of the talk I will give to this year’s freshman class when I welcome them a few days from now. The responsibility I will charge your sons and daughters with is this:

If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you’d take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at two AM someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you’re going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8 PM someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft. You’re not here to become an entertainer, and you don’t have to sell yourself. The truth is you don’t have anything to sell; being a musician isn’t about dispensing a product, like selling used Chevys. I’m not an entertainer; I’m a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker. You’re here to become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropractor or physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy and well.

Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I expect you not only to master music; I expect you to save the planet. If there is a future wave of wellness on this planet, of harmony, of peace, of an end to war, of mutual understanding, of equality, of fairness, I don’t expect it will come from a government, military force or a corporation. I no longer even expect it to come from the religions of the world, which together seem to have brought us as much war as they have peace. If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should it together, I expect it will come from the artists, because that’s what we do. As in the concentration camp and the evening of 9/11, the artists are the ones who might be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives.“

(takk Stefán Freyr fyrir ábendinguna)

snilldarskemmtilegir

tónleikar, ýkjulaust, ekki smá gaman að sjá og heyra þessi gömlu hljóðfæri. Um 45 mínútur hugsa ég að þeir hafi tekið, alveg passlegt. Allt tónlist úr gömlum handritum, mjög smekklega útsett og alveg eins og maður getur ímyndað sér að þetta hafi hljómað hér til forna. Ég held að tónlistariðkun með svona hljóðfærum hafi verið talsvert algengari en fólk hefur haldið.

Í lokin spiluðu þau aukalag, sálm (mesta furða hvað hann var hressilegur – þessi lög voru það flest), hnýttu aftan við laginu Í grænni lautu og buðu fólki að taka undir. Í salnum var mikið til kórfólk, þó nokkrir túristar og aðrir, ég sá á einhverjum túristanna að þau urðu gersamlega steinhissa á því að þegar salurinn tók undir var ekki mikið verr sungið en hjá þeim sem stóðu á sviðinu.

Takk fyrir mig, Marta, Örn, Halldór, Ásta og Sigursveinn, þetta var yndisleg stund. Maður getur ekki orðið nema í góðu skapi eftir svona tónleika.

stofutónleikar

búin að kaupa 2 miða á Spilmenn Ríkínís á Dómkirkjuloftinu í dag, Fífa og pabbi hennar geta slegist um annan miðann en ég ætla að nota hinn.

Eitthvað hefur prófarkalesurum Fréttablaðsins þótt þetta ankannalegt nafn, þar heita þau Spilamenn ríkisins…

En ég mæli sterklega með þessari grúppu, heil fjölskylda + föðurbróðir, spila gamla músík á gömul hljóðfæri (semsagt gömul íslensk hljóðfæri, ekki barokkfiðlur og lútur og þannig). Sjá hér.

eftir beiðni

þá koma hér tvær myndir af Loppu á einum af uppáhaldsstöðunum sínum:

Þarna situr hún oft meðan ég er að vinna, rétt við hliðina á mér. Það er að segja þegar hún reynir ekki að leggjast ofan á hendurnar á mér á lyklaborðinu eða hlamma sér á hljómborðið.

ain’t that the truth?

ekki að ég myndi vilja skipta Loppu út fyrir einhvern hund…

ekki alveg

svona mikil undrabörn eins og ég hélt, við frænkurnar vorum víst heldur eldri þegar við sungum þessi lög inn. Ég var 19 og þær 16 og 17. Samt alveg montin af þessu.

Hér er annað lag, við sungum þrjú lög eftir Vagn Holmboe. Sendi honum síðan kassettu með upptökunni og hann varð ógurlega glaður og sendi mér voða sætt bréf til baka.

Mjög skemmtileg lög öll þrjú, og textarnir bæði heimspekilegir og fyndnir. Hér er eitt.

haydngírinn

enn erum við þar, nú var kvartett úr áhugamannabandinu að vinna hljómsveitinni inn einn frían konsert (þann á sunnudaginn – já þarf að plögga…) með því að spila Litlu orgelmessuna eftir Haydn á tónleikum í dag. Bara voða gaman, léttir og löðurmannlegir partar (nei, Haydn er það sko ekkert alltaf), mjög fallegar laglínur, kór Seltjarnarneskirkju fámennur en ljómandi góður, einsöngvarar úr hópnum skiptu milli sín köflum. Matur á eftir en komin heim, ekki smá hrikalega þreytt eftir þessa viku. Spurning um að fara snemma að sofa í kvöld…

(nei, þetta erum ekki við, en svipuð uppsetning, lítill kór, orgel og strengjakvartett)

upptökur

hún mamma er að safna gömlum upptökum með barnakórnum okkar, til mögulegrar útgáfu, margt alveg ótrúlega gott, eitt gerðum við frænkurnar þegar við vorum litlar, sungum saman þríraddað og þetta er nú ekkert voðalega slæmt, er það?

Meira seinna.

síðasti áfangi að sumarfríi

aaaalveg að klárast, bara raða nokkrum prófum í möppu og svo er tónheyrnarliðið að koma í kaffihúsatíma, síðasti tími vetrarins alltaf þannig. Algjört æði. Verst að það gengur enn ekki alveg nógu vel með kammerverkið – er að hugsa um að hafa tvo kafla, langt komin með annan en óttalega hugmyndasnauð með hinn. Og ætlaði að skila núna í maí…


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