Here is my Christmas Card from 2002. I snapped the pic at 10,000 feet in Colorado at my nephew Luke’s wedding to Nichole. My son Chance (front), secondly my nephew-in law Remy, and thirdly my brother-in-law Bob (r.i.p.) in a line. I had Chance drop one of my frottage drawings into the sky. Who knows, maybe 2022 will be better than 2021? It’s possible…
The Anvil Orchestra came to life this past summer, culminating in the fall with a new score for a recently discovered film by the most famous documentary film-maker of all time, Dziga Vertov (see “Man with the Movie Camera”). We premiered it in Amsterdam on Nov.20, just as Delta was kicking in (we had to sneak upstairs for dinner one night and keep the lights low because there was an 8 pm curfew on restaurants), and we got back home just before Omicron hit. But the show was a major success, replete with flowers on-stage when we took our bows! The group will continue in 2022. Composing and performing is, indeed, my life.
This Millerian aesthetic statement on electric guitars (4 to be exact, with loops and devices) has all the music organised by my “Dream Interpretation Technique“. The album, “Eight Dream Interpretations for Solo Electric Guitar Ensemble“, will be out on Cuneiform Records in May: LP/CD/Digital. The LP will indeed have a gatefold cover! Work on the video for “Dream Interpretation No.17” will begin in January.
I was brought along by Guilford Sound to test out Steinway Grands for their recording studio. Now, when the studio is free, that Steinway is available for me to play. And that is a wonderful thing. New compositions have appeared for the solo piano format over 2021.
The first day The Anvil Orchestra was in Amsterdam we were of course jet-lagged, and what better thing to do in that quasi-conscious state than frottage drawings? The streets, the canal-sides and a pub within a few blocks of our hotel provided surfaces which developed nearly on their own. As a critic once said: “Surrealist painters paint their dreams. In creating frottages, one dreams while one is creating.” This makes sense to me. (I refer to these as “Haiku Frottage” because they are done on origami-sized paper, and inherently focus more on one idea).
This fall I looked at a photo of clouds I took in my backyard sky and realised it was excellent for structuring music. I increased the contrast to create very specific changes/zones to be followed. Whenever my concerts from March 2020 get re-booked, this composition, “CLOUDS MUSIC III” (for string quartet and electronic sound), will be part of it. As well, my composition “A SONG FOR VERMONT” (for chamber orchestra) is well under way. I am using a map of Vermont to structure the piece, going North to South. Lake Champlain, The Connecticut River, The Green Mountains, Forests, Cities/towns and highways all have different instrumentation and harmony, often cross-blending. It’s quite exciting composing for an ensemble of this size: my last largish chamber group composition was “Scream, Gilgamesh, Scream” (performed in 2016 at the New England Conservatory by the Callithumpian Consort with myself playing the electric guitar part).
Deb and I continue to weather the Covid-Times pretty safely on our Vermont mountain-side. It’s hard to complain about that.