Cassandra’s Tears

Tears of joy, tears of pain, we are reflected in the salt-water pools we create. So let us build a fleet of paper boats and sail them on our ocean of indecision, laughing at the wind-whipped white-crested waves that would wash over us, drowning us in our own despair, yet somehow never vanquishing us in the end.

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Location: Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada

Friday, September 03, 2004

Musical musings

It has been a while since I posted here. I wanted to use this particular blog for my creative work, short stories, poetry, that sort of thing, but I guess I’m just not prolific enough to justify saving it for that purpose. I am loathe to write personal things here because people who know me, particularly my daughter and her friends, have access to this site, and I generally unburden myself in my personal diary elsewhere. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t still use this space for other reflections and recollections, as I have already done.

The new music ensemble of which I am a member will be performing a concert in November (the rhyme was unintentional) and will feature compositions for electronic, as well as acoustic, instruments. One of the pieces, Terry Riley’s In C, consists of a page of musical fragments, all in the key of C, which must be played in order by all members of the ensemble at the same tempo, but out of sync. When one person decides he has played one fragment long enough, he goes on to the next one, thus prompting other players to change as well, in their own sweet time. The second piece is Cassiopeia by George Caccioppo, and the score itself is the star chart of the constellation of the same name. Certain main stars are labelled with pitches, while other connecting sections are performed ad lib. by the musicians. I’ll actually be singing in both of those pieces.

The third work has yet to be written; it will be a world premiere by my husband (who, for general information, will be playing electric guitar in the other two pieces) utilizing the computer program MAX MSP (or something like that) and will be an interactive piece between musicians and computer. My job in this composition is totally different from my previous rôles. I have been charged with the composition of a short story, based on a theme of my husband’s choosing, to be written ahead of time so that he can use certain phrases or individual words to trigger certain reactions in the computer program. During the performance itself I will sit at the keyboard and type the story so that it appears on a screen for the audience to read in real time, and for the computer to react to those preprogrammed words as they come up. It should be very interesting.

The “plot” for the story has to follow the idea of a secret flower. I am waiting for my husband to give me a list of words he wants included in it, otherwise I have absolutely no inspiration for this thing. He wants it a certain length, which means I should get to work immediately, but still I don’t know what to write. This will prove a challenge, I’m sure.

In the meantime classes start next week, I will find out exactly how many students have been assigned to me, and I will arrange my schedule around Latin 101 which I have decided will be my academic pursuit for the next while, at least. It can’t be any harder than ancient Greek was, or maybe it can. There are more cases, but the vocabulary will be more familiar to me. I’m actually getting quite excited about it. This should be fun. Hard work, but fun.