Sunday, September 17, 2017

Gitimalya



Welcome to another edition of the Sunday music series.

We continue our September feature on composer Toru Takemitsu with a version of his 1974 piece “Gitimalya” (sub-titled “A Bouquet of Songs”). “Gitimalya” is scored for marimba & orchestra; here the marimba is played by Luigi Gaggero, with the accompaniment of the Orchester der Komischen Oper Berlin.

There’s a lovely & brief write up about this composition at Allmusic, which can be found at this link.

Hope you enjoy it.


Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Stage for the presentation of the album "A Bonsai Garden" by Brian Banks, Musical Wednesdays program within the week.” Photo by Wiki user Fraguando (link provided is empty), who makes it available under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.





Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Time & the River


(Eastbank Esplanade: 9/2/17)

green river like evening air stretching its
hands between the maples beside a distant

river—mother would recognize it in oils,
a canvas I could picture but didn’t paint—

but it’s afternoon & water has little
to do with this solid state blue sky; liquid

fragments stitched with boat wakes & memories &
glimpses in the direction this current flows


the pigeons & starlings feeding on bread crumbs
strewn by park benches are skittish in the heat—

the scrub jay perched on the galvanized railing
turns & turns again, darts to the madrona’s

foliage—a pair of Canada geese on
a sinking log below the bramble cascade

stretch wings, preen in unison; under Burnside
bridge other geese move on indigo shadows


I’m not young; the motorboat churns downriver,
bow lifted; a paddleboat moseys past those

floating geese, but the geese don’t stir; you’re standing
in sunlight, holding the dog on her leash in

a photograph in my mind that’s also you
standing by the railing above green green flow:

a freight train processes west on the Steel Bridge,
its passing infinite for those few minutes


Jack Hayes
© 2017

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Flock Descends Into the Pentagonal Garden


 
We return with music for your Sunday, & continue with our September feature on composer Toru Takemitsu.

Today’s selection is the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s rendition of Takemitsu’s 1977 composition, “A Flock Descends Into the Pentagonal Garden”. Gene Tyranny, writing for the Allmusic site, described the composer’s inspiration as follows:

This beautifully titled composition for orchestra was inspired by a dream in which the composer saw a flock of white birds, led by a single black bird swirling around and then descending into a pentagonal or star-shaped garden. The garden, however, turned out to be the star on the back of artist Marcel Duchamp's head in the famous photograph by Man Ray.

I’d encourage you to read the entire Allmusic entry on “A Flock Descends Into the Pentagonal Garden”, which can be found at the link given above, as well as the essay on the piece at this link.

Hope you enjoy the music.



Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“A painting  of birds and  flowers”: Kitayama Kangan(1767 - 1801). Circa 1800.
Public domain.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

And don’t tell me anything


 
And don’t tell me anything


And don’t tell me anything,
that someone can kill perfectly,
since, sweating ink,
someone does all he can, don’t tell me…

We’ll come back, gentlemen, to see ourselves with apples,
the creature will pass by late,
Aristotle’s expression armed
with grand wooden hearts,
and that of Heraclitus grafted onto that of Marx,
that of the gentle pealing roughly…
It’s what my throat told me:
someone can kill perfectly.

Gentlemen,
kind sirs, we’ll come back without parcels;
until then I demand, will demand of my frailty
the day’s stress, which,
as I see, was already waiting for me on my bed.
And I ask my hat for memory’s ill-fated analogy,
because sometimes I assume my immense mournfulness with success,
because sometimes I drown in my neighbor’s voice,
and endure
numbering the years on kernels of corn,
brushing off my clothes to the a dead man’s tune,
or sitting drunk in my coffin…



César Vallejo, “Y no me digan nada”
Translation by Jack Hayes
© 2017



Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Héraclite” (“Heraclitus”): Johannes Moreelse; circa 1630.
Public domain



 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Two Octets from Late August


Amazing Grace Octet
(8/23/17)

this morning's overcast has wound up shredded;
from the next block a hammer’s thud, a nail gun’s

staccato echo an invisible world—
the engine of a parked car turns over

but it doesn't seem to catch the attention
of that lonesome crow perched on the wire

as usual—twin sunflowers try to find
their place amidst unmade clouds—I once was lost


                      


The Time Octet
(8/24/17)

the future exists already but like so
many other places I haven't been there—

autumn comes to call on the avenue this
noon; one red petunia petal falls from

the balcony, pretending to be a leaf;
outside the tea shop a woman pulls on her

sweater; the bus comes, either late or early:
my shadow moves ahead of me, to the side



Jack Hayes
© 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Dao De Jing 18



Dao De Jing 18


When the Great Way was abandoned, humaneness & morality became abundant;
Wit & cleverness emerged, & hypocrisy abounded;
When harmony no longer held through the six close kinships*, filial sons grew abundant;
When the nation was benighted with disorder, loyal ministers grew plentiful.

Laozi, 道德經
Translation by John Hayes
Unlike with my original poetry & poetry translations, I don’t asset a copyright claim on my translation of the Dao De Jing. It may be freely used under the terms of the Creative Commons license.



Note:
* 六親 [liù qīn]
six close relatives, namely: father 父[fu4], mother 母[mu3], older brothers 兄[xiong1], younger brothers 弟[di4], wife 妻[qi1], male children 子[zi3]



Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Bagua diagram by Zhao Huiqian ("River Chart spontaneously [generated] by Heaven and Earth" 圖河.自地天). This image may in fact be a reproduction of the diagram by Hu Wei in his Yitu mingbian (‘Clarification of the diagrams in the book of changes’), dated 1706.” circa 1370; 1706. Public domain.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Eclipse (For Biwa And Shakuhachi)



Welcome back to the Sunday music feature. In September we’ll be featuring the music of Toru Takemitsu.

Takemitsu is a major composer & a few blog posts over the course of a month can serve only as the most cursory introduction & exploration of his music. I’d strongly encourage those who are interested in what they hear to seek out more information at the links given with each post & also to seek out more of Takemitsu’s music, which is readily available.

We begin the series with Takemitsu’s 1966 composition, “Eclipse. This is scored for traditional Japanese instruments, the shakuhachi & the biwa. The former is a bamboo flute, while the latter is a type of lute.
Although Takemitsu was strongly influenced by Western music (Debussy, Messiaen, & Webern particularly) & indeed at one point expressed an aversion to traditional Japanese music—because it reminded him of World War II militarism—he began incorporating elements of Japanese music into his compositions under the influence of John Cage beginning in the early 1960s. Takemitsu’s 1967 composition “November Steps” for biwa, shakuhachi, & orchestra is related to “Eclipse”.

Hope you enjoy the music



Images link to their sources on Wiki Commons:
  1. “Performer playing shakuhachi in 60th Himeji oshiro festival, 2009”. Photo by Wiki user Corpse Reviver, who makes it available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
  2. “A selection of biwa in a Japanese museum”. Photo by Wiki user Jnn, who makes it available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.1 Japan license.