Transition By Season

Transition By Season is an abstract catalogue of the music I’ve performed in a recently completed season.  It allows me the opportunity to reflect upon my musicking with open yet categorical coverage.  Here is the transition that is my 2014-15 season.

Bach …

A baroque pipe cleaner … pillages a city and builds atop it something special and sophisticatedly not-so not obscene.

… Ferneyhough

Ferneyhough …

The well-oiled construction company leaves room for space.

… Feldman

Feldman …

The (s)pace-maker to end space-making comes from Your Own Heart.

… Costello

Costello …

My Heart swings too hard for the Man With The Beard.

… Brahms

Brahms …

The Beaded Beard of notes gives to an adventurous flurry of notes and themes.

… Schubert

Schubert …

Themes and materials end and new beginnings build out from Bach’s old.

… Shostakovitch

Shostakovitch …

A furious spinner of harmony and counterpoint touches a furious spinner of ideas, textures, and sonority, with an agility of mind.

… Leblanc

Leblanc …

Focused energy; Frenetic compilation of sound and spirit.

… Reminick.

~~~

Kusterer …

One of my favorite people in the world, and a musical personality of equal depth, meets multiple selves.

… Schumann

Schumann …

Multiple selves de-completes next to the master of oratory.

… Ingram

Ingram …

Epic narrative – master narrator.

… Rea

Rea …

Master narrator – fragmented expression.

… Harman

Harman …

After something: A reawakening off the beaten track.

… Frühling

Frühling …

A breath of familiar, unknown life cedes to a voice familiar yet constantly reinvented.

… Cage.

~~~

Cheung …

New life for Schumann; New Schumann for life.

… Gandini

Gandini …

Quiet and still; activity and quickness.

… Jones

Jones …

Tick-tock; hold your horsies.

… Flynn

Flynn …

Chordal ambiguity created through insistent clarity; little characters.

… Wurtz

Wurtz …

Clean, well-balanced statements; a deep heart.

… Huydts

~~~

Gotlib …

Animals moan and lurk behind my flatted notes; One note is just enough for something.

… Grant

Grant …

What a fun little goof! What a goofy little fun!

… Rodriguez

Rodriguez …

Whistles are loud as hell… be careful; Shimmering texture.

… Donofrio

Donofrio …

Very chamber-y chamber music; Delicate and tricky.

… Epstein

Epstein …

Gorgeous at every single moment; Gorgeous at every single moment.

… Krauss

Krauss …

Not sure whether it is bright or dark; A meditation that hits just a little too close to home.

… Carr

Carr …

Brings me to the start of an undying friendship in Montreal; Counting is a form of entertainment.

… Pelz.

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Giving up Facebook, restarting regular blog entries.

Please refer to the title for the overall message.
Why?

 

Will tell in time.

 

In the meantime. Look at all the people who will “miss me.”

To contact me, you may reach me at www.MyNameIsAndyCostello.com, contact form.
Or, www.mf-cp.org, contact form.

 

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MASQUERADE BALL

Program notes for 2/15/2015, at Pianoforte Studio, Chicago

This program, Masquerade Ball, lives in the moment.  There is transience in each moment, as Jimmie Leblanc’s work suggests, we are perched on “the threshold of the moment.” (…au seuil de l’instant…) There is little stasis, so change becomes the constant. Each moment is fleeting and each new one is becoming, and this is where we rest.

Schumann, the master of miniature musical statements, or “character pieces” as it is typically called, leads us through a maximalist adventure of musical material in the relatively short amount of time of a single piano recital. Like a masquerade ball, we are introduced abruptly to different characters, only to be supplanted by the next, as if mingling at a party.  And each character does not request invitation, rather they storm the scene, unaware to what came before, and what will follow.

The first half begins not with Schuman himself, but contemporary retellings of his work.  In this program, we are presented with the masks of others – Schumann’s figure redressed to give a new impression.  In both Jimmie Leblanc’s …au seuil de l’instant… and John Rea’s Las Meninas, there is heavy use of musical material previously written by someone else, including Debussy, Wagner, Webern, Schubert and Schumann himself, to name a few.  Schumann’s musical material swirls around us in a contemporary landscape, playing tricks on our musical memory for what we are to hear in the second half.

And the second half takes the shape of the first (perhaps memory is a form of premonition).  …au seuil de l’instant… is inspired by Intermezzi, Op. 4, and Las Meninas corresponds to Kinderszenen, Op. 15.  In a sense, the masked faces are revealed, to reveal the equally anomalous and ungraspable masked characters of Robert Schumann’s own creation.

My sincerest thanks to New Music School, PianoForte Foundation, composers Jimmie Leblanc and John Rea, the Conseil des arts et des Lettres du Quebec, and to you, the audience, without which there would be no concert.

-AC

PROGRAM

JOHN REA (b. 1944): Las Meninas (extraits)

JIMMIE LEBLANC (b. 1977): …au seuil de l’instant…

<Intermission>

ROBERT SCHUMANN: Intermezzi, Op. 4

R. SCHUMANN : Kinderszenen, Op. 15

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AIC 3-17

Crossed out
Crossed eyes
Sideways glance
Crooked nose
Acidic mouth
Terrific breath
Deep tissue
Breathing deep
Spinning emptiness
Sleepless crave
Crave-less sleep
Tinniness
Ringing silence
Eating silence
Regurgitating
Acting
Floating
Acting
Acting
Acting.

Stopping stopping
Nothing then nothing
Longer than length
Then stepping
Then falling
Then weeping and weeping and weeping,
With a smile, With a Heart, Nothing but Heart,
Tattooed reality, Taboo, a Glance, a Look, a Deep deep Deep deep Stare, Stare, Hard, Tight, Long, and Deep, crying, loving, then a Glance, then Nothing, Nothing, nothing, nothing…

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Pi Things from a Pianist

The DSM is spectral. Schumann has brought me closer to my own multiple selves, yet I am not bipolar. Most things are on a spectrum, rather than a clearly delineated order of labels.  In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that absolutely everything is on a spectrum.

The difference between contemporary and standard rep pianists…. is large, and impenetrable and tangible and unknowable.  Watching Brendel or Horowitz is like watching the proverbial greener grass shimmer on the other side.  And watching a contemporary pianist is like watching a beautiful, wounded animal slowly drown.  They both have appeal – they both are profoundly flawed.

Repertoire Pressures.  I would like to say that I feel an equal amount of pressure from standard repertoire as I do from contemporary music.  I feel that stupid pressure to have in my immediate repertoire at all times what resembles an undergraduate audition: a Mozart or Beethoven full sonata, a Romantic work of Chopin, Rachmaninoff, or Liszt. Similarly, in the contemporary world, I feel a constant, external push to play something German, heavy, and virtuosic, or at the very least, mysterious in its evident musicality.  Mysterious in its evident musicality? Did I really just say that? Yep.

Happy Pi Day! It’s p

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Flying

Phrases complètes
se souvent
regardent
au sein
de    la
sienne.

Quelques-unes
inachevées
ne se re-
gardent
qu’à l’
instant
où il
ne

reste

plus

d’au
de
là,
lulà
lálu

lùlálálù

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Ucolorful beauty in its un-color.

U color
Cradle.
Uncover
Saddle
Anger
and mist
uncover
only this.
Careful
seeing
Flesh
Lifeless
Comfort Affords

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MASQUES DE SCHUMANN

Program note for MASQUES DE SCHUMANN, 4 Dec 2014, Montreal

I am so thrilled to present this programme.  Robert Schumann is a deeply meaningful composer to my development as a musician, and to embody the contemporary re-embodiments of his work enriches my continued musical growth.  In this programme, “Masques de Schumann,” there are masks abound, such as they are in the written word and notated music of Schumann’s oeuvre.  Schumann’s narrative language features, both literally and figuratively, both musically and poeta-musically, the scene of a masquerade ball, where identity parades past in grand number as nothing more than brief vignette.

Of the 5 works on the programme, the audience is offered a grand total of 55 individual sections of music, clearly marked as individual character pieces in each score, yet linked and ultimately presented as a larger whole.  Have you ever been introduced to 55 different people within an hour and a half?  What kind of message could a population of that size deliver?  It’s hard to say.  But I hope, with the help of Schumannian magic, that the program will hold together with unity among variety.

In preparing such a project, I feel closer to the dynamic, multi-faceted inspiration of Schumann.  I deeply admire his poetic immediacy in projecting characters in rapid fire.  Multiplicity and ephemeral emotional states becomes the norm in such a diverse group of music.  And, for the world premiere of Jimmie Leblanc’s …au seuil de l’instant…, excerpts from John Rea’s Las Meninas, and Chris Paul Harman’s After Schumann, we further complicate the masquerade scene with contemporary takes on Schumann.  The final complication is me, the performer, who will yet again re-interpret and re-construct.  As the interpreter of this marvelous poetry, I feel that this burden has brought me closer to Schumann and his influence on living colleagues and friends, and ultimately, closer to myself and the multiple selves of my own creation, and the projection of those onto others.

Many thanks to the Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur for inviting me, to Jimmie Leblanc for his brilliant new work …au seuil de l’instant…, to Chris Paul Harman and John Rea for letting me perform their wonderful music, and to Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for the generous support.  And of course, thanks to the city of Montréal, which will always have a special place in my heart.

-AC

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SM SURREALI : Thought

Surrealism is a multifaceted and rich word.  Time changes words and the meanings of them, and the use of these two here as the show’s title is moving towards new meaning yet again, to something different than its inauguration nearly 100 years ago on another continent.

Can as a verb is about ability, capability, possibility. It is arguably the most liberating verb in our language.  Both meanings are meant here – the nothingness of its objective manifestation onstage, and the liberation of performative action, unrestricted by time and place.

Surrealism as an art movement, has been canned. That is, stored and conserved, but also colloquially speaking, ended abruptly. My performance, and its title, attempts to work from this premise.

…And at the same time, the title is a product of my dreaming subconscience…

Thank you so much for your thoughtful words on my work, Brian Schuth at the Boston Musical Intelligencer.

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ISM SURREAL : Flying

In 20 hours, I plan to be in the air between two places.

(This was written to promote Surrealism, Canned, my Fifth Floor Collective Carte Blanche showing on Tuesday, November 11th, 2014, 7pm at the Community Music Center in Boston, MA.  All information is available here.)

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