Madison Monday

A lot better day than yesterday, overall. I started by reading up on Rachel Barton Pine. There’s a big piece here that will tell you more detail about her accident than you want to read.  It’s inspiring though too. She’s not a plaster saint, for sure. But I admire her focus. Either there’s never been anything I wanted badly enough to spend 8 hours a day on it, or too many things I wanted to spend 8 hours on any one of them. I saw that she Twittered from here during intermission.

Brekkie with Barbara Weiss ,talking about chickens and occupational therapy.

Bob had a reed for me, but recommended that he rework the intonation on the entire horn…so he’ll be taking it back with him. I played it half the class, and also played Laura’s Praetorius.

Sackbut class was prep for tonight’s performance, and went smoothly. Went to Ross’ intonation lecture afterwards, which was good. One part that particularly amused me concerned a keyboard piece by Michelangelo Rossi. He’s not a household name, even among early music people, but if Gesualdo is ripe Italian mannerism, Rossi is what happens when it goes overripe. Ross was playing recordings of this intensely chromatic passage in different temperaments, and while some did better project whatever vestigal tonality there was, I found myself considering the old adage, “You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit.” Think Max Reger, but with fewer underpinnings of functional harmony.

Hardly played at all in loud band except for some dulcian work at the end, as they were doing the 5-part Gabrieli Canzona Prima, and there was only one upper part. Bob got into (per Joan, over-into) a discussion of dactyls and the canzona, and started writing in ancient Greek on the blackboard. Show-Off!  All-Festival rehearsal was smooth, but sackbut intonation was not jelling. I got disgusted about over-priced and under-quantitied food, so dinner was a $5 Footlong at Subway. Besided, what better way to thumb one’s nose at the pretensions of Madison foodies?

Tonight was the sackbut class performance at the Observatory, which is being restored (this year’s theme is astronomical). When the 15.5″ refracting telescope was built in 1881, it was the 3rd largest in the country, and a half inch larger than Harvard’s. We were to play as entertainment while people waited their turn to go in (as it will only hold a dozen or so). Considering we were using stand-lights, had not rehearsed much, and were in air jam-packed with mosquitoes and gnats, we did tolerably well. I secreted my mini-disc in the bushes…I’ll have to see how it turned out.

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