…the good people at the New Voices @ CUA music festival are performing an odd chamber piece composed by my brother Eric, called Dr. Milliner’s Marvellous Musical Flying Machine. It’s a song cycle, sort of, and the words are an oddment of nursery rhymes that I wrote myself.
This was an absurdly fun and somewhat silly collaboration between the two of us, just over a year ago now, and I’m delighted that it was selected for the festival, and that folks in Washington DC, even as I’m writing this, being surprised by the rather odd thing we concocted.
Look, here it is on the programme, as per another collaboration between tumblr and an iPhone:
Unlike my iPhone wielding brother (it’s a Jedi tech trick) I’m not in DC, and I’m not able to heckle attend my words being performed. And in all likelihood, neither are you. (And if you are, turn off your phone and watch the stage, please. Something is going to Happen.) Continue reading
Let’s close the week going back to the little word said.
We normally encourage the use of said, and celebrate it, for its bland inoffensiveness,. It is invaluable in good dialogue precisely because of its insouciant transparency. Yet this doesn’t mean its in any way a “weak” verb, to be sneered at and avoided. It describes, simply and lucidly, the act of speech itself—the whole complexity of human utterance contained within
a single syllable. Do not underestimate said—it is a verb of great vigour and power.
Here’s a song that demonstrates remarkably well that said is anything but a colourless verb. Put in this setting, like the most limpid diamond, if flashes with startling force. The simple phrases ‘she said’ and ‘I said’ aren’t simple at all in this context—still less flattening and redundant. Seen like this, said is art.
This may be of interest to some or all of you: as of now, They Might Be Giants mp3 album downloads are just $4.99 (USD), for twenty-four hours. Actually probably more like nineteen hours, looking at the clock. But if you go right away to download Nanobots or Severe Tire Damage or whatever, you shouldn’t have a problem.
Also, in case you missed it, over at Unsettling Wonder I wrote an article wondering what good are fairy tales?
We’ve had a good week for bad news. And now the news has gone mad, and the world with it.
Or else it’s vice versa. I give up. We’re living in Topsyturvydom, that’s all I know. Who was it said that no matter who you vote for, the government always gets in?
It’s days and weeks like this when I recommend turning up the speakers and playing anything you can find by the immortal George Harrison. So I’ll lead you into the weekend—and, I sincerely hope, a much better week for all and sundry—with this: his last song from his last live performance, his benediction for this troubled material world.
The darkness only stays at night time. Shabbat Shalom.
Update: I swapped out the original video for one with much worse picture and bad syncing–but this one is the whole song, and well worth the quirks. If you have 45 minutes, you can watch the whole VH1 memorial special, with a pretty long interview and a couple more songs, here.
In a few moments, a gaggle of musicians will perform the world premiere of
Doctor Milliner’s Marvellous Musical Flying Machine
being a Contraption of Songs and Games for a Jollification of Sad Musicians.
Including those crowd favourites “Danny-o”, “Sally Maiden”, “Cromarty Cross”, and more! Now just hold tight, and keep your eye on the mechanical euphonuim device…
This is a vocal piece composed by Eric, sibling of this blog, setting assorted nursery rhymes by myself. I’m ridiculously proud of it, and still rather incredulous that it’s happened; we’ve created this from a mad idea to performance/recording in a matter of months.
So if you’re in the area, rush to the recital hall of University North Carolina Greensboro by 7.30pm EST. Which is pretty soon, I think. The performers include:
Joann Martinson, Soprano
Lauren Eastman, Violin
Steve Landis, Double Bass
Hunter Bockes, Alto Saxophone
Thomas Weaver, Percussion
Julia Byrd, Piano
Eric Pazdziora, Conductor
The Audience, Party Noisemakers
And here is a picture of a man in a hat: