Daniel Goode

Composer & Performer

Beauty, a Thumb-nail Review

I’m more convinced than ever, and long before today’s text from NASA (below), that we are hard-wired for finding beauty “in nature,” including, of course, the cosmos. Repeating patterns and symmetries bent by the complex processes of “nature” (including ours) is what we see all the time, even when we are just seeing our own retina. It just keeps happening. Of course it’s not the only kind of beauty we find, but it’s a start. And it’s as true of sound as it is of sight. Morton Feldman’s title, “Crippled Symmetries” puts an odd spin on it, but that piece and others of his testifies to the connection I’m making. Once, looking down from an airline on snow patterns scattered on a rectangular grid of Mid-Western farmland, I thought of the term: “collage of processes” to describe what I was seeing. That’s also a way of describing some kinds of composing. (Fractals is another part of what we see and hear. Let’s leave them for another time.)

“Explanation: Beautiful emission nebula NGC 6164 was created by a rare, hot, luminous O-type star, some 40 times as massive as the Sun. Seen at the center of the cosmic cloud, the star is a mere 3 to 4 million years old. In another three to four million years the massive star will end its life in a supernova explosion. Spanning around 4 light-years, the nebula itself has a bipolar symmetry. That makes it similar in appearance to more common and familiar planetary nebulae – the gaseous shrouds surrounding dying sun-like stars. Also like many planetary nebulae, NGC 6164 has been found to have an extensive, faint halo, revealed in this deep telescopic image of the region. Expanding into the surrounding interstellar medium, the material in the halo is likely from an earlier active phase of the O star. The gorgeous skyscape is a composite of extensive narrow-band image data…” [My emphases.]
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ for May 22nd, 2014.

The passage from NASA goes on to talk about “glowing atomic hydrogen gas in red and oxygen in blue hues” Glowing red and blue hues is an invitation to beauty.

Thumb-nail Review #38

Thumb-nail Review of “Orfeo” by Richard Powers

It’s about us! Well, us, meaning us male composers of a certain vintage and background. Some of “us” may actually be in the Richard Powers 2014 novel, “Orfeo,” disguised of course. The Champagne-Urbana music faculty of around 1960-something is named with their real names. The teacher and acidic mentor of the now 70 year-old fictional composer-hero, Peter Els who in his youth went to the University of Illinois, might have been Sal Martirano. Or, not. My mentor, later of UCSD where I met him, Gaburo, is named. So is Tenney. The fictional composer is also a clarinetist. There’s an alto who…. It’s a novel about music, composition, performance and ideas, woven together in a manner both gripping and moving. I found it a page-turner. But then again, I’m one of the “us.” There are no women composers in the novel.

Descriptions of actual campus events of those times: a Cage Music Circus, and his HPSCHD are riveting—from the characters’ ears and eyes, but also by someone who had really been there. The author calls Cage “the Imp Saint.” Powers’s language chosen for these absorbing descriptions of both real and imagined music is worth studying: he manages to weave “technical terms” we know from music theory into overlapping poetics. There’s redundancy so if you don’t know the music terms, you’ve got plenty of other language to hold onto. The two together work synergistically in an admirable way: music critics take note! And writers on the arts: how he creates both musical and plot momentum during many pages devoted to a single piece. What about style and history? Well disguised. Peter, the fictional composer, starts as an interesting eccentric, and eclectic. Minimalism comes on the scene in the middle of his career. It’s really the only style mentioned by name. It makes its case, has an influence… Opera enters his life… A manic theater director. Success…failure.

Harry Partch’s hobo experiences and music form a parallel track to the fictional composer-hero’s last adventure of the novel. He also owns some “cloud chambers” like Partch’s instrument. There’s a futuristic turn to a kind of composing with DNA. The theme of a sometimes tormented composer is a flash on Adrian Leverkuhn, the composer in Thomas Mann’s novel. Each, something of a solipsist. Each involved in a spiritual search, but quite an imperfect one.

Novels about composers have got to be within number of fingers on one hand. There’s “Jean-Christoph by Romain Rolland which I’ve never read. There’s Mann’s “Dr. Faustus” (re: Schoenberg, serialism and the devil), and there’s Herman Hesse’s “The Glass Bead Game” (which has music as moves in a multi-dimensional board game of the elite). That’s probably it for classical music. Proust, and ETA Hoffmann wrote about music in fiction. If we move to film, there are, of course, the entertaining composer films of Ken Russell. Composer-novels may be a strange genre. But not to me. It feels quite natural…of course.

(I did find it a little spooky that such a good novelist seems to know our world from the inside. Was he “spying” on us? Or was he one of us, once, not so long ago?)

Thumb-nail Review #37

Chou Wen-Chung in His 91st Year, at Merkin Concert Hall Last Night

February 21, 2014 10:16:31 PM EST

With only three pieces on the program it wasn’t exactly a Retrospective. Nor was it a Recital (as in ‘here’s what I do’). Better than either of these, it was an Event!

Student of Varése after he arrived from China in 1946; his copyist and editor, he completed Varése’s Nocturnal, orchestrated his Etude Pour Espace—Chou is also his literary executor and lives with his wife, Yi-an, in Varése’s house on Sullivan Street in the Village along with some of Varése s cherished instruments. And as you might expect, he was influenced by Varése’s aesthetic. But with a new self-imposed task: to make a personal synthesis of “East and West.”

Cursive for flute and piano was beautifully played by Jayn Rosenfeld (flute) and Christopher Oldfather (pianist, with coloristic inside plucks, et al). Cursive hand-writing which is no longer taught or readable by young people, was Chou’s bridge to the calligraphies of Asia. I resolved then and there to practice my own cursive which is now deficient from over-use of the computer. The piece was quite atonal on first listen.

Twilight Colors for a luscious sextet of three winds and three strings, was the first piece on the program, played vividly by Boston Musica Viva, and conducted by Richard Pittman. Right away I felt a difference in the role of rhythm. A dotted rhythm, a triplet was not a Western “authority figure” driving the music motivically. Rather, it was more like a loving receptacle of a sound, of a tone, of several tones. There was room for a breath of contemplation, time slowed down. Different from Cage’s ‘let the sounds be themselves,’ but equal in setting itself apart from the European grammar of connection. 

Echoes from the Gorge was the last piece on the program, played brilliantly by the percussion quartet,Talujon, on a large array of quite standard Western percussion instruments. A glorious noise piece in many movements. Often in the silence between movements the wooden chimes, charmingly, had a few more soft sounds left to say. I was thinking while listening: all these instruments, didn’t they come from “the East?” I watched one player repeatedly strike the giant tam-tam near its rim with three small-headed mallets, eliciting nothing but high piercing frequencies, not the low bonging we expect from a big gong. Just then there was a huge noisy climax of “ear-cleaning” zinging tutti tremolos. 

Since color was a theme of the concert, I must report that all but two of the players wore the standard ho-hum uniform of black. Only Jayn Rosenfeld in a pale purple blouse, and Christopher Oldfather in a mauve shirt, begged to differ. 

It was a small, but loving audience. Chou Wen-chung came up on stage to receive the applause and a bouquet. Small, dapper, charming, with a full head of grey-flecked hair—when I introduced myself later, he graciously thanked me for coming to the concert. 

Thumb-nail Review #36

Annbling: New Release by Daniel Goode on New World Records

Please visit New World Records’ website for further details (Click Here). The following text is from New World Records’ Album Details section and should be referenced accordingly.

Annbling Cover

 

The Flexible Orchestra:Jen Baker, Monique Buzzarte, Tim Sessions, Keith Green, William Lang, Daniel Linden, Christopher McIntyre, Johannes Pfannkuch, Sebastian Vera, Deborah Weisz, trombones; Carlos Cordeiro, J.D. Parran, clarinets; Stephanie Griffin, viola; Ken Filiano, contrabass; Marijo Newman, piano; Laura Liben, percussion; Chris Nappi, percussion/marimba; Tara Simoncic, conductor;

Daniel Goode, clarinet; Douglas Martin, piano; Michael Finckel, Pitnarry Shin, Alexandra MacKenzie, cellos; Joseph Kubera, Sarah Cahill, pianos

Daniel Goode (b. 1936) is a fan of (in his own words) “minimalist thinking and process thinking,” the “long form,” and “the trance effect that repetition brings about.” Comprising solo, chamber, and orchestral works, these four pieces span his career as a composer. The earliest, the Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (1959-60), reflects his early interests and influences. Using the harmonically enhanced vocabulary of neoclassicism, the Sonata is a fast-slow-fast, three-movement tour-de-force similar in many ways to “the neoclassic sweetness and pizzazz” of Poulenc’s three-movement clarinet sonata composed two years later.

Mr. Goode later learned circular breathing and developed his own approach to minimalism and “process music.” Goode’s Circular Thoughts (1974) for solo clarinet is among the earliest minimalist scores to be published by a major publisher (Theodore Presser Co.). This twenty-minute guided improvisation is also a process piece with specific scales and suggestions about tempo, articulations, timbre, and dynamics. Representing both the ideas of gradual process and resultant patterns commonly associated with the music of Steve Reich, Circular Thoughts highlights the trance-like quality of relentlessly repeating melodic patterns and cyclic ostinatos.

Ländler Land (1999–2000) is subtitled “a waltz for concert performance and dancing for three cellos and two pianos.” Goode started Ländler Land while living briefly in Vienna, and it was influenced by a 1993 film called Latcho Drom about the music of the Roma people. Annbling (2006, rev. 2007), was composed for the Flexible Orchestra, a new concept in orchestral sound designed by Mr. Goode in 2004. Annbling is a trombone-dominated contemplation of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, a Sundanese pop song, and the tragedy of post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. The piece opens with a re-orchestrated quotation from the beginning of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony, and ends with a long, sensuous rendition of a West Javanese popular song, “Tonggeret,” which Mr. Goode found on a commercial cassette of dance music while in Java in 1996.

Film Ventriloquizes Itself Into Opera

From: Daniel Goode
Date: January 3, 2014 12:39:54 PM EST
To: Jennie Punter
Subject: Film ventriloquizes itself into opera

Today’s epic films with ear-flattening immersive soundtracks (like Lord of the Rings with its odious prize-winning score by Howard Shore) practically force its music into the voices of its characters, giving us the impression of opera, while replacing that medium with the newer, more flexible, more accessible, cheaper medium of film. No one is the wiser, except the poor opera company, opera composer, and their donors and subsidizers. Film has stolen their show.

But opera has not completely slept through this development: The Metropolitan Opera has filmed many of its productions in HD, and now, worldwide wherever there are movie theaters, you can once again hear and see opera at reasonable prices. Still, film is the master medium, live theater, the loser.

I’ve seen two HD filmed operas this season, both wonderful experiences: Shostakovich’s The Nose, and Verdi’s Falstaff. William Kentridge’s visual and directorial masterpiece of the former was one of the most fabulous theatrical things I’ve seen in years. And Falstaff, while not an avant-garde production, was entrancing. Verdi’s last opera is his own quick-cut version of his earlier lyric style. So easy and fresh sounding, you wonder how he does it. Magic!

I have one dark suspicion, however, about this whole HD enterprise. I think that in the final mix, the orchestra is mixed lower in volume than you would hear it in the opera house. Shostakovich’s spiky, acerbic dissonances within his stripped-down modernist orchestration weren’t as present as I would have liked. The camera’s close-ups seduce us into concentrating on the visual—and for the singers: they are more exposed as actors. There is so much to see. Yet I strained my ears during the famous fugue finale in Falstaff, trying hear if it was a “real” fugue or just fugue-like. Not that it matters. But the orchestra as equal is a treasure I refuse to give up. So, reformers of opera if you are still out there, there isl plenty to do.

Thumbnail review.

Just Another Thumbnail Review – Mahler’s 7th

From: Daniel Goode
Date: December 22, 2013 8:56:31 PM EST
To: Jennie Punter
Subject: Just another Thumbnail review-Mahler’s 7th

Looking down from my magnificent box seat (thank you, cousin Martin), straight ahead at the Met Orchestra under James Levine in Carnegie Hall this afternoon playing the 80-minute Mahler Seventh Symphony—I saw so many bald and grey heads, and hardly a youngin’. Could it be the prices (my seat was $142)? Could it be ignorance? Or all of the above. This orchestra is wonderful. The playing was thrilling, oh I wanted a slower beginning, but so what, it was gorgeous, warm, brilliantly together. Why wouldn’t the younger generations be thrilled at the sound, the drama, the pazazz of this invention of European origins with so many hundreds of versions throughout the world? Tell me! before I cry in despair.

Brought up on the “Three B’s” (Wagner substituted Bruckner for Brahms, the dumbkoff), I never heard a note of Mahler until I was in my 20s. I still try to understand why it worms its way into me.

It’s something about the statement and the commentary being almost simultaneous because the orchestra is such a fabulous monster, so big, so various, it can do both at the same time. So a “one-liner” which is where Mahler starts, becomes in a few seconds, a multi-liner, and your breath is taken away. (This ignores the accumulations of form, the travel, the experience of being on a journey…just as important.)  But it starts with the phenomenon that feeling is transmitted when he tells you why this theme, this chordal passage, this rhythm turns him on: by making the orchestra say it in many varied voices, right from square one—to the very end. It’s anti-classical in that sense. The classics just lay it out, and let you take it or leave it.

Mahler is not of that ilk. He can’t let you go home without telling you, showing you, why you should be moved by this scrap, or that, this odd piece of tune, chorale of chords, this walking or marching or dancing rhythm. Then he connects the dots and you have a symphony. It works.

Hats off to the Met Orchestra for bringing this out.

Thumbnail review.

PLAY A BUILDING IN F – IN SOHO!

December 21st, Saturday, 2 PM, Meet in the park at Spring Street and 6th Avenue. Event lasts less than an hour.

Please join me for the 2nd annual Make Music New York Winter Solstice participative performance of “Soho Gamelan Walk.”

This year we will play a Building in F. We will hand drum on the outside hollow cast-iron façade of a building that is in the “key of F.” So, bring an instrument with which you can improvise in F-major. Or use your voice. (Musicians: there is also a prominent B-natural in this chord of F)

Here’s a picture of it:

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

David Krakauer and Daniel Goode after their concert at Roulette – October 27th, 2013

These are some photos from our concert on October 27th, 2013. It was a great concert.

David Krakauer, and Daniel Goode, clarinet soloists with the Flexible Orchestra Roulette Oct.27th.

David Krakauer&Daniel Goode@Roulette10_13

Flexible Orchestra 2013 at Roulette
Flexible Orchestra@Roulette10_13

Flexible Orchestra 2013: October 27th, Sunday 5PM

Fex Orc 10-28-13

Daniel Goode Featured on Make Music New York Blog!

Check out this feature of Daniel Goode on MMNY.

Click here to go to MMNY

http://makemusicny.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/soho-garden-walk.jpg

“Composer Daniel Goode will lead participants, aided by a neighborhood map and suggested drumming rhythms, through a portion of Soho’s cast iron district. Using their hands, the group will drum on the hollow cast iron fronts of the “best” buildings. The piece ends when a select number of buildings have been turned into musical instruments.” MMNY Winter Feature!

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