We're scoring the poem O sadness over rage O rage over sadness by K. Curtis Lyle, and we have been rummaging for music in the key of Black Indian Cowboy Silent Western -- however you want to multiply construe any of those concepts.
Now comes along one Mike Burgett multiply construing concepts, with two blips of music for our consideration. Hours more like it from Mike, as I well know.
* I have given these songs provisional new titles taken verbatim from Curtis' poem. That is one of the ways to score a line of poem in a poetry score, to bestow it as a title onto an instrumental. Who knows how, where or if these pieces will actually find their way into the completed piece.
Good old 2010, a year that is justly maligned by so many, was really good for me. One of the good things that happened was my car stereo CD player gave out again. At approximately the same time, my car stereo cassette player kicked back in again, and I was suddenly thrown back upon the resources of my cassette collection.
This got me back into the groove of my college rock band cassette collection, the early recordings of the campus bands at Wash. U. in the later 1980s that I looked up to (really, idolized). I expect for this getting back into the groove with my campus band idols experience to be Bootblogged in extensive detail once I come up with the right way to go from old cassette to new media with a rich sound.
For now I have snagged very rough digital transfers of a few instrumental nuggets. The "digital transfer" process was homely indeed. I blasted the cassette from either my car stereo in the car, or my jambox in the bathroom, and recorded the "room" sound with a handheld reporter's gizmo that converts readily to a mono WAV sound file.
I grabbed rough snapshots of these three tracks because I thought they might find a new home in our score to the poem O sadness over rage O rage over sadness by K. Curtis Lyle. We have been asking after and looking for music in the key of Black Indian Cowboy Silent Western, multiply construed.
The only and one K. Curtis Lyle has been scoring his own poetry pretty much exactly as long as I have been alive on Earth, so by inviting him to coproduce the score I knew I was contending with a mature and strong point of view for how to do such things. I have my work cut out for me, but I'll enjoy trying to convince Curtis that some of the lost college rock bands of my youth has a home in his poetry.
* Just for fun, I have given these songs provisional new titles taken verbatim from Curtis' poem. That is one of the ways to score a line of poem in a score, to bestow it as a title onto an instrumental.
While I think these make apt titles, who knows how, where or if these pieces will actually find their way into the completed score. They are all also candidates for sung text, for attaching some words from the poem as a lyric to sing.
Interestingly, I am in touch with the principal musicians from The Skinnies and Butt of Jokes (they even overlap on one guy, my cowriter and coproducer Matt Fuller). There is the chance I could write melodies to any of these and then get the original songwriter to record the new vocal over his old track!
Drawing of the dashboard of my car by Leyla Fern King and me.
The actor in this fragment of a scene, Paul Casey, does not use email or social media or the internet or metal utensils - it's just hunt, with blunt objects, and then gather, with bare hand, for Casey.
So posting this video here on the blog where I can find it is pretty much the only foolproof way I know to make sure I can find it the next time I am at a public house with Casey and one of these 21st century characters with the internet on their phones who can dial it up for him.
This is footage we shot for our movie Go South for Animal Index. This is only some of the footage we shot from this scene, and only taken from one of the three cameras on the shoot. (Not sure whose, but Laurent Torno III, V "Elly" Smith, Dawn Majors and Murphy Mark Shaw all shot that day.)
Lead editor Aaron AuBuchon slapped the edit together over some music from the score, just to shut up people like me who have been clamoring to see some footage.
We are divided, intenally, over the wisdom of showing rough cuts of raw footage like this, but Casey has been buttonholing me at public houses saying there is video of him "all over the internet"; and I feel it is incumbent upon me to document said footage in such a way that Casey, himself, the Luddite, might see it.
The next show at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts is Dreamscapes. I pointed this out to my friends and asked to see their work in whatever media that deals with dreams.
I figured I would hear back from my friend Andrew Torch - he is a card-carrying member of the International Surrealist Group that traces lineage back to Breton; he almost only paints from dreams - and sure enough, Andy posted this image to me.
"'Good Whiskey Blues' was based on a dream..." Andy wrote.
"[Expletive] great!" I responded. "Want to write about the dream too?"
"I generally let my artwork speak for me," Andy wrote back. "This was a series of dreams over about a one year period, the trail of sheet-music actually morphed several times in various dreams from a large fabric and paper Chinese dragon (where about 6 people hold it up with poles and zig-zag it through a parade) to sheet-music and then back to a dragon..."
He added: "the Chinese-dragon version of this painting is scheduled to get painted some time this year."
Dreamscapes, organized by Francesca Herndon-Consagra, senior curator at the Pulitzer, opens with a public reception on Friday, February 11 from 5–9 p.m. and is open through August 13. The Pulitzer (3716 Washington Blvd.) is open and free to the public Wednesdays 12–5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On this one, we started with the idea for a movie: we want to make a silent Western. So, we needed to find a poem that would yield a score that would yield an Indian and Cowboy picture, so I asked K. Curtis Lyle , our resident Black Indian Cowboy.
I put out a call for source recordings to consider for the score, and my buddy from northern Italy Andrea Van Cleef coughed up some new authentic Spaghetti Western guitar workouts.
Then I heard from the composer Barbara Harbach. Got to love a composer who responds as fast as the scruffy rockers of northern Italy!
Here is an mp3 of the first movement from my Freedom Suite for String Orchestra, "I. Harriet Scott – A Strong Woman". It has a mid-19th century sound that has folk-like melodies that might fit your cowboy theme. It will be recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra in March. The other two movements might work also. No problem if it does not fit…
Barbara is unique.
I begged the other two movements from her as well, with permission to post them up. So here they are. These are Barbara's compositions on the computer software she uses; just imagine what the orchestral versions will sound like when we get to hear them!
Freedom Suite for String Quintet
By Barbara Harbach
Freedom Suite for String Quintet
By Barbara Harbach
Harbach wrote Freedom Suite for String Quintet in the summer of 2010, inspired by the life of Harriet Scott, her husband Dred Scott and their two daughters, Eliza and Lizzie. The premiere will be January 17, 2011 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, University of Missouri-St. Louis at 10 a.m.
"I. Harriet Scott – A Strong Woman" is inspired by Harriet’s memories as a child in Minnesota and St. Louis. She would have heard spirituals and dance music as an adult, and they, hopefully, would have reminded her of the good memories she had as a child and a young woman.
A brief introduction ushers in "The Good Lord is Comin’ for Me," a new spiritual based on the traditions of the 18th and 19th century American spirituals. Dance reels follow, in imitation of the Virginia Reels that were popular in the 19th century and in St. Louis. The poignant spiritual "Don’t You Weep When I’m Gone," composed by Harry (Henry) Thacker Burleigh (1866-1949), has the melody in the cello that so wonderfully portrays the rich somberness of Burleigh’s melody. The dance tunes and "The Good Lord is Comin’ for Me" return and rush exuberantly toward the close.
When I’m gone, gone, when I’m gone, gone, gone, O mother; don’t you weep when I am gone. For I’m goin’ to heav’n above, Going to the God of Love, O mother, don’t you weep when I am gone. When I’m gone, gone, When I’m gone, gone, gone. O mother, don’t you weep when I am gone. O, mother meet me there, mother, meet me in de air, O mother don’t you weep when I am gone. When I’m gone, gone, When I’m gone, gone, gone. O Mother, don’t you weep when I am gone.
"II. Eliza and Lizzie – Let My People Go!"
The second movement is based on two spirituals – "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" and "Go Down, Moses". The movement opens with seemingly random pitches in long notes, but is built on the circle-of-fifths utilizing the notes in the chromatic scale. The first section features "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" in G Minor with a triple canon among the two violins and viola. An interlude of the opening material then precedes a combination of the two melodies in F-sharp Minor although the melody "Go Down, Moses" predominates. The final section combines as well as alternates between the two melodies.
"III. Freedom" opens with a rising and ecstatic fanfare. A joyous four-voice fugue begins. Even amid the celebration of freedom is the ache of memories from the past – "Many Thousands Gone" – a new melody inspired by the words of the 19th century spiritual of the same name. The fugue melody is then combined with "Many Thousands Gone". With each return of the fanfare, excitement builds …but always touched by the memories of the many that have gone … until the feeling of freedom is wholly embraced.
Freedom Suite for String Quintet is published and copyrighted by Barbara Harbach with Vivace Press, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 2010.
Poetry Scores received this enchanting letter in the mail today, the actual physical mail, from one Walter Bargen.
December 22, 2010:
Dear Poetry Scores:
I just finished listening to David Clewell's Jack Ruby's America for the second time. It's a wonderful and moving work by both the poet and musicians. As I sat back in my chair to savor the experience, the idea came to mind that you might be interested in continuing the project, that is, of recording Missouri Poet Laureates (I'm the first one). I thought what work of mine might fit with the structure found on Jack Ruby's America CD, and the prose poem sequence, Belly of the Beast, in the book The Feast came to mind. The Feast won the William Rockhill Nelson Award in 2005 and Belly of the Beast won the Quarter After Eight Prize in 1996.
Belly of the Beast is a retelling of the Jonah and fish story in the Old Testament but this Jonah is a modern day character who is standing in a cashier's line at Wal-Mart with a plastic bag filled with water and fish or sitting at an office desk, all the while contemplating "where the ribs curve up into studded stars, sparkling with the remnants of the last backwash of cosmic debris, up the many rickety ladders, frayed ropes and tow-rope-thick varicose veins, along greasy precipitous ledges, that all led to his bone-roofed hermitage." I call the form of Belly of the Beast a povella (A word that I coined.), which is a series of prose poems that have a luminal narrative thrust that may focus on a character, an image, an experience, or something else. In this sequence, Jonah flounders upon Jessabelle, his future wife, on a North Miami nude beach when he is expelled from his fish. Jonah and Jessabelle are characters in six of the eight povellas found in The Feast.
If you're not familiar with the prose poem, it reads with all the rhythm and music of a versed poem. Charles Baudelaire describes the intention of the prose poem in the following way:
Which of us, in his ambitious moments, has not dreamed of the miracle of a poetic prose -- musical, but without (conventional) rhythm and rhyme, and supple enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of the psyche, the promptings of the unconscious?
I've enclosed a copy of The Feast and Belly of the Beast is the first povella. If greater length is needed, I think sections of other povellas that involve Jonah and Jesse could be added.
Thank you, Walter Bargen! We will certainly read Belly of the Beast and the rest of The Feast and let you know what we think!
So it all started when an old rock & roll buddy, now in the medical field, offered us an antique x-ray machine as a prop for the silent movie we are making, Go South for Animal Index, which is a fable of Los Alamos, of the making of the first atomic bomb. The good doctor asked me what did I think.
I wrote back
I think I love you.YES!YES!YES!
The good doctor responded,
can't wait for you guys to get the stuff. you will love it. i found some really old x-ray tubes...straight from a classic frankenstein b & w.
also, i can let you guys borrow a few old x-ray light boxes and a few old x-rays to lighten up in the background if you are interested.
I agreed, very cool; and wondered what was the next movie. The good doctor had a plan.
so here is the deal...
we need to set up a time where you can come over here (with some help) and have some fun.
you will need a truck or decent sized trunk to fit stuff in.
so we don't die in the process, we need to find someone who is familiar with electricity, better yet radiology.
i will make a few calls regarding the dismantling of it, but i am pretty sure that it will only take disconnecting the fuse and chopping some wires.
The fricking ridiculous thing is, our zombie wrangler is a radiologist who lives on the East Side. He is copied.
We make silent movies with zombies. This requires a zombie wrangler. Ours happens to have a degree in radiology. I know, this is weird, because in this movie the zombies are uranium-poisoned uranium miners and millers. The zombie wrangler / radiologist played spoiler about the antique x-ray machine thing, though.
Well, I'm going to be a spoiler. Those exam tables weigh tonage. And everything else is just cabinets. Lotsa weight there. The face of the control panel would be very cool. Inside the cabinet, the generator usually looks like a telephone pole transformer kinda. The problem with all of this stuff is that it has cooling oil in parts of it that is likely full of PCBs,especially inside the exam head where the x-ray rotor is. So I'd be careful about dragging it around and where you put it. You might wind up with a Superfund site in the back of your pickup.
If this is a functioning machine, has he checked into donating to any schools?
I sent this to the good doctor, with a defeated note.
Maybe light bulb going off during lunar eclipse about tearing apart radiological devices is dangerous.
The good doctor was not convinced, however.
I agree about the table but there are other things that are only electrical but look cool that I am sure we can piece out. We will not be touching anything that has PCBs in it for sure. It is not worth getting poisoned for a silent film in my opinion. Great idea about the schools but no one wants to deal with the table even though it is functioning unit. It is a shame but I have tried for 2 years and the table is just too big and heavy. I almost had it shipped off to Africa, but that too fell through.
Still interested in the non PCB stuff?
I said something like ... I ... think ... so, now ... being a little spooked. This really was a light bulb about radiation that went off during the lunar eclipse.
The good doctor went out and got his own expert opinion from one of his previous radiology professors. Professor said:
I think the concern about the "box" (actually I think they are talking about the transformer) is due to the type of insulating oil found inside. If the unit is old, and I think a Westinghouse single phase fits that category, there is a real possibility that the oil is PCB (polychlorobiphenyl) which is toxic. If that's true then that same oil was probably also used in the tube head. I suppose you could have it tested although I don't know who does that kind of testing in this area.
There is no radioactivity to consider here. However, when you remove the federal terminal cables you might get some oil leakage. Thus the nature of that oil is important.
It may be that there was an elective "oil change" sometime in the past and the PCB oil was replaced by mineral oil. If that's the case then there is no toxic hazard.
As far as dismantling, I've always left that up to the professionals. If you choose to try, just be careful as some parts are quite heavy. I had a former classmate who tried to move his x-ray unit and ended up breaking his arm as the tubehead went flying when he removed the counterweights!
So we won't be poisoned, but we might snap off an arm. No, said the doctor.
i don't think we will break any arms since we will not be messing with anything heavy, we're just gonna strip the cool looking stuff.
And yet one more scrap of Molly Bloom's monologue from James Joyce's Ulysses that wants to be a song.
"The sailors playing all birds fly"
he asked me to say yes
and I wouldn't answer first
only looked out over the sea and the sky
I was thinking of so many things he didnt know of
Mr Stanhope and Hester
and father and old Captain Groves
the sailors playing all birds fly
and I say stoop and washing up dishes
they called it on the pier
and the sentry in front of the governors house
with the thing round his white helmet
poor devil half roasted
and the Spanish girls laughing in their shawls
and their tall combs
and the auctions in the morning
the Greeks and the jews and the Arabs
and the devil knows who else
from all the ends of Europe and Duke street
and the fowl market all clucking outside
Larby Sharons and the poor donkeys slipping
half asleep and the vague fellows in the cloaks
asleep in the shade on the steps
and the big wheels of the carts of the bulls
and the old castle
thousands of years old
I hear this as a story song, bit of Pogues perhaps, with the verse from which I chose the title recycled as a chorus from time to time.
Well, this is the last scrap of the great novel I set aside for poetry-scoring when I finally finished reading the damn thing last year. I now have a catalogue of 27 songs-to-be -- with one of them already in the can.
If you are a songwriter and want to play along, then get to clicking below, pick your poem, and email brodog [@] hotmail.com to talk shop.
Poetry Scores has embarked on a new score called O sadness over rage O rage over sadness. We are scoring a text by K. Curtis Lyle, though this is a little different for us.
Rather than starting with a completed poem, we started with the idea for a movie. The idea was pretty simple: we want to make a silent Western! So, I started casting about for a poem of the right length with themes that lend themselves to making a Western.
From the beginning, I was saying we should be thinking about making an Indian and Cowboy picture, with the script flipped and the emphasis on the Indian. This made me think of K. Curtis Lyle and all the poems he has written that deal with American Indian themes.
Curtis is an African American with Choctaw blood. He also hails from California and is something of a cowboy. He is something of a Black Indian Cowboy. I figured we could work something out with him.
And, indeed, I believe we have. Curtis sent me a batch of poems, and I made a selection and suggested a sequence. He raised some objections, so I re-ordered the sequence, which he approved of. The title of the composite poem is drawn from one of the constituent pieces, O sadness over rage O rage over sadness.
I put out a call for source recordings to consider for the score, and heard right back from my friend Andrea Van Cleef in northern Italy. "I got a bunch of old songs that could fit your needs!" he wrote. "You know, we invented Spaghetti Western."
Here are three. The titles listed here are the ones Andrea gave them. They will be retitled as they are intergrated into the score, using language from the poem. There are opportunities for sung text here too, with the attractive idea of writing melodies to Andrea's music for Curtis' poetry and then flipping it back to Andrea to sing in Italy. Who knows?
We've brilliant news to report about one of our own.
Adam Long, who mixes and masters our poetry scores, once again has two projects he mixed/mastered this year being nominated for a Grammy Award. It is the third year running the boy genius has had two projects advance to "the envelope, please" in the same year.
In the Origial Broadway Cast Recording category, Fela! was nominated. Adam Long mixed and mastered it with Robert Sher producing. This is the third year a Sher/Long recording has been nominated in this category.
Lecrae, Rehab was nominated in the Best Rap or Rock Gospel category, the third year a project Adam mixed/mastered was nominated in this category.
All of Adam's projects are mixed and mastered in his St. Louis studio. He does recording for the Broadway projects in New York. Adam's collaboration with Sher has resulted in a Broadway recording producer shifting to dual residene status with a foot on the ground in St. Louis.
For the record, none of Adam's previous nominations has ended in the big enchilada. It's hard to avoid thinking Fela! has a good chance this year. We will be celebrating with him either way it goes.
Adam Long discography with Poetry Scores
Jack Ruby's America (2010), mastered The Sydney Highrise Variations (2009), mastered, co-mixed Go South for Animal Index (2008), mastered, co-mixed, co-recorded Blind Cat Black (2007), mastered, co-mixed, co-recorded
Poetry Scores translates poetry into other media, from its home base in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., but with friends and partners around the country and here and there all over the world. *** (Contact creative director Chris King, who maintains this blog, at brodog [@] hotmail.com.)