I tried a little experiment tonight. I tried filming myself performing the “Big Tune” in the Picardy D Major at the conclusion (two pages before the end) of my 1960 Piano Sonata #2, from the original manuscript.
It’s pretty crude, and my brain knows the score better than my arms and fingers do. OK, it could use a virtuoso pianist.
The piano sound is not as good recorded on a camera as it is right from Sibelius when played from a digital MPG file.
Indeed, I wrote all this out by hand on the kitchen table, a lot of it o snow days in March 1960, my junior year in high school, before entering it in a composition contest.
There is a large scale layout (so smaller simulated space) downstairs, and two larger layouts upstairs. One of the layouts is under scenery construction.
But the layout on the right is one of the more intricate I have ever seen (outside of Roadside America and ChooChoo Barn in PA) There are essentially three sections and some underground tunnels. There is a lot of industry, even coal. It sounds like Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again”. But we have to focus on sustainability, too.
I did get to the Tidal Basin in Washington late today to see the cherry blossoms.
They seemed to be only about 40% of what they should have been. Three nights in the mid twenties last week after the snow, and one cold night this week did severe damage after early blooming starting in late February.
Occasionally, especially near the water where it was warmer, one tree would be fully bloomed.
In the mean time, the GOP was pulling the American Health Care Act from the vote. But along the Basin, nobody cared.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017, the DC Environmental Film Festival held a program “Nuclear Power Play” at the Carnegie Science Center. There were two short films, “Nuclear Winter” and “Triad” and “City 40”. The panel included Kit Roane (Retro Report), Dan Sagayin, and Samira Goetsche.
Generally, there was concern expressed that the US and Russia, following the Soviet Union, tend to make it more plausible that they could use nuclear weapons if they maintain the hardware. There was concern over making rogue states and non-state actors believe “everybody wants some”.
4 Question from the audience about the character of scientists
I want to make some remarks about progress with my Piano Sonata #2 in D Minor, composed in the early part of 1960 when I was a junior in high school and submitted by the “Arlington Junior Music Club”. I believe I wrote a lot of the manuscript out in black ink on snow days in March 1960 (the “three white Wednesdays), seated at a kitchen table, where I also handwrote term papers.
The work, described in an earlier posting here Jan. 27, 2016, mixes some perfunctory “neoclassicism” with “storm and stress” and violent outburst and then triumph near the end. It would run about 28 minutes (taking first movement repeat). The style is a simplification of the “rhetoric” in D Minor piano concertos by Brahms, Rachmaninoff, and especially Anton Rubenstein (#4), as well as the C# Minor piano concerto by Amy Beach (which really needs to be played a lot more). And I think there is a little influence even from the Beethoven Piano Sonata #17 in D Minor, the “Tempest” (probably invoking Shakespeare’s play).
.I think the work would be a cloud pleaser with a virtuoso pianist who likes “romantic style”. Very little new music (really zero) in this genre get commissioned these days. There is a sense of balance and gathering momentum and striving toward big climaxes.
But a lot of the harmonic mannerisms sound trite to me today, in spots. In the first movement, toward the end of the Development, starting on p. 5, there is a lot of repetitious virtuoso rhetoric centered on the dominant A Major, which could make the listener feel that piece is supposed to be centered around the tonality of A rather than D. The same buildup occurs in the introduction to the Finale, on p. 17, and then one more time (‘Nsync indeed – imagine Justin Timberlake as the concert pianist) on p. 23, as after the final presentation of the main toccata theme and the sonata prepares for the return of the second theme as a Rachmaninoff-style “big tune” in D Major.
There is also an issue with the toccata theme that opens the Rondo, in that the first stanza migrates to dominant A Minor quickly and stays there too long.
I sketched out some proposed revisions in Sibelius.
File Son2Ch1 suggests a richer harmonization that could apply around line 3 of p. 5 and similar places on pages 17 and 23. The experimentation could be extended.
File Son2Ch2 suggests a treatment of the toccata theme that opens the Finale by varying away from the respondent dominant A minor to other tonalities (p. 18 with a dal segno, and then p. 22).
Son2CngIntro suggests some more harmonic flavor for the opening four measures of Adagio for the first movement.
Son2ChgCodas suggests ways to make the passage work more harmonically varied as the final climaxes at the end of the first movement and finale approach.
In general, the use of higher interval dissonant chords based on the subdominant is more effective in preparing a final pedal point, and is overuse of the dominant. Look at the great climaxes in Bruckner, or at the end of Scriabin’s Divine Poem.
I do have the original handwritten 1960 manuscript, which could be copied and pasted over manually. I do have the PDF online (see Jam 27, 2016 posting) and physical copies.
My novel manuscript “Angel’s Brother“, for which I developed a new “screenwriters’ outline” here on Feb. 28, involves the major characters (especially Randy, 40, the CIA agent, Sal, 21, the gifted angel-to-be, and Bill, or “me”) making lots of trips, within the United States, back and forth to and within Europe, as far as Arctic Russia in one chapter. (Correction: Lake Lagoda is in NW Russia, as is most of Karelia, near the Finnish border.)
There are many novels and films based on road trips. Most of them tend to be based on one continuous journey from a start to and end, like in a board game.
Clive Barker’s “Imajica“, in the first part, traces its major character Gentle from Earth (the Fifth Dominion), with some running-around between London and New York, through three other dominions (essentially planets); the second half (“The Reconciliation”) has Gentle and many other characters (one of them very gender fluid) moving back and forth among the dominions through what would amount to wormholes in physics. He winds up in “Heaven” (the “First”) where, sorry to say for David Lynch, not everything is fine. There is even a “Lenten Way”, a superhighway connecting the dominions.
As I best remember, in J. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” (and Peter Jackson’s film trilogy for New Line) the progress (Bilbo with his ring) is gradually from the Shire to the east, through all the lands of the Middle Earth, until confrontations in a volcano at the end, after which Bilbo sails west and returns home in peace. But I think it’s one continuous journey, as I recall. I have to give a hand to Tolkien in inventing bloodlines and families, and a whole language. The book has many detailed maps (or what amounts to a parallel Earth II) that lend themselves to board and computer games.
Stephen King’s monumental apocalypse, “The Stand“, which became a miniseries in the 90s, traces the lives of many characters after a super bird flu, intended as a biological weapon, is accidentally released. Generally, the characters progress from New York, Vermont, and Houston to Boulder (the good people), or Las Vegas-Cibola (the bad people). I remember Tim Cullen’s harrowing journey (to Boulder) up I-15 from Vegas through Utah with an eye watching him. I’ve even been called “The Walkin’ Dude” myself at work.
In Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged“, which became a three-part movie, and which I read while in the Army in 1969, has the major characters (Reardon and Taggert) wandering around a deteriorating rail system until a crash-landing in John Galt’s ashram hidden away in Colorado.
(Posted: Friday, March 17, 2017 at 2:15 PM EDT)
Below: Hillary Clinton’s old “Basket of Deplorables”. For me, in this little video; I used the guy with the binoculars (the “observer”); the CIA guy has the gun (although be probably needs only the binoculars); the angel looks like the shaman doll, or maybe the man in the space suit.
I showed up for the day-pass line at about 9:10 AM. The line was combined with the other line, and slowly started moving at 9:35. I finally got my pass at about 11:20, over two hours after I arrived.
Two hours of my time are worth money. I would rather pay a fair price for a ticket (maybe $10) at a specific time by credit card or Paypal and not have a hassle. The Monday noon ticket giveway times out before most users can get ticket.
Before I got in at 1 PM, I encountered Chris the Mockingbird.
Later I encountered him in the garden and he seemed to recognize me. Mockingbirds are musicians. But the males do not have plumage color that gives them the obvious external trappings of manhood. They seem to have made some sort of sacrifice.
In the museum. there were five rooms with the last one temporarily closed. You go into the room and have 20-30 seconds. The effect is to see many copies of yourself as in the movie “Interstellar”, where in the end people are saved by creating their own little tesseracts.
You’re not supposed to use flash, and I apologize for one shot; I thought I had turned it off on my Canon Power Shot but it went off.
There was also artwork simulating life on other planets.
Just to get some video work started (as a workup for some personal history videos to back up a movie proposal), here are three videos, on a better camera (Nikon Coolpix) as a gusty thunderstorm moved through Arlington VA today.
3 Looks like I jerked the camera, or the lens got wet
Also: Video of a shelf cloud in Laurel Mountains in Pennsylvania, Weather channel.
Midwest tornado outbreak February 28, 2017 in Missouri and Illinois; Tornadic storms popped up out of nothing (Weather channel pictures).