Ten years later my good friend Fred Tackett wrote a jazz-rock concerto for tuba and rhythm: electric piano, electric bass, drums
Is the world making a poco a poco crescendo?
In 1966 I played a radio recital and gave a masterclass in Reykjavík, Iceland. On a free
My host’s father-in-law was 84 years old and had only been out of Reykholtsdalur once in his life; in 1918 he went to Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. He left Reykjavík after just a few days to return to Reykholtsdalur because Reykjavík was too hectic for him! To most urbanites in the world, Reykjavík, even today, would appear as a very quiet small town. The old man had never met a foreigner before and even though he had read all the wall-to-wall books in his home in English, French, German and Scandinavian languages, he had never tried to speak anything other than Icelandic until my visit.
Certainly, Reykholtsdalur is the quietest place I have ever
One year later I spent several days on tour with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in Sarajevo, which was then a part of the old Yugoslavia. At 4:30 in the
It seems mankind will do anything necessary to be heard.
In my conservatory days at the Eastman School of
Since I had an exam the next day I went home to study for a while and didn’t get to the tavern until a couple of hours later. When I arrived I was a little concerned by the extreme quiet as I walked in; this was not normal. There was no pool playing there was no rowdiness, just an eerie quiet with the attention of the whole pub focused on one corner of the room where Julian Bream sat playing the lute, perhaps the softest and most intimate musical instrument we have. Mr. Bream had calmed the rowdy pub crowd with sonic beauty and musical eloquence; his musical power, stronger than the rock and roll that was normally heard from the jukebox, caused his unique public to make an
I’m not very fond of rock and roll; I try sometimes to understand the text when I can, whether it’s rap, hip-hop
Dynamic levels also differ among symphony orchestras. Part of this difference is, of course, the difference in the concert halls. A great hall, like a great violin, has a certain point in the dynamic where the sound becomes enhanced; it generates
Throughout history, music has been reflective of our environment, so it’s not difficult to understand why the dynamic,
If the poco a poco crescendo continues it’s inevitable we are going to see an inordinate amount of hearing problems in our future; one has to wonder if the extremely high decibels in our environment and our music will affect the evolution of mankind’s hearing mechanism, thus resulting in
Is it possible that this high decibel music today for many of us is in reality a sophisticated scream, a visceral reaction to the stresses of our time?
If so, it’s a natural thing. A scream, as well as a call for
Perhaps Julian Bream showed us an alternative to the poco a poco crescendo fifty years ago when he played the lute in Al’s Green Tavern and tamed the rowdy locals into quiet listeners.
And who shall be the first to leave the monstrous power behind, pull the plug and communicate by beauty, elegance
Amsterdam, March 1, 2007
Reposted Oaxaca, Mexico, November 17, 2020