Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ramdom Stops on a Stream of Subconsciousness

I've just had a remarkable pick-me-up in the form of the Prelude to Bach's 6th Suite, which I finally found time to look at with a bit of patience and slow practice. It's as beautiful as Bach gets, but the real magic of it is that it's not as unnecessarily awkward for the instrument as tends to be the case for much of great Bach. Particularly helpful considering how utterly depressing these past three weeks have been because of various external factors... real frustration comes not from having to do everything yourself, but facing the unfortunate reality that somethings you're not allowed to do by yourself, and those things are the same ones which others in the position to do it, quite simply, don't.

There's a little temptation to try the Bach out for the reception of the opening of the Hammes Information Commons of the IUSB Library this Tuesday, where some of us have been asked to contribute a little music to the event. Which would be a rather reckless choice, but which has led me to think that there are at least two different kinds of performers: ones who go onto the stage because the found something beautiful and want to play it and share it and add their uniqueness to the pool of art. The other kind are ones who want to show how beautiful they can be be. For the former, concerts are an incentive to make sure the technical progress is in line with the musical ability - for the latter, the concerts are the end goal, without which there is no point to practice at all.

On the other spectrum of music is this, an excerpt of Recording No. 1582 of Plato and the Western Tradition, entitled "Columbus Day". If
this is your first time listening to stuff like this, I suggest you just let it flow across you, and maybe think of pretty pictures... if you try to "figure it out", so to speak, I don't think you'll enjoy it much.

From left to right, you'll see Marie Fryar, Mike Nolan, yours trul
y, Prof. Dr. David Barton, and Valerie Rumpf. The Friday sessions are held in what is geographically the lowest point in the entire university: the basement of Northside Hall, Room 0068A. During the first concert of the year, Dr. Barton's wife Evie performed interpretive dance with us, while electronically artistized video was presented. I decided to take advantage of the occasion to bring a bicycle pump and blow up balloons in the middle of the concert.

And yes, to those who might ask, music is a serious profession.

I've also had the chance to have a real free hand at web design, without all the restrictions that the School of the Arts Homepage has because of image integration with the rest of the university:

Speaking of the university, this Wednesday there will be the installation of the 18th president of Indiana University. I've actually met the fellow, seems like a humble man, which is probably why - unlike some of his subordinates - he actually seems to listen. And he bothered to meet all us little satellite campuses. Anyhow, all of us get this email inviting us to such and such a room to watch the event: "The ceremony will feature the pageantry of a robed academic procession and a keynote speech in which the new president will share his vision for the university and its future. "

I always feel amazed at how much royalty there still is in academic institutions. Well, maybe not that amazed, I still want to walk come graduation in May 2008. Nevertheless, I was thinking, how about, you know, in some future generation: "The new ceremony will showcase the incoming president's academic leadership with a round of Jeopardy and an all-state spelling bee, following which the president will make a three-point basketball shot, indicating the value of a all-rounded academic experience. University attorneys are still uncertain whether the installation would be with the five-year warranty if he failed to get the ball through the hoop or misspelled 'chrysanthemum'."

What I find just as interesting, is that the format of the campus email puts an announcement of the President's speech next to "
Weekly Special: Hot dog, fries and 16oz drink..." How that logically links up, one can only ponder.

"What is: things you do with your mouth?"


Amanda said...

"You have to have the darkness for the dawn to come"

Hope todays performance went well :)
I wanna hear the Bach now.

Mike said...

Live avant-garde is always a treat for me, thanks for putting this vid up! :)