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April 22, 2012


ASSEMBLAGE (Horn Chorale)

Milo Fine: B flat/E flat/alto clarinets ~~ Scott Newell: tenor sax ~~ John O'Brien: cornet, flugelhorn ~~ Philip Mann: bass clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax ~~ Ryan Reber: soprano sax ~~ Rick Ness: alto sax, B flat clarinet, multi-toned tenor bugle ~~ Elaine Evans: pocket trumpet, alpen horn ~~ Erkki Huovinen: alto clarinet, contra alto clarinet, harmonica

Concert begins at 7p. $5-$10 donation.


a bee the size of a boxcar hangs, legs limp and huge, above the assembly. sunlight glints like honey through its beating wings. curiosity elevates the eyes of any creature – parrot, frog, capybara, flamingo, cricket or human. the highway is of no use. the alpine horn player stands on tiptop s she breathes into her instrument. her breath like honey, well above the hovering bee. between she and bee, a golden eagle rides the thermals rising from the eyes of the curious. the eye structure of the eagle has many hundreds of times more cones and rods than does a human eye, or the eye of a parrot. but the parrot can learn to talk. sort of. and what the parrot says tells the story of wind blowing up a valley in southern california – past hillsides of runty joshua trees and rocky outcroppings. long-tailed desert rats scamper across sunhot stones. without warning or fanfare, a blue ribbon drops from the sky, from somewhere near where the eagle floats, the ribbon spiraling curling corkscrewing toward the earth. playing games with the laws of physics. one flamingo lifts her stony foot and steps forward. perhaps toward the place the ribbon will land. once. twice. the turns her curvy neck and head to watch the blue ribbon puddle itself right where the flamingo, before deciding to move, stood.

darkness slips over the edge. of curiosity. hangs its hat on the festivities. eagle gone. parrot gone. capybara too. but the frog. not gone. won’t be gone. will sing all night.

nearby a curtain opens. the stage fill with night creatures – bats, fishers, yowling insects, and some silent hunters. grass rustles with the slithering. here and there a pebble is dislodged…rolls a millimeter to the left and a bit down the slop of the hill.

and, oh yes. that bee. still there. wings beating forty times faster than a bird’s to hold her stationary. above the fray.

late in life she falls in love with the grills of cars. muscle cars and heavy duty trucks. all that chrome. coming at her from all directions. lavish choices. unpredictable reflections and refractions of light. and the chorus of family and friends in the back ground, Has she lost her mind? No, she thinks, I lost it a long time ago and am just now getting glimpses of getting it back again.

The girl with the golden legs opens a green suitcase and takes out a toy skyscraper. She plans to buy a town and turn it into a city, plant the skyscraper in the park and see what happens. she would like to be mayor. would like the city band to play in her honor. she knows a photographer who write music. perhaps he would compose a celebratory march for the band to play. but…they usually play in the gazebo in the park and that space has been claimed by the skyscraper-plant which is now about eighty-one feet tall with ornate front doors large enough for a small child to walk through. slowly. in stocking feet. looking to the left and to the right as she enters.
the lights pasts the vestibule are not turned on. the distant darkness inviting and complex. the strings dangling from the collar of her jacket riffle slightly in the blush of wind stirred by the heavy brass doors closing behind her.

the house of mirrors was built with slanting floors. some so steep one cannot help tramping toward the lowest corner, watching himself plummeting toward himself i.n the mirror in the mirror in the mirror. then…the railing gives traction for moving on – to a room less steep ore slanted. but noisier. floorboards creak and moan and cry out at each step, each footfall. the conference of mirrors. the convention of floorboards. the opulence of echoes. the timeliness of postcards. the tumbling of elevators. the trouble with memory.

the storyteller from the next town wanders by, pauses her sad and quite eyes, looking for an in vitiation to stay, to pause, to tell her tale here. now. instead of waiting for.

when the palace was finished. when the last hand-cut marble lintel was lowered into place. when all the chandeliers were lit and all the silver polished. when each of the stewards, butlers, coachmen, gardeners, cooks, maids and teachers instructed as to their duties. the prince and his wife took up residence, each day trying out one or two of the seemingly limitless rooms, patios, terraces, walks and paths, looking for those best suited to building a pattern, a life, a way of moving through the days and weeks and years of their reign. there was much they found harmonious, pleasant, comforting. no wish, desire, inkling or craving went unattended. but…always there crept behind them a sense , and undertone, a subtext… what if…one day I want a pretzel and no one brings it? what if…one day there is not a new plant growing in one of the gardens? what if…one day the paper will not fold along the dotted line? and what if…one day I do not know what I want?

this is the beginning of possibility – an notion the prince, his spouse, and their (as they came along one after another) children had never encountered. a flavor of ice cream they had never tasted – voluptuous in it intensity but requiring some getting used to.

eventually, inevitably, the day came when the bottom dropped out of their world. a quiet day, only a soft wind siffling through the narrow slits in the tower walls. what if I were not a prince? he hesitantly asked aloud. and I not a princes?, she added. would there be a castle? would there be a pretzel? would there be children? would they know us? or they us? would ther be gardens? or music?

slide whistle. whistle slide. window side. winnow slice. minnow sluice. meadow juice. mellow moose. mellarmé

paleogenomic music ~ sounds impressed into the DNA of civilizations and cultures long since evaporated from the history pages. paleogenomic music ~vestiges of what we were before we became who we are now. all those thoughts memories notions ideas we cannot explain. coming from a place before language. a time when our receptors were tuned to sound and light, movement, heat and cold rather than names for those things being expressed through the senses. circuits all unconnected.
dead-end path everywhere. thousands of millions of blind and cacophonic pathways leading, only once or twice, to an open door, to a splinter of surprise, a shard of light.

where the glass cracks, the light takes a new direction. outside the window, what was a mountain peak becomes a bird. what was a cloud passing over that precipice becomes a love letter…undelivered. the shifting mountainside becomes the endless keyboard of the idea of a piano through the fractures glass reaches the fingers of two hands, playing the keys of the piano from an immeasurable distance.

the fable of the grasshopper n the ant neglects to mention how liberating it is for the grasshopper to jump leap fly from one leaning green blade to another. the sense of freedom, looseness, lifts the heart of the hopper well past the quotidian concerns of lock and larder. and so we have, at the end of the story, every time, the tragedy. a tale of how you cannot lay by for the future without sacrificing some, if not all, of your present. and conversely, you cannot ignore the future unless you want it to roll over you like a wrecking ball from outer space.