Sunday, May 21, 2006

Updates Up the Wazoo

The longer I keep blogging, the more true this seems:

Time to do stuff times the time to write about it equals a constant.

It seems as though I've been too busy making news to report on it, but I'll steal a few minutes here and there to bring everyone up to date.

Shameless Seamus Brag

Seamus finished his Rally Novice title at the show on May 6. He scored a 94 for his third leg under Denise Lacroix. The show was outdoors at the local fairgrounds, and Seamus knew Greg was in the stands. He acted distracted for the first few exercises, but got into the rhythm of things soon afterward and performed reasonably well (apart from the dings for tight lead, and there were plenty). Still, he did pretty well for a little dog who got his second leg during a thunderstorm.

Things are working out the way I'd hoped they would. Now that he's done with his RN, we can train for Advanced through the summer, and then start trialing in the fall if he's ready to do off-lead away from our training facility. I can show Dinah in conformation during the brief outdoor-show season we have in this latitude, and then pick the indoor shows carefully later on. (Dinah's adventures in showing appear in my other blog, .

The Month in Classical Music

Greg's had two performances of his pieces in May, and will have another one in June. The BU orchestra did a reading of his minimalist-inspired Polytriad. Due to a couple of communications snafus, the musicians received all their parts several days late, and they were only as prepared as they could be for a performance a few days later.

Greg's not happy with the result, but hopes he can salvage some good moments for study and inspiration from the recording. I'd once asked him why he'd been so eager to have this piece recorded, since it was quite a few years old and not really indicative of his present artistic state of mind. He'd replied then that it was important to have the recording as a statement of what he'd wanted to say then. I'm not sure whether he's having second thoughts about that idea, but now he has the CD in hand. He hasn't exactly rushed to the CD player to play it for me, though.

The performances of three of his art songs the following week couldn't have provided a greater contrast to the orchestral reading. Forgive me for any misrememberings here, but the three songs were March, which I think is the one set to the poem by Mark Van Doren, O World, set to a poem by someone whose name escapes me, and Little Horse, the only really new song of the three, set to the poem by W.S. Merwin.

Sara Heaton, the soprano, reminds Greg of a young Phyllis Curtin. She's in her mid-20s, but her voice is already full and mature. She attacked every syllable flawlessly and with perfect balance and expression, and she ultimately delivered one of the best performances Greg has had. He accompanied her on piano. If Sara ever gets famous, remember that you read about her here first. Quite a few of Greg's fellow composers came up to him after the concert to congratulate him and to ask how to get in touch with her -- so she'll have plenty of performance opportunities from now on. Greg will treasure that CD.

This year's festival will include Greg's piece Polyline for solo clarinet. Greg had originally scored that piece for solo oboe, but rescored it for clarinet and decided he liked the clarinet better. We'll be going down to NYC for the day to hear it performed.

With luck, we'll see the conductor there who enthusiastically asked Greg about recording the Water suite after last year's concert. He never did get around to talking things over with Greg after they'd left the concert hall. I like to think he's too nice a man to just jerk Greg around like that.

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