Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chamber Opera/Musical - It's Public





It's been over two months since the last post. A lot has happened.

I released my recording. I went to Italy for a bit. I moved back to Montreal (sort of). I played numerous gigs with Jonathan Roy, “Felix”, Bud Rice, quite a few odd-job gigs (funk music at the entrance of the Montreal CFL football games?!), recorded with the Jason Stein Project, played a bitter/sweet gig at the Tea Lounge with the Large Band. 

FRLB at the Tea Lounge. Great turnout. Shaky performance...

I've been meeting with Carou Johnson and 2 wonderfully inspired dancers Laurie-Anne Langis and Vanessa Beaupré about contemporary dance/music performances for the spring. I've also been meeting with Felix Del Tredici about a bass trombone “concerto” we'll be working on together. The Montreal Jazz Fest came and went. I've been asked by my good friend Jun Umeki and his band to send one of my charts that they'll be performing at the Yamano big band competition in Japan.

But what I've REALLY been doing is working on this:



Along with Sami Bronowski and Dom Mekky, I've taken to calling it a chamber opera/musical. We started working on it in January and had gone through a lot of PRE-rough-draft writing to find the sound and solidify the plot/characters. We're now working on the piano reduction + vocal score. 2 males, 2 females, and 5 speakers/amplifiers throughout the stage. The instruments (which will be pre-recorded as a compositional CHOICE) will be piano, bass, cello, viola, violin, french horn, trumpet, clarinet, flute, and lots of electronics. We intend to premiere it in Montreal sometime in 2013 (I think Spring?). We're basically stealing from Stephen Sondheim, minus dialogue, writing in a contemporary singing style (not operatic or Broadway, more folk-like), and no dance/choreography. It's everything I want music theatre to be, which is almost always ruined for me by one of these elements. Now that it's public, we actually have to go through with it...

NOTABLE LISTENING/READING/THOUGHTS

LIVE

Joe Henry and Lisa Hannigan in Montreal on June 11th.
Kneebody in Montreal on July 1st.
Aaron Goldberg, Rick Rosato, and Obed Calvaire in Montreal on July 4th.

BOOKS

Re-reading Jonathan Franzen's “Freedom”
Jean Chrétien's “My Years as Prime Minister”

RECORDED

Stephen Sondheim - “Passion”
Jeremy Denk - “Ligeti/Beethoven”
Mark Guiliana - “Beat Music”
Brad Mehldau Trio - “Ode”
Sam Amidon - “I See The Sign”
John Adams - “Son of Chamber Symphony”
Norah Jones - “Little Broken Hearts”
Béla Bartók - “Piano Concerto #1”
Nico Muhly - “Seeing is Believing”


As the whole Emily White – NPR / David Lowery article went viral, I manically got back into my mental debate about copyright/recorded music and our culture. Especially after having released something I'm finally proud of (for now...) I wonder what, in the context of my music making, all of this means. I've seen some REALLY poor arguments on both sides of the debate. Robert Levine is now my go-to guy for all things concerning copyright law, understanding how we got into this mess, and how we can get out. Anyone who's spent time with me knows I've been following this for a while now.

On that note, my record is still here. Or on Itunes if you feel like giving Apple more of your money, and less to me. Or on Spotify/Bandcamp to stream if that's how you roll. I made the choice for them to be there, listen away! Thanks to all of you who have bought and listened to the album, and thank you all for the kind words!!!


-FR