A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


The Argyle Sweater Induced Me to Laugh So Hard I Cried
Thursday, January 29, 2015

Is laughter the best medicine?

Ryan Beil at the Stanley, January 28 2015

My wife Rosemary and I attended the opening performance of Richard Bean (story) and music and songs by Grant Olding, One Man, Two Guvnors last night. It was an Arts Club Theatre production directed by David Mackay at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage.
Attempting to explain the plot of this play (which is not quite a musical) would be as difficult as defining that other terrific play Bullet Catch at the Granville Island Review Stage.

I must here confess that I made lots of money in the 90s flying all over for Reader’s Digest. As a young boy my grandmother gave me a Spanish edition subscription to Selecciones del Reader’s Digest.
So with my special inside connection to the magazine I can assert that in One Man, Two Guvnors, that indeed laughter is the best medicine. Rosemary and I laughed all night as did the audience.

I will after making some subjective assertions about the play (I am not a theatre critic nor would I ever want to be one) I will then explain the curious facts behind Andrew McNee’s (Francis) Argyle Sweater and tie (socks, too?) and Cailin Stadnyk’s skirt and sweater.
First to the very bad.

As far as I could tell this play would have annoyed and dismayed anybody expecting an accordion player or tap dancing. I was not in the least dismayed or annoyed.

While I have seen many musicals at the Arts Club (and have come to almost appreciate them) as a Latin American I have never understood when people are talking suddenly start thinking.

In Vancouver now by Arts Club Theatre standards, singers must know how to dance, dancers must know how to sing, actors must know how to dance and sing. While I have heard actors play musical saws in the Penelopiad  I had never seen an actor (Martin Happer as Stanley Stubbers) play an array of bicycle horns.

The Very Good

The bicycle horns as played by Martin Happer were really good. I am glad all those actors can sing, dance and play instruments. I am glad all those musicians can act and dance.
This play is strictly speaking not a musical. There are musical numbers by a most competent ensemble and by just about every other member of the cast, but when they sing they sing and when they talk they talk.  They never, thankfully, ever merge into a full-fledged musical.  That is very good!

Ryan Beil (Allan Dangle) is funny even if he recited the grocery list from Walter M. Miller Jr’s A Canticle for Leibovitz.

While I am not partial in the least to accordion players Spencer Schoening’s washboard playing was unusually good and with his glasses he reminded me of what Buddy Holly might have looked at when young. If I weren’t 72 and could relive a mid-life crisis I would leave Rosemary, buy a red Miata and propose to the young man.
It is amazing to see a wonderfully talented young actor, Anton Lipovetsky, listed in the program as Musical Director also kill us with his electric guitar. If I ever get married in another life I would first take my fiancée to a restaurant where Lipovetsky would be the maître d'.

Martin Happer who plays the Englishman of that certain upper class, Stanley Stubbers is my idea of the ideal cricket player.

Celine Stubel

Celine Stubel as the sometimes-for-a-while-man (and almost an identical twin to a dead man) Rachel Crabbe would perhaps make me dump Spencer Schoening, keep the red Miata, leave my wife and go for her in her fedora of for a picnic with her cute ladybug lunchbox.

Most might not know that the word and brand name Viagra is a combination of the words vigorous and Niagara Falls. Watching Cailin Stadnyk (that gold lame dress! congrats Costume Designer Nancy Bryant for that!) and in that sweater (a tad too small?) made my heart stir. If I saw this play, every day for its entire run I, too would not need a hat peg like Andrew McNee and I would save on pharmaceuticals.
Amir Ofek’s set design moved here and there to my delight and surprise. He even managed to whisk away drummer Spencer Schoening without a gong in sight.

Robert Sandergard’s lighting always revealed to me the details I was interested in seeing. There were many of those.
Andrew Cownden as the almost-dead (but not quite) Alfie and wonderful harmonica player induced ample use of my diaphragm. He is most funny.

If Lauren Bowler (Pauline Clench) were to show up at my door in that girl guide uniform of her and those glasses I would buy all the cookies, dump, my wife, dump Spencer Schoening, dump Celine Stubel, keep the Red Miata and run away with her. In what could be a sort of not to PC comment here, the former Globe Arts Critic Christopher Dafoe used to tell me that he had the desire to have a date with Evelyn Hart and then feed her hamburgers. My date with Bowler would be to read her War and Peace.
But the best part of this show is Andrew McNee. I am sure he must have some sort of real eating disorder. I watched him drink and eat. The Ancient Romans knew how to deal with this sort of problem. I would not want to know what the dry cleaning bill will be for the jacket he wears to which McNee smears his full-of-food hands. He would make a brilliant paring with the droll humour of Ryan Beil.

The most amazing discovery for me is how closely One Man, Two Guvnors follows the plot of Venetian playwright Claudio Goldoni’s play Il servitore di due padroni which he wrote in 1743. Perhaps the only changes are the presence for all those reasons why one would not want to immigrate to Australia. We might pause here to mention that we are lucky that Australian Peter Cathie White, Executive Director of the Arts Club Theatre Company did immigrate to our parts.

I discovered this amazing information from my useful Wikipedia. We are not guaranteed that it is correct but here it is:

Goldoni originally wrote the play at the request of actor Antonio Sacco, one of the great Truffaldinos in history. His earliest drafts had large sections that were reserved for improvisation, but he revised it in 1753 in the version that exists today.

Some of you like me might not know that Truffaldino is Italian for Harlequin.
So here goes my assertion (the last word would only come from Costume Designer Nancy Bryant) that Andrew McNee’s Argyle tie and sweater (socks?) and Cailin Stadnyk’s tight skirt with more demure Argyle decoration (also a sweater) are a homage to that original harlequin, Antonio Sacco.

Christopher Gaze, Bill Millerd, Stanley Theatre January 28 2015

For a while now I have discerned a similarity in how both Christopher Gaze and Ryan Beil deliver and talk. Beil is more nasal and yet when Gaze projects that Englishness of his and raises his nose up the sound reminds me of Beil's. I asked them individually last night. Gaze of course told me that he has had a long relationship with Beil. Gaze's children went to school with Beil and Beil did a few seasons at bard. I asked Gaze if he could imitate Beil. He said he could. When I asked he demurred.

Beil told me that inspiration for his actor-acting-as-an-actor role (Allan Dangle) in One Man, Two Guvnors he was inspired by Gaze's delivery in Bard on the Beach in order to project. I am sure that Beil declaming Shakespeare's Henry the V St. Crispin Day lines (so beautifully done of the cuff by Crhistopher Gaze even in a café as I have heard him deliver) would make me roar in laughter proving yet again the wisdom of Reader's Digest.

Going Home Again
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On February 27 I could fly to Austin, Texas and be home again. Is that really possible?
Consider that in my former home we called the Mexican/Americans in our dorm or in our classes spicks. I was in a never-never land in being white who spoke English (sort of like the natives but not quite Texan) while being able to communicate in perfect Spanish. I was kind of shunned by both camps.
The first time I returned to my former home from my home in Nueva Rosita, Coahuila, Mexico it was after the Christmas holidays of 1957. I was in the 9th grade. I arrived late at night and our main building looked like Dracula’s castle. I was homesick for my mother and Nueva Rosita. I cried. It passed. Our busy schedule made me forget and by the second year my melancholia for home was replaced by a happy eagerness to visit my mother during holiday breaks but nothing more.
I felt I fit in because the Brothers of Holy Cross while being firm disciplinarians did share their warmth, understanding and intelligence.
My four years at St. Ed’s while seeming like they only happened yesterday recede into a corner of my memory when I walk up and down the stairs of Old Main. I can imagine, like in those films about passing memories and events, our shouts as we ran on the stairs. This was prohibited and often we were stopped by the very serious (he was really a pussycat) Brother Francis Barrett. I can imagine the voices of Amos ‘n’ Andy, a program that was turned on the radio for us in the evening when we were in our bunk beds with Brother Rene who was our dorm prefect. Brother Rene, a fair and strong man was possibly the only brother any of us really feared.  I cannot listen to Ravel’s Bolero without remembering how this man educated us as we slept with music that he deemed important for our minds and souls.
I remember how in my 11th grade our room prefect (by then we had rooms for four with bunk beds) Brother Anton Mattingly and I would discuss in his room (he kept the door and mosquito screen wide open. I did not know why because I was innocently naïve about such things) the merits of our mutual cameras a Pentacon-F. He had the F-2 Zeiss Biotar (was I jealous!) while I had the inferior Zeiss Tessar. I took his Spanish class to avoid the complexities of reading Caesar’s Gallic Wars in Latin. But Brother Anton taught me the Spanish grammar I sorely needed.
I could go on with all the pleasantries that a look back into one’s past makes rosier than it surely was. But I am not sure. What do keep into account are the jarring differences of my world then and my world now. Then we could go up the elevator to the top of the University of Texas Library tower and drink beer. How could we have known that a gunman would, just a few years later unleash terror on students walking below? The terrorism of the time involved disgruntled men pointing guns at pilots in airplanes to force them to fly to Cuba. The idea of a belt full of bombs was years into the future.
In our dorms and rec rooms our TV sets were permanently tuned to the one channel available at the time. It was a CBS affiliate owned by LBJ. If there were other radio stations of the time I do not know. The one we listened to was also owned by LBJ and it featured the music of Elvis, Twitty and the Ventures. Those of us who were snobs had a preference for instrumental music like those Ventures but we may have at one time admitted liking the Everly Brothers.
Our campus had only one black man who was a day student. The problem of bunking with such a man never came up.  
The man we most admired was Walter Cronkite. I remember sitting under a tree reading when one of our Cuban classmates came up to me and said, “Your Catholic president has lets us down at the Bay of Pigs. I heard this in the news with Cronkite.” I was speechless.
If there was a war going on I was not aware of. There were rumours that one of the McDonnell F-101 had sent a rocket up the tailpipe of MiG somewhere by the Matsu Islands near Taiwan. The idea of Mainland China was nonexistent. The Chinese Communists were evil, very Chinese in my Blackhawk comic books of the time. I do believe we had a couple of test exercises for a possible atomic war. St. Ed’s was near the Strategic Air Command’s Bergstrom Air Force Base. Only a couple of wooden structures that I spied from the window of my plane as it landed on what is now Austin-Bergstrom International Airport when I returned in the late 2000s.There was not one single Boeing B-53 bomber in sight.
There was no sushi in our cafeteria faire. We had lots of okra and on special days parboiled steaks were served. For breakfast we had to smother our Korean War surplus powdered scrambled eggs with ketchup to make them palatable. When our table mates weren’t looking we would abscond their sausages or bacon with our forks.
In my 9th grade I would spit shine the seniors’ shoes for pocket money. I never thought the job was a demeaning one. My secret ingredient was a Mexican tin of “grasa” called El Oso.
At the end of our halls there were public telephones. We had long figured out how to bend a coat hanger so as not to use quarters (? or dimes?) Women, early practitioners of phone sex would call us on Friday nights. The most famous one called herself Marcia. These girls knew we were living in an all-male campus so they really liked to pull our strings. None ever committed to a face to face date.
It was in the 11th grade that I told my three other roommates that it was time we went to a dirty movie. The one I picked sounded dirty. It was called The Virgin Spring. How was I to know this was a highly rated art film directed by Ingmar Bergman? What I find astounding is that such a film was being screened in our neighbourhood movie house. the Austin Theatre on the corner of Congress Avenue and Live Oak St.
The first time I did return to St. Ed’s I found our main building bigger than imagined it. It felt strange to see women students walking to their classes. Few would have known that at one time it had housed a high school. The high school closed around 1968. The campus is now the campus of St. Edward’s University. It is difficult to find brother (Brother of Holy Cross) anywhere. For all intents and purposes the university is a lay university struggling to keep the word Christian in its every day communications.
That we sang Gregorian chant in our chapel on Sunday nights was something I had no idea. We simply sang.
In a world in which spirituality is going to a Tolkien film or practicing yoga, the only way I can return to my real home is to return to the idea of what our school was in those middle 50s.  It was a school of men who gave us a liberal Roman Catholic education. Time had yet to predict the death of God. All was well with the world and young women in roller skates and bobby socks served hamburgers to your car (I never did enjoy that experience) on The Drag by the University of Texas. And we all knew what hooking horns meant.
I can return to that home right here in Vancouver but I will miss all the outside barbecues, the Texan accents and the ghostly voices (some may even by my own) walking the stairs of Old Main.

Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C.

Most of all I will miss all those men, Brothers of Holy Cross who are, except for a few, all gone.

Raymond Fleck

The leper at Mass

Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C.

St. Edward's High School alumni & faculty web page

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Homecoming & Family Weekend 2015
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Homecoming & Family Weekend 2015

Ready or not, Homecoming and Family Weekend 2015 is only a month away. If you have not already done so, register online today! You can view the Who's Attending list to see who of your classmates has already registered. You can also check out the full schedule of events to see all the fun activities planned for the weekend!
We’ll relive the memories, make new ones, reconnect with classmates and faculty, and see how St. Edward’s has changed – and how it’s stayed the same. Come home to your Hilltop and remember all the reasons you love the blue and gold!
  • Friday Feb. 27: Alumni will celebrate together and kick-off Homecoming weekend at the All Alumni Welcome Back Party.
  • Saturday, Feb 28: We’ll start the day off with the President’s State of the University Address. Then we’ll head over to the Topper Tailgate & Festival for fun for all – BBQ, bar, kids area, and booths from all of your favorite campus organizations – including the Alumni Association. Men’s and Women’s basketball teams will take on the Newman University Jets for the Homecoming Basketball Games. We’ll have a chance to reconnect with our favorite faculty members at the Faculty Fête. The Reunion Classes (1965, 1970, 2005, and the St. Edward’s High School alumni) will gather that evening. We will finish the day with a Homecoming Concert!
  • Sunday morning, March 1: We’ll have Mass and a Farewell Brunch!
Need accommodations? We’ve put together a list of nearby hotels that make getting to and from campus easy.

If you have any questions, please contact the Alumni and Parent Programs Office at 512-448-8415 or 1-800-964-7833. We’ll see you in February on the Hilltop!

Alumni & Parent Programs
St. Edward’s University
St. Edward’s University  |  Office of Alumni and Parent Programs
3001 South Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78704

The Disinterested Assassin: Bill Harrigan
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Meteor Crater - Arizona - 2011

In the summer of 2011 my wife Rosemary, our two granddaughters and I decided to drive our Chevrolet Malibu to south Texas. This meant that in the back seat we had an already difficult Rebecca, a 13 year-old full-fledged teenager and her sister Lauren who was 8. For the former, Rebecca, most of the canyons we visited, including the Grand Canyon were simply rocks upon rocks. For Lauren there was usually no comment but in Meteor Crater Arizona (it was 40 Celsius when we arrived around noon, she found much that interested her. I would say she was fascinated.

Throughout the whole expedition at the crater I felt a strange degree of unreality which I have never been able to explain to myself or to others. Particular to this was the loss of a sense of the size of the crater which looked smaller than it really was. When we visited Monument Valley the monuments were really a lot smaller than in the John Wayne/John Ford films.

As I survive these days of humid melancholy with that erstwhile teenager still a teenager in our home I discovered a little nagging explanation for my Meteor Crater unrest.

I never did see Jorge Luís Borges in my many trips to the Pigmalion Book Store on Avenida Corrientes in Buenos Aires. We simply never went on the same days to buy our books in English. Had I seen him I would not have been surprised. And I know he would have worn a tie and at the very least a sport coat and slacks.

In those years , 1965, 1966 when I went to Pigmalion I was much too ignorant to appreciate Borges as I do now. I would not have known that he had written a book in 1954 called Historia Universal de la Infamia and that one of the essays would be about the life of Billy the Kid. He begins his story, El Asesino Desinteresado – Bill Harrigan with a description of the area that we drove through in our Malibu. In some ways the four of us in our Silver Malibu now seem to be as strange as if I had spotted a blind poet in a tie, in spite of the sweltering heat scampering gingerly with his cane at Meteor Crater.
El asesino desinteresado Bill Harrigan
Jorge Luis Borges

La imagen de las tierras de Arizona, antes que ninguna otra imagen: la imagen de las tierras de Arizona y de Nuevo México, tierras con un ilustre fundamento de oro y de plata, tierras vertiginosas y aéreas, tierras de la meseta monumental y de los delicados colores, tierras con blanco resplandor de esqueleto pelado por los pájaros. En esas tierras, otra imagen, la de Billy the Kid: el jinete clavado sobre el caballo, el joven de los duros pistoletazos que aturden el desierto, el emisor de balas invisibles que matan a distancia, como una magia.

The image of the lands of Arizona before any other: the image of the lands of Arizona and New Mexico, lands with an illustrious base of gold and silver, of dizzying arid heights, lands of the monumental mesas and of delicate colours, lands with the white glare of skeletons picked clean by birds. In those lands, another image, that of Billy the Kid, the man on is horse, the young man of the hard pistol shots that deaden the desert, the source of invisible bullets that kill at a distance like magic.

El desierto veteado de metales, árido y reluciente. El casi niño que al morir a los veintiún años debía a la justicia de los hombres veintiuna muertes—"sin contar mejicanos".

The desert streaked of metals, arid and shining.  The almost-boy who upon dying at 21owed justice for 21 deaths – “not counting Mexicans”.

My translation

Brother Raymond Fleck, C.S.C. - Call Me Ray
Monday, January 26, 2015

This morning I received an email from Raymond Fleck.

Alex: I'll be in Austin the end of February for the St. Ed's Homecoming Weekend. Will you be there? Have you been in contact with Mike East? All the best to you and yours. --- Ray Fleck

I answered that with the death two years ago of my  religious mentor and friend Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. that it would be unlikely that I would attend. This plus diminishing funds while living in a big house my wife and I cannot afford to fix is the deciding factor.

Raymond Fleck replied:

It was fun to get together with you and Mike at that earlier reunion, but time marches on. Sometimes we do have to go through these rough patches. Yes, Brother Edwin was a wonderful guy. You know, he was a native of New Orleans, so when Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, he and I were in contact about it. The Brothers' old Holy Cross High School was wiped out, but after a couple of years, Edwin told me they were rebuilding at a different location in New Orleans, up near Lake Pontchartrain. I went over to see the new place, and what they accomplished was truly impressive. Hang in there, Alex. --- Ray

I have written twice here and here about what I call the Brother Edwin Friendship Quotient. This email from a man who is at least 11 or 12 years older than I am is another proof of Brother Edwin’s (I could never have gotten away with calling him Edwin nor would I have wanted to.) insight into friendship between disparate ages.

Mike East, Raymond Fleck, Lee Lytton III - 2011

 Brother Edwin Fleck, C.S.C. may have been just 26 when he had the high position of Religious Superior in my 1958 Edwardian annual. I had finished 9th Grade at St. Edward’s High School in Austin. He had an office next to the principal’s on the main floor of our New-Gothic building that housed our dorms, cafeteria, chapel and classrooms. I remember seeing what seemed to be a tall gaunt man who with his glasses reminded me of a scientist ( particle physics?) or philosopher. He never said a word for me as we had no connection except that his office was in the same building where I lived. After 1958 his photograph disappears from my Edwardians but I knew he was around for at least a couple more years. At some point he became the president of St. Edward’s University with whom we shared our campus.

In 2011 I attended a reunion at St. Ed’s and there was the tall and gaunt man in his glasses wearing seersucker sports shirts. Now, not as tall as I remembered him, he was simply Raymond Fleck and he introduced me to his wife. The remote man I thought he was, was warm and friendly . I even had his doctorate all wrong. It was in chemistry not in physics.

During some casual conversations over breakfast I found out that he had a connection with a former classmate of mine Mike East. From this connection I found out that the remote and gaunt scientist had the added talent of being able to get rich but thrifty people to donate money to the university. For years many at the university had thought that East Hall (the university’s first dormitory for women) was simply called that because of its location. Raymond Fleck set the story straight here.

As my friends move away or die I find it pleasant and rewarding to understand the making of new friends - in particular my friendship to Raymond Fleck. When he was Brother Raymond there was an unfathomable gulf between us. It has dissolved. Brother Edwin would simply say to me, “I told you so. It’s math.”

And here is a clarification of it all from Raymond Fleck:

I first went to St. Ed's in 1954, to teach Chemistry at the University. Three years later, at 30 years of age, I became President. The office of the President was across the hall from the High School Principal's office. In those days, the President was the Religious Superior of all the Brothers assigned to the High School and the University. In 1964, the office of Religious Superior was separated from the President position. I continued as President of the University, and Brother Romard Barthel (a long-time teacher of Physics at the University) became Religious Superior of the Brothers assigned to the University. In addition to continuing as Principal, Brother Peter Celestine Maranto became Religious Superior of the Brothers assigned to the High School.The 1960s were often times of chaos and personal trial. I left St. Ed's and its presidency in 1969, and left the Brothers of Holy Cross in 1970.

Here is my LinkedIn profile summary:
A native of Brooklyn, NY, Ray graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School. He enlisted in the Navy while he was 17, towards the end of WW II, and served for 18 months, ending up as an Aviation Electronics Technician. A life-long member of the Catholic Church, he served in the Brothers of Holy Cross for 22 years, including 12 years as President of St. Edward's University in Austin, TX. After leaving St. Edward's and the Brothers, Ray engaged in research in environmental chemistry at UC Davis, served as President of Marygrove College in Detroit, MI for seven years, and worked in research administration at UC Davis and at Cal Poly Pomona. He retired in 1995 after 41 years of service in higher education.

Lee Lytton III

Mike East


Joseph Haydn Of An Intimate Sort
Sunday, January 25, 2015

Robert Bringhurst, Marc Destrubé, Tanya Tomkins, Stephen Creswell, Linda Melsted at the Orpheum Annex

Growing up in the 50s unless you heard classical music stations on the radio (not too many in the cities of my youth, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Austin) this sort of music was something that almost did not exist. It did for me because my mother played Chopin, Bach and Beethoven on the piano.

To me it seems that this divergence between popular music and classical music changed with Miles Davis and his 1960 album Sketches of Spain and The Swingle Singers in their 1962 Jazz Sebastian Bach. It seems that Bach lovers were able to tolerate Bach scatted, but personally I was never able to stomach Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto the Aranjuez again. Versions appeared in just about every instrument combination possible and thankfully Ladysmith Black Mambazo had enough acumen to avoid their interpretation of the Spanish classic.

Marc Destrubé, Matthew White, Jan Zwicky

It was in those years of the 60s until even now when you might hear someone say, “If Bach were here he would have approved of that.” I think that most overstimate that dour Lutheran. I have jazz trumpet man Dizzy Gillespie playing the mouth-harp but I am happy to state here that Bach would not have to approve any of his compositions interpreted on the mouth harp. I have not found any.
All the above is simply an overture to point out that Early Music Vancouver’s production of Joseph Haydn’s Seven Last Words, Op. 51 for string quartet (1787) held at the intimate Orpheum Annex last night was most contemporary and yet not a note was changed and no strange instruments were to be seen anywhere.

What made the work viscerally immediate was the collaboration between the musicians, Marc Destrubé, violin, Linda Melsted, violin, Stephen Creswell, viola and Tanya Tomkins, cello with the poet duo (husband and wife) Robert Bringhurst and Jan Zwicky.

Robert Bringhurst, Tanya Tomkins, Stephen Creswell at Green College

There were intense days of planning between the quartet and the duo at the duo’s home on Quadra Island. The result was an exquisite evening of very intimate music with poems written just for the occasion that were based in spirit to Christ’s last words on the cross. Bringhurst and Zwicky shifted the focus from the crucifixion of one man to the current, (in their words) crucifixion of the earth.
The quartet played quietly and only the ninth and last movement Conclusion (Presto e con tutta la forza) – in E-flat major, pulled the stops. Before that movement, from our table (night club type of seating, dead centre, front row), I could distinctly hear Destrubé play magnificent harmonics on his 1685 anonymous Brescia Rogieri school instrument. Violist Genevieve MacKay, who sat in the back of the room insisted she heard them, too.

Our seats at the Orpheum Annex

Bringhurst has an odd but most attractive reading voice and cadence. His Ss are long and his baritone voice crystal clear. Philosopher/poet/ violinist Zwicky has a no nonsense delivery and equally good diction. That she seemed to look just to me (probably felt by all others in the room) made her reading that much more daunting.

At Green College

The concert, a Haydn concert changed my silly and most personal opinions on the composer. I may have shared them with a strong donor to the early music movement in Vancouver how cuts off all music after the death of Bach. I was most surprised to see this donor at a November concert of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra smile and sway to the music of a String Quartet in F major by Roman Hofstetter (1742-1815). It seems that this lovely quartet with an immensely popular second movement (of four) Serenata (andante cantabile) was all until recently attributed to Joseph Haydn and known as his Op3. no 5.


My conversion to Haydn came about by two CDs that I treasure. Until I heard these two, the Zukerman on CBC Radio, for me (how wrong I was!) Haydn was the bombastic and loud composer of symphonies that seemed to overuse (to this idiot) the tympani. It was the third movement, very quiet it is, Menuetto of the 22nd Symphony that transported me (paradoxically, but I am not sure now) to the repetitive (but appealing to me) music of Steve Reich. The Menuetto seems to end here to begin there all over again, and it goes, on and on and is most lovely. The 7 movements (not the Introduzione or Conclusion) of Haydn’s Seven Last Words had lots of these almost endings and soft beginnings in a row.
The Destrubé/Pacific Baroque Orchestra (a smaller orchestra not a big symphonic one) CD introduced me to the quiet and more intimate Haydn. I am now a fan. If I had the money to donate to Early Music Vancouver I would with the stipulation of perhaps presenting the Missa in Angustiis ("Mass for troubled times") or "Nelson Mass" (Hob. XXII:11).

That there is no written record of the Bringhurst/Zwicky poems is a shame. My chances of ever hearing this work live again (but then I did hear it on Thursday at Green College!) are next to none. The same applies to all the baroque classics that Early Music Vancouver has brought to our Vancouver. Like Vancouver modern dance and the music of local new music composers it is stuff that will remain in my memory for a long time (in what remains in my 72 years of existence).

Robert Bringhurst

The concert was special for another reason. The instruments used were used in the manner of the 18th century. They had gut strings (sheathed more modernly in metal). You might have noticed that the violinists and the violist had no chin rests. These instruments, usually played in the smaller venues of the 18th century (the private chambers of kings and princes) were less loud than the beefed up instruments that followed in the 19th century and into our times. Many would say that the sound of baroque string instruments is warmer and more subtle. The difference between the baroque violins and the ones used for 19th to contemporary times are so different that Marc Destrubé told me that if he went to a Microcosmos String Quartet concert (he heads it) to play Britten and found himself with the baroque violin he would have to return home for the modern one.

I wondered about the metal endpin (I call it a spike) of Tanya Tomkins's cello. Usually to this amateur enthusiast this is how I discern the difference between the modern cello with endpin and the baroque without. I asked violist Stephen Creswell who explained that my idea that baroque cellos do not have endpins is not entirely correct. The endpin was known by the beginning of the 19th century. Tomkins's cello is indeed a baroque cello (Lockey Hill, London 1798) but she has the endpin (which Creswell said was usually ivory or wood) because of the added strain of not playing with an endpin if you have either a bad back or neck pains. It would seem that Tomkins's busy schedule has forced her to go with that endpin.

The harmonics that I heard Marc Destrubé play were explained thusly by Creswell:
As for harmonics, I perused the score frequently over the last week and never saw any indications from Haydn. I think Marc was performing in the moment, ad libitum.

Many years ago my friend, writer Les Wiseman told me, "Write about that which you know. And if you don't ask someone who knows." Stephen Creswell has weighed in why I may find links between that fave of mine Haydn's Symphony No 22 called the Philosopher the Last Seven Words:

Haydn’s Symphony No 22 in E-Flat major and his Opus 51 Seven Last words don't seem related by melody or any fragment of motive to me--but what is interesting is the timbre of the English horns and natural horns as scored in the minuet, with strings below in quarter notes, is something we seem to have replicated in Sonata II, with Marc's violin sounding a little like those English horns, as Tanya's cello anchored the sound with possibly some horn overtones, and the bow-stroke we were using, very dry and articulate, contributing as well.

The first movement of "Philosopher" is scored with muted violins, and Sonata VII is likewise. Sonata VII also features the violins playing like two natural horns. So that may increase a listener's affinity to link the two works.

At this time of the year there is a lot of coughing at concerts. I have a chronic one because of my arthritis medicine. For the last three years I have depended on Fisherman's Friends (lemon flavour). Because Lemon-Flavoured Fisherman's Friends (light yellow packaging) does not contain sugar or is as strong as the classic one you can have one of these (I choose to halve them) in your mouth without heartburn. They are most effective at concerts and the theatre. Without a tin (a Lee Valley Fridge Super Magnet container) of these I could not have enjoyed Haydn's Seven Last Words with confidence.

La Mujer Detrás Del Antifaz
Saturday, January 24, 2015

(De ante- y faz).

 1. m. Velo, máscara o cosa semejante con que se cubre la cara, especialmente la parte que rodea los ojos.
Real Academia Española © Todos los derechos reservados

La mujer detrás del antifaz
Julianne  Austin

Buenos  Aires

Emma Bourke es una de esas mujeres que, gracias a su atractivo, -si es que lo tiene oculto debajo de su anticuado estilo-, pasa desapercibida totalmente.

Emma es secretaria desde hace tres años de Tristan Cole, su jefe y uno de esos hombres que, definitivamente, cualquier mujer con ojos en la cara se voltearía para ver.

Tristan es guapo por donde se lo mire; divertido, galante, seductor hasta el hartazgo, y también un mujeriego sin remedio. Y Emma, inexorablemente, se enamoró de él casi desde el mismo día en el que fue contratada por Cole Publicists...

Pero tal parece que Tristan tiene ojos para cualquier modelito que lleve faldas... o pantalones bien ajustados. A decir verdad, él tiene ojos para cualquier fémina alta, delgada, rubia y hermosa, use la ropa que use... Pero nunca alguien como Emma Bourke.

Es en el baile de máscaras que organiza la empresa, a beneficio de un hospital materno-infantil, que Emma decide por una sola noche, dejar su ropa pasada de moda y lucir prendas seductoras.

Tristan se ve atraído por aquella diosa de curvas dignas de provocar un infarto y se dedica toda la noche a seducirla, aunque en ningún momento puede averiguar la identidad de la mujer detrás del antifaz.

Emma supone que las cosas para Tristan seguirán como siempre: conquista, noche de pasión, un ramo de flores al otro día y después, ¡si te he visto, no me acuerdo!

We Wear The Mask That Grins And Lies
Friday, January 23, 2015

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,--
This debt we pay to human guile;

With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile

Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,

We wear the mask!
Emily Dickinson

It was not death for I stood alone
The Music in the Violin Does Not Emerge Alone
I tend my flowers for thee
Lavinia Norcross Dickinson
Pray gather me anemone! 
Ample make her bed
His caravan of red 
Me-come! My dazzled face  
Develops pearl and weed

But peers beyond her mesh
Surgeons must be very careful
Water is taught by thirst
I could not prove that years had feet
April played her fiddle
A violin in Baize replaced
I think the longest hour
The spirit lasts





Previous Posts
The Argyle Sweater Induced Me to Laugh So Hard I C...

Going Home Again

The Disinterested Assassin: Bill Harrigan

Brother Raymond Fleck, C.S.C. - Call Me Ray

Joseph Haydn Of An Intimate Sort

La Mujer Detrás Del Antifaz

We Wear The Mask That Grins And Lies

Bullet Catch - A Wonder Of An Ilusión

Haydn’s Seven Last Words – Crucifixion of the Eart...

Little Dancer Aged 14 Grows Up

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4/22/12 - 4/29/12

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12/30/12 - 1/6/13

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1/27/13 - 2/3/13

2/3/13 - 2/10/13

2/10/13 - 2/17/13

2/17/13 - 2/24/13

2/24/13 - 3/3/13

3/3/13 - 3/10/13

3/10/13 - 3/17/13

3/17/13 - 3/24/13

3/24/13 - 3/31/13

3/31/13 - 4/7/13

4/7/13 - 4/14/13

4/14/13 - 4/21/13

4/21/13 - 4/28/13

4/28/13 - 5/5/13

5/5/13 - 5/12/13

5/12/13 - 5/19/13

5/19/13 - 5/26/13

5/26/13 - 6/2/13

6/2/13 - 6/9/13

6/9/13 - 6/16/13

6/16/13 - 6/23/13

6/23/13 - 6/30/13

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7/7/13 - 7/14/13

7/14/13 - 7/21/13

7/21/13 - 7/28/13

7/28/13 - 8/4/13

8/4/13 - 8/11/13

8/11/13 - 8/18/13

8/18/13 - 8/25/13

8/25/13 - 9/1/13

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9/8/13 - 9/15/13

9/15/13 - 9/22/13

9/22/13 - 9/29/13

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11/17/13 - 11/24/13

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12/1/13 - 12/8/13

12/8/13 - 12/15/13

12/15/13 - 12/22/13

12/22/13 - 12/29/13

12/29/13 - 1/5/14

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1/12/14 - 1/19/14

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2/2/14 - 2/9/14

2/9/14 - 2/16/14

2/16/14 - 2/23/14

2/23/14 - 3/2/14

3/2/14 - 3/9/14

3/9/14 - 3/16/14

3/16/14 - 3/23/14

3/23/14 - 3/30/14

3/30/14 - 4/6/14

4/6/14 - 4/13/14

4/13/14 - 4/20/14

4/20/14 - 4/27/14

4/27/14 - 5/4/14

5/4/14 - 5/11/14

5/11/14 - 5/18/14

5/18/14 - 5/25/14

5/25/14 - 6/1/14

6/1/14 - 6/8/14

6/8/14 - 6/15/14

6/15/14 - 6/22/14

6/22/14 - 6/29/14

6/29/14 - 7/6/14

7/6/14 - 7/13/14

7/13/14 - 7/20/14

7/20/14 - 7/27/14

7/27/14 - 8/3/14

8/3/14 - 8/10/14

8/10/14 - 8/17/14

8/17/14 - 8/24/14

8/24/14 - 8/31/14

8/31/14 - 9/7/14

9/7/14 - 9/14/14

9/14/14 - 9/21/14

9/21/14 - 9/28/14

9/28/14 - 10/5/14

10/5/14 - 10/12/14

10/12/14 - 10/19/14

10/19/14 - 10/26/14

10/26/14 - 11/2/14

11/2/14 - 11/9/14

11/9/14 - 11/16/14

11/16/14 - 11/23/14

11/23/14 - 11/30/14

11/30/14 - 12/7/14

12/7/14 - 12/14/14

12/14/14 - 12/21/14

12/21/14 - 12/28/14

12/28/14 - 1/4/15

1/4/15 - 1/11/15

1/11/15 - 1/18/15

1/18/15 - 1/25/15

1/25/15 - 2/1/15