Rodney Sharman - New Music For Old Instruments
Saturday, January 14, 2017
|Rodney Sharman February 14 2017 and Left November 1996|
With so many dead composers on record, CD and live-streaming
these days it is always a pleasure to meet a real one. One of these rare species is Vancouver composer Rodney
Sharman. About him here is his short but substantial bio:
Rodney Sharman lives
in Vancouver, BC. He has been Composer-in-Residence with the Victoria Symphony,
the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. In
addition to concert music, Rodney Sharman writes music for cabaret, opera and
dance. He works regularly with choreographer James Kudelka, for whom he has
written scores for Oregon Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet and Coleman Lemieux & Co. (Toronto). Sharman
was awarded First Prize in the 1984 CBC Competition for Young Composers and the
1990 Kranichsteiner Prize in Music, Darmstadt, Germany. His score for the
music-dance-theatre piece, From The House Of Mirth, won the 2013 Dora Mavor
Moore Award for outstanding sound design/composition (choreography by James
Kudelka, text by Alex Poch Goldin after Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth). He
was a 2014 Djerassi Artist-in-Residence, Woodside, California.
I first met Sharman in November 1996 when I was assigned by
the Globe& Mail
to photograph him. Since then I often see him at new music concerts and old
music concerts. We have obviously both become older but there is one difference
which you might discern in the photographs here. He now has a very large beard.
In my Kitsilano home today Saturday January 14 he asked my
granddaughter Lauren, 14, if his beard was symmetrical. Apparently it was not
and off he went to a mirror with his comb to set things right.
The two concerts feature a smaller ensemble on the 25th
and the one on the 28th
has the full Pacific Baroque Orchestra with
the stellar appearance of countertenor Reginald Mobley
(both Sharman and I are
extreme fans of this Bostonian who wears spats). That he can sing jazz while
being accompanied by harpsichordist and Artistic Director of the Pacific
Baroque Orchestra, Alexander Weimann
who just happens to be a maestro at the piano is something
to savour. You will hear them together. Sharman has written and arranged some
songs for the man.
New Music for Old Instruments January 25, 2017 7:30 (Pre-concert talk) Christ Church Cathedral
New Music for Old Instruments II
- Saturday , Jan 28, 7:30 PM (Pre-concert talk 6:45) Christ Church Cathedral
Why is Sharman holding two instruments? Closest to him is the instrument he plays. It is modern recorder made to be a copy of an old one. The other instrument is a wooden Irish flute - Coyne - Dublin that was brought from Ireland by my wife's ancestors. According to Sharman this is a baroque flute very much like one from the time of Bach.
Rebecca Wenham Revisited
Friday, January 13, 2017
|Rebecca Wenham - Mamiya RB-67 Pro-SD Kodak Portra 160 Colour Negative Film|
There are two other blogs that featured Vancouver cellist
Rebecca (Becky) Wenham. They are this one
and this one.
But this blog is not about our wonderful Becky. It is about
photography but also in some way it involves physics.
We all know that you cannot put more than one object (or
person) in the same space. Ancillary to this idea is that one photograph, no
matter how you fix it or manipulate it; the result will be just variations of
the same thing. This is, that one photograph.
My photographer friends either make fun or do not understand
when I tell them that although I have a very good digital camera, a mirrorless
Fuji X-E1 I have not abandoned my use of my film cameras.
There are some shoots
where I have used:
The Fuji, a Mamiya RB-67 with b+w on one back and colour
negative on another, plus very carefully I might shoot one exposure in colour
and one in b+w using the now discontinued Fuji Instant Film on two separate
backs on that Mamiya. Then I might use a couple of Nikon FM-2s, one with b+w
and the other in colour negative. I have a wonderful rectilinear 20mm wide
angle so I might also load up the Pentax MX it goes with.
|Rebecca Wenham - Mamiya RB-67 Pro-SD Kodak Portra 160 Colour Negative Film|
My idea is that I never get the same photograph. The act of
picking up a different camera and focusing, while my subject adjusts, means
that no picture will ever be an exact duplicate of another.
When I had my plan to photograph Rebecca Wenham I immediately
discounted the use of b+w film. She is a lovely redhead. She is also a very
busy musician so I had to make it as simple as I could so as not to tire her.
So in the end I shot some pictures with the Fuji using two lighting
setups. In one I used a ringflash and in the other a softbox. With the same two
lighting setups I loaded a Mamiya with colour negative and shot two Fuji Colour
Instant Film shots. You can compare and decide.
Linda Lost & Found
Thursday, January 12, 2017
While I am alive I want to know where every picture I ever
took is. This is both unreasonable and unlikely. There are many photographs that I took with my first
couple of cameras that I cannot find.
Loss can be
random and yet I remember moving from one little apartment to another with my
Rosemary around 169 when my best pipe, an English Bewlay given to me by my
Argentine uncle Fred Hayward and one record, Miles Davis-Kind of Blue
disappeared from our moving van. I will never know if those two Mexicans from a
small moving van company knew what they had taken.
of negatives that you see here I lost approximately 10 years ago and every time
I remember the loss I feel like crying. Who do painters cope with the selling
of an original work?
photographs are of Argentine model Linda Lorenzo with whom my friends and
Argentine painters Juan Manuel Sánchez and Linda Lorenzo worked in a project of
“colaboración that we called Nostalgia. We had a grand gallery show of our
contact sheet (in this case the scanned negatives) in which I used Kodak B+W
Infrared Film the theme was the Borges labyrinth and the other posing with an
Argentine ostrich egg. Lorenzo had
fabulous curves so I could not resist sliding of the theme. The Borges
labyrinth is interpreted with Lorenzo posing in a sofa with the sofa itself
part of two painting by Sánchez and Patrich.
I found the negatives between my alphabetized files. Somehow I had returned them without putting then in the file in question labeled, Lorenzo, Linda.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
|Granaderos de San Martín - Plaza de Mayo - April 2016. Equestrian statue of San Martín on extreme right|
Finality has been a word in my mind in my days awake and
my days asleep in my dreams.
I was unaware of this word but I had a hint in my memory
when I was 12 in Buenos Aires as I had gone to a few velorios (wakes) and seen dead neighbours in their coffins. When
Eva Perón had died on July 27 1952 it was impossible not to be met with the
idea of death. In movies all the newsreels featured her death and her capilla ardiente (translates to burning
chapel) an Argentine term for an elaborate wake. It was during the transporting
of her coffin on the street surrounded by crying Argentines that I first
discovered Beethoven and Chopin because of their funeral music.
But it was in 1954 shortly before we moved from Buenos
Aires to Mexico City when I realized that I might be leaving Buenos Aires and
to never return. I asked my mother to take me to town and have her buy me some
lead shoulders that featured Granaderos
de San Martín, who were the special guard and elite soldiers of General Don
José de San Martín, a brilliant soldier who liberated Argentina, Chile and Perú
(the latter two countries might not agree with me, so be it). The ones I wanted
had the soldiers on white horses (San Martín’s horse was white but nobody ever
documented the animal’s name) with lances.
I wanted them because I knew I would never be able to
have them. Alas! They disappeared in the multiple moves thereafter.
Now at my age of 74 I look at everything almost as if I
were a soon-to-be blind man. I am trying to enjoy what might not be possible
tomorrow if I happened to die today.
In my memory, a sad and troubling one is a chat I had
with my good friend Mark Budgen (he died
22 October 2015) who told me how many more books I would be lucky to read
before my death. He said, “You have to be awfully selective.”
And so I am going with Rosemary and Lauren to Buenos
Aires this March. Most important is to visit my 92-year-old first cousin and
godmother Inecita O’Reilly Kuker. Her mind is beginning to wander so this may
be the last time we have lucid chat and she meets Lauren who is looking forward
to listening to a woman who talks like the Queen of England. I also think that
this could be a parting gift of culture and family tradition from us to Lauren,
who at age 14 will be exposed to a really foreign country.
On the 23 of December our beloved Malibu’s engine failed.
We had to buy a new car. Our new car is a 2017 Chevrolet Cruze that is a lovely
car, smooth and quiet but does not (Alas!) have a horn like our Malibu’s. Our
Cruze’s is definitely a plain honk.
But I find the purchase symmetrical. In 1975 we moved to
Vancouver from Mexico City in our Mexican-made VW Beetle. I have found out that
our new Cruze was made in Mexico. I am delighted. After all I found my Rosemary
in Mexico and our two daughters were born there.
I believe that our metallic light blue/silver car will be
the last car I ever buy. Today Lauren suggested we name her Penelope. I knew
that Lauren is beginning to understand her grandfather’s humour. Think of a
famous Spanish actress.
Elizabeth Aird & Her Fishnets Revisited
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Yesterday I had lunch with my friend John Lekich, an old time journalist, freelance writer and novelist. While paying a pleasant visit to Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks
the subject of restaurant critics came up and Lekich mentioned one about the Vancouver Sun's
former restaurant critic (and many other things she did) Elizabeth Aird. Lekich reminded me of a sore point and that is that his favourite photo of Aird was one that I took ( blog below and picture above) where the Vancouver Sun, alas lost all my original slides. But in spite of that sore point it was pleasant to remember something from our city's receding memory before constant change became the alienating mantra that is in our face now.
And having Leckich's face on the other side at our booth at Fable Diner
on Broadway (at Main) was also a most pleasant experience. It sure beats Facebook.
Elizabeth Aird & Her Fishnets
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Today I read John Mackie's obituary. Sun reporter and columnist
Elizabeth Aird is dead at 50. Of her, editor-in-chief Patricia Graham
says,"Elizabeth was quick-witted and clever. Often frustrating but
always endearing, she was a marvellous writer who had a sweet nature but
wrote with the stong voice of a truly independent thinker."
I don't know of anybody who would find fault with that. I would only add
that Elizabeth was the sexiest reporter that ever worked for the Vancouver Sun
Not only that, she had the finest legs, too! One of reporter John
Armstrong's first pieces for the Sun, in the middle 90s, was one on the
vintage furniture store on West Pender (now gone) Metropolitan Home. To
illustrate the article Armstrong convinced Aird to pose in fishnets on a
swank lounge chair. That photograph refreshed my libido for weeks.
It was at the end of March 2000 that I received a phone call from Jim
Sutherland, then editor of the Vancouver Sun's Saturday magazine, Mix
. He had written an essay in defence of Vancouver Magazine's
annual restaurant awards. He wanted me to take a picture to illustrate
the concept of an anonymus restaurant critic. I thought I heard wrong
when he told me that Elizabeth Aird had volunteered for the shot. I
asked him to repeat that. When I showed up at the Sun newsroom Aird
looked at me and told me, "I only found out about this this morning.
There is no time to buy fishnets." I could only stare at her black
stockings and pumps as we went downstairs to Aqua Riva.
Sometimes my filing system works and sometimes not. I found Elizabeth's picture and article under Restaurant Critic
but there were no slides or negs in the folder. But this will do even
though I recall that the racier ones were vetted by the Sun photo
editor. If anything (if you notice she is writing in a notepad under the
table) this picture to me conveys Aird's joy for life.
The Liquifaction of Her Clothes - Robert Herrick
Monday, January 09, 2017
In my first
year of university at the University of the Americas in Mexico City in 1963 I
took English Literature with a professor (I have long forgotten his name) who
looked like Robert Frost with glasses. He was a personal friend of Frost, and knew
Faulkner and Steinbeck well. He would drone on and on about these men and many
of us thought he was a bore. I sat in the back row not understanding that in
many ways this man set me up to appreciate literature. As I look at the text
book now I am amazed at how much I underlined and of the notes I wrote in so
many pages. How was I to know then that I was getting a lifelong education from
scanned this Fuji b+w Instant peel of Caitlin Legault today, I wondered what I could
possibly find in my Theme and Form. I found this by a poet more famous for
another poem, this one. What I noticed and seems to go well with my compound
Herrick – Upon Julia’s Clothes
in silks my Julia goes,
then (me thinks) how sweetly flows
of her clothes.
when I cast mine eyes and see
brave vibration, each way free,
that glittering taketh me!
Tu Más Profunda Piel - Julio Cortázar
Sunday, January 08, 2017
|Caitlin Legault - Fuji Instant B+W Print|
In this increasingly uniform world of globalization I can
still reach moments of complete separation from all those Starbucks in
Indonesia or MacDonald’s in El Salvador. I can peer into, as an example below,
an erotic story by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar,that is all about a woman’s
skin and Virginia tobacco. That I no longer smoke (pipes and cigars) does not
mean I must abandon my erstwhile erotic view on women smoking and sharing a cigarette
(a pastel papered Balcan Sobranie) with a beautiful woman. I can remember times
when gender was simpler. It was either one or the other. I am now at my age
liberal in my views to accept all those other ones. But I will not let go my memories of the past that involve Argentine writers (in this case Cortázar) in
a café in Paris reminiscing of past and soon to be past love affairs.
It is this uniqueness of thinking in another language
that alleviates the sameness of our present world. In my case it is Spanish and
I must state here that I have not found this lovely story translated into
English. Many of the books in Spanish in Argentine bookstores are Stephen King’s
or Danielle Steel. There is no reason why book publishers in English should
In March, during the spring break Rosemary, our 14 year-old
granddaughter, and I are traveling to Buenos Aires. I want to immerse Lauren
into another culture, different to what she has encountered in trips to Seattle
and places beyond in the United States. It might, I hope, widen her perception
of the world and make her remember one day when I am long dead and gone, that
she once went to this wonderful place where she shared some medias lunas and a submarine
(a tall glass with a long spoon, with a large bar of dark chocolate into which
very hot milk is poured). I am sure she will be a better person for it as will
I be come March.
I explain my personal connection with Cortázar here
and my love of Borges and other writers who write in Spanish.
Tu más Profunda
Piel – Julio Cortázar
Cada memoria enamorada guarda sus magdalenas y la mía -sábelo, allí donde
estés- es el perfume del tabaco rubio que me devuelve a tu espigada noche, a la
ráfaga de tu más profunda piel. No el tabaco que se aspira, el humo que tapiza
las gargantas, sino esa vaga equívoca fragancia que deja la pipa, en los dedos
y que en algún momento, en algún gesto inadvertido, asciende con su látigo de
delicia para encabritar tu recuerdo, la sombra de tu espalda contra el blanco
velamen de las sábanas.
No me mires desde la ausencia con esa gravedad
un poco infantil que hacia de tu rostro una máscara de joven faraón nubio. Creo
que siempre estuvo entendido que sólo nos daríamos el placer y las fiestas
livianas del alcohol y las calles vacías de la medianoche. De ti tengo más que
eso, pero en el recuerdo me vuelves desnuda y volcada, nuestro planeta más
preciso fue esa cama donde lentas, imperiosas geografías iban naciendo de
nuestros viajes, de tanto desembarco amable o resistido de embajadas con cestos
de frutas o agazapados flecheros, y cada pozo, cada río, cada colina y cada
llano los hallamos en noches extenuantes, entre oscuros parlamentos de aliados
o enemigos. ¡Oh viajera de ti misma, máquina de olvido! Y entonces me paso la
mano por la cara con un gesto distraído y el perfume del tabaco en mis dedos te
trae otra vez para arrancarme a este presente acostumbrado, te proyecta
antílope en la pantalla de ese lecho donde vivimos las interminables rutas de
un efímero encuentro.
Yo aprendía contigo lenguajes paralelos: el de
esa geometría de tu cuerpo que me llenaba la boca y las manos de teoremas
temblorosos, el de tu hablar diferente, tu lengua insular que tantas veces me
confundía. Con el perfume del tabaco vuelve ahora un recuerdo preciso que lo
abarca todo en un instante que es como un vórtice, sé que dijiste " Me da
pena, y yo no comprendí porque nada creía que pudiera apenarte en esa maraña de
caricias que nos volvía ovillo blanco y negro, lenta danza en que el uno pesaba
sobre el otro para luego dejarse invadir por la presión liviana de unos muslos,
de unos brazos, rotando blandamente y desligándose hasta otra vez ovillarse y
repetir las caída desde lo alto o lo hondo, jinete o potro arquero o gacela,
hipogrifos afrontados, delfines en mitad del salto. Entonces aprendí que la pena
en tu boca era otro nombre del pudor y la vergüenza, y que no te decidías a mi
nueva sed que ya tanto habías saciado, que me rechazabas suplicando con esa
manera de esconder los ojos, de apoyar el mentón en la garganta para no dejarme
en la boca más que el negro nido de tu pelo.
Dijiste "Me da pena, sabes", y
volcada de espaldas me miraste con ojos y senos, con labios que trazaban una
flor de lentos pétalos. Tuve que doblarte los brazos, murmurar un último deseo
con el correr de las manos por las más dulces colinas, sintiendo como poco a
poco cedías y te echabas de lado hasta rendir el sedoso muro de tu espalda
donde un menudo omóplato tenía algo de ala de ángel mancillado. Te daba pena, y
de esa pena iba a nacer el perfume que ahora me devuelve a tu vergüenza antes
de que otro acorde, el último, nos alzara en una misma estremecida réplica. Sé
que cerré los ojos, que lamí la sal de tu piel, que descendí volcándote hasta
sentir tus riñones como el estrechamiento de la jarra donde se apoyan las manos
con el ritmo de la ofrenda; en algún momento llegué a perderme en el pasaje
hurtado y prieto que se llegaba al goce de mis labios mientras desde tan allá,
desde tu país de arriba y lejos, murmuraba tu pena una última defensa
el perfume del tabaco rubio en los dedos asciende otra vez el balbuceo, el
temblor de ese oscuro encuentro, sé que una boca buscó la oculta boca
estremecida, el labio único ciñéndose a su miedo, el ardiente contorno rosa y
bronce que te libraba a mi más extremo viaje. Y como ocurre siempre, no sentí
en ese delirio lo que ahora me trae el recuerdo desde un vago aroma de tabaco,
pero esa musgosa fragancia, esa canela de sombra hizo su camino secreto a
partir del olvido necesario e instantáneo, indecible juego de la carne oculta a
la conciencia lo que mueve las más densas, implacables máquinas del fuego. No
eras sabor ni olor, tu más escondido país se daba como imagen y contacto, y
sólo hoy unos dedos casualmente manchados de tabaco me devuelven el instante en
que me enderecé sobre ti para lentamente reclamar las llaves de pasaje, forzar
el dulce trecho donde tu pena tejía las últimas defensas ahora que con la boca
hundida en la almohada sollozabas una súplica de oscura aquiescencia, de
derramado pelo. Más tarde comprendiste y no hubo pena, me cediste la ciudad de
tu más profunda piel desde tanto horizonte diferente, después de fabulosas
máquinas de sitio y parlamentos y batallas. En esta vaga vainilla de tabaco que
hoy me mancha los dedos se despierta la noche en que tuviste tu primera, tu
última pena. Cierro los ojos y aspiro en el pasado ese perfume de tu carne más
secreta, quisiera no abrirlos a este ahora donde leo y fumo y todavía creo