Mark Budgen - 1943 - 22 October 2015
Saturday, October 24, 2015
"An afternoon nap is vastly underrated."
Mark died in the middle of that most underrated activity,
while having an afternoon nap on Thursday.
Ian an I visited Mark about four weeks ago at the hospital
in Oliver and he was at his most acerbic and witty best. It is fitting that my
last memories of my friend since 1977 is that one. I am 73 he was 71 so to find
out today (Saturday) that he is indeed gone is sobering.
I have written about Mark here
, here here
There is nothing more than I can add except
to notice that I am standing on wet sand. The edges are caving in slowly (but seemingly faster) and
I, too will be gone.
I have never given
much thought to the wonders of the siesta. Perhaps Mark, who always knew best,
has taught me something from beyond the grave.
|Mark & Alex in Lima
The Cornettist & A Potato Chip
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Since the early 90s the Roy Barnett Recital Hall
School of Music
has been my avenue into the past and the future.
The paradox is that sometimes that future (of new music) is
not always contemporary music but music from the past. This music of the past, heard with more frequency
in the last few years in Vancouver, music of the early 18th century and of the
turn of the 17th, is so new in that it has been unheard by most (or
at least by me).
While the experts tell me I am wrong I insist that the
popularity (particularly in the Early Music Vancouver
programming these days) of
century has to do with an explosion of new ideas in that
period that some call the Fantastic.
Many of the compositions feature wrong/right notes that pre-figure
Thelonious Monk. They are moments of dissonance more in keeping with this 21st
century or the early years of the 20th
The Wednesday Noon Hours
segment yesterday October 21, at
Barnett Hall was no different in time travel to the past which transferred
magically into an exciting present.
The concert was performed in partnership with
Early Music Vancouver
and featured our very own transplanted Munich-born
and the venerable and best cornetto player in the world,
Of the former I can only in a nutshell mention that he plays
the harpsichord in a virtuoso manner, directs many baroque orchestras
(including the Pacific Baroque Orchestra
with a punctilious (but most pleasantly so players rise to his demand
approach and on the side
he can play one hell of a jazz piano!
Of the latter, the man set the standards for an instrument
(made of wood but with a tiny mouthpiece that is like that of a trumpet) the
cornetto that had its heyday in the 16th
It was a pleasant foil for the
church organ and an instrumental version of the soprano voice. The ascendance
of the violin became its death knell.
|trebble cornettos (they came also as small trebble and tenors)
Dickey is almost singly responsible in bringing back the
instrument into the repertoire of early music.
Dickey is a pleasant low key man who knows his Italian. If anything I noticed that his playing sounded effortless even though the instrument is very difficult to play.
I must interject that I lived with my family in Burnaby from
1975 to 1986 and part of my relative success in editorial (magazine/newspaper)
and annual report photography was the fact that I made my photographs with that
middle-of-the road comprehension that I gave to the inhabitants of Burnaby which
were (in my sole opinion) a few notches above those of Whalley, BC.
So I asked Dickey backstage after the concert, “From the
point of view of this average idiot (me!) how can one tell the difference
between the cornetto and a baroque trumpet?”
Without any condescension he gently answered that the sound was
different (to him perhaps!). I then
asked the question that almost flustered his politeness, “Would any cornetto
player have ever or would ever play Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto?” His answer (I
am not sure there was an answer) was one of someone who if he had known of the
existence of Whalley would have banished me then and there with a “Be gone!”.
The programme listed composers of the 16th and 17th
century. I am familiar with Giovanni Gabrieli (1556-1612) and have heard of
Giovanni Pierlugi da Palestrina (1525-1594) but the others were new (and their
music new and fresh) Ascanio Trombetti (1544-1590), Gioseffo Guarni
(1542-1611), and Antonio Brunelli (1577-1630).
The concert was beautiful, pleasant, surprising, new and
more so since this old 73 year-old was surrounded by the youth of UBC - it all felt new-music/avant-gardish.
But this noonday concert in, all its satisfying menu, had
one snack that hit me ever so nicely.
Alexander Weimann (Dickey sat down) played a Ciaccona by Bernardo
Storace (flourished around 1664). A
ciaccona, sometimes written in its French form Chaconne, was the 17th
and 18th century version of Louie Louie. These ciacconas seem to
have a fixed melody (which like a potato chip I cannot only have one of it) and
then performers improvise in an early form of jazz. I can truthfully write here
that there were moments when I thought Weimann was going to demolish the
For those who might be curious as to exactly a ciaccona is I
have written about it here
And for this man who no longer lives in Burnaby I wish only
that my ex-fellow Burnabites might just give some of this music a chance before
it becomes a rave in Whalley.
Addendum: My fabulous digital Fuji X-E1 has a flaw that I will have to solve with tape. There is a little switch on the front that moves from auto-focus to manual focus on its own volition. That is my excuse for the decided out of focus nature of my portrait of Dickey and Weimann.