Yes, it's been quiet around here this past week, for which I apologize. Firstly, I've been up to my neck in work; second, I've been making up for lost time with Dr. LP. And third, I've heard almost no live music since the Met Parsifal I covered just over a week ago.
Instead, I've been rather consumed by words, many of them not my own. Last Friday night, I attended a lovely, intimate memorial tribute to the late British guitarist Derek Bailey at John Zorn's lower east side venue, the Stone. Sitting at a table adorned with roses, photos and other small curios, Karen Brookman, Bailey's longtime companion, started the evening by playing a Dean Martin recording of "That's Amore," citing it as a favorite of Bailey's. The sole performance was by Marc Ribot, who played an unpremeditated, atomized rendition of "Our Love Is Here to Stay" full of Bailey-esque plucks, rattles, shakes and pings, if far more clearly rooted in acoustic blues.
On Sunday evening, I heard words gentle, profound, fierce and infuriating at a reading/conversation by two of my favorite authors, Eduardo Galeano and Arundhati Roy, at Town Hall. Roy read a lengthy passage from the first chapter of her gorgeous novel, The God of Small Things, and Galeano shared a clutch of stories from his somewhat autumnal new collection, Voices of Time. (My TONY review of the Galeano book is here.) The two then proceeded to discuss current events, Galeano puckish, Roy seething. Particularly memorable was the moment when Roy cited Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America, suggesting that it indicated the current state of affairs in India. She went on to offer her services as tour guide to Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times, suggesting that there's no way he could have come to the conclusions he did in a recent series of op-ed columns, had he seen the true face of her nation.
[EDIT: I felt kind of lame writing so little about the Galeano/Roy event, but since I don't have time to expand at the moment, those who are curious should see this entry at Bill Kavanagh's Big Diamond Blog. One other thing I do want to mention is that, although it had been fully three weeks since I'd read the new Galeano book, I was amazed to note that as he read certain of its stories, I recognized every single one of them; details of each text flooded my mind even as he read them aloud. That is how vividly etched his stories are.]
There will be more to report before too long, as I'm currently filling the summer pages of my planner with all manner of musical diversion. Meanwhile, the main reason for this post is to warmly welcome soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird back to active blogosphere duty (as noted yesterday on Vilaine Fille.) The Concert, Bird's behind-the-scenes view of a singer's life is always enlightening and often inspiring. Go have another look...it's duly reposted in the blogroll, to the right.
Robert Fripp - Exposure (DGM expanded reissue)
Derek Bailey, Mick Beck and Paul Hession - Meanwhile, back in Sheffield... (Discus)
Ned Rorem - Pilgrims; Flute Concerto*; Violin Concerto** - Jeffrey Khaner*, Philippe Quint**, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / José Serebrier (Naxos)
Karol Szymanowski - Violin Concerto No. 1; Bohuslav Martinu - Violin Concerto No. 2; Bela Bartók - Two Portraits - Jennifer Koh, Grant Park Orchestra / Carlos Kalmar (Cedille)
Richard Wagner - Excerpts from "The Ring of the Nibelung" - Ben Heppner, Staatskapelle Dresden / Peter Schneider (Deutsche Grammophon)
Hellhammer - Triumph of Death (demo), Satanic Rites (demo), Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D. (Noise)
Celtic Frost - Morbid Tales, To Mega Therion, Into the Pandemonium (all Noise), Monotheist (Century Media)
Richard Wagner - Die Walküre - Astrid Varnay, Gré Brouwenstijn, Ramón Vinay, Josef Greindl, Hans Hotter, Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele / Joseph Keilberth (Testament)