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It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!
Dateline: California (an unfashionable, but surprisingly expensive neighborhood, where the residents walk their own dogs, rather than having the servants do it) Monday, November 26, 2018 Tagline: Birthday of Two Famous Pianists and also Madame
Yes, Happy Birthday to You, Robin. And to sassy classic pianist and autobiographer, Earl Wild, and puppeteer Wayland Flowers (and alter-ego Madame, the Notorious).
You just do not see this kind of confluence every day. Were the deities in charge of populating Planet Earth in this year of grace 2018, nibbling at hallucinogenic mushrooms, which lasted longer than they expected? All the way to showtime?
One can only guess at such things. I will admit that the odds may be very long, not only in shaking loose with such personalities with such talents, but also in providing each unlikely case with show business jobs which paid good money; a whole career's worth. That is a rarity, ask anyone.
While we muse, Robin quietly lifts us up into her own special domain, carrying along all who hear in a cloud, knit by her own inner feeling and her skill.
Apologies for not checking in here sooner. Life, you know. I've been dealing with some serious family health issues, but all is well on the work front; I continue to play in the five star trench of my lovely Excelsior Hotel Ernst in Cologne, Germany, next to the cathedral. Occasionally, a wedding gig gets tossed in my direction and I think of all of you. The drama, the romance, the comedy, the music.
My next book, which includes some of the stories I've posted here over the past few years, will be published by Backbeat Books (Rowman & Littlefield) in fall, 2020. My streaming audience continues to grow and I was recently astonished to learn I have over 120 million listeners on Pandora. Evidently the world needs more quiet solo piano music, a good thing since that's pretty much all I play. But seriously, who would have thought I'd hit age 62 and have a recording career?
It's been almost ten years since I had my own "It's been awhile" post, also following a serious health issue. People were awfully kind to me here at a time when every little "lift" was appreciated. I am happy to say that I am still here and also 62 years old, within a mere couple of weeks of Robin, if memory serves.
I very much hope that Robin's report of traveling and playing gigs is a clue that things are easing a bit for her family. Her particular gifts have given me a lot of pleasure on this forum, even though I drifted away. I encourage anyone who has just stumbled on this thread to consider taking a couple of weeks to read through it. Hey, what else do you have to do with your time?
Actually, I have a few ideas. Musicians, especially musicians who have other jobs, can use the enforced spare time to play their instrument - or several. Confining me to this room:
I have recorded several things that could reasonably be called "compositions", but more often I put together experiments, little etudes that allow me to play with a whole band, even if the whole band is usually me. In addition to a recent fascination with things you can bang on, I have been promising myself that I would eventually learn to play bass for at least 30 years. I finally bought one about two years ago. So I throw something together to play bass to. Or guitar. Or an excuse to use the Melodica or Udu.
Here's my latest etude. There's no "head" - at least not yet. Just a series of changes to jam on here in the current Covid-19 capital of the USA. The various parts step all over each other, and there are outright errors. But I am having a blast fooling around with it. Piano, Guitar, Bass, Djembe.
I have also recently embarked on a program to have other people play on my tunes. That plan temporarily on hiatus, of course. But I am writing tunes specifically for my friends to play on. I'm working on a piece for French Horn, one that uses it in a less traditional combination of instruments - another thing I have grown fond of in my dotage.
Speaking of old age, here's my best advice: To whatever degree you are able, do stuff. Refinish that end table, or read the stack of books that's been building up on it. Go for a (rude, antisocial) walk. Play your instrument(s). We're all eating in, so try a new recipe. Most importantly, check in on your friends; use your technology of choice - the telephone is a tried and true option.
And watch the news sparingly.
Still stuck? Turn to most any page in this thread. Lots of it is old enough to be fresh again.
My best to all.
Last edited by gdguarino; 03/26/2010:51 PM. Reason: typos
And Today in Wedding History: April 9, 2005 at the several times refurbished and recently (then) reopened, Windsor Guildhall:
Wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
December 21, 2005 Same Sex Civil Partnership Ceremony of Sir Elton John and David Furnish
I suppose we should take them in order. Even here, even with sex; even same-sex: A sloppy mess; always has been, always will be. As everyone knows. And don't blame me for bringing up the "S" word; it's on the front page of the invitations. So, everyone already knows, ok? Starting with the engraver's devil and expanding out from there. And if that's not what it's about, THAT is what goes without public mention.
In the case of Prince Charles and the Duchess Camilla, I believe we are safe. Everything that would be guaranteed to make Her Majesty the Queen break out in a rash has already been thoroughly rehearsed in the press, and I do mean thoroughly. Prince Charles's midnight phone calls, rated strictly X and you have to be over 18 to learn the details, unless you can read a newspaper. Randy Andy. You would not think he could be in worse trouble than back in the days of Koo Stark, then the Duchess Sarah (and their divorce and its sequelae). Yet, those visits to Florida with videotape of the prince (oh God) having to do with the underage young lady friends of his buddy, who was perhaps too used to having things all go his way.
Maybe this is the way they provide PR cover to the legacy branch of the royal family. It makes Charles and Camilla look downright innocent, if you leave Princess Diana out of the picture. But, even the briefest summary would have us set out upon far too wide a sea.
So never mind.
Anyway, the Windsor Guildhall is a very venerable place where the public has been served for many centuries. Court has been held there, the Quarter Sessions, harking back to the days when four sessions a year were enough to take care of all the crimes and judicial proceedings (readers of the Sherlock Holmes stories may recognize the custom).
Corn auctions have been held for a long time indeed, on the covered ground floor, the building being raised up upon pillars through many remodelings, yet preserving this important space and function. A couple of renovations before, the building was reopened and rededicated by none other than Princess Elizabeth. Since the formation of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in 1974, the guildhall has been used by the borough council for ceremonies and committee meetings. And on 12 March 2011, the new Windsor and Royal Borough Museum was officially opened in the Guildhall by Her Majesty, the Queen. [Thanks to Wiki for these details.]
So, it is a place of some importance, though at a lower pitch than the doings at Westminster Abbey. It's ok; we've been to the Abbey. And, so much for Charles and Camilla; we already know all about it. Happy anniversary, guys, and congratulations. Perhaps history will be more human in the future.
So that brings us, at last, to the day of the Winter Solstice of 2005, and the "Same Sex Civil Partnership Ceremony of Sir Elton John and David Furnish." That is what it is called; no doubt some shorter name is used in everyday talk. If I tried to make one up, or guess at it, I would only find myself accused of yet another snide or snarky remark. But why should I (other than the too obvious fact that I can hardly stop myself)? Perhaps we are approaching to a more human, or humane, point of historical view.
Was there music? The programme doesn't say. Perhaps it could be said that the principals ARE music, or as good as. Sir Elton's name, merely mentioned, is enough to make the mind think of music. To tell the truth, I know very little else about him, or his personal life. Conservatory grad, seduced by the stage, studio, and concert hall... and now the Guildhall.
Happy anniversary, guys, and congratulations. Perhaps history will be more human in the future. Let us hope.