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Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: hplscentury (IP Logged)
Date: 26 July, 2005 07:28PM
calonlan Wrote:

> Never heard of Pratchett

Then you're very lucky. Imagine a third-rate Douglas Adams parodying a fifth-rate Tolkien. Or rather: don't.

Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 30 July, 2005 10:20AM

Interesting comparison - I am devoted to Doug Adams (RIP) - my brother sent me Marvin as a screen saver (had to finally remove it though - Alan Rickman repeating
"I'm so Depressed" got to her) --
Actually at this point in my life I find that I am generally re-reading the books that I have found most rewarding over again in a two year cycle - I also have a group that gathers in a little Taqueria to discuss Shakespeare, and read his stuff -(currently The Tempest is under discussion) - I have introduced these chaps to CAS, and they are passing this on to their students at the Univ. and Comm Coll level.
I also have a group about to do read through "On borrowed Time" - a charming
book,play, movie - (which, incidentally, delighted Clark), and "Shadowlands" -
For extra fun, several talented folk are gathering at my place to begin production of a show we will call "Opera, for people who hate Opera" - performing some fun scenes with commentary - pardon the ramble, but thought perhaps you might share some of your wider intellectual pursuits as well -
drf

Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: voleboy (IP Logged)
Date: 30 July, 2005 04:53PM
calonlan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> pardon the ramble, but thought perhaps you might
> share some of your wider intellectual pursuits as
> well -
> drf

Chris: Brennan is up there. Helps to be writing a bibliography and concordance of him. So's Victor Daley. I'm transcribing his poems onto the internet, on my homepage.

For fun, I'm reading up on banned films, and Germaine Greer on the boy, as well as Todorov on the fantastic. I'm waiting on some books for work.



*Author of Strange Gardens [www.lulu.com]


*Editor of Calenture: a Journal of Studies in Speculative Verse [calenture.fcpages.com]

*Visit my homepage: [voleboy.freewebpages.org]

Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: hplscentury (IP Logged)
Date: 31 July, 2005 01:35PM
calonlan wrote:

> For extra fun, several talented folk are gathering
> at my place to begin production of a show we will
> call "Opera, for people who hate Opera" -
> performing some fun scenes with commentary -
> pardon the ramble, but thought perhaps you might
> share some of your wider intellectual pursuits as
> well -

I'd much rather hear about CAS's musical tastes. What sort of music did he like? Did he play an instrument?



Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 31 July, 2005 04:52PM

Clark did not play an instrument - although we occasionally joked about playing organs - he liked my limerick:

as Mozart composed a sonata,
His maid bent to straighten her garter,
He wrote down with sighs
as he glanced up her thighs,
"Un poco piu appassionata!"

If you check the memoir in "Zagan", you will find reference to the musical milieu of Auburn with which Clark was connected. The Sully family, Marion in particular, were all quite musical, and Clark heard a lot of very respectable stuff performed at their home, and occasionally in other venues in town (churches, school auditoriums, etc). I know that he enjoyed the String quartets and solo, duet, trio works of Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart. I had the pleasure of sharing with him on an old Wollensak reel to reel, a pirated (from rehearsel) performance of the Mahler 6th with Berlin and von Karajan. We played it through twice - myself having translated the German -
"Das Ewig Weiblische, ist uns ein gleichnis..." et al. I also had a reel to reel of myself playing all of the Chopin Etudes - He particularly liked the "Ocean" and the "Revolutionary"; unfortunately, we never were together in a place with a decent piano, so I never was able to play some of the preludes and nocturnes I was sure he would have liked - take that back - I did knock out the eminor one time at the Count's chalet, then sang "Maddamina" from Don Giovanni - the aria that describes the hundreds of lovers Don Juan had all over Europe, "ma in Espana, cangiar mille e
tre" (In spain, a thousand and three) - great sport over the joke on pious Spain.
Clark had also known the Count's wife, opera star Inez Marie Koster (umlaut over the
'O') - and had heard her vocalizing and singing many times when he was out picking fruit for the Portuguese farmer next door to the Count's place.
Thanks for making me think a little - Other things may come to mind, given a little time, if I think of them I'll let you know if you are interested.
drf

Even as I'm about to post, I remembered that, Clark attended with me a performance at the Methodist church by my voice teacher, Oratorio artist Frank Pursell. Frank was considered the foremost Bass in this genre in the country, but this concert was special since he sang it nearly blind - He was one of the first to undergo cataract surgery, and in those days, you had to let them close completely before they could operate - then you had three pairs of glasses (included the coke-bottle thick ones); so when Frank sang "It is enough, O Lord now take away my life!" from Mendelsohn's Elijah, the power and pathos of the performance moved us all and Clark in particular as we discussed this piece all the way back to his place - both he and Carol were overcome with it. Part of the impact of the performance was due to Frank's great presence and authority in the performance - the modern basso, Sam Ramey, looks just like him (Sam is an old friend from my days at the NYCity opera, and is nearing the end of his career -- we will be seeing him in November at Houston Opera singing Boris - and I mention that because I recall in our conversation that Clark mentioned having heard an old '78 of Chaliapin singing Boris one time at the Sully's.

Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: hplscentury (IP Logged)
Date: 1 August, 2005 04:48PM
calonlan wrote:

> I know that he enjoyed the String quartets
> and solo, duet, trio works of Bach, Vivaldi,
> Mozart.

The best of CAS's work has a perfection and necessity that remind me of baroque music: not a syllable is wasted and not a syllable is unneeded.

> I had the pleasure of sharing with him on
> an old Wollensak reel to reel, a pirated (from
> rehearsel) performance of the Mahler 6th with
> Berlin and von Karajan.

Not so sure about Mahler. That's more HPL: dissonant and alien(ated). REH would be Wagner or wilder Beethoven.

What you said about the bass reminds me of Gilbert and Sullivan, who always seem at their best writing for that part. Did CAS, and do you, enjoy G&S?

And go on: answer Kyberean's question. It's a good one, and remember Blake: "Damn braces; bless relaxes."

Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 1 August, 2005 08:52PM

what do you mean you are not sure about Mahler - particularly the 6th -?
You must not assume that you know Clark (or indeed any writer) entirely from his works - Mahler is cosmic in the sweep of his tonality, the magnitude of the sound alone, two orchestras, two choruses, two sets of soloists with sopranos hurling High c's at each other and a children's chorus in the middle? Huge, overpowering, glorious - and Clark loved wallowing in the sound as I did. 2d - basses in G & S - The best of G&S is tenor stuff - I love, and have sung almost all of it on stage, except Iolanthe - I shared with him one time the little tenor ditty from Trial by Jury - "when first my old, old love I knew" as well as the Judge's big aria, "when I good friends, was called to the bar..."
merely because I was performing them at the time, and they are good for a laugh. Beyond that, I could not say CAS was a fan - someone may have inevitably done "Pinafore" at some time in Auburn, but whether he knew it or not I have no idea - He was not prone to the trivial in music, but rather the reflective, or the profound, as in the works I mentioned.

As to your last request, I humbly abjure.

Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: hplscentury (IP Logged)
Date: 4 August, 2005 04:45AM
calonlan wrote:

> > what do you mean you are not sure about Mahler -
> particularly the 6th -?
> You must not assume that you know Clark (or indeed
> any writer) entirely from his works - Mahler is
> cosmic in the sweep of his tonality, the magnitude
> of the sound alone, two orchestras, two choruses,
> two sets of soloists with sopranos hurling High
> c's at each other and a children's chorus in the
> middle? Huge, overpowering, glorious - and Clark
> loved wallowing in the sound as I did.

"Come into my parlour,"
Said the spider to the fly;
"We'll listen to some Mahler,
And honestly -- you'll die..."

He sounds a bit noisy for me, as well as for flies. You're right about tenors in G&S too.




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 4 Aug 05 | 04:47AM by hplscentury.

Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 4 August, 2005 10:28AM

With any choral symphony, understanding the words is essential - and understanding that the orchestra is not accompaniment to the choir - the chorus and soloists are integral instrumental parts of the whole - I think there is a Bernstein recording of this piece, one of the last things he did in fact; mounting such a huge production requires the clout that only a Bernstein could have wielded. Visit the Prokofief
"Alexander Nevsky" Cantata (the old Eisenstein film is a treasure, though the sound is poor), Tom Schippers recorded this brilliantly in the '60's I think. Read
Robert Graves' "The White Goddess", then go back and listen to the Mahler again -
I think you will see what I mean -- actually helps to have immense scenery out the window as well (or close the eyes, and visit the far greater distances within).

Also, it's probably wise to do these kinds of things when still young, since, if you really get into the music, the physical and emotional demands are easier to endure.
At this point in my life, I might need my cardiologist standing by -- I'm one of those who is dangerous on the highway if a great piece comes on the radio -- my wife has been known to switch the radio to some generic pop station from the classical station to keep me on the road. I do in fact seat myself at the focal point of my speaker system, crank it up full blast, and enjoy the 'G' forces. Just recently took a couple of young friends through "Das Rheingold" - the Solti recordings -
What fun!
I have often thought the "Hashish Eater" could have been done thematically by Mahler.
Don Fryer does this I believe with his base lute. Much of Clark's work lends itself to accompaniment in the bardic tradition - especially pieces like 'Not altogether sleep' - some of the very modern synthesizer treatments might work as well - though it seems difficult for some musicians to let the poem lead, as opposed to dominating the poem by deliberate bizarre tonalities (these can work, I think, but must not be an end in themselves). Some time back I recall this site or ZN heard from some musicians who were attempting these kinds of things; perhaps we could hear from them again, or anyone who is so gifted?

Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 4 August, 2005 11:06AM
One correction that should be added here - with apologies to everyone if this has already been addressed and I have just overlooked it - is the identification of Mahler's vast choral symphony based on the Hymn "Veni, Creator Spiritus" and the final scene of Goethe's FAUST: this work is not that composer's 6th Symphony, but his 8th. I have not yet heard a convincing recording of the work - had held out high hopes for the Chailly, but that one disappointed me as well.

The Schippers recording of Prokofiev's ALEXANDER NEVSKY is my favorite recording of the work and has appeared as both a CD and SACD from Sony over the past few years, yoked with his recording of Mussourgsky's PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION.

Jim

Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 4 August, 2005 06:58PM

You are absoluely correct about the ID - my "senior moment" - it is the 8th, not the 6th. My reel to reel rehearsel tape is the best performance I have heard, even with an occasional glitch, such as a soprano running out of gas - Poet Harold Holden
had acquired this tape illicitly recorded by a plain old recorder snuck in - no fancy set up for mikes etc., but in the 50's, just about as good as hi-fi, and stereo was quite new - (I remember the first nationwide stereo radio broadcast which required two radios, one tuned to AM, one to FM broadcasting simultaneously to achieve stereo -- everyone gathered in my dorm room to listen -revolutionary).
Harold made a copy for me. In spite of that, it is magnificent. I have not followed any attempts at it since the Bernstein - which is technically good, but lacks what an old kraut like von Karajan (who knew Mahler) could give. Reminds me momentarily of Tom Lehrer's delightful satire on Alma Mahler (Groepius, Werfel) who was the lover of practically every creative genius of the latter 19th century and early 20th and managed to marry 3 of them.
Of course the cost of mounting the thing is just too great -- so costly rehearsel time is limited - it will take some funding such as emerged for Peter Jackson's efforts in LOTR when the financiers themselves told him he ought to do three shows and blew his mind. Unlimited funds, the New York and the Chicago, with the Westminster Choir College Chorale, The SF Opera Chorus, The Vienna Boy Choir,
Peggy Fleming, Laura Claypool, Jessye Norman, Marilyn van Horne, Marcello Giordani,
Ermanno Mauro, Sam Ramey, Niccola Rossi-Lemini (if still alive) and myself conducting, or, in case I'm busy, Philip Kelsey - That would be my dream performance.
Phil Kelsey was a student of mine, and last I heard was director of the Seattle Opera, and has conducted Wagner's Ring cycle, and Boris Godonov, as well as the Nevsky, and understands the music.

Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: Kyberean (IP Logged)
Date: 5 August, 2005 01:16AM
Calonlan wrote:

Quote:
Some time back I recall this site or ZN heard from some musicians who were attempting these kinds of things; perhaps we could hear from them again

You may not be referring to me, among others, but I know that I've mentioned here in the past having based a work of electronic music of mine on "Ubbo-Sathla". You and I even tried to correspond about it a while ago with regard to something Donald Sidney-Fryer was doing, but we ceased, for some reason. In any case, my "Ubbo-Sathla" is strictly an instrumental interpretation of the theme, and is completely clear of the text itself.

Anyway, apologies for butting in if that's not what you intended. I certainly intend to use CAS's work as a source of future inspiration, but I doubt that I would ever use text recitations, since human language, even CAS's, would anchor the work too heavily to the Earth.


Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 6 August, 2005 11:07AM

I believe you are correct about the music reference; I was probably interrupted by some event like a biopsy, or some other invasive procedure - possibly my wife's knee replacement - or as likely, my week in New Orleans just before Mardi Gras --!

I recall finding your experimental work quite interesting. Natheless, a musical setting in which the poem is one of several voices, rather than the principal voice, could be quite and insightful new look at Clark's work.

For older examples in a classical mode, look no further than Kirsten Flagstad's
performance of the "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde - The piece works beautfully without the voice - but the voice elevates it to the celestial - as though some essential ingredient was missing, but you didn't know it until it was added.

Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: Kyberean (IP Logged)
Date: 6 August, 2005 08:17PM
Quote:
I recall finding your experimental work quite interesting. Natheless, a musical setting in which the poem is one of several voices, rather than the principal voice, could be quite and insightful new look at Clark's work.

I'm glad that you found it to be of interest. My strictures notwithstanding, I have considered a few options for setting CAS's poetry to my sort of music. One was, as you suggested, to use multiple voices, but with appropriate electronic treatment, to retain the otherworldly element, much as Ligeti's choral works evoke the supernal. I have also used samples of boys' and girls' choirs in my work, granulating a simple "ooh" into weird textures. Food for thought, at any rate.

Re: Frederick S. Oliver - Clark Ashton Smith Connection?
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 6 August, 2005 09:42PM



Boy choir music or voices could provide some very interesting effects for any number of pieces I can think of - the star treader itself certainly is evocative of Ligeti.
If you make some of your work available, I would be interested to hear it and give it some serious thought re CAS --

Genius Loci, and Xeethra come to mind as really serious prospects -
the Dweller in Gulf - wow - just as themes for wordless expression - go for it!

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