13.3.09

monkey business for a friday of march




my position here at the banff center is somewhat unusual. we are all called 'artist,' which is bizarre- i mean, who gives someone the right to call oneself an artist? but even beside that, most residents at the S+M building (music and sound building; but i often call it the noise or sound building; all music is just noise, which becomes sound when one pays attention, then becomes music when it's contextualized. if you are curious, i think there are several posts regarding that issue already) are classified as 'residents.' residents, in banff context, live mainly on the site (some are off-site, esp. the ones who actually live here all seasons of the year), applies to the program with specific project ideas and such, and the center provides work spaces, tech gears, etc. they are free to schedule their own recitals/performance/concerts/happenings, hence allocating their time as such.

well, see, my position is an intern. intern is something slightly close to second class citizen in a sense, the only better thing would be that one actually voluntarily signs up to BE an intern. so we arent exactly like slaves. in practical terms, hanging in the limbo between freewill-people (residents with freedoms) and tasks-dictated-facilitators (people who actually works here and has to perform specific duties), the monkey position requires a careful balancing of selection/execution of tasks.

earlier this spring, when i had a meeting with the big boss, he was wondering if i would need another intern to suffer together with; and not really realizing how much of an exponential curve i will be riding, i said i be ok. i was at the high cusp point, where things are kinda slow, almost at a pause, things on the ground looking so cute and small from afar, like top of the roller coaster; i had some idea about the ride, but.. ya, like the first ride on a new roller coaster, it's always a bit different. in this case, a bit faster than expected. haha. gawd.

well, now that was a historic moment of sanity. since then, ive been riding pretty thin. and it gets even more fun when every other person on site, ie. residents, realize that there are really only FINITE number of days left and things need to be done faster than expected. see, apparently i may have a choice in choosing my work- ie. what compositions i will work on, with who, etc. however, i think if they are here and my title says 'collaborator,' not a 'co-habitor,' i should really try to fit their projects as much as i can while doing it well as i can. sometimes i feel kinda in a rut, because often the point that i have to spread so thin is easily lost to the individuals and i hate to bring it up. the old school style, toughen it out! i havent really been able to hang out, go have a beer, watch a movie with them, whatevers, but i do realize that im here to work. they are here to 'create,' whatever that may involve. i gather it's lot more free time than mine. haha.

i am not expecting sympathy or pity really; i can work with this situation. i think it's actually quite nice. to have piano to practice, place to live, etc., but the only catch is time. just because one person has a need for an hour rehearsal, often they forget to look ahead. for that one rehearsal, i may require one or two hours or prepping (just because i prob wont be as intimate with the selection as they are- i mean, they picked and have been working on it), and some sort of mental spaces between the tasks (so that i dont play like a total airhead and that i may even remember things discussed etc). and there are several i need to cater to. so sometimes, short notices are bad. real long notices are bad as well, in case some malign-looking composition turns out to be a man-eating-fire-breathing-piano-burning-monkey-killing monster, and requires heaps of unexpected efforts/time.

so it's like seeing a doctor. general physician. you only see them for like 10 min and they always tell you an answer to your ailment in two sentences or less, but you do book like a freaking week ahead (as if you know that you will be sick...), and usually wait around in white-boxed-where-the-sicks-hangout lounge area. the only difference is that i make no money compare to a doctor. though i am a doctor as well. i guess i save no lives, haha.

anyways.
tonight's concert is a big one. the piece given to me (one of two), was completely unfamiliar to me and when i started to look into it, i realized that its temperament is very very VERY far from me. and it being somewhat unknown work, okay, fine, i never heard it before and i know im not the only one- it's a rare thing to be played in any case, the lack of familiarity really was being a big obstacle. it was only earlier this wk, from tuesday, that this piece started to make any sense at all on expense of the visiting violinist, who, in case you wonder, plays it wonderfully. i went from absolute gagging to making public statement that there are some nice things, and who knows, may be one day i will find world-saving answer from it. this eat-by-bar-by-bar painful process drove not only monkey nutty, but the book bomber and mr. salamander also have been enjoying the nutty monkey in display for awhile. it was spectacular.

for some reason, it's impossible for me to work on a piece and make it sound 'average nice okay' IF i dont get the piece. many people just are able to plug themselves at the piano bench and make it happen. boring as it is, it would be at least technicall apt, etc. me, it really shows that i have no clue whatsoever. like, incomprehension in display with amplification X1000. i think i actually put the violinist in a quite a rude shock from my lack of.. well, musicianship/technical aptitude/love of music. well, i do have some, not much, but the incomprehension was just getting the way.. i think he feels better now though. phew.

or
he's a real nice chap.

so now the challenge is to play it well this evening.
i want to play it well. as well as i can. as well so that he can really play however he wants to without worrying about monkey falling off the train and getting run over by it. it's hard. it's still somewhat unclear. but as a true intern, i must deliver. im really digging the first definition that goggle has given me for the simple word 'intern':deprive of freedom; "During WW II, Japanese were interned in camps in the West"
http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=kHY&defl=en&q=define:intern&ei=1Le6SbSkJonYsAP939lF&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title

much to write on this sonata process, but it's T-1hr for dress so monkey should go do some practice, for the curiously inclined, here's free score of one of the two pieces. mr. salamander may be was on the money when he said:'hmm it's even offered for free. well, such things are offered free for a reason.' when you read between the lines, i hope you arent drinking tea. i almost spewed mine up my nose.

http://imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/f/f0/IMSLP11575-Busoni_-_Op.36a_-
_Violin_Sonata.pdf

1 comment:

  1. I am now enjoying the mental image of a monkey camp intern in a doctor suit hanging onto a runaway train on a roller coaster track. Richly pictorial.

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