Monday, May 31, 2004

From clef to chef...

A Sensible Clef is not far from a sensible chef. So here is a recipe that I have been tinkering with over the past few weeks. Guaranteed to turn the most fearsome Philistine into a gentle viola player:

Cook up some brown rice. (Five parts water to two parts rice (so that the rice ends up quite soft.) Into the boiling water press 4 or 5 cloves of garlic and a tablespoon of curry powder. Chill the cooked rice for a few hours.

Into a cup of the cooked rice mix enough tahini to give the stuff a gooey consistency, added chopped scallions, chopped raw cashews, a dash of bread crumbs and a generous dash of hot smoked Spanish paprika. A dash of Marsala never hurts.

Form small patties and brown well in olive or safflower oil.

Serves enough to feed one Philistine or two viola players.


The Sensible Clef recommends...

If you are interested in reading how life is perceived through the insightful lens of a mandolin player, I highly recommend:

It looks like this well-written blog will talk about mando-issues and offer an occassional restaurant review. Mandolinists often do have a different take on events...I highly recommend this blog. It's clearly not for Philistines. (See my previous post.)

Shaw and Philistines....

I can't get away form the dammed Shaw book. The passage below made me laugh so hard that I almost fell off the sofa.

About Alfieri's Overture to "Saul" GBS writes:

It is a fair specimen of a modern concert overture, being provided with a program which instructs us as to the intention of the various passages. Thus the trombone solos, shich, we should mention, were played without any of the noisy vulgarity which our experience elsewhere has led us to associate with that instrument, are illustrative of the wrath of Saul; the harp indicates the soothing minstrelay of David; and when a trumpet and side drum leave the orchestra and perform vigorously in the lobby, we know that the Philistines are approaching, and that the end of the overture is at hand.

No wonder we have never heard of the composer Alfieri and his forgotten "Saul" What way is that to depict Philistines? Any self respecting Philistine would be insulted. A trumpet and side drum in the lobby? At least they were playing vigorously.

Shaw has it right. Most program music just doesn't make it. And my feeling is that to add a program to abstract music is even more annoying than listening to a trumet hand side drum pretend to be Philistines. Shaw again:

Excepting such brief suggestions as Beethoven prefixed to he movements of a very few of his works, or the fanciful titles which Schumann gave to his pianoforte pieces, detailed programs seem to be a complete mistake. They may impart a certain interest to a composition for those who are incapable of appreciating abstract music, but they do so at the expense of the dignity of an art whose true province is foreign to the illustration of the commonplace and material detail.

The sun just came out, a fox just wandered through the back garden. I'm going for a bike ride. I hope I don't run into any Philistines...

Saturday, May 29, 2004

What will you read about here....

What books I have been reading ...and buying. What viola music (hence "The Sensible Clef") I have been playing, and an occassional recounting of humorous or shocking experiences from my daily toils as a music teacher in the unarcadian groves of public school-dom. I expect only a few people to read this. If you are reading, you probably know who I am. Please help me (like the greatest composer of the 16th century) remain anonymous. This will give me a bit more freedom in describing my public school adventures. We wouldn't want my Principals to read this and, like those unfortunate ethnomusicologists reading George Bernard Shaw, (see previous post) fall down with a case of the apoplexy.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Siamese music...

So what have I been reading lately? I'm almost embarrassed to admit to browsing through the music criticism of George Bernard Shaw. Opinionated and even bigoted stuff. But terribly funny. Take this for example...its enough to give an ethnomusicologist apoplexy:

The Court band of the King Of Siam, which plays certain compositions that have been handed down by aural tradition and have never, it is said, been committed to writing, plays occasionally at the Albert Hall. Their performance, though most of the visitors find it merely outlandish, is not wholly beyond the range of Western Sympathy. Some of the airs and instrumental effects are not unpleasant. The Siamese scale contains no leading note, and the attempts to play God Save The Queen and other European airs are rather trying in consequence, but they succeed better with Scotch airs such as Auld Lang Syne, which is very like their own Pegu Affliction. But a little of the Siamese music goes, it must be confessed, a very long way.

So much for Siamese music...

Why "The Sensible Clef"?

Because middle C is on the middle line...