It was a difficult day to complete much work on the 2/27 Project FunnyMeanHappySad. I had a medical procedure that cut into my time. Still, there was progress on the promotional and production side.
PRESS RELEASE for immediate release
the power of music reflected in audience responses
with Host & Composer, Randall Davidson
Sunday, February 27, 2022 at 2pm
Lakeville Area Arts Center, 20965 Holyoke Avenue, Lakeville MN 55044
People are drawn to music that is emotional. A composition is seldom an intellectual exercise or a crossword puzzle. The Lakeville Arts Center Coffee Concert series aspires to deliver on the promise of moving people to have emotional responses.
Featured composer, Randall Davidson, will host and narrate this Coffee Concert with his compositions that explore the basic reactions one has to music (like funny, mean, happy, sad) and eventually to more unexpected combinations of emotions (like happy and mean, funny and sad).
This one-of-a-kind interactive show will supply audiences (in-person and online) with language and a unique set of tools:
Davidson credits his inspiration to Leonard Bernstein and his Young People’s Concerts in the 1950’s and 60’s. Davidson says that “this program is a ‘Lenny’ in that the musicians will be on stage the entire show to demonstrate musical examples. The difference will be that the audience will also play a much more active part: there will be ‘shows of hands,’ laughter, and Q & A’s with the performers.”
Davidson has enrolled the talents of an All Star cast of some of Minnesota’s best musicians: singer Maria Jette, oboe/English hornist, Merilee Klemp, bassist Rolf Erdahl, and pianist Shannon Wettstein. There might be one or two surprise guest appearances along the way.
A Note About Our Sponsors
Audrey Johnson Companies is celebrating its 56th anniversary in residential and commercial real estate in Lakeville. In honor of this occasion, they are a Season Sponsor for this 14th season of the Coffee Concerts at the Lakeville Area Arts Center. Complimentary coffee provided by Caribou Coffee.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Today, I’m going to spend a few hours with a group of young composers who are assembling in-person and online to read through a dozen or so new short songs based on two haiku.
The idea for this event grew out of a lesson with one of my students (Tim). As I recall, he found a compilation of poems written near the death of the poets’ lives; they are part of a tradition in Japanese literature and have become known in English as “death poems.”
Tim’s initial idea was to compose a song cycle but after some conversation about the craft of setting texts, he suggested that we get a group of composers together to set the same two poems and then compare the different approaches each person took.
We are fortunate to have two excellent professional singers to read through the songs today (Maria Jette and Jake Endres) along with pianist Janet Scovill. Three of the composers (Becka, Joe, and Henry) will join us from Utah, the Quad Cities and Milwaukee and four will be present (Tim, Stephen, Landon and Randall).
I’ve inserted myself in this group of younger, more-abled composers as I need to show myself. It is relatively easy to hide behind humility in the service of promoting one’s students as a teacher/mentor; showing my newest stuff is one way to earn my humility the hard way. I will share my warts and we will discuss as colleagues the difficulty of setting texts.
The poems were written by two Japanese poets Kasenjo and Basho. Here is the information I could quickly find about the poets.
A note on the translations by the translator, Michael Burch. We must thank poet and professor Michael Burch for his translations and adaptations from the original Japanese.
After a thorough (2 minute) google search, I could not find anything about our haiku poet, Kasenjo, except the year of his death. Despite this, his poem appealed to me a great deal.
Depths of cold
Died At Age: 50
Also Known As: Matsuo Chūemon Munefusa, Matsuo Bashō, Matsuo Kinsaku
Born In: Ueno, Mie
Famous As: Poet
Matsuo Basho was a 17th century Japanese poet, considered to be the greatest master of the haiku—a very short form of poetry. The most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan, he was much acclaimed during his lifetime and his fame increased manifold over the centuries following his death. His father was believed to have been a low-ranking samurai and Basho started working as a servant early on in life to earn his livelihood. His master Tōdō Yoshitada loved poetry, and in his company Basho too became inclined towards this literary form. Eventually he learnt poetry from Kigin, a prominent Kyoto poet, and was exposed to the tenets of Taoism which greatly influenced him. He started writing poetry which received much recognition in the literary circles, and established him as a talented poet. Known for his brevity and clarity in expression, he gained recognition as a master of haiku. He was a teacher by profession, and a successful one at that, but this gave him no satisfaction. In spite of being welcomed into well-known literary circles in Japan, he shunned the social life and wandered throughout the country looking for inspiration for his writing. He achieved much popularity during his lifetime though he could never feel at peace with himself and was constantly in the throes of mental turmoil.
On a journey, ill:
My dream goes wandering
Over withered fields.
I’ve got other responsibilities today. I spent much of the morning spending time with my 106-year-old mother in-law. We spent time leafing through family picture albums recalling holidays, travels, and stories.
I’m struck with how emotional these recollections are for each of us. I don’t recognize some of the faces in the pictures but that doesn’t mean they are irrelevant to me while I listen closely to the inflections of each story. And this may be the key for the audience; I’m looking for ways that people can spark their own memories and emotions.
Heading back to the press release and the script while I keep the 2/27 repertoire in mind. I will ultimately have to make more decisions in the next 48 hours and then to finalize repertoire, personnel, rehearsal schedules, and production details. And I need a draft of the press release in 24 hours!