26-July-1985 Fanfare in the Biergarten

26-July-1985 Fri.

Talked with John and then with Kevin before lunch.  Kevin was rambling on about how he couldn’t believe Dr. L…{?} was North American Fencing Champion and how other people besides him got scholarship money.  My goal was a concert at Mozarteum at 12:00 which I missed because of the lousy buses and traffic.  By the time the bus went past the restaurant it was 5 of 12 so I simply went to lunch.  After lunch went across steet to get ice cream w/ Kevin and Wendy.   Kevin ordered a banana split and Mozartbrecher (I have no idea what that is – ed.).  He was insane most of the day; insane yet hilarious.  After that I went home and talked and ate with John for a long time.  John’s been around – he was telling me about his singing telegram days in Pittsburg.  Went to dinner, afterwards went to Augustinian with Shirley, John, Maureen, Marci, Joel, and Barb.  Meet Salzburg friend of girls – a biologist named Martin.  Made a few trips to U.S – thought Boulder was the nicest place he had been!  Suggests I go to Hungary.  Shirley (from Lancaster) says her delivery company delivers to Lancaster Labs and has heard the name Fred Albright.  She told me she’d give me her # and we’d party sometime.  For the most part the Augustinian was as boring as death.  But some inspiration took me and I began thinking through the Fanfare and received new ideas that have been after me for a while now (Saturday night).  We left and I went home while everyone else went to clubs.  John left early.

To be honest that trip to the ice cream store was a bit more interesting; I had to sensor my description of Wendy eating ice cream.  At 47,  I can’t bring myself to repeat it.  She was a lovely young woman.  …Anyway, moving on… a couple contextual notes: Boulder, ever since I had gone there in ’83, had been my favorite place in the US.  I’ve been back twice since then and it certainly still ranks way up there.  “Fred Albright” is my cousin who was one of the key figures at Lancaster Laboratories.  Shirley never gave me her number, and I think both of us know that she never would.  And even if she had, do you think that in a million years I would have called her to “party”?   I probably had difficulty looking her in the eye, and goodness knows what she meant by “party”.  …. Geez – you’d think the Augustinian was the center of the universe.  Why were we always back at that place?   It’s a riot that in a crowded, raucous beer garden, surrounded by friends, acquaintances, and girls who wanted to “party”, I entertained myself by staring into space, thinking through my “Fanfare” — the piano piece I had been working on.  God knows what “new ideas” I “received”.   That piece turned into my “Fanfare for Piano and Horn” that was performed at my senior recital 2 years later.  It was probably the most significant piece of music I wrote in college.  At least something good came out of that stupid beer garden.

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Posted in Europe1985, Salzburg

25-July-1985 Xenakis vs. the Marching Band

This must be the day of the greatest contrasts. It was one of the most memorable nights.

25-July-1985

Before lunch sat on bench in sun w/Kevin and talked.  After lunch went up to fortress with Colette, Barb, Shirly, Debbie, Connie, the Twins.  We took tour (in German) and saw the torture chambers, went up to top of tower ( I think I took a picture) saw some living quarters and living room, toilet.  Huge ceramic stove with intricate designs.  The ceiling looked like Mrs. Pearson’s.  After tour Colette and I stayed to see the 2 museums in the Fortress.  The first was just World War I and II.  However, the second was all medieval relics, jousting rods, and some baroque pistols and rifles, suits of armor.  All of which were so intricately designed.

That evening I took John to the Xenakis concert, met Dr. McVoy there.  Dr. McVoy and I really enjoyed it, and I was pleased that John did also.  The percussionists were all around 18 it seemed, but the proficiency was astounding.  It made me shudder at the remembrance of West Chester.  These players were excited, intense, about playing, as was the audience about hearing.  Afterwards, the union between the composer, the players, and the audience was so thrilling.  We managed to run into Xenakis afterward.  Dr. McVoy was like a kid when he asked for an autograph and then wanted to go get ice cream.  John and I hadn’t eaten yet, so we went to the Chinese restaurant in AltStadt (my treat).  At that point we started drinking white wine — which we continued drinking into the night.  It was the night of the Festspiele opening and we heard the marching band playing a horrible march.  And after Xenakis it was like trying to wash down a nutritious, delicious meal with poison water.  It was a bad feeling.  We went across river to a couple of John’s clubs and drank.  At one o’clock I had reached my limit and I left and walked home.  I stopped at every bench along the way to readjust my horizontal stabilizers.  I was surprised when in the morning I didn’t feel that hung-over.

Did I really go on the fortress tour with all those girls? Pretty funny.  I liked Colette – she had incredible eyes.  I’ve always been attracted to eyes.  But being equally pathologically shy, we never said more than three words to each other.

I’ve always regretted not going for ice cream with Dr. McVoy — to extend the experience.  I haven’t mentioned that in addition to being the teacher of the Mozart class in Salzburg, Dr. McVoy was also one of my composition teachers back in West Chester.  It was so cool meet Xenakis – one of the giants of the post-war avant-garde, and famous student of Messiaen — one of my favorite composers.  I have vivid memories of the concert, and of the ridiculous marching band afterward.  The Xenakis piece was Pleiades.  I supposed the marching band wasn’t bad – I’ve played in far worse!  But compared to Xenakis, it felt…inauthentic.  The Salzburg fortress, built in 1066, and still standing — that’s authentic. A composition written in the last decade by a pioneer who pushed the boundaries of what music is, and performed by passionate musicians thrilled to be part of something original  — that’s authentic.  Now, 25 years later, anyone who takes time to make any kind of music has my respect.    But that night in 1985, it was a powerful contrast I’ll never forget.

And then, another drinking night with John.  Oh, well.  At one point Sade’s “Smooth Operator” came on, and he went out on the dance floor. Then he disappeared for a few minutes, then went back to the dance floor before coming back to the bar.  Later he told me that in those few minutes he had gone into the bathroom to throw up.

Maybe, while my day was spent observing and analyzing contrasts, John was actually living them.

Posted in Europe1985, Salzburg

24-July-1985 the crazy gnome-like professor said I was eloquent.

24-July-1985

After lunch I went home to sleep.  After dinner I talked with Alfred (the professor from Edinboro who speaks a zillion languages, has traveled to every corner of the globe, and thinks he’s the carrier of the Socratic tradition — and yet believes he knows everything.)  He told me he had been hoping to talk with me — says he knew that I was a very perceptive person from the first time he saw me.  Has has quite a temper and I have seen him blow up.  However, I, when hearing that he taught geography quoted Dr. Ellis as saying that geography is a worthless subject.   For a while after that he stopped every sentence 2 seconds after I started with, “that is a very stupid thing to say”.  (the dude was drunk).  Anyway, he said I looked very European (anemic) and that I will turn out alright and that I carry myself very eloquently.  He told Tony that he will always be a child.

Alfred looked like a gnome – short, stocky, with long white hair and beard.  Rumor had it that he had two wooden legs.  I remember that evening.  We had to sit outside for dinner because there was an Indian wedding in the restaurant.  He blew up at one of the older ladies on the tour, yelling, “Bitch”, then correcting himself saying, “Sorry, OLD bitch!”.   She took it in stride.  So what does it mean that such a maniac said I would turn out alright?  Although I guess I’ve always prided myself on being respected by crazy eccentrics.  Dr. Ellis was my geology professor. He was equally arrogant and eccentric…but not as mean.  Imagine that evening with a live, crazy, increasing frenetic,  Indian dance beat going on in the background.   That night I may have been wearing my jeans and new pink shirt.  I was happy with how I looked.  Maybe that’s why I had the balls to challenge this kooky old elf.

Posted in Europe1985, Salzburg

23-July-1985 So long ago

So long ago.  She had a very sad look in her eye…

23-July-1985

After lunch exchanged money, went to Carolino Augusteum Museum of Salzburg — historical.  For most of the time I was the only person in the entire museum.  Three floors — I looked at everything in the place closely.  I was surprised how much of the German descriptions I could understand.  The first floor was ancient pieces with information about museum itself.  Second floor was mostly ancient Neolithic and Bronze Age stuff found in the area.  Saw a portrait of a young woman in her finest dress.  When I looked around at the rooms they had set up in Medieval authenticity I had the feeling that these people or especially this girl were very unhappy.  So long ago.  She had a very sad look in her eye.  On the next floor was a lot of modern art.  Some of which I wrote in the other book.  Many original instruments (baroque and rococo) also.  Long bassoons with snake’s head for bells.  Would have liked to buy some information but it looked too expensive.  After museum I walked back to piano and then home to change for Marionette theater.   John and Vanessa showed up at the theatre before show (they had been drinking all day).  Then John couldn’t handle it (he paid extra money to get good seats) and left with Vanessa which was extremely maddening.  The proud, flaunting, blatant apathy sought out my anger to no end.  The show was good – I wish I knew the opera better for the parts I did know I enjoyed a lot.  Afterward I wanted to stay outside because the weather was so nice, but I, alas, was too tired.

What “other book”?  I don’t remember that at all.  I bet those “bassoons” were sackbuts!  I had forgotten about that museum, and how I spent hours looking at everything it.  And that girl with the sad look in her eye.  I remember her now.   The opera was “The Magic Flute”, and it was a lot of fun.  How can people go to Salzburg for an entire month and have no interest in anything but drinking.  I remember some people saying halfway through the month, “I’ve done Salzburg, I’m bored, I’m ready to move on”.  At this point in the trip, I felt I could have stayed there the rest of my life.

Posted in Europe1985, Salzburg

21-22 July-1985 – far across the lawn… my pants seem worthless

21-July-1985 Sun.

Slept ’till noon.  Finished “Far across the lawn” inspired by concert & M. Davenport.  Went out to eat w/ Joel at Nordsee (a german Arthur Treachers). Not bad.  Met John at Mozart’s Geburtshaus and went to Stern Brau & Augustinian — both unexciting.  Talked to Sonja at Augustinian.  Then I came home, read Mozart, and ate {something} and yogurt.  Cold doesn’t really seem any better than gestern.  Sh*t.

That “Far Across the Lawn” music ended up in one of my senior recital pieces – Three Songs for Baritone.  I’m not sure what I “finished” in Salzburg, exactly.  The lyrics are by my friend, James Esch:
Far across the lawn
Looking at her watch
She sighed.
The part that I sketched out was after the word “watch” — I used the sound of all the church bells going off at once as inspiration.  I love how the poem starts with distance, and then suddenly zooms all the way in to her watch.   Even though it’s an intimate moment, I wanted to portray how big and profound the moment could have been to her.  I tried several times to write out something that had that sound.  In the end, I actually improvised the section at my senior recital.  Chris McGay was the baritone, he did a great job.

22-July-1985 Mon.

After a completely miserable weekend, today didn’t seem so bad.  My head is still clogged.  Met class at Mozarteum (school of music and museum) across river.  Wasn’t too thrilling.  Saw a few more letters like the one from Paris when his mother died.  Saw & heard some instruments (organ, harpsichord & piano) at the Mozart-Wohnhaus — afterward, I thought that we had completely missed lunch so I stormed to McDonald’s which was mobbed mobbed mobbed.  The food gave me an incredible headache that didn’t go away until dinner.  I walked up and down the Getran Strasse looking in windows like everyone else until I couldn’t stand it anymore and then — climbed stairs to Mönchberg and across to Augustinian.  Took two pictures from Winkler.

Headache was so bad I lay on a bench off the road for awhile — didn’t help.  Finally made it to the school by 4:00 and played piano while Kevin drew a picture of a wave on the board (hang ten, babe!).  Sat at restaurant until dinner, listened to different conversations while trying to write lyrics.  The prospects of dinner was so bad (cold bologna salad) that John & I went to Weinerweld.  He treated the whole evening.  Then we wanted to go see Amadeus — but it was too late.  We could either see the Glenn Miller Story or Star Wars – both dubbed.  I of course wanted to see Star Wars.  After 30 minutes John mumbled something and left.  Oh, well.  I enjoyed it.  It’s a good way to learn German.  Rushed out, didn’t see John, ran to catch last Bus home.  Just made it.  Talked to Kevin off the balcony about concert at Mirabell as he got undressed.  I decided today that my pants are fitting too loose — I must eat more.  My new pants seem worthless, they’re so big.

Also, I must do two things — see museums! and climb mountains.  Dr McVoy and Eye (sic) saw poster for concert series of Xanakis — most concerts are free, so yeah!  Bought some post cards and aerograms as well.

There is a bright planet in the sky that rises very late — so I figure it must be Jupiter.  I wish I new the Summer sky — perhaps I could see Alpha Centuri.

Um, Jim, no I don’t think you can see Alpha Centuri.  You’re even further North than home.  And why, why, why do you keep going to MacDonald’s.  I guess three times in a month isn’t so horrible — but there are other places to eat.  Heck nowadays they probably have a KFC on every corner.  Everything I read about John in these logs makes me wonder why I kept hanging around with him.  I guess we had some good conversations and he took the time to get to know me.  How funny that earlier I’m so worried about my pants shrinking, and now they’re worthlessly too big!   How many hours of my life have I spent worrying about my pants.  Good grief.

Finding out about the Xanakis concerts was *big news*.   Dr. McVoy and I were so excited about that.  The first concert we went to was absolutely incredible — stay tuned for that.

Posted in Europe1985, Salzburg

20-July-1985. I want to…but I’m too tired.

20-July-1985 Sat.

Slept until lunch.  Slept & read after lunch.  Ate lunch with Colette.  After dinner went to a performance of Mozart’s Requiem at Franciscan church.  Stood for whole thing – cost $7.50 but well worth it.  It was pooring rain afterwards — which was great!  It fit in so perfectly.  I wanted to go home and complete all my unfinished works.  It wouldn’t be that hard.  But I’m too tired — I’ll try to think through them as I fall asleep.  Marcia Davenport says in book that the composer must subject himself to the strictest mental discipline.  Oh! if only I could.

What is there to say?  How many times have I repeated that to myself?  What can I learn 25 years later?  Oh, Salzburg.

Posted in Europe1985, Salzburg

19-July-1985 – Call Super Chicken

19-July-1985

Did some laundry in the sink.  After lunch John & I walked to Dwarf Garden, etc. He went to meet Colette & Marci at store — I went to the piano.  After dinner went to “Top of Hotel Stein” and across to Casino with Kevin, Jen, & I forget his name.  Had beer at casino.  And Kevin with a beer is really funny.  Got a ride home on back of Kevin’s bike. That was fun.  Kevin could remember all the music to George of the Jungle, Super Chicken, and Tom Swift.  We went to the same playground as a couple nights ago.

That ride home on Kevin’s bike was really silly.  I don’t even remember what I was sitting on exactly, but I remember trying to keep my feet from dragging on the street.  Kevin was a stereotypical surfer dude from California: blonde, chiseled, with a take-life-as-it-comes attitude.  He’s the kind of person you wish you conjure up when you need some encouragement.  He really did know every word to the Super Chicken theme.

I don’t know if it’s been obvious yet, but I wasn’t living in downtown Salzburg. It was a good 45 minute walk, and mostly up hill.

Posted in Europe1985, Salzburg