083: Wally

Noun: wally (plural wallies) – (UK, slang) A fool. OR (colloquial, London and Essex) A pickled large gherkin or cucumber.

TODAY on flaglock: J39M discusses “controlled chaos,” the appeal of the violin, and the end of everything that matters.

Monday, 4 February 2013

(02:15:30 AM) J39M: Overboard much?
(02:19:35 AM): no
(02:19:40 AM): we’re going again
(02:20:41 AM) J39M: Haha, if you say so
(02:20:49 AM): dude
(02:20:51 AM): we’re famous
(02:21:19 AM): girls knew my name

The emphasis is mine. I know how much of an attention whore I can be, but I’m not this desperate. Ultrafinitist had a long talk with me one night about this, and we agreed that desperation at this stage is pointless.

Today, at 8:27 PM, I got a call asking for a favor. And that call, I think – I almost hope, treacherous as I am – declares the start of a vicious unraveling.

We have on our hands – or, “he” has on his hands – an uncontrolled chaos. If fate plays its cards well, we may have a valuable life lesson on our hands here; if the cards go poorly, then, we will see …

Itzhak Perlman recorded a heart-breaking arrangement of the “Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso” with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (conducted by John Williams) – same in form as the version performed by Josh Groban for at least one recording, though higher by a whole-tone.

I’m very sensitive to the tiny inflections and articulations that Perlman presents: they form a cohesive and cyclic – a WHOLE – interpretation that moves me greatly. You cannot stitch together Perlman’s performance by sampling at random from a pre-recorded set of all the possible notes for the violin. The little dovetails, the alternating sharpness and softness in moving between tones – these are all things that are easily discernible on a string instrument, but often go ignored on the piano.

I’m extremely against solo piano arrangements of “Love Theme” because pianos are limited to hitting the keys softly, hitting them a bit harder, and hitting them very hard. There are only so many ways to permute these dynamic levels (in a simple piece) before the listener is plunged into tedium. I hold that such an arrangement would be both musically and technically (since the accompaniment is almost certainly just going to be broken chords, repeatedly arpeggiated) empty.

For that reason, I would dearly love to hear some of my arrangements played some time on some string instrument – e.g. “Love Theme” or “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

Dinner today was abuzz with talk about the end of the world. We touched upon heat death, anarchy, and survival in space. Our golden topic was what the last words ever spoken by humanity would be; I immediately offered “The rest is silence.” Michael and Marco topped that easily (“THE END” in a Morgan Freeman voice, and “HHHRRRNNGGHAOEURGGHPHHHHH” in no particular voice). I looked deliberately at my watch.

“Gentlemen,” I said grandly, “You have six hundred million years to save everyone and everything, starting – now.”

J39M

EDIT: danger has passed. I was wrong.

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