Wednesday, May 12, 2010

T Minus 6 Hours And Counting

OK, so Diana Krall has nothing to do with my Stravinsky project, but isn't it a whole lot better than another picture of old Igor? I mean, c'mon. Beautiful face, sultry voice, swingin' piano player. What more could you ask for? And if I tag her I'm sure to get a lot more hits on the blog.

But, let's get to The Rite of Spring, shall we? Today is the day. Countless hours of listening. Many more hours of writing. Printing, photocopying, blogging, facebook updates, reading sessions, master classes, rehearsals, interviews, mailings, flyers, etc. What a production. And that's only my part of it. The people at Mobtown Modern have been hard at work as well. And it all boils down to two shows tonight. 7:30 and 9:30. About two and a half hours total time performing. I have this awful feeling that it will be like Christmas when we were young, greedy kids. All this hype and anticipation. Then when the day comes we tear open all the packages like a bunch of sharks in a feeding frenzy and in ten minutes we are saying, "Is that it?". After all, the performance time is just a little blip on the screen compared to all the prep time.

But hopefully this will live on. With a little luck there will be other performances by this band and hopefully by others as well. I have some inquiry about the availability of charts and I do plan to sell copies. And hopefully a CD will come out as well. And then there is the potential to market this to dance companies or choreographers to see if someone might want to produce a modern version of the ballet. Perhaps I can get some guest conducting gigs with some college bands. Anyone out there want to make an offer?

But let's talk a little more about tonight. The venue is as much a night club as it is a concert hall. So the audience will be more laid back than if they were all sitting in theater seats. And the set up of the band will be cramped. Generally this makes for some physical discomfort, but I think big bands play together better when they are squeezed like that. The space holds about 225 people. I hope it gets filled for both shows. I've also heard that a critic from The Baltimore Sun will be there. I really wish that I did not know that. I don't need those things in the back of my mind. I don't plan on telling the band about that. I want them to be loose and just play.

It is my plan to have a few more entries in this blog after the performance. Certainly I want to write on how the night went. I also want to follow up on anything else happening about this project that I feel is relevant. I hope those of you who have been following this blog have enjoyed it. If you would like to keep up with my activities please feel free to "friend" my on Facebook. I'm probably the only Darryl Brenzel on there. If not, then I'm the one with the sax. Just simply send the word "Stravinsky" with the request so I know you aren't some weirdo or salesperson or whatever.

And now, on with the show!


  1. I don't know if you ever got a chance to listen to Don Sebesky's version with Jon Faddis, but it's available here:

    Analog Arts arranged the entire suite into a set of jazz charts back in 2005, and we've always had a blast performing it. It lends itself so well to improv. I look forward to hearing your version!

  2. Great work - just finished the stream (Radar Redux) - 4AM on May 19th. Congrats on the Alex Ross shout out - it's well deserved. I live in Silver Spring - had I found out sooner I might have been there! Spring Rounds is a killer (it's got jazz harmonies already, you accentuated them), as is the beginning of the 2nd part, and the fitting ending, etc. I can already tell there's plenty more detail I'll go back and hear. Went through the blog afterwards. My first thought was that (for me) this would be a "rosetta stone" for converting fin de siecle classical into jazz, and another good argument for jazz (and drum based music) as large scale art music. I've studied the Rite for a while now, I certainly know the feeling of awe when you first see those pages (I still get the same feeling). Go find Strav's autobio, though he's mum on the Rite - he's enigmatic that way, and he reduced his forces to cleaner, jazz-size ensembles soon after (his so called 'neoclassicist' phase). I know you mentioned Duke, but the ghost of Gil Evans was certainly around (see his Porgy and Bess), and also reminded me of Bob Belden's "In Questa Reggia" Puccini 'recomposition' (search it on Youtube), and even David Axelrod's avant garde rock in "Augurs of Spring" part. Parallels aside, this is the first work I've seen to take a classical work of this scale in chronological totality and draw close metaphor with the original. Well done. -David-

  3. oh- and by the way, what's up with the recording?

  4. To Jodru, I have listened to the Sebesky version. One that features Hubert Laws. The Recording has other works as well. Much smaller scale. "Spring" is a medley of themes w/ improv interspersed. Nice stuff, but I think I can say w/o beinguppity that it was miniscule compared to what I did. I'll have to look up that analog arts thing.

    To David, definitely some Gil in my writing. As well as Mingus, Maria Schneider, Jim McNeely, Bob Brookmeyer. Tried to use some of all of them as "Spring" changes flavor so much throughout while still retaining a unified sound. Recording is finally being mixed. About to update blog....finally.