Bourlandaise

May 4, 2008

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What started out as a little AIDS research fund-raiser for Michael Dean’s bike ride from LA to SF, turned into a concert of little Bourland pieces, at our home last night, a “Bourlandaise” as someone put it. In a moment of clarity, after nearly being blown off the road by an 18-wheeler, Michael, 40 year old husband and father of two realized that he could have someone younger do the ride, and Ricky Hoyt stepped in. (Ricky was in the LoCal Composers Ensemble, a composers collective at UCLA for a few year that included Lucas Richman, Carl Pritzkat, Jake Heggie, Richard Raphael, and Charles Benesh. He is now Unitarian minister.)

Susan McClary played “Whyte Minuet” from my Preludes (1974), a piece that I wrote for a music history class in lieu of a paper. She said it sounded French. After all: it Is Bourland, not Borland.

Michael and Maria sang 5 songs together. Michael previewed 3 of the “Four Gay Songs” for bass and piano, and Maria sang 2 of “Four Apartsongs.” John Hall’s “Dinosaur” from HIDDEN LEGACIES is still as poignant and witty as it was in 1992. My love song for Daniel, “My Mind Eye Sighs” put a lump in many lovers’ throat, but it was Jim Kelly’s devastating “Farewell” to his life partner, Jim Layne, that brought everyone to tears.

Walter Ponce played a piano piece that was fashioned from a short film I scored (APOLOGIA) called “Moderato for Walter.” Dog barks from a late arrival popped his otherwise magical spell.

Mark Carlson played “Shasta” I piece I dedicated to Mark and his late partner Charlie from 1991 for flute and electronics bringing back memories of visiting Mount Shasta and camping in northern California.

Jennifer Snow, who also faithfully accompanied the Deans, accompanied her husband Jens Lindemann in a premier of two pieces for trumpet and piano drawn from HOMER IN CYBERSPACE. Mel and Jean Shapiro were there, and Mel’s eyes popped out of his head when he heard Jens’s fabulous tone in “Nina” and “I used to be beautiful.” Jennifer asked what the text for “I used to be beautiful” was, and I decided that I would just sing the song for her, which I did, and then they turned around and did the instrumental version of it.

All agreed that, in this generation of iPod delivered music, this in-your-face chamber music felt good.

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