Monthly Archives: November 2011

Thoughts on Robert Ashley’s “That Morning Thing”

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This is not the morning thing you're looking for...

Composer Robert Ashley’s “opera” (experimental performance piece is a more appropriate name, although if an opera is a multifaceted convolution of music, text, and motion, I suppose this is an opera) That Morning Thing, produced for the first time in 40 years at The Kitchen as part of the Performa 11 biennial, is among the most difficult pieces I’ve experienced. It’s dark. Dark in a way that I wasn’t expecting, dark in a visceral, what the heck just happened to me, I didn’t sign up for this kinda dark. This isn’t (necessarily) a bad thing. But it is a thing that is likely to stick with me for a while. What follows is less a review as it is an effort to come to terms with what I saw and how I responded to it.

Please note, a work like this is bound to be understood in a very subjective manner (if any attempt is made to understand it at all). I make no claims at all that my thoughts are in any way informed, intelligent, or even coherent. Whether my experience with the piece has anything to do with the composers intention is difficult to know, but recording my response may be helpful to myself, or anyone else wrestling with the piece.

The piece starts out innocuously enough. Continue Reading

One Response to Thoughts on Robert Ashley’s “That Morning Thing”

  1. David Rodwin says:

    Goddamn I wish I’d seen this. “Now Eleanor’s Idea: Improvement” is one of my favorite opera recordings (and the reason I sought out Amy X), and while I’ve met Mr. Ashley (at Princeton of all places) I’ve still never seen a fully staged performance. It sounds like he succeeded in the realm I consider worthy of any artistic endeavor. He made an impact you might remember for a very long time. Much like the first time I saw John Moran perform “Mathew in The School of Life”. At The Kitchen. Of course. Glad to see they’re keeping up the tradition.

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Hey look! I’m a muse!

I first saw the name Ken Malucelli when I purchased the CASA christmas songbook in 1993 (all arranged by Ken and Deke Sharon). Years later Ken was one of the judges at the Harmony Sweepstakes competition when a subset of The Richter Scales performed a set of original songs I had written. (We closed withContinue Reading

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TONIGHT: The latest from my opera

If you’re in San Francisco tonight and interested in hearing some brand new music, swing by Counterpulse at 7:30 to hear a brief excerpt of the latest from my solo opera Failing That. The section I’ll be performing was composed in the past few months and shows the early scenes involving a middle school studentContinue Reading

One Response to TONIGHT: The latest from my opera

  1. gerald rosen says:

    So art does imitate life.

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