Monthly Archives: August 2013

New Experiences

I’ve escaped to San Francisco, CA to celebrate my *dear god* thirtieth birthday today. I figured that going to the west coast would buy me three more hours of twentydom, but lo and behold, the day came all the same. The good news is that I’m with my friend Kei who is also celebrating a birthday, and no matter how old I get, Kei will always be a year older.

A couple of months ago I composed theme music for a new show called “Cincinnati Edition” which runs on the public radio station back in southwest Ohio at 2:00 on weekday afternoons. Feel free to give it a listen:

This was a fun little project. I enjoy trying to write in a “house style”, and I think I got this tune sounding sufficiently NPR. It’s got telegraph-news rhythm, a hummable tune that’s hopefully not distracting, and enough harmonic switches to keep the ear attuned but not compete with the voice-over above.

I’ve heard this cue on the radio several times now, both in its truncated form for promo spots and at the head of the show, but yesterday on the parking lot shuttle to the airport* I had the strange experience of hearing it in a public place surrounded by strangers.

Because here I am, just another passenger on this public transveyance, silent and anonymous as anyone else, and yet, my voice is suffusing the atmosphere around all of us. It’s different than sitting in the audience at a formal performance of one’s own work. That may still be an anonymous experience, but at least the public has the idea that the music was composed by a human being; radio theme music seems to exist a priori.

I suppose this is just the sort of thing one has to get used to in one’s thirties.

*[Note: there is no finer long term airport parking situation anywhere in the world than at the CVG airport outside of Cincinnati. The prices at this airport are vexingly high, but it’s almost worth it for the parking lot experience.]

What is Maine

Here’s the weather summary from Down East Maine this summer: it was abysmal.  Alternately clammy and boiling, with plenty of precipitation thrown in for good measure.  Somehow I got healthy doses of tennis and pond-swimming in, plus I got to conduct Randall Thompson’s 2nd symphony and premiere a new kids’ piece (recording coming soon!) so all-in-all, it was a good summer.

I get so nostalgic when these summers in Maine come to their inevitable conclusion, but my drive back to Ohio had some nice distractions to cheer me up: I stopped in to see a student perform at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, which, I’m sorry, simply isn’t part of Maine.  I’ve now lived a cumulative total of a year in Maine which legally qualifies me to distinguish which regions are and are not Maine.  Brunswick is not.

Rural Quebec certainly is though, and driving through there to get to Hancock this year was a trip in more way than one.  I’ve always thought about taking the Northern Route from the American Midwest to Hancock Point, but I’ve never done it until this year.  My apologies to the Rust-belt, but Toronto and Montréal are much better stops along the way than Buffalo and Worcester.

Approaching the U.S. border, Quebec takes on a strangely disconcerting aspect – the landscape is so familiar, but everything is in a foreign tongue.  Speaking of which, Point of Information: people on the other side of the Maine border still speak French!  In fact, 5% of Maine households are French-speaking, according to the Sacred Wikipedia!  Learning!