More Bluebeard’s Castle

April 21st, 2008|

In the course of researching (read: obsessing over) Bartók’s one-act opera Bluebeard’s Castle, I came across a Hungarian film adaptation of the piece on YouTube. It’s annoyingly divided into fourteen segments, but anyone familiar with the piece or interested should take a look. […]

Berkeley Bluebeard

April 20th, 2008|

I’d like to alert Bay Area readers to the upcoming performances by Berkeley Opera of my two favorite one-acts, Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. These two composers are not particularly known for their dramatic works, but each work reveals the composer’s complete mastery of music for the stage. An evening consisting of both of these works is not to be missed. […]

So, Like, What’s With the Seven Doors?

December 18th, 2007|


Well, we’re here. This is my castle.

This is your castle? Kinda creepy.

Yeah. You sure you want to come in here?


Well, okay then.

So, like, what’s with the seven doors?

You don't want to know.

Open them up.

Um, I don't think so.

Aw, come on. Just one?

Okay, but don't say [...]

Bartók Discussion on NPR

September 18th, 2007|

NPR has a great interview with conductor Marin Alsop and accompanying article about Bartók’s music, where she touches on folk influences and discusses The Miraculous Mandarin, Romanian Dances, Bluebeard’s Castle and more. […]

Dusting Off My Kodály

August 6th, 2007|

My latent, inner musicianship nerd has resurfaced lately. I am lucky to have had a very high level of musicianship training, largely based on the Kodály Method, which actually is more of a philosophy than a method. It’s mostly associated with the teaching of small children, but I encountered it first as a college freshman. I’ve been trying to rebuild my memories of how I was taught, and how I might use similar techniques as a teacher. […]

Missed Museums

July 31st, 2007|

Here’s a pathetic case of inertia combined with bad planning.

I managed to live in Budapest for three years without ever visiting the Bartók Museum, which is housed in the composer’s final residence before leaving Hungary for the U.S. When I was back in 2005 for the Letter […]


July 31st, 2007|


Anatomy of an unfinished piece

September 1st, 2005|

Well, I’d promised myself that September 1st would be when I stop sketching and start fleshing out and orchestrating the HCSO piece. I was hoping to have an end-to-end sketch of the whole piece to work from by now. I almost do. Good enough, I guess.

The big outstanding question for me at the moment is whether this is a multi-movement work or just one big movement. I’m leaning toward four movements, some played attacca. The material isn’t quite unified enough to to hold one movement together. I have to come up with names for the movements, though, which is a bit of a drag.

Here’s what I seem to be working with now: […]