Archive for September, 2007

Flute Fountain!

Posted by

oakville-fountain.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Koechlin

Music is the world’s veritable Fountain of Youth, and here you can enjoy the sound of cascading water intermingling playfully with Koechlin’s little piece. This Memorial Fountain, steps from the lighthouse in Old Oakville, was recently dedicated to the Oakville Historic Society‘s dedicated team of volunteers.

Treat yourself to a lakeside stroll with this weekend’s Harvest Festival, presented by the Oakville Historical Society on Sunday, September 30th from 1 – 4 pm.

Amarillo, TX, 3.26 a.m.

Posted by

ufp-amarillo-auto-service-bay.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Carport Improv

Finding myself for a second time in historic Amarillo, Texas, I went for a late-night, summertime stroll through the deserted downtown, and pressed my nose up against the windows of the phenomenal Santa Fe Building…what an incredible interior! This photo definitely doesn’t do this 1929 Deco Edifice justice, but the lower portion is visible – albeit a little blurry, mid-frame.

In the end I settled on a massive, open-air deco Automobile Service Bay to try out my new Flute-Bling* from the flute convention. Admittedly I was on edge, and felt quite exposed – every car that appeared out of the dark, of course, was out looking to beat up a Canadian flute-beatnik like myself – but nonetheless this was a memorable evening in the midst of a wonderful road trip throughout the continental U.S.

I suppose it is possible that in decades gone by, one of the Cadillacs from the fabled Cadillac Ranch might have been serviced in this very space…this quintessential American landmark, just outside of Amarillo TX, could perhaps be considered America’s answer to Stonehenge!

…after dark, a sultry evening in Texas: what would you play to mark the occasion?

* Flute-Bling! You heard it hear first. The Flute Accessory in question? My newly aquired flute merchandise: a silver & gold headjoint, hand-made in Paris by Faulisi…the Cadillac of Headjoints!

Chicago Countdown

Posted by

ufp-chicago-sears-view.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Chicago Countdown!

Passing time in Chicago earlier in August, here is a countdown to the NFA Flute Convention!

Oklahoma City

Posted by

ufp-oklahoma-baroque-lobby.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Short Improv!

Oklahoma City, like you’ve never seen – or heard – before!

Aqua-Flute

Posted by

stalbans-empty-pool.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Invention, Alain

After renewing my membership for St.Alban’s in Seaton Village, I was initially disappointed to learn that the pool was drained; however my gloomy mood lifted when I was invited to record rather spontaneously in this evocative space just before the pool was re-filled following its annual maintenance.

After the requisite Telemann Fantasia – contrapuntal writing in combination with the live acoustics being perfect for bringing out the vertical harmonies – I had fun with a jazzy play-along CD over the in-house sound system.

It is this Invention by lesser-known composer Jehan-Ariste Alain (1911-1940), however, that seemed to best capture the magic of this reverberant space.

“Life leaped in him”, said Bernard Gavory of Jehan Alain in the book he wrote about his dead friend, but he went on at once to add: “He is happy and sad, ascetic and sensual”, thus underlining all that was contradictory about him. Jehan Alain’s admiration for Jean Cocteau was in no way fortuitous. Persuaded that “irony, humour, these alone make life bearable”, he concealed under a lively and light-hearted exterior a being with a very rich inner life, moved by great generosity of spirit. [Source: ClassicsOnLine]

For further reading, here is an alternate site for Alain.

St. Alban’s Boys & Girls Club, a part of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (and in turn part of a global affiliation of Boys and Girls Clubs) is perhaps at first glimpse a kind of 1950’s throwback, however it is very much a vibrant hub of the community. Since it first opened in 1949, St. Alban’s has stayed very much in step with the times, responsive to the needs and interests of modern Toronto, offering extensive Family and Youth Outreach Programmes.

I can’t wait for the pool to re-open later in the month, and maybe to return to record some more during rec swim for a little added ambient sound!

Las Muchas Flautas

Posted by

ufp-flute-testing.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Flute Testing 101

The National Flute Association’s Annual Flute Convention is an all-ages event, so this young player was certainly not without his peers!

This sound file offers a candid ‘insider’s glimpse’ of the unbelievable sound and energy of the Exhibitor’s Hall where I successfully tried out headjoints on the last day. Admittedly, the sound of 40-50 players at any given time trying out a vast assortment of flutes non-stop throughout the 4 days of the event was at times a little overwhelming (mind you, this was only one of approximately 25 spaces in use throughout each day), however with a little patience, focus and experience, the art of testing flutes can be explored even under these conditions!

I was actually more tempted to play my flute and perhaps record in the darkened, cavernous and empty ‘twin’ exhibition hall just across the foyer that no one else seemed to have discovered; however it ended up serving simply as a quiet place to wander into a couple of times, a sanctuary of sorts, my own personal place to retreat to amidst all the hustle and bustle of the convention.

My chance to record in a quasi-empty hall would come unexpectedly in the final moments of Viva la Flute, as vendors were packing up in the same space pictured here!

Under the Golden Boy, Winnipeg

Posted by

ufp-leg-interior-1.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Dome Improv

Sounding the flute within the stunning dome of the Manitoba Legistative Building while on the road conducting music examinations for the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Old Town, Albuquerque

Posted by

ufp-casa-hummingbird.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

James Rae & Fountain

Opening my door to this view and the fragrant morning air, I went to get my camera-phone and upon my return just moments later, a hummingbird was hovering, sipping nectar at the floral buffet. Clearly not used to a spectator, it boldly advanced toward me…the indistinct grey blur mid-frame? A Ruby-throated at 3 paces!

Welcome to Albuquerque’s Casas de Suenos, a converted 1930’s Artist Retreat-cum-Country Inn, a veritable spa (without the attitude) in the Old Town!

Rainbow Tunnel

Posted by

ufp-rainbow-tunnel-shot.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Rainbow Tunnel Improv

Most Torontonians who I speak with about this place nod their heads when I mention the distinctive Rainbow Tunnel, tucked away yet plainly visible off on your right as you drive north on the Don valley Parkway out of Toronto. It’s been there forever, or for at least as long as I can remember.

Pictured here is the same tunnel, viewed from the North. In the foreground is a Loaded Skateboard, my modus operandus for a first foray into recording while in motion…further experiments with acoustics that involve a moving sound source are definitely in order. Now I may not be quite as balletic as LongBoardLarry, but just like with the flute: practise makes perfect!

The rainbow in question predates today’s colourful icon for gay culture, and actually seems to be in this case more of a remnant of hippy days-gone-by. A Tin Whistle recently purchased from Dave Snider was perfect for occasion, as I improvised and tried not to break my neck on my new longboard…and at the same time watch out for the gang members whose artwork was festooned (quite attractively, I have to admit!) all about the place!

This place definitely warrants a return visit!

Stargazing

Posted by

ufp-moon-shot.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Dark Side of the Moon

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Van Morrison

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Dark Side Overtones

With the TIFF in town, I’m talking about peering heavenwards, not towards the glitz of Yorkville! UofT’s Astronomy Faculty offer open house nights on the first Thursday of every month at their downtown observatory, and I was invited to play a little background music for the last one.

Starting off with an engaging powerpoint about current Big Bang theory, 25-30 of us moved from the lecture hall to the 16th floor observation area. There we took turns in the darkened, domed observatory to peer through the vintage (more…)

Copland, Somewhere, U.S.A.

Posted by

ufp-copland-underpass-1.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Copland, Duo

I had 10 minutes to set up and record.

One of the shortest stops we made en route through the midwest by Greyhound from Chicago to Detroit was at a gas station near this bridge…didn’t catch the name of the town, somewhere between two Springfields in two different states, if I’m not mistaken. This underpass of Interstate 94 is what’s etched in my mind, along the opening of a piece by the quintessential American composer, Aaron Copland, that I had been reintroduced to a few days earlier at the Flute Convention.

I was determined to record this opening while still in the United States after an incredible experience in Albuquerque.

Back on my first day at the conference I had managed to make the early morning ‘Yoga for Flutists’, (more…)

Gardiner Interlude

Posted by

ufp-gardiner-1.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Gariboldi

When I was relatively new to Toronto, I saw some of the grittiest, most outrageously renegade theatre in this very location, looking east from Strachan under the Gardiner Expressway. I remember that there was a didgeridoo in the small band, and that the ambient sound of the highway overhead made for challenging listening. But Shakespeare can be like that at the best of times: absorbing all your faculties! The theatrical mood obviously made an impression, (more…)

Fish Tales

Posted by

ufp-joplin-bus-terminal.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Fish Tales Pinball!

UrbanFlute posts feel a little like telling stories about fishing expeditions, you know, the tall tales, as well as the ones that got away. In the case of my two short stopovers in Joplin, it really feels more like I’d left my fishing rod behind without the Entertainer to read through, or maybe the Maple Leaf Rag!

We literally had minutes to do the usual thing, poke around the deserted bus station, stretch our legs, (more…)

Elizabeth Taylor in Toronto

Posted by

ufp-taylor-eliz.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Traditional

With a profusion of sound files and images that I’m sorting through, I did a double take for a folder marked ‘Taylor, Eliz’, especially with the Toronto International Film Festival in town!

Then I realized that it was in fact the Taylor Family of early Toronto fame, one of the original families to have established homes and businesses in and around the Don Valley, where Todmorden and the Brickworks are today. (more…)

Olympus Crow Bar Restaurant

Posted by

ufp-olympus-crow-bar.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Satie, Gymnopedie
“…like a Greek God, or Lord Krishna himself!”

It’s certainly not every day I get likened to cultural deities as I did at the end of this Gymnopedie by Satie, but I certainly don’t mind the compliment, no offence to the Gods!

UrbanFlute is tough work, and I have to fuel up once in a while. For the best grilled cheese this side of Mount Olympus, (more…)

Haslemere House

Posted by

ufp-haslemere-entranceway.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Traditional English

A warm welcome at Oakville’s Haslemere House.

Conservatories, Conservatories!

Posted by

ufp-haslemere-conservatory.jpg

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Greensleeves

I recently enjoyed a welcome retreat to historic Haslemere House, an idyllic B&B tucked in the east end of what was originally known as Trafalgar – now the Town of Oakville – and steps from the lake. Alas, the original treed acreage may have been developed a while back, as is very much the norm these days if you’ve not beenalong ‘Millionaire’s Row’ of late, however the resplendent air of a bygone (more…)

Papa Pavarotti

Posted by

ufp-papa-ceo-pizza.JPG

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Rigoletto, Verdi

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Verdi Reprise

Papa Ceo’s is a wonderful haunt for pizza sleuths just up from Spadina and Harbord, and I confess that I’m a turncoat, since Cora Pizza, just steps away, was for a long time my favourite pizza joint. Sorry, there’s just no comparison, especially after members of the Toronto Masters of the Universe swim team introduced me to the beer and pizza combo for $5.95(!) after a Friday night workout – after a big swim practice one finds oneself basically inhaling the calories, even for the massive slices these guys serve up.

The slices have great names, mostly of movie stars, and wonderfully apt during this time of year with the TIFF in town. (more…)