During my many years as a musician, I’ve performed in a variety of contexts. In 6th grade, for example, I sang a solo in Hebrew as part of The Chitchester Psalms, a piece for chorus and organ, written by Leonard Bernstein. In rehearsals, the feeling of singing with so many voices was thrilling and euphoric. I felt myself open up in a way I’d never experienced before.
The night of the performance, I was filled with confidence. I remember walking out onto the stage in my new electric blue wide-wale corduroy pants, feeling the enthusiasm and support of the musicians behind me. The choir director remembered that the translated words were in the program and asked that the house lights be brought up so the audience could read along.
All of a sudden, hundreds of people emerged from the darkness and, much to my surprise, they were staring at me. In an instant, all that joy and confidence evaporated and, in its place, arose a new feeling: Terror. The music began, and I felt a bit heartened but, as my moment to sing approached, my body felt like it was going to split in two.
Some time ago I acquired a hand-made custom bowed psaltery. Recently, I recorded a wee tune with it. The tracks were recorded in Cubase SX3, and all the processing was done on the computer. I recorded the psaltery part first then, using an old Brian Eno trick, reversed the track so that it was playing backward, and recorded delay with it. The original track, with the delay, were then both re-reversed so that the original track is now playing forward, but the delay is reversed, fading in rather than fading out. All this was then run through the same delay so it has delay coming and going. I then added the two guitar parts.
Once upon a time there was a young woman who didn’t know what to do with herself. She tried many things to pass the time, but nothing seemed to hold her interest for very long.
She learned to dance and was quite good, but all that twirling and jumping about seemed rather silly. She found a singing teacher who helped to develop her voice, and she was wonderful. Children, old people and even animals would pause from their daily labours to listen to her sing. Singing, though, didn’t interest her because all the songs were old and talked about things she didn’t understand.
Continuing her quest to pass the time, she found a master painter who taught her all the subtleties of his craft, from pencil, pen and ink and water colours to the rich hues of the oils. She learned how to stretch canvas, build frames, even mix her own colours, but after a while she tired of painting fruit and trees, so she abandoned painting.
Then, one autumn, a poet came to her village. She couldn’t say if he was young or old because, although he had a youthful countenance, his face seemed weathered with experience. His eyes were a clear blue and they seemed to catch and reflect the light in strange ways. His light brown hair was streaked blond from the sun, and his well made clothes were just slightly worn. His voice was rich and deep, but with a soft tenderness that made all who heard it draw near. She was especially fascinated by his hands, which, while rough in appearance, were as soft as calf skin.