The Smith's Journal - November 2012

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Say your prayers...!


College of Sound Healing conference in Malvern

Tags: Music, Pro

Well, Chrissie and I had an amazing weekend in Malvern, a truly magical place. Go there if you ever get the chance. There is a mountain right in the middle of the town! We didn't see it at first because we arrived in darkness, and got a massive shock the next day when we looked out of the window... :-) It's surrounded by flat plains with distant hills and is very beautiful, with special energy and wonderful olde architecture.

We were there for the annual conference of the College of Sound Healing, held in the fabulous Abbey Hotel. Over a fun-packed three days we learned about singing bowls and gongs and chakras and shamanism and tuning forks on acupuncture command points and singing chants for peace in Palestine... Such a lovely bunch of people who radiate light and happiness :-) We got to work with some very wise teachers, and attended some loverly voice workshops. Marvellous veg food too!

I performed with renowned vibrational sound therapy researcher/composer Fabien Maman and an impromptu gathering of his Tama Do Orchestra, which was rather daunting: improvising for an hour as the sole percussionist with just pocket percussion (egg shakers, triangle, claves) and voice, alongside the great man on grand piano+guitar+voice, and an angelic fairy choir+band of strings and harp and Hangs and sansula and flute, all dressed in white and playing cosmic+astrologically composed mystic music on various Indian+Mixolydian modes at which we'd had only a very vague rehearsal...! He has created some remarkable instruments all according to very interesting harmonic/bio-energetic concepts, including 12ft-high chimes and sonic pyramids for healing.

A few new toys tools later found their way back with me, just some little tiny essential things which needed a home (including a cute frog family!). (I left the crystal bowls and gongs and expensive instruments for when I have more money.) These additions to the instrument armoury fill in the final gaps in the picture ready for our new Cosmic workshops to go live in 2013 (if it happens!).

Probably the most significant thing for me though was the outing of my inner comedian ;-) Recognising the healing power of humour, I seemed driven to get myself noticed in this new group of folk, by taking any opportunity to crack jokes (thankfully better than my usual standard) and unashamedly heckle with a series of deft one-liners. Even I was amazed at the quality of deliveries I kept being fed with, as if channeling some comic ancestor. So watch out! :-)

We're certainly changed forever, and nicely charged up :-)


Cosmic Sound Journeys

Tags: Music, Drumming

One of the fondest memories of my own childhood schooling was when we created a musical soundscape to accompany an atmospheric short film, which had a massive effect on the seven year-old me. So as a payback I am now leading cosmic sound workshops to develop the composer within all of us...


Piano Room operational again

Tags: Music, Studio

I'm happy today as I've finally tidied my Piano Room a bit so I can at least reach the piano to play it; previously it had been covered in stuff which had lain there since moving in back in May. Finding my music scores in a box was nice too, so we are one step closer to scanning some and putting them online :-)

Just now I finally played through Erik Satie's "Gnossiennes" on piano for the first time, having bought the score in my twenties but never felt 'ready' to play them. #5 and #6 were a bit beyond me, but the others are magical, even more so than his "Gymnopedies" which I also love playing. So I'm pretending I have an important concert date coming up in order to practise them up to standard! Whatever works to fire my motivation... ;-)


A Concert of Spiritual Piano Music

Tags: Music

Since I love making lists and setting myself tough challenges, here's my fantasy Concert Programme, complete with a few Fantasias to show how far out Mozart sometimes got:

The astute amongst you will notice that the above are all slow zen-like pieces, as that suits my playing speed and preserves the meditative mood. I'd love to also include some Beethoven, Bartok, Berg, Debussy, Ravel, Scriabin, Schnittke and Takemitsu but doubt my technique is quite up to it. Also Dave Smith's epic Piano Concerts could fill a whole concert. Other contemporary composers whose music I also love include John White and Howard Skempton, so I'll dig out the latter's Collected Piano Pieces and pick some to practise too. Give me a few years... Until then, consider the above list as a collection of special pieces to check out if you don't yet know them all. It's likely that I'll never be able to play them well enough to perform, but could maybe make an album instead, with judicious editing. The beauty of old music is that it's free from copyright.

For simplicity (and feasibility) of logistics, I'm keeping this focused on solo piano music, but would love to do some chamber music too, setting my faves (that I could hope to be able to play) alongside some similar pieces of my own. Another day, another list...!


A Concert of Mystical Chamber Music

Tags: Music

Following the above, we offer a charming chamber concert of sacred and profound mystic music of a most intimate and intuitive nature, for sometime in 2022...

These are the pieces of chamber music which reach deepest within me. [Total time = 77'42", so just fits nicely on a CD without applause :-]

Musicians required: oboe, flute, clarinet, two violins, viola, cello, piano.


A Colourful Concert of Dazzlingly Virtuosic Chamber Music

Tags: Music

If I was instead in the audience and could get someone else who can really play the piano, then the next evening we can have an 83' recital of these bravura masterpieces...

Musicians required: harp, flute, clarinet, two violins, viola, cello, piano.

Ideal venue: The Restaurant at The End of The Universe...

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Licence © The right to copy is left with the user copyleft Malcolm Smith 2011-01-03 - last updated 2018-08-23 - links verified 2017-11-14