Joshua Stacy, I stole this photo from your Facebook.
Dear Joshua Stacy,
You just hiked the Appalachian Trail. It took you months and months and months. You have showered by now, I think.
Thank you for calling me sometimes from the trail and telling me how things were going. Thank you for meeting us for lunch where the trail went right through a zoo in New York. Thank you for answering all my questions about what it’s like to do something so huge.
Thank you for being you.
Thank you for being my friend.
This began by recording the left hand piano part of Chopin’s Cinq Mazurkas, Vivace Op. 7, No. 1. I made a slight change in the chord progression. There wasn’t a plan. Sometimes the best laid plans aren’t laid.
There are 4 cello tracks: pizzicato (plucking) with delay, bass pedal, 2 different, but related, melody lines.
Through the whole process I thought about my friend Joshua Stacy, also a cellist, who just hiked the Appalachian Trail by himself. It is a feat, and he is always a friend of whom I think so fondly. When I think of him, I feel motivated to be better, wiser, and more decisive. I don’t talk to him very much, but when I do, I’m reminded of how a single person has the power to make another person feel..for the lack of a better word…Good. Good in the most pure sense that there is. So, I felt it appropriate to dedicate this one to him because he was on my mind. This is not the first 365 that has been dedicated to him. This one was, too.
Joshua Stacy, I stole this one of you, too. This is Springer Mountain – the southern terminus of the trail.
Emily Jane Price grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. Emily Hope Price grew up in Logan, Utah.
Emily J. and Emily H. are 3 years apart in age.
Emily J. and Emily H. grew up performing in various orchestras for young string players around the state and Emily H., the violinist, would receive cello music, and Emily H. would receive violin music. One year, Emily J. received an invitation to play with the Utah Symphony at a very young age, and it was announced in the paper that she would be playing. Emily H. received all kinds of calls from friends congratulating her on this very special honor. She was confused and worried: was she supposed to be playing with the Utah Symphony!? Nope. Emily J. Price strikes again! Though they knew each other existed for a long, long time, they didn’t meet until 2006 when Emily H. moved to Salt Lake from Pittsburgh. A mutual friend was putting together a string quartet to play Dvorak’s American String Quartet. It was a momentous occasion. The two Emily’s became very good friends.
This is our story.
I love Emily Jane Price. Upon completing my artist diploma here in New York, I performed the Ravel Duo with Emily on my final recital. Emily now lives in Baltimore and works as a violinist, teaching many students and performing solo recitals. I have a show tonight in DC, and I wanted to come early and stop in Baltimore to visit Emily so we could play together. This was a perfect time to record a piece for the 365, and excuse to play with Emily again.
Emily is performing this piece in about a month on a solo recital. She invited me to play a cello/violin version with her for the 365. Originally written for solo violin, the violinist is given many double, triple, and quadruple stops (chords) to play. The pulsing bass line you hear the cello play in the very beginning is actually supposed to be played by the violinist at the same time she is playing the melody. This is only part of the reason Bach is so challenging.
In our version of this piece, we talked a little about how we should shape phrases or the chords: should Jane play the top note of the chord or should Hope play the top? We would try both. We picked this up at probably 9 pm and worked and recorded until about 11:30, including recording. I am only including the first half for the 365 due to the fact we were getting delirious with a lack of sleep around 12 am.
I’m actually going to include a portion of the Ravel we did for my recital in 2008. It is such a challenging piece. We rehearsed for weeks to get it ready, and I made the 3-4 hour drive to Baltimore to rehearse with Emily quite a few times. It felt great to learn and perform such a difficult piece in a relatively short period of time. It is such an awesome, awesome piece, and I hope you like it, too. There are many amazing versions of the Ravel Duo for Violin and Cello played by incredible musicians. I would highly suggest you get this piece and add it to your listening repertoire as well as the Bach.
(I was up until about 2 am… at around 12:30 Emily put in a workout video called P90X: Have you heard of this thing!? Holy Crap. It’s like 500 different workout DVDs that vary in intensity. Of course, the day I join up with Emily she’s on the hardest one of the collection. Any why not stay up and workout with Emily Jane and then watch an episode of X Files? Why not? HOLY SQUATS, I’m sore this morning.)
Bach Sonata No. 2 for Violin Solo – Andante (arr. for violin and cello)
Ravel Duo for Violin and Cello – Allegro – Emily J. Price, violin and Emily H. Price, cello
When I came to New York to come to school, I expected my life to be nothing extremely different from what it had been anywhere else. Sure, I’d meet new people and experience new things, but I really wasn’t prepared for the kind of people I would meet in New York City. The second I walked into the Sidewalk Cafe for the first time in January 2008, I introduced myself into a life of people and music that is so colorful and so full of richness that there are times when I really don’t believe it could exist. I met Mr. Rick Patrick and Master Lee at Sidewalk Cafe in those early winter months of 2008. They really are honest men, fascinating storytellers, musicians, and all around good people.
Yesterday, I dropped by Mr. Patrick’s house and did a bit of recording with storyteller (also a juggler, comedian, musician) Master Lee. I met him some time ago through Mr. Patrick (a musician and storyteller who will appear in a collaboration tomorrow). We set up the mic in Mr. Patrick’s beautiful Harlem home, played around with the positioning and recorded it about 4 times before we really felt like it was finished. I played the cello standing next to Master Lee (I found myself wishing I was sitting as I forget playing classically comes with needing more balance than what I play now…). There are sections of Bach Suite Preludes and improvisation as well.
Master Lee and Mr. Patrick perform everywhere. Not only do they perform, but they started a monthly storytelling event called Talkingstick. (They have been in the New York Times as well…) Talking Stick takes place in the Rubin Museum of Art. The Rubin Museum of Art is a nonprofit cultural and educational institution dedicated to the art of the Himalayas. I’m including a video link to number 98 of the Talking Stick here: http://blip.tv/file/1310511/ Talking Stick is a wonderful way of fusing art and music, and I would encourage those of you in town to attend!
About Talkingstick, in their own words:
Talkingstick was founded to give the truth a safe place to be told. We speak to universal truths by telling deeply personal stories, stories that changed our lives. We have learned there are guidelines to help us achieve this goal. They are:
- Tell the truth
- Speak from the heart
- Go deeper - Mix the tribes
Speakers include storytellers, poets, comedians, writers and musicians. We’ve been to the Friends Meeting House, Tibet House, St. Mark’s Church, Bowery Poetry Club, Rubin Museum of Art, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Taliesin Spring Green. Talkingstick events float between locations because these truths belong to us all.
Master Lee and Mr. Patrick are fascinating people. I am honored to present you with a 365 installment from each of them for the next two days.
Photo courtesy of the Cobras after long day of filming PatB Will Smith Medley all around Brooklyn.
My friend…I am having a hard time writing today for a number of reasons. I will post a short entry, but more news will come soon.
This is a recording I made with my very dear friend Brittany Gardner who is a wonderful cellist. When I lived in Salt Lake City, we played together as a duet on occasion. I love playing with her. We made this recording for a sample CD we made.
This is what’s called a canonic duet (a canon: Piece of music where one voice repeats the part of another, throughout the whole piece.) which means that the two parts being played here by the two cellos are exactly the same except offset a few measures. First, you hear Brittany start the piece, and I come in a few measures later. It’s quite a wonderful musical device.
Pearl and the Beard have been driving all day from DC to Stroudsburg, PA and back to DC. (We had a 5 minute performance there. Ha!) We need to be in Greensboro by tomorrow night. We are so tired of driving.
I have been writing lyrics and recording, but have decided to break the rules today. Today, I am allowing a recording into the 365 from a while back as a very special dedication to Jonathan’s father, Thomas Cecil Clark. He loves classical music, and I only wish I could play for him in person. I don’t think he will hear this, but I wanted to post it for him anyway.
I love you, Cecil.
Telemann Canonic Duet for Two Celli
Update to those of you who knew him or know Jonathan: Jonathan’s father passed away this morning in a hospital in San Diego. I don’t know what else to say. We love him and miss him.
Are you tired of this? I kind of am…But I guess it’s to be expected? I don’t feel this way all the time, just for the past few days. I just want to watch a movie. Does that mean you will sense that I am tired of it? Will my new found attitude show through my work? It’s easy to avoid a mirror every day: you just don’t look into it. But I am forced to look into this every day, even if I procrastinate it until midnight the day my song is due…. and now, as you see, I am late.
It’s more important here that I’m seen as candid, not whiny. I’m writing this to show an aspect of my experience, not to receive anything in return. I have shared some commonalities recently with several musicians in regards to confidence and self-worth. Everyone struggles with feeling worthwhile and important at some point. Musicians in particular can, though some avoid it somehow, question their place, their worth, and the work they’re creating in the world in which they live. Some of the greatest eye-opening experiences musically can be touring and performing outside of my normal sphere. The world is large, my friend. Large. And there are a lot of people in it. The most important thing I’d like this project to do is get me to that place where I quit thinking about all this nonsense and get on with it. Stop worrying and start working.
The reality is that people get this way: hopeless. Everybody. The words used most often might be, “There’s too many people out there trying to do what I’m doing…”, “I have nothing different or significant to contribute…”, “I don’t have the money, connections, or resources to make this happen.” I could go on, but I won’t. I just wanted to take into account a hole: it is going away or else.
In any case, my dad sent me a text last week a that requested I do Bach for the 365. I was immediately annoyed: he has consistently requested I perform classical pieces in my shows to prove I can play my instrument. (I think this is kind of silly: I don’t play shows or write music to prove anything to anybody anymore. Energy wasted, I say.) However, I felt like this was a personal request, not a request on my behalf, and though he initially requested the Prelude to the first Bach Suite, I compromised and chose my preference instead: the Sarabande from the third suite.
Why get into how exposed and insufficient I feel? You don’t want to read it, and I don’t want to write it. There are some cellists who get really hung up about Bach. So did I. There are rules, expectations, techniques, tiny details that only trained ears can hear and pick up on, love or criticize. Casals, one of the worlds most famous cellists didn’t even record these suites until he was nearly fifty years old after he discovered them as a youth. But I offer this recording of the Sarabande for my dad, as I love him and think he’s the best.
Recording: I haven’t played these suites in well over a year (gross!), maybe two! I pasted my mental and physical memory together and recorded it several times. Man, I’m rusty. It’s made me want to learn them again, which is good. I did this in two sections, which is disappointing, but there was a lot of extraneous noise about… and whatever, this isn’t for an audition.
Julia Lichten, one of my fabulous teachers, told me a few years ago to sing these Suites as I played them (knowing my love to sing). There grew a mental block within me for these pieces: I can find the musical direction with these pieces by singing them away from the cello, but the second you involve the technical aspects of the cello, there’s a mind freeze. This is why you can hear me singing faintly in the background. Having not played this for so long, it was handy. The other thing she brought up was that these pieces were essentially also improvisational. There are countless recordings by wonderful cellists who have taken this improvisational idea to the next level and really gone all the way with it. It’s really unique. Some people hate it… which is, again, why the Bach Suites carry with them a heavy burden: many people express countless elitist views on how these should or shouldn’t be played. It’s interesting I heard cellist Matt Haimovitz pluck an entire section of this very movement in a masterclass once. It was awesome.
Here you go, Dad.
Dedicated to Tom Clark – We are always thinking of you and praying for you.
EHP - circa 1984 (No, not yesterday in Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
My dear friend,
Okay. This is what I’m going to do: I wrote a song yesterday with the new uke my dad sent me and because UPS carefully delivered it to my door, and I sent this silly song to my friends in UPS (Ugly Purple Sweater) just because. Now, this was not supposed to be the song for yesterday. I had every intention of writing a totally different song for the 365 today, but, because of my show at The Knitting Factory last night, I didn’t end up getting home until 3 am and was totally delirious. I considered staying up and completing the task at hand, but it was impossible. So, after a few hours, and starting a whole new song today, I have decided to allow the UPS-Uke to fill the gap, though I’m openly disappointed, it’s not all that bad. After all, I am still within the perimeters of the goal: it is any length, any genre, and I wrote it yesterday.
However, I have also decided to include extra, non-365 songs for you hear just for fun… I mean, it’s a Friday. Friday is a good day for catching up on the past, no?
Cowboys and Ukes
This is one of my most favorite cello pieces ever written. I used to play it all the time with my pianists friends. Recorded in 2002 for my senior recital, I added just this movement onto a few of my recitals following my graduation- including my Master’s recital in 2004. I think it’s one of the most moving pieces of work for the cello and piano (it is, after all, very much a duet for the two instruments)- though the repertoire for cello is immense and wonderful: there are gems around every corner. I suppose I’m posting this only because we have now spent a month together: you reading and listening, and me talking at you, and I wanted share more, I guess.
My classical roots are riddled with memories, good and bad, and very heavy weight, both good and bad as well. Posting my classical recordings is for me, in a way, the ultimate musical nakedness. Let’s just say I’m working on dumping my baggage when addressing my musical roots and deal with what was, what is, and what will be.
Classical playing is so challenging and requires an intense mental and physical stamina. To be frank with you, I’ve lost some of my dexterity and strength, which I’ve calmly, though at times very angrily, accepted as a truth and a kind of toss of the dice so-to-speak. (Though I know I could totally change this with enough discipline and organization of practice time.)
I’m generally happy with this performance, (though it is almost 8 years old and three degrees later, yikes!!!), as it was the last thing on my program, and I remember just being really happy to finally get to the end of it. Though I am nervous for you to hear it, knowing it’s imperfections (this nervousness a part of the residue that I’m hoping this 365 will actually help me face), I’m happy you might hear it and sense just a bit of my love of this instrument and it’s relationship to my past.
Rachmaninoff Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19, Movement 3 (Emily Hope Price, cello and Alessandra Volpi, piano)
Working on song for tomorrow, so I must run. Hope your Friday is treating you well!