In the Key of D Minor with a Piece of Wood

Here’s a conversation (about 8-1/2 minutes long) from 16 November 2011. We talk about Carl’s music and other things. The background noise is a bit heavy so the transcription may not be entirely accurate. You can listen to the recording, however.

Listen to the conversation

JP: When did Gretchen decide to move back, and what was — was it just the Barcelona episode?

Patrick: I don’t know. I really can’t remember. She used to come when we were playing at Es Moli. She would sit there and listen to us play and so on. I was trying to teach her how to play and read music, but it wasn’t… she wanted it just… like you.

Patrick: Play what you think of.

JP: Yeah.

Patrick: It’s okay. In her case she wanted to play what other people had written, but not classical, which is okay. She’s sort of like a Carly Simon type. That’s where her head was. And that’s okay.

JP: Yeah.

Patrick: So she would be up at Son Marroig sometimes playing the grand piano.

JP: (chuckles) Yeah, when we get together its almost like a competition, you know. She’ll say, “Oh, listen to this” and would play something really wonderful.

Patrick: Um hum.

JP: And then I would sit down and “yeah, here’s something I wrote,” you know. And then she’d say, “Well, yeah, but you need to do this…” It’s like, wait a minute! We’re not at war!

Patrick: Well, when I was in high school I was improvising at the piano, but always in the key of C.

JP: Just like every good slot machine in Vegas. They’re all in the key of C, so they don’t conflict with each other.

Patrick: Yeah? Is that true?

JP: Yeah. Yeah. You’ve got a million different tunes going, you know, the slot machines are crying “play me, play me,” but every one of them is in the key of C.

Patrick: Carl Mansker would hate it!

JP: Yeah.

JP: I think Carl would like to compose in keys that haven’t been invented yet.

Patrick: Yep.

JP: I’d like a D Minor with a piece of wood!

Patrick: Yeah, he’s working on a new symphony now, and it’ll be interesting. I’ll be the one to take out the parts for the score. He doesn’t have the patience for that. And I agree. God, its a terrible task, especially with his music.

JP: Oh, yeah. How do you even know?

Patrick: (grunts) But, I love his orchestral stuff much more than his chamber music.

JP: Yeah.

Patrick: Lots of textures and colors. You’ve heard the piano concerto I think.

JP: I think so. I’ve heard one. He gave me a CD. I remember listening to it. The first track was like, “Okay, I can understand this.” Maybe not understand, but I appreciate it. But then it just…went way too off. Donna was just “No, thank you very much. He’s a wonderful host [and cooked] wonderful food, but mmmm…no thank you.”

Patrick: So it wasn’t the one with the DVD with pictures.

JP: No.

Patrick: I’ll take a look at it and see if I can find it somewhere. It’s interesting, especially the second movement. He wrote the second movement to the memory of Suzy Bradbury’s mother, and it sounds like inspired by Mallorquin folk music. Just… fantastic. The pictures I put to it come from photographs by Eva Kierst from India.

JP: Oh!

Patrick: So for the first movement, he said, “What if you use her water pictures?” So I, for the first movement I used her water pictures, with pinnacles, you know.

JP: Yeah.

Patrick: (Undecipherable)

JP: The transitions and…yeah.

Patrick: It starts off with big waves in the cala, it’s really interesting, then the reflections in the waters, it’s great. Then the second movement, he said, “Well, people.” I started using her stuff from India. And at the very end, well, there was one other place in the middle where [mimics music]… he’s got these… So I started putting the monkeys in there. At the end, there is an ape sitting very sad. Looks like Carl.

Patrick: He didn’t get it. It sorta like fades out on that sad theme. And this is a sad… looking…. ape. The last movement is much more boogie [?] style.

JP: Yeah. Yeah.

Patrick: Suzy played it with the Bratislava Symphony. Of course, he paid Suzy to learn it, and paid the Bratislava Symphony to play it, and paid the conductor to come from New York to conduct it. And he paid the hotel bills for all these people in Bratislava, to have a good time. So he has a master disc. And that’s it, it can be released.

JP: Oh!

Patrick: For his 70th birthday, I wanted to do something with as much of his chamber music as possible. I wanted to hear this piece, but can you imagine putting 200 people in a room? And they listen to a CD? Well I said, well, wait a minute. Why don’t I do this? I’ll do a video thing with it, put a screen up, and got Eva to get me files of her photographs. I worked on it, and I learned the program while I was making the thing, two weeks before the concert.

JP: That’s always the way it is.

Patrick: It was a great experience. I’d love, I’d like to do it again, with his flute concerto.

JP: Yeah.

Patrick: But my idea for his flute concerto, which is a great piece also, was to go to the… what do you call it…planetarium. The planetarium. The idea was to go there to play his music, instead of the sound track that they usually use for the show.

JP: Wow!

Patrick: But I couldn’t get it together before I retired. But we can still do it. That would be the way… You look at the universe and you hear his stuff happening. I couldn’t go around to all the planetariums in the world, you know!

JP: Yeah, yeah.

Patrick: A tour of his music. But I love that, putting music, putting photographs or films to music. Of course the photographers wanted to spend more time making photographs and one said “when you move it so much I don’t want to listen!”

JP: Did I send you a link to a thing I did on a piece I composed last September I think it was? And I put it to some of the photographs I had taken at the Louvre. And it was a very…

Patrick: You took photographs in the loo?!

JP: Yes! Yeah, well, you know Donna always teased me about my toilet tour. Here’s a French toilet. Here’s a Spanish toilet. Here’s a German toilet. One in Vienna…

Patrick: The Turkish ones are the ones …

JP: The bomb site.

Patrick: Yeah, right.

JP: Yeah (laughs). I’ll be glad to send it to you.

Patrick: Yeah.

JP: Yeah. So.

Patrick: So should we do something else? [food]

JP: Maybe cafe solo but nothing more.

Patrick: Yeah. Okay. You gotta work? You gotta…

JP: I gotta work, but also I’m full. I don’t need to eat as much as I’ve been eating. It was good.

Patrick: Once a week is enough, no?

JP: Yeeaaahhh. Yeah. Sometimes.