31 December 2012

Haiku 2012/366

laughing leaves tumble
briskly over just-swept ground. . .
I must laugh with them

30 December 2012

29 December 2012

Haiku 2012/364

summer's lightest loves
make fall's heaviest dramas
make winter's sad songs

28 December 2012

fun stuff I may or may not get to: January 2013

Fresh from their awesome performances of Strindberg's Chamber Plays, Cutting Ball's annual Risk Is This. . . reading series of new/experimental plays starts 11 January and runs through 9 February. There's a different play each week (two new translations and three completely new plays), and each is presented twice. Check here for the complete schedule; based on their reading last year I can definitely recommend The Insect Play. And the Hidden Classics Reading Series presents the Electra of Sophocles on Sunday, 27 January, at 1:00.

High points from the Cal Performances January schedule include the new-music Eco Ensemble on 26 January, playing Harrison Birtwistle's Secret Theatre and Ivan Fedele's La Chute de la Maison Usher (a soundtrack to the 1928 silent film, which will be screened); Nicolas Hodges in recital on 27 January, playing Debussy, Busoni, Stravinsky, and more Birtwistle - and not just any Birtwistle, but the premiere of Gigue Machine, a Cal Performances co-commission; and the Joffrey Ballet on 26-27 January, in recent works choreographed by Liang, Wheeldon, and Jooss.

At the San Francisco Symphony, Renee Fleming joins Michael Tilson Thomas to perform works by Debussy and Canteloube, 10-13 January; then she teams up with Susan Graham on 16 January for a French program. Charles Dutoit returns 30-31 January and 1 February in a program of two Spanish-themed works by Ravel and Lalo and Elgar's magnificent Enigma Variations (please note that the Thursday 31 January concert is taking place up in Sonoma, in Weill Hall, which means that, depending on your relative location to Davies Hall, it is either very convenient or completely out of the question). The Symphony program that looks most exciting to me is Tilson Thomas leading Grieg's music to Peer Gynt, with additional music by Schnittke and Holloway, and actors and video and all manner of appropriate spectacle; that's 17-19 January.

New Century Chamber Orchestra kicks off a national tour with two local concerts on 13 January (in San Francisco) and 15 January (in Menlo-Atherton), featuring some works that have been highlights of recent seasons: the Mendelssohn String Symphony No. 10, Bolcom's Romanza for Solo Violin and String Orchestra (which, if my memory is correct, was written for NCCO and premiered by them a few years ago), an aria from Bachianas Brazilieras No. 5 by Villa-Lobos, arranged by Clarice Assad, and Strauss's profoundly beautiful Metamorphosen for 23 Solo Strings.

American Bach Soloists presents Bach's St John Passion, 25-28 January, in a variety of locations (details here).

The Oakland/East Bay Symphony has a program on 25 January featuring Beethoven's Leonore No 3, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, and a recent song cycle by Richard Danielpour called A Woman's Life, based on poetry by Maya Angelou and featuring Angela Brown as soloist.

At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Marnie Breckenridge (with Kristin Pankonin on piano) performs in the Alumni Recital series; the program features Strauss, Barber, and a plethora of Bay Area composers; that's 19 January.

Haiku 2012/363

no stillness so still
as that of an empty house
when you've just entered

27 December 2012

Haiku 2012/362

something squirms inside,
some squishy, fleshy slug-thing:
shells are beautiful

26 December 2012

Haiku 2012/361

concrete saints standing
in gardens, hands raised to bless
tangled weeds and worms

25 December 2012

Haiku 2012/360

dove in a downpour
clinging to a rain-slick branch
battered, impassive

24 December 2012

Haiku 2012/359

faraway mountains
hidden by a small green leaf
right before my eyes

23 December 2012

Haiku 2012/358

the rain is music
some yawn and barely listen
some listen raptly

22 December 2012

Haiku 2012/357

halfway to dreamland
lie in the dark listening:
the murmuring rain

21 December 2012

Haiku 2012/356

leave the door ajar:
why not let in the night wind,
and the night's dark song?

20 December 2012

Haiku 2012/355

spring flowers are brief
in beauty and in blooming:
the bare branch endures

19 December 2012

Haiku 2012/354

watching the light move
around a room that's empty
but for light and me

18 December 2012

Haiku 2012/353

dawn came to wake me
but I had already gone:
grasses wet with dew

17 December 2012

Haiku 2012/352

the moon is shining
and the world is still at last:
so why do we sleep?

16 December 2012

Haiku 2012/351

under steady rain
the sheltered ground remains dry
under unbowed boughs

15 December 2012

Haiku 2012/350

poor frozen flower
beauty unnoticed before
it was burnt by frost

14 December 2012

Haiku 2012/349

a widening crack
a sudden break in the world:
afterwards, silence

13 December 2012

Haiku 2012/348

an angel of lights
twinkles whitely on a lawn
waiting for Christmas

12 December 2012

Haiku 2012/347

something about birds,
and something about the sky,
and a distant sound

11 December 2012

Haiku 2012/346

early morning train
gliding smoothly up above
dark locked-up houses

10 December 2012

Haiku 2012/345

chill winds strip the trees
once again I trudge to work,
older by a day

09 December 2012

Haiku 2012/344

it might be Venus,
or another cold bright star
far above our heads

08 December 2012

Haiku 2012/343

my spade turns the earth
unaware earthworms exposed
pinkish writhing knots

07 December 2012

Haiku 2012/342

for DA and for Basho

"I don't like haiku" -
but you would stop and listen
if the frog went splash!

06 December 2012

Haiku 2012/341

printouts on my desk
e-mail on the monitor
sandwich in my hand

05 December 2012

Haiku 2012/340

rain slants through streetlights
and falls puddling swampishly
on rain-heavy lawns

04 December 2012

Haiku 2012/339

winter abstraction

a slash of silver
a gray smear, sprinkled with lights
red leaves down dark streets

03 December 2012

Haiku 2012/338

spider on the wall:
are you patient, or cunning,
or just a spider?

02 December 2012

Haiku 2012/337

walking in the rain
when suddenly the clouds part:
glitter of sunlight

01 December 2012

Haiku 2012/336

some days the peacocks
must give way in your view to
other, browner birds